Bryce, 4 years old, spent his first session at Conductive Learning Center (CLC) in this year’s Summer Camp program. Bryce was born 4 months premature, at home, where his parents gave him CPR until emergency responders arrived. Starting life a mere 1 1/2 pounds and 12 inches long, Bryce spent his first 5 months fighting for his life in the Neonatal ICU.
His mother, Katrina, wrote the following in her blog at the end of his summer camp experience at CLC.
“I know I should be overwhelmingly happy to be going home, to be getting back to normal and to be sleeping in my own bed again.
And I am – but the truth is, it’s bittersweet.
I do miss home but I’ve seen the other side, the vast potential that is Bryce, and it’s utterly addicting.
Bryce has been in therapy a minimum of three times per week for the last three and a half years, since he was six months old and just one month out of the NICU.
I believed fully that we were doing everything we could for him, that we were giving him every possible opportunity and that the progress we were seeing was his full potential for change.
I have to admit that while I was hopeful, I was also weary. I came here with an open heart and a doubtful mind. Years of enduring therapy visits and specialist appointments had conditioned me for bad news and little progress.
Sure, I would have loved for Bryce to have come home walking independently but that simply wasn’t realistic. However, I witnessed full blown, absolutely independent steps. FOUR of them! I have seen him make full-scale, across-the-board progress that makes his prior progress seem just silly.
I’ll admit that I was skeptical when I first heard about the CLC program. I was raised to question everything.
But this place (CLC) is the real deal. I’ve personally witnessed subtle, consistent changes in Bryce including:
- Increased walking endurance
- A longer attention span
- Putting hands in front of his face to brace against falling (this is epic and will save us more ER visits for split chins!)
- More consistent use of right hand and use of BOTH hands together (unless this is a problem you battle, you can’t begin to understand how much it changes everything about your day and daily routine)
- Longer periods of stable, independent standing
- More often standing up from the ground completely independently
- Vastly increased vocalizations
- Much, much more intentional “communication” coupled with an eagerness to communicate we’ve never before been privy to
- More social independence
- And more!
Seeing Bryce have the opportunity to exceed his own, and our, perceived limitations, interact with peers and be in a group of children with similar challenges has been life altering. The way he lights up when we run into another child from the CLC almost makes up for the 10 extra minutes that means it will take to reach our destination by letting Bryce get there on his own.
The conductors here have this perfect balance of stern direction and loving affection that results in optimum performance. If it were an option, I would take them home.
Unfortunately, that isn’t an option and so now I begrudgingly prepare for our return home while trying earnestly to figure out how to continue this forward motion and get back to CLC as soon as possible.
The simple fact is that every step of progress, every milestone before CLC came so slowly that it was hard to even celebrate. Bryce didn’t roll over until after his first birthday, he sat up independently just before his 2nd birthday and only began walking with a walker at 2 1/2 years of age.
His progress in five weeks of camp has been incredible and, as I’ve said to people here many times over the last week or so, I’m ready to go home but not ready to stop. And so, to home we go, with a heavy heart and hopeful eye. Thanks CLC!”