Vikki is the mother of Olivia, age three, who is technically her oldest child—born two minutes ahead of her twin brother Erich.
Like many children with SB, Olivia has been seen by a multitude of physicians since her birth, including a neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, urologist, gastroenterologist, as well as a pediatrician and physical therapist. She has been wearing braces since she was about three months old, after coming out of her first casting to straighten her feet. She has also been receiving physical therapy through Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), a state-supplied early intervention service (ECI).
She received a wheelchair last September to help with her mobility outside the home although at home she mainly crawls to get around.
Olivia also has been evaluated to receive services through the school system to help her adjust to the school setting. Since she is only three years old, she is not a full-time student but goes to school for a half-hour twice a week for physical therapy. She sees her specialists, including a neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, urologist, and gastroenterologist, about once a year for checkups.
According to Vikki, the biggest challenges in adapting to her daughter’s spina bifida have been “accepting her limitations and knowing when to push her and when to realize that she simply isn’t capable of something. Also, it’s been learning how to deal with situations outside the home where she cannot participate in things as able-bodies children can, such as [activities] at the park or children’s parties.”
Support Group Benefits
“At this point, the support group has probably helped us, as parents, more than her because she is so young,” Vikki says. “But I think, as she gets older, it will be an excellent opportunity for her to interact with other people in a similar situation. She will be able to talk to peers about any challenges that she has, and they may be able to help her.”
Helping SB Kids Attain Goals
To help children with SB have satisfying, successful lives, Vikki says, “It is important to treat your child like he or she is the same as any other child. He or she should not get special treatment because of the spina bifida. Try to find activities in which they can participate, such as swimming or arts and crafts, that don’t make them feel different from others.”