“What I love most about all the therapists in Beatrice is that they always put Dean and his needs first.” -- Jade Schmit.
Dean is celebrating his fifth Christmas this year, and his parents – Justin and Jade Schmit of Fairbury – are celebrating the successes their 4-year-old son has shown since starting therapy with the Beatrice Community Hospital Pediatric Rehab Services Program.
Dean was born with complications that led to hypertonia in his extremities -- tight arm and leg muscles -- and hypotonia in his abdomen -- weak stomach muscles. He was later diagnosed with spastic CP. He also has learning delays due to brain damage during pregnancy and delivery, and is unable to walk and says few words, but does understand most of what his parents say to him.
Dean’s parents were skeptical about their son starting hospital outpatient therapy as a toddler. When Jade voiced those questions to the therapists, she said they were able to explain to her the many benefits early intervention would provide Dean.
“The physical therapist told me how important it was to start to strengthen his muscles as soon as possible and teach him how to use them right away,” Jade said.
In addition, an occupational therapist was able to start working with Dean to help him eat foods with multiple textures and a speech therapist has helped Dean learn and use more words and how to use a communication board to help get his wants/needs known.
“What I love most about all the therapists in Beatrice is that they always put Dean and his needs first,” Jade said. “They are always looking for new and creative ways to push Dean further but in a way that is fun for him – this way it does not upset him."
Jade and Justin also appreciate that the staff is always up-to-date on the latest therapy techniques and is always willing to try something new.
“You can tell that they are all there for the right reasons,” Jade said. “They are always smiling, and they do their best to make our kid and ourselves feel welcome every time we are there. They always come out to give me an update if they feel it is needed. They like to let you know when your child does a really wonderful job that day also -- which is really nice to hear!”
The holidays are a special time of year for giving thanks for gifts and blessings, and the Schmits are especially grateful this year for the gifts that the BCH Pediatric Team – Physical Therapist Kasey Murphy, Occupational Therapist Brooke Jensen and Speech Therapist Joseph Neri – have given their son. And what’s on Dean’s list for Christmas? Interactive books and toys that will help with his fine motor skills and a whole lot of toy cars, mom said with a grin!