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Jack Navigates Cerebral Palsy With an All-Smiles Attitude

In recognition of World Cerebral Palsy day on Oct. 6, meet Jack! Jack became a patient at the Portland Shriners Hospital when he was 6 months old. Due to complications during his birth, Jack has experienced complex medical needs associated with cerebral palsy from a very young age that require special care.

At the Portland Shriners Hospital, Jack is treated for the orthopaedic effects of cerebral palsy. He comes in for comprehensive care several times a month, including visits to see his pediatric orthopaedic physician, Katie Fuchs, M.D., as well as for physical therapy and speech therapy sessions. He also comes to the hospital to receive medicinal injections for tone management, which has decreased his tonicity considerably.

“We absolutely love the Portland Shriners Hospital so much,” said Angela, Jack’s mother. “From the front greeters to the therapists, everyone makes you feel so welcome and comfortable to ask any questions.”

Jack is now 3. He cannot sit or stand on his own and is currently unable to communicate verbally, but he is as smiley as they come! He beams with excitement when attending his physical therapy appointments with his therapist, Kirsten, smiling and giggling as he gets to drive the power wheel chair.

“He literally cries when we have to leave after he gets to drive the power wheel chair,” said Angela. “He loves it so much.”

Jack’s unique needs require the use of several assistive devices to help him through his daily life. These include a Pacer gait trainer that helps Jack walk, a stander to help support him as he stands, and a variety of specialty chairs that help him sit. He also utilizes ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs) for stability and tone. Since beginning his physical therapy at the hospital, he has made significant gains in his ability to operate a power wheelchair, a device his parents hope to procure for him at some point.

With the help of speech-language pathologist Megan, Jack is currently learning how to communicate through utilization of an eye gaze device. This advanced piece of technology allows patients to operate a speech-generating device solely based on their eye movement.

Though Jack has been presented challenges because of his condition, he expresses the same carefree attitude that many children his age have. Jack is a huge sports fan and loves the opportunity to try to kick soccer balls during his physical therapy sessions and often watches football, bull riding and boxing with his parents. He also loves all types of cars – watching cars and playing with cars! Angela also mentioned that he is quite the ladies’ man, with a constantly flirtatious smile and sparkle in his eyes.

Jack in stroller

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