Jonathan and Heather Lovretich of Huntsville call their son, Collin, 2, the greatest blessing of their lives.
“He loves hands and anything that makes loud noises! He never has a day where he doesn’t smile and laugh. He has a very cute sense of humor and is very mischievous. He will get into anything he can reach,” Heather explained. “Collin is such a happy child, even though he has been through so much in his life. He has overcome many obstacles, from numerous surgeries to spending the first 499 days of his life in the hospital.”
“We are truly amazed at how far he has come and look forward to how far he will go,” Jonathan added.
Collin, who has diplegic cerebral palsy, has also been diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pulmonary hypertension, ventilator dependence secondary to chronic respiratory failure with hypoxia, high-grade left lower lobe pulmonary stenosis, esophageal atresia, hydrocephalus, vertebral anomalies, a history of tracheoesophogeal fistula and Grade III intraventricular hemorrhage. He has undergone a dozen surgeries and major medical procedures in his young life, including a tracheostomy.
Collin began receiving weekly Early Intervention home visits with UCP physical, occupational, and speech-language therapists in May. He also visits the UCP Therapy Center weekly for physical therapy, to which Heather said he is responding tremendously well.
“Before UCP services, Collin could not sit-up, roll from back to belly, or bear any weight onto his legs,” Heather recalled. “Currently he is sitting up on his own for short periods of time, is standing and beginning to walk with assistance and also in the gait trainer. He can also easily roll onto his belly now and play with toys in this position.”
Heather is also happy with the progress Collin is making in speech therapy, noting that he is now using more than 20 words and is very vocal.
“He is continuously saying new sounds and combinations of sounds. His communication has grown tremendously,” Heater explained. “We are currently working on teaching him to tell us what he wants by words, sign, and pointing instead of crying or whining. He has also started to connect words to objects and identify them. He is also very interactive with toys.”
While Collin is doing extremely well in both physical and speech therapies, Heather said occupational therapy has been more of a challenge.
“Initially after receiving the trach Collin was making good progress but slowly started regressing in his willingness to swallow food or drink,” Heather said. “We are slowly making progress in swallowing and tolerating textured foods with continued oral exercises, desensitizing, and frequent meal times offered.”
Heather and Jonathan agree that UCP has been a tremendously valuable resource to their family and look forward to utilizing additional UCP services as Collin grows.
“We have made great strides with Collin and are very confident in our own abilities to provide therapy in all areas needed thanks to the guidance of all of his therapists,” Heather explained. “They have all been extremely helpful in helping us problem-solve, listen to our ideas and guide them in the right direction, and offer new ideas and advice. We see the progress with Collin and continue to feel confident in what he will be able to achieve in his future.”
To learn more about all UCP programs and services, call the UCP Therapy Center at the UCP Technology and Training Center at 256-859-4900.