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Bringing Kids to their Feet

Gila Arnold

Sometimes, we encounter a convergence of circumstances in our lives that brings us to point and say, “this is what I’m meant to do.” Here’s the story of a physical therapist who recognized an opportunity and grabbed it. Two decades later, thousands of children are thanking her for it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

At age two years and five months, Suri Levy* was so physically delayed that she couldn’t do more than roll over. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth, she started receiving physical therapy already from infancy — but progress was minimal. Then, a relative made a suggestion to Suri’s mother: She knew of a boy up in Toronto with a similar condition who was undergoing a series of treatments in a new type of physical therapy and making astounding progress. Maybe they should look into it? So they made the long drive up from New Jersey to meet withRamonCuevas, the creator of MEDEK therapy (the Spanish acronym for Dynamic Method of Kinetic Stimulation). “He asked us, ‘Can she stand?’ ” recallsMiriam, Suri’s mother. “We said, ‘Stand?! She can’t even sit!’ ” Not accepting their answer, he proceeded to stand her up against the wall — and sure enough, she flopped down. But then, he continued working with her, moving her into different positions, using innovative exercises thatMiriam, in her years of experience with physical therapy, had never seen. After just that first session, she was hooked. By the end of that first summer, her daughter was sitting up, and had succeeded in standing against a wall. Suri was among the first children in North America to be treated by MEDEK, a revolutionary therapy that, through its unique approach to movement training and refusal to take “I can’t” as an answer, has proven to be the solution for thousands of severely motor-delayed children and their parents.

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