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June Calendar Kid: Tatiana’s unbridled positivity
June 11, 2024
CHoR calendar kid Tatiana with a line drawing of germs

    Bringing hard work and happiness to therapy sessions at CHoR

    Tatiana Szawronski loves to celebrate. For her straight A report cards this year, her family celebrated with her favorite chocolate brownie sundae at Outback. The 14-year-old is just as happy with hugs and high-fives though – one of the many reasons her physical, occupational and speech therapists describe her as “pure sunshine.”

    A combination of pediatric therapies for Tatiana

    CHoR patient Tatiana dressed as Wonder WomanTatiana has been coming to CHoR since she was 2 years old.

    “Because of her apraxia, autism spectrum disorder, learning disability and disorder of her autonomic nervous system, it takes her a long time to learn something. Things that come easy to us are very hard for her to learn,” said Tatiana’s mom, Ana. “Tatiana is full of life and energy with lots of love to give to all those around her. She’s always happy, ready to work and put time and effort into everything.”

    Her CHoR therapists agree wholeheartedly. Physical therapy sessions over the past year have helped Tatiana build strength, balance and functional coordination.

    “She has done beautifully in physical therapy, which I fully attribute to her intrinsic motivation and ability to grapple with challenges with grace and humor,” said her PT, Marlowe Muehlbauer at our Bon Air Therapy Center. “She is now able to skip, perform jumping jacks, run with improved form and hop on one leg, all with the biggest smile on her face.”

    Tatiana likes to show off the skills she’s mastered in physical therapy when she heads to her occupational therapy appointments, which focus on fine motor skills related to self-care and independence.

    “She has improved a lot and is now able to dress herself with all clothing oriented correctly, and brush her hair and pull it back into a ponytail by herself. She also learned how to manipulate small buttons, and write her last name independently,” said her OT, Mary Williamson. “One of our exercises to learn to brush her teeth independently even includes relaxing her cheeks since she is smiling all the time!”

    Tatiana loves people, so developing communication skills is another important part of her therapy, which she works on with her speech therapists, including Kristin Current.

    “Tatiana is ready to engage with everyone through her warm and friendly personality. Together, we’ve practiced using her school-based augmentative and alternative communication device and speaking clearly to interact with others throughout her day. She uses these skills to tell jokes, greet and ask about others, and talk about her favorite topics, like America's Got Talent,” said Kristin.

    “She also does PERFECT impressions of her therapists,” laughed Mary.

    Celebrating her skills and spreading joy

    CHoR kid Tatiana building with LegosWhen Tatiana isn’t working hard in therapy or school, you’re likely to find her making Lego creations, dancing or watching America’s Got Talent – so she can practice her speech skills talking about it later, of course.

    “One of my favorite things about Tatiana is her ability to remember everyone's name in the clinic. She will often label not only me and her mother, but all of the supporting staff as members of her team,” said Marlowe.

    “In whatever path she chooses, I hope she’ll continue to share her light and joy and inspire others around her,” added Kristin.

    There are sure to be plenty of brownie sundaes and high fives along the way!

    Find out more about how therapy brings out the best in kids at CHoR.

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