Meet Gary

A mother's hope...

In Fall 2010 a beautiful baby boy was born to a young, single mother. A mother whose joy was soon overshadowed by the unexpected news she received from sober faced doctors. Her precious son was born with severe multiple disabilities…a brain malformation, hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, hearing and visual impairments. She was told his disabilities were so severe that she should not expect much of a future for her son. She was told that she should put her energy into loving him and keeping him well because Gary would never be able to learn.

Confused, grieving and feeling lost, she brought her child home, loved him and tried to keep him well. But soon Gary began having seizures and a cocktail of medications was introduced. He was unable to swallow food without choking and underwent surgery for the placement of a stomach feeding tube. After a series of respiratory illnesses, it was decided that Gary must have assistance to breathe and a tracheostomy was inserted. As Gary grew, his inability to bear weight and walk led to a severe curvature of his spine, crushing his lungs with his malaligned ribs. Yet another surgery was recommended, the insertion of a titanium rib.

Keeping Gary well was indeed the focus of both family and his eight physicians. Soon his mother realized that no one had any hope at all for her son’s future. In fact, they seemed to have forgotten there was a child inside this challenged body.  So, Gary’s mother began to seek therapies and learning opportunities for Gary. But at every turn she was told that she had unrealistic expectations for his future, that Gary’s perceived lack of progress did not warrant further therapy.

Gary’s mother did not give up hope. In 2016, six-year-old Gary entered TEAMability’s innovative program. A passive child, he showed no interest in people, activities or objects. Non-verbal and unable to express his wants and needs, Gary had no connection to his world. 

Today, Gary uses his vision to reach for objects. He is able to grab them and shake them to create sounds. He responds to the simple command to raise his arms for dressing or to open his mouth for tooth brushing. Gary loves movement and asks for more swinging by looking toward his therapist and smiling while softly vocalizing. He communicates his dissatisfaction by looking away, grimacing and closing his eyes. 

“Thank you for believing in Gary, you are our miracle,” said his elated mother while watching Gary reach for a lighted object for the very first time. 

"TEAMability is not a miracle, but it is a place where miracles happen!"

Meet Lucy

Love is not enough.

Six-year-old Lucy was born with a rare syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects many parts of her body. She has extremely weak muscle tone, intellectual disability, distinctive facial features, a heart defect, and cortical visual impairment. Lucy is unable to walk or talk. She requires multiple medications daily to control her heart condition. She has a sensory processing disorder that results in her biting herself, picking her skin and moving constantly. 

Lucy’s mother was unable to care for her and she was removed from her home and placed with her loving grandparents. But love is not enough. Lucy’s grandparents soon realized that they could not cope with Lucy’s many challenges. They had hoped to adopt Lucy, but were at the end of their ropes caring for her. With great sadness they were considering giving up custody.

Lucy’s grandmother discovered TEAMability accidentally. She tearfully described her love for Lucy, her desire to raise Lucy, and her total lack of understanding of what Lucy needs in order to achieve her potential.

Lucy has been receiving occupational, physical and speech therapies at TEAMability for 6 months. Her plan of care began with a “sensory diet” – a routine of activities designed to help Lucy become calm and focused. These included swaddling for 15 minutes, gentle swinging, wearing a pressure vest, and working in a darkened, clutter free environment. These activities were alternated with typical therapeutic activities. Lucy’s grandmother was taught how to use these activities at home.

After 6 months, Lucy announces her happy arrival at TEAMability with a loud vocalization as she enters the building. She calmly allows donning of her pressure vest. Although she still requires a sensory diet of alternating activities, Lucy has begun to communicate her wants and needs using simple signs or picture symbols. She is able to ask for more, respond to yes or no and make choices using picture symbols. She walks using a gait trainer and pushes herself on a scooter.

The skills, passion, and patience of TEAMability’s highly qualified therapists have unlocked Lucy’s potential. Her grandmother reports that everyone in their world notices the progress Lucy has made. Lucy’s grandfather has begun attending her therapy sessions. Although he does not speak English, his beaming face echoes Lucy’s grandmother’s words – “I love all of you at TEAMability.”

All children...

Have the potential and deserve the opportunity to learn and experience the joy of success.

Children with severe multiple disabilities need specialized educational and therapeutic activities not available in traditional school or health care settings. They require long term therapy and ample time to acquire and maintain skills. In South Texas this unique combination of services is offered only at TEAMability.

We know that seeing is believing.