The Division of Speech Pathology proudly announces Tyler Holliday as the Patient of the Month for October! Tyler is a joyful and sweet 9 year-old boy that loves to laugh, watch cartoons and play with his brothers (Zach and Nolan). Tyler was a typically developing child until he was bitten by a tick and was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The illness attacked Tyler’s brain and he was unable to walk, talk or eat. Tyler was in the hospital for over 2 months before he was able to return home. Tyler has been receiving occupational, physical and speech therapy from the Outpatient Neurorehabilitation team (ONRT) since July, 2010. Tyler first came to ONRT at Outpatient Drake in a wheelchair, with a feeding tube in his nose. Tyler had severe apraxia. Apraxia is a disorder of the brain and nervous system in which a person is unable to perform tasks or movements when asked. As a result, his brain was not able to tell his mouth how to chew or swallow food, tell his legs how to walk or tell his mouth how to talk.
Within a few months, Tyler was able to eat again and he had his feeding tube removed. Tyler continued to work hard with his physical and occupational therapists and he soon began to use his hands and walk again. Tyler was unstable at first and had a few falls, but he is doing a great job now! Almost a year after getting sick, Tyler still had not said any words and was not able to coordinate his mouth movements. Touch cues (when a speech therapist touches specific places on a patient’s cheeks/mouth/throat to help produce speech) were used with Tyler over several months and he actually started using them on himself! Tyler began saying “b-u-s” and other simple words. Within a few months, Tyler began talking again! At the beginning of the summer, Tyler walked up to his mom for the first time in over a year and said, “I love you.” Zach and Nolan have played a huge part in their brother’s recovery. Tyler loves both of his brothers so much. They teach him new things and motivate him to keep getting better. As Tyler’s mother says, “He would be lost without his brothers!”
Tyler is continuing to work hard each week with Katie Baker (speech therapy), Michelle Menner (physical therapy) and Pattie Sharp (occupational therapy) each week. Now in speech therapy, Tyler is working on putting more words together and answering questions. He is also working on following directions and reading. Tyler loves to eat! His favorite food is chocolate and he loves to do his work in speech therapy to earn M&M’s. Tyler’s mother continues to bring him to weekly therapy and his family works hard with him at home. Between the hard work of Tyler’s family, the support of his medical team, therapists and teachers, and the persistence of his mother, Tyler is getting better every single day. Way to go Tyler!
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