When Alma found out she was pregnant with her first child, bloodwork came back positive for a baby with Down syndrome or Spina bifida. For first time parents, this was daunting news.
A few weeks later her doctor confirmed she was having a baby girl with Down Syndrome.
Alma had an average pregnancy and kept receiving routine checkups. However, when Zoe was born she was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect also known as heart holes and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for five days.
“It was very scary and it was the middle of the COVID pandemic. It was just my husband and I in the hospital,” she said.
Zoe underwent open-heart surgery at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks and had some complications.
When they came back home, Alma insisted on getting rehabilitative therapy for Zoe, “I just knew she needed help. She was close to turning one year old and she wasn’t meeting her developmental milestones as she should.”
When searching for rehabilitative clinics, they encountered a problem many parents face. Their commercial insurance wasn’t accepted in most pediatric rehabilitative clinics. Alma and her husband would have to pay out of pocket for Zoe’s therapy.
Fortunately, Alma had heard about Moody Clinic through numerous family and friends, “I had done my research [visited the clinic’s online page and social media accounts] and had heard such good things about Moody Clinic. We just knew this was the place for us,” she said.
As the only nonprofit outpatient rehabilitative clinic in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Moody Clinic accepts all types of insurances including commercial health insurance and has Financial Assistance programs for those who cannot pay the full or partial cost of treatment.
“We felt very welcomed,” Alma said. “We liked that everything was geared towards children, seeing the toys and equipment.”
After Zoe completed feeding and physical therapy evaluations, she started receiving services twice a week. With feeding therapy, Executive Director and Speech Language Pathologist Jessica Cuevas provides parent education and shows Alma positioning techniques to promote strong suck-swallow-breathe pattern. Zoe’s goals include learning how to drink from a straw and sippy cup to replace use of bottle and promote age appropriate feeding skills.
Due to Zoe’s diagnosis of Down syndrome, the muscles in her body are flaccid. Jessica is implanting oral motor exercises to strengthen her oral musculatures.
In addition, Physical Therapist Denise Kingsbury is working on Zoe’s torticollis diagnosis, a condition in which the muscles of the neck contract, causing the head to twist to one side. Other goals include working on stretching Zoe’s neck muscles, positioning and achieving developmental milestones to decrease the gap in gross motor delays.
“Zoe’s parents are very involved in her therapy, very eager and willing to learn. It makes a huge difference and impact on a child’s progression,” Denise said.
When asked why other parents should consider Moody Clinic for therapy services, she answered: “You can tell staff cares about the patients. It feels good to take her to therapy. The therapists are teaching Zoe skills but they are also teaching me.”
The lower Rio Grande Valley can continue benefitting from high quality rehabilitative care by supporting Moody Clinic. With the help of generous donations, patients like Zoe can meet developmental milestones and reach her highest potential.
When you give today, your generosity will ease the burden of families who cannot afford to pay the cost of therapy services.