December Calendar Kid: Avrian and his occupational therapists, best buds
December 07, 2022
CHoR patient Avrian creatively playing as a pirate

    “Avrian loves to dance. He loves to play with his big sister. He loves playing basketball and soccer,” said his mom, Mary. He’s able to do these things in part because of the hard work he’s put in with his therapists at CHoR.

    Overcoming his injury since birth through therapy

    Avrian experienced a right brachial plexus birth injury. When the team at his birth hospital realized the injury, they referred his family to CHoR. The brachial plexus nerve network begins in the spinal cord at the neck and branches out to the armpit, then down the arm to the fingers. When these nerves stretch or tear, sensation and muscle movement become weak.

    Avrian first came to CHoR for an appointment with occupational therapist Macy Freeman when he was just 3 weeks old. Macy continued to see him until after his third birthday.

    “One of my favorite parts of therapy with Avrian was watching the progression of his grasping skills with his right hand—starting with minimal movement of his fingers, progressing to grasping items but not releasing them, to now grasping and releasing various size items with his right hand independently,” said Macy. “He was the sweetest little baby with the best family support.”

    In addition to splinting and positioning, Macy and Avrian’s other CHoR therapists have worked with him using constraint induced movement therapy. This involves immobilizing his unaffected left arm so he would begin using his right arm for everything from self-care to playing with superheroes.

    Occupational therapy – hard work and whole lot of fun

    These days, 5-year-old Avrian primarily works with Justin DeMarchi, another outstanding OT, who tries to help him become as independent as possible. Their favorite therapy activities include playing ball, building things, doing puzzles in different positions and scaring themselves with a game of Greedy Granny.

    “We also practice skills that he needs to use every day, like getting dressed since he’s so stylish,” said Justin.

    On top of making the hard work of therapy fun for Avrian, Mary is grateful for the therapists’ “patience, expertise, professionalism and, above all, amazing care in helping Avrian become stronger and stronger as each day passes.”

    Enjoying each day with amazing Avrian

    Working with Avrian is a great reminder to Justin why he became a pediatric occupational therapist in the first place.

    “Avrian is so confidant and determined! He works very hard no matter what challenges we have planned for the day, and he’ll even ask for more activities that we both have fun doing together. His spirited personality makes it easy to see why everyone enjoys working with him and his beautiful family,” said Justin. “He is also very thoughtful and asks to get a treat for his sister every time he earns one.”

    This thoughtfulness is just one of the attributes that make Mary and Avrian’s dad proud of their son.

    “He’s caring, respectful and kind. He likes to help others, and he has compassion for those in need. He has a big heart and has worked so hard to be where he is today. He has regained so much and continues to amaze us each day,” added Mary.

    When Avrian isn’t dancing or playing, he loves watching movies and cuddling…maybe even as much as his mom enjoys doing those things with him.

    Read about our other 2022 CHoR calendar kids and topics on the blog.

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