Photo Credit: Michelle Madsen
Before I had Landon I didn't know much about what Cerebral Palsy is. There is a large spectrum within the term cerebral palsy and every child with it's diagnoses holds different challenges. So I thought I would explain the basics and then explain what affects Landon specifically.
Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive neurological (brain) disorder. It primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination.
It is caused by brain damage before birth, during birth or immediately after birth. However, it is often not detected until months later when a child is not keeping up with their gross motor skills.
Cerebral Palsy varies greatly from person to person. Everyone with CP has problems with movement and posture. Some also have intellectual disability, seizures, problems with their vision, speech, or changes in the spine or joint problems.
Landon has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy which means he has increased muscle tone mostly in his legs, which makes his muscles stiff. Landon has cortical vision which affects the processing of what he sees. Landon also started having seizures this past year, at age 7.
There is no cure for CP, however early treatment can greatly improve their life. One thing we found when Landon was 20 months old is Intensive Physical Therapy. Intensive Physical Therapy is used to train or retrain the brain and body to work together by teaching high repetitions of movement patterns and exercises in a concentrated period of time.
It has been life changing as Landon has learned how to sit, stand, balance, walk, improve his gait, squat, kneel, jump, climb and learn to use his body in ways he never could before. Each milestone is a gift and something that has been celebrated in our home with immense gratitude. We have truly witnessed miracles over and over as we have watched our sweet little boy fight for things we all take for granted. Landon learned to walk over a period of a couple years. He was about 3.5 when he started to walk independently. I remember the first time that he started to walk from me to Justin. Our little family of 5 at the time jumped for joy and cried. Our hearts could have burst that we were witnessing something that at one point was only a hope and a dream.
An intensive Physical therapy session is 3 weeks in a row. Landon goes to Physical Therapy for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. He does these 3 weeks sessions 3 times a year.
Landon started his first session of Intensive Physical therapy when he was 20 months old and he starts his 21st session today. That's 1200 hours of therapy, not including all the maintenance therapy he does at home in between.
I cannot tell you how many times Landon has tripped and fallen to the ground his entire life. He just gets back up and keeps going. Landon is an incredible example to me of never giving up and smiling through it all. He has always been determined, strong, and perseverant. He goes to Physical Therapy like he's going to a party with all of his friends. He loves his therapists and everyone who works there. He has had numerous volunteers over the years that are only there for a short time and he never forgets their names. What he does while he is there is no doubt physically exhausting but he just keeps going and inspiring all of us along the way.
The first video is of his very first session when he was 20 months old. The second video is of his most recent session in January at age 8. There's more than 6 years of hard work in-between the two videos but it gives you a glimpse into his life.
September 2012 - 20 months old
February 2019-8 years old