Editor’s Note- Meet Elsie, her mom Melanie shares this with us and how HOPE THERAPY has helped so much.
Elsie is 5 years old and loves to laugh and play with musical instruments. She has a great disposition and rolls with whatever comes her way. Elsie has a 10 year old brother who enjoys sports and video games. Both mom and dad work with mom as a social worker and a dad as a librarian. The family enjoys spending time at the beach and in the winter going skiing.
Elsie has many medical needs that impact multiple organ systems. She has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail. For Elsie this means loss of motor control, muscle weakness and pain, fatigue, gastro-intestinal disorders and swallowing difficulties, respiratory complications, seizures, and developmental delays. Elsie currently participates in weekly physical, occupational, speech, and music therapies and she attends a special education pre-K program.
Elsie began physical therapy with Richmond Hope in October of 2013. Elsie had aged out of early intervention services and we were looking for a provider who had an innovative approach to therapy. We heard about Richmond Hope Therapy through a nurse who recommended them for their intensive program. Shortly after receiving services we knew that Hope was different. We were impressed with the knowledge base of the therapists as well as the depth of training they had received. The philosophy that was presented was very different than what we were accustomed to, which was one hour of therapy once a week. The idea of going to the gym for a workout once a week is great but imagine what happens if you go five times a week? We were also excited to learn that they incorporate “suit therapy” that children from various parts of the United States travel to Hope to receive. To have this in our own community is amazing! One of the many things we appreciate about Hope Therapy is that each child’s individual needs and family circumstances are accounted for when making a treatment plan. There is no cookie cutter or one size fits all approach to therapy here!
For our family, Hope is much more than just a place where Elsie goes for physical therapy. Every person that is there, from the receptionist to the tech to the therapist, we feel is Elsie’s personal cheerleader. Elsie can be working with one therapist but have another therapist from across the room give her encouraging words to help her push through to reach a goal. With all of the children that they see, we are impressed with their ability to always ask about how an appointment or procedure went with Elsie and they are always on top of helping us access or navigate services. Cindy Richards, the founder of Richmond Hope Therapy, constantly strives toward connecting children and families with much needed resources as well as ensuring that each child has everything that he or she needs to be successful, whether that means equipment, other services within the community, or opportunities to meet others with similar needs.
For any family that is considering Hope Therapy, with the current arrangements it can become quite loud as everyone is singing, clapping, and cheering all of the children as they work through their treatment. Be prepared to experience an atmosphere that is child centered, supportive, accepting, motivating, strength based and to encounter professionals who provide creative solutions to meeting the needs of your child!