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Kammie's Care Team

At Shriners Children’s Philadelphia, our staff goes above and beyond to give our patients the most independence and best quality of life, despite whatever long-term or lifelong conditions they may be living with.

Our therapists have been known to be creative and resourceful when working with our patients.

Kamryn, known affectionately as “Kammie,” has been coming to Shriners Children’s Philadelphia since she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 6 months old. Because of her condition, Kammie lacks dexterity and movement on the left side of her body, and has difficulty speaking.

Thanks to Shriners Children’s wrap-around care approach, Kammie is able to receive care from physical, occupational and speech therapists, all under one roof. These have helped her to make great strides in her personal and physical development.

Kammie’s physical therapist, Christin, has worked with Kamryn since day one and has developed an extensive plan to promote her walking. The therapies have ranged from riding bicycles to using a re-conforming gait trainer to fit her style of movement. Christin allows Kammie to develop the way she needs to in order for her to process the exercises and then be able to repeat them at home and/or at daycare.

“As it is with many toddlers and preschoolers, the skills practiced in therapy sessions are often met with resistance during structured therapy, but are often seen to be carried over in other disciplines or at home,” said Christin H. Krey, PT, MPT, PCS. “For example, Kammie will refuse to cruise along a bench in physical therapy, but will complete when attending to another task in speech or occupational therapy. Additionally, she will do it at home when she thinks no one is watching.”

Kammie’s occupational therapists have all mastered the technique of promoting dexterity through active play. She is very independent and strives to do things on her own without assistance. All of Kamryn’s occupational therapists (Justine, Sarah and Megan) allow her to take part in the playtime while also positioning her to challenge her movement on the left side of her body.

“Kammie is working on her bimanual coordination in order to interact with her environment," said Megan Gossenberger, MS, OTR/L. “This will assist her in becoming more independent with activities of daily living and school readiness tasks as she gets older. She also enjoys playing with pretend doctor tools and performing assessments on her patients (beanbag animals), and playing with pretend food in our kitchen (specifically the microwave) in order to work on her bimanual coordination.”

Kammie’s speech therapy has really helped her relate to her family and friends. She and her speech-language pathologist (SLP), Erin, have explored many avenues on which she can express her thoughts and feelings without using actual words. Some of these techniques have included sign language, gestures, exaggerated speech production to strive for better speech clarity, and a communication device via iPad. The iPad allows her to recognize words using pictures and sounds, and to communicate words and phrases that are more difficult to produce. It also helps repair communication breakdowns when they occur.

She is also able to customize the talker to fit her lifestyle. For example, her mom noted, “When we traveled to Disney World for Kammie’s fifth birthday, Erin customized her talker with the characters such as the Disney princesses so that she could verbalize the characters while we were in Disney.”

“Kammie has always had so much to say," said Erin.

It has been so rewarding to see her be able to communicate her wants, needs, thoughts and opinions in a variety of ways. Her family has done an excellent job using strategies from speech therapy within the home, supporting the development of expressive language skills and helping her to become a confident communicator.
Erin O’Donnell, SLP

Kendra can’t express how happy she is with all the care her daughter has received at Shriners Children’s Philadelphia. “Having a child with special needs is a tough battle in itself, it doesn't help that society views everyone with a disability as helpless,” said Kendra. “Shriners Children’s provides a safe haven for children to be able to focus on their growth and not their disabilities by giving them confidence and the tools to move forward to have prosperous lives. I thank god for Shriners daily, watching your child grow mentally, physically, and spiritually and move forward in a world that can count them out! The feeling is priceless!”

Kammie is pre-kindergarten age and will start to attend school this year in September. Her favorite things to do include spending time with her big brother, Semaj, playing pretend with her dolls, and art and swim classes. Kamryn is a busy girl with a schedule that many adults cannot handle.

Occupational Therapy Session With Therapist Sarah

Kammie uses all the skills she has learned through Shriners Children's wraparound rehabilitation care approach to have a great occupational therapy session.

kammie brushing her teeth

Kammie works on brushing her teeth during occupational therapy.

kammie walking with sarah

Kammie practices walking during occupational therapy.

kammie taking a drink of water

Kammie practices drinking water from a cup during occupational therapy.

kammie using ipad with sarah

Kammie uses her speech reader to communicate with her family, friends and therapists.

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