Register Today: Help children like Sophia when you join Walk With Me
Southwest Human Development will host the 10th annual Walk With Me family fun walk and carnival on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Scottsdale Civic Center Park from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event will benefit our Easterseals services for young children with disabilities. Each year, Walk With Me makes an impact in the lives of countless children with disabilities and their families.
Festivities will feature a 1-mile family fun walk, entertainment, food, inflatables, carnival-themed games for the whole family and more. Walk With Me is family-friendly and builds a community atmosphere that raises awareness to support children with disabilities.
Sophia is a musically inclined 2-year-old who’s her mother Bianca’s little “rock star.” Being a rock star in Sophia’s world means much more than having a passion for music, but also embodies a determination to live life to the fullest every day.
When Sophia was born, she was diagnosed with congenital CMV, a virus that can result in hearing loss, vision challenges, seizures, lack of coordination and weakness using muscles in infants. Because of Sophia’s congenital CMV, she has cortical visual impairment, pale optic nerves, sleeping challenges, asthma, spastic cerebral palsy and is prone to seizures.
Sophia’s Arizona Early Intervention Program (or AzEIP) physical therapist referred the family to Southwest Human Development’s ADAPT Shop for an evaluation to explore what impact assistive technology could have in Sophia’s life.
“Our experience with the ADAPT Shop blew me away,” said Bianca. “From the beginning, the team really worked to collaborate with me and our physical therapist to understand Sophia’s specific medical needs.”
At home, Sophia’s parents had been doing their best to help their daughter with makeshift cushion and towel positioning. Despite their best efforts, they knew Sophia needed equipment designed by experts with the purpose of helping to increase her engagement with other people and her toys.
The ADAPT Shop worked to create assistive technology designed just for Sophia. The ADAPT Shop fabricator designed and fabricated various pieces of equipment to promote safe swallowing, muscle development and body alignment to support reach and grasp. The ADAPT Shop team also worked with Bianca to help her learn how to best use the equipment.
“It was so cool how the ADAPT Shop staff collaborated as a team while including me in the discussion,” said Bianca. “The resulting final products were amazing.”
Assistive technology has already made a long-term impact in Sophia’s life. A custom-built activity chair helped Sophia build the skills to reach for toys and more easily engage with people, while a crawler assistance tool helped her to build motor skills and develop the ability to crawl.
Over time, Sophia’s progress transcended from tummy time and stretching to sitting up with assistance for longer periods of time and playing with toys. Sophia continues to work with the ADAPT Shop to build her skills, play with toys and build connections with people in her life.
“Before working with the ADAPT Shop she was not at that level of development,” said Bianca. “It’s really exciting to see her grow and change. We see Sophia connecting with people and tracking objects now more than ever.”
Join Sophia’s family in supporting children with disabilities by registering for Walk With Me at swhd.org/walk!