The Patrick-Rodriguez Family
When Beldon Patrick learned she was pregnant, she was euphoric. Beldon decided to name her daughter Daisy – a symbolic choice for a child whose pending arrival inspired so much hope.
But during a doctor’s visit in her second trimester, doctors informed Beldon that Daisy was suffering grave medical complications. They doubted she would survive delivery. Beldon feared for her daughter’s life.
Despite the doctors’ news, Daisy proved she was as resilient as the flower whose name she shared. She persevered.
Relieved to embrace Daisy and watch her take her first breaths, Beldon knew her daughter’s plight was far from over. Daisy would have to overcome more medical, physical challenges as she grew.
To ease Daisy’s struggles, the Patrick-Rodriguez family turned to Southwest Human Development’s ADAPT Shop for help.
The ADAPT Shop, open since 2011, custom designs and manufactures products that help children with disabilities become independent, active participants in their everyday lives. The Patrick-Rodriguez family was one of the first families to seek its help.
A Southwest Human Development physical therapist provided Daisy with help to strengthen her body while the ADAPT Shop specialists worked with her family on solutions to make her life easier. Together, they designed a custom-fit foam chair that strengthened her body while helping to hold up her head.
Daisy no longer had to lie in her bed waiting for her family to finish dinner. With the new foam chair, Daisy could sit with family at the table.
“It was really hard to see my baby uncomfortable and struggling,” Beldon recalled. “She’s made a lot of progress over the past few months with Southwest Human Development.”
Since it opened, Southwest Human Development’s ADAPT Shop has gained a reputation as a reliable center for other innovations that can solve both the common and the rare physical challenges that children with disabilities face as they grow. The number of children served by the ADAPT Shop has blossomed in three years from only a few to nearly 400.
“We average six new referrals per week,” said Tina Martin, Southwest Human Development’s senior manager for assistive technology.
The problem-solving process begins during the child’s therapy. Together, the Southwest Human Development therapists collaborate with the families and ADAPT Shop fabricators to design and craft new equipment which can give the children new mobility, strength and confidence. Martin said the Shop’s products include a “stand-up bar” that children grab to pull themselves from a seated position to stand.
Currently, the ADAPT Shop is developing a toddler scooter to help children who cannot move their bodies without assistance. “We also have created a new switch that gives children the ability to play with toys and move the scooter around, so they can be independently mobile,” Martin said.
“We create every day because each new child referred to us – and each new child’s milestone – leads us to develop another piece of equipment to help them reach their highest potential,” Martin said.
With weekly, home-based physical therapy from Southwest Human Development, Daisy is making tremendous progress. Now 15 months old, she has started speech therapy, which will help her build the muscles she needs for chewing and swallowing. With continuous support from the ADAPT Shop team and her family, Daisy has a very promising future.
“How would I have learned to teach her to live with her disability?” Beldon wondered. “I would have been lost without their help.”