For patients suffering from paralysis, hope may often seem dim, but for children facing some form of paralysis, the physical and emotional toll of the condition can weigh even heavier. No matter the cause of the resulting trauma, paralysis in children requires special attention and care to keep these young patients firmly on the road toward recovery.
Inspiration and positivity must reign supreme, and uplifting stories of others who have survived and continue to thrive despite often-debilitating spinal cord injuries must play a pivotal role. Thankfully, children facing paralysis have plenty of reason to be optimistic about their chances of recovery and living a very full life after their injury.
- Eden Hoelscher: This Louisville, Ky. girl suffered a spinal cord injury in December 2015 after performing a backbend, a popular gymnastics move. Finding that her legs could not move, the then-six-year-old was left a paraplegic, leaving her and her parents grasping desperately for help. A new therapy program at Frazier Rehab and KentuckyOne Health centering on pediatric locomotor training emerged as a strong option, and Eden began the 60-session program designed to jumpstart her spinal cord. Beginning with a treadmill-style machine and running through a variety of exercises, the program soon began leading to some definite signs of improvement, with Eden nearing closer to recovery. Within six months, the future ahead seemed less like it would be defined forever by that terrible day and more like it was simply a challenge to overcome, one that Eden appeared all but ready to face.
- Braden Scott: In July 2016, five-year-old Braden of Beaumont, Texas was among those diagnosed with the polio-like condition known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). It began with loss of strength, followed by an inability to breathe and finally nearly complete paralysis. After several weeks of treatment in Houston, Braden began a rehabilitation program in Dallas and has been able to regain some of the faculties the disease has robbed him of. Though the road ahead is still a long one, his ability to breathe on his own is slowly being restored, and his mobility has also seen noticeable improvement. AFM has been one of those medical phenomena that has stymied the medical community, and the fact that Braden has been able to overcome it to the degree that he has already is a testament to the boy’s spirit and dedication to get well and the potential for others to follow his lead and regain much of the functionality they have lost.
- Natalia Scovil: An accidental gunshot is to blame for the injury that befell then-three-year-old Natalia in October 2013, and the child -- now living in Carmel, Maine with her grandparents, who have adopted her siblings -- has overcome much adversity since being paralyzed from the neck down that fateful day. In the first six months following the incident, Natalia already began moving her arm and also began to regain her speech, and then, a year later, she could move her legs. Even though her recovery isn’t yet complete, Natalia continues to show steady signs of improvement in both her mobility and her ability to breathe on her own. It’s a remarkable turn of events that has inspired her family and is a beacon of possibility for other young children facing similar difficulties.
The Next Chapter
Although paralysis can greatly affect one’s lifestyle going forward, this doesn’t mean that this next chapter has to be a sad one. So much in life is defined by the attitude we choose to adopt and the perspective through which we opt to see the world around us. The same is especially true for individuals who have lived through a traumatic incident.
Yet, with the right attitude and perseverance, people with some degree of paralysis are learning to reclaim their life, and thanks to technological advances like virtual reality and robotics, some are even learning to adapt to their challenges. If you have children in your life who are facing paralysis, be the light to guide them down a brighter path.