Sunshine and silliness help Lana overcome cerebral palsy
Lana Spencer is a morning person. “She likes to get up with the sun,” says her dad, Mike. It makes sense – the spunky 6-year-old has a lot to accomplish in her day.
Lana’s cerebral palsy was diagnosed when she was 15 months old.
Though it impacts her movement, posture and balance, it most certainly doesn’t keep her from doing what she wants to do. If it’s up to her, she’ll play with her Barbies or watch videos, but Lana manages to have a good time no matter what.
“She is always determined to do her best. She loves to have fun and will typically fill the clinic with lots of laughter,” said her physical therapist, Sarah Miller.
The clinic Sarah refers to is our Petersburg Therapy Center, where Lana has been coming for appointments since September 2019. In addition to care from our neurology, orthopaedics and physical medicine and rehabilitation teams, along with Botox injections, therapy has helped her make great progress in strength and independence.
Therapy sessions generally focus on strengthening her leg and core muscles, gait training and balance activities. When Lana first started working with Sarah, she required quite a bit of assistance with balance and steadiness. Now, she’s able to walk up to 200 feet with forearm crutches, navigate steps and go from sitting to standing with little assistance. She’s gained great confidence too!
Sarah always tries to make therapy sessions fun and engaging – which is easy to do when Lana’s the patient.
“Lana has played almost all of our games. She makes every activity we do super fun,” added Sarah. “She especially enjoys games that are more challenging for her or that require multiple steps, such as putting velcro food pieces together while working on standing balance or bowling with a weighted ball during a squatting activity. She loves riding the bicycle with training wheels. We’re often sneaky on the bike and ride fast so no one can see us!”
This is no surprise to her dad who describes Lana as silly and mischievous, which goes hand-in-hand with growing up with an older brother. Dad is also exceedingly proud of Lana’s happy and determined spirit. Sarah appreciates these qualities too.
“Lana always does her best, even if she is having a bad day or gets frustrated during a challenging activity. My goal for Lana is for her to be as independent as possible at home, at school and in her community,” said Sarah.
Knowing Lana, she’ll be up early tomorrow morning, working toward this goal one fun and silly step at a time.