Aquatic Therapy Proving Helpful For Children Recovering From Stroke


IN TONIGHT’S HEALTHWATCH, PEOPLE OFTEN SPEAK OF THE HEALING POWER OF WATER. ONE BOY IS LEARNING THAT FIRSTHAND. HIS STORY OF HOW WATER IS HELPING HIM RECOVER FROM A STROKE. HE IS SEVEN YEARS OLD. A BOY, HIS YOUNG PROBLEM WAS — Reporter: AND ABNORMALITY IN HIS BRAIN. IT LEFT A PROFOUNDLY IMPAIRED BUT AS YOU WILL SEE, THE REMARKABLE CARE HE RECEIVED AT THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL IN WESTCHESTER HAS BROUGHT HIM BACK. A BIG PART OF THAT IS AQUATIC THERAPY. THE THERAPY POOL AT LIFE DEAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL HAS BECOME ONE OF EASTON GORE’S FAVORITE PLACES. IT IS HEATED TO 93 DEGREES WHICH RELAXES TIGHT MUSCLES. WATER ALSO PROVIDES THE IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY. THE POOL OFFERS AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS VERY UNIQUE AND THE WATER HAS BUOYANCY TO IT AND IT PROVIDES RESISTANCE AT THE SAME TIME. Reporter: THE AQUATIC AND OTHER FORMS OF THERAPY AND MADE A REMARKABLE DISC DIFFERENCE IN EASTON’S RECOVERY. IT WAS JUST FIVE MONTHS AGO THAT HE AND MOM ARE GETTING READY TO GO SHOPPING FOR A HALLOWEEN COSTUME. HE SNEEZED AND LOOKED AT ME AND SAID MOM MY HEAD HURTS. AND HE, HIS WHOLE BODY JUST KIND OF WENT STIFF AND HE WENT UNCONSCIOUS. Reporter: EASTON HAD BEEN BORN WITH AN ABNORMAL TANGLE OF BLOOD VESSELS IN HIS BRAIN, CALLED ARTERIAL VENOUS MALFORMATION OR AVM FOR SHORT. IT RUPTURED, CAUSING A MASSIVE STROKE. ACCORDING TO PSYCHOLOGIST WILLIAM WATSON, LEAVING HIM SEVERELY IMPAIRED. THE WHITE SIDE OF HIS BODY, HE WAS BARELY EVEN ABLE TO TOLERATE MUCH HANDLING OR TOUCH. AND NOT VERY MUCH MOVEMENT. Reporter: EASTON’S MOTOR SKILLS ARE GRADUALLY COMING BACK. WE WALKED OVER TO SEE MOM WHILE WE WERE TALKING, SOMETHING HE WAS NOT ABLE TO DO AT ALL A FEW MONTHS AGO BUT HIS LANGUAGE IS BETTER, ALTHOUGH HE HAD THE TYPICAL SEVEN-YEAR-OLD’S BRIEF ANSWERS. HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW? GOOD. Reporter: EASTON’S LANGUAGE HAS IMPROVED WITHIN INTENSIVE SPEECH 30. IT HAS BEEN A DIFFICULT ROAD FOR JUSTIN. STILL HIS MOM SAYS IT IS AMAZING HOW FAR HE HAS COME IN JUST A FEW MONTHS. HE WENT FROM LAYING IN A BED AND NOT TALKING, NOW HE IS CHASING HIS SISTERS. IT IS PRETTY GOOD TO SEE. AT SEVEN YEARS OLD, EASTON’S BRAIN STILL HAS A LOT OF WHAT DOCTORS CALL PLASTICITY, MEANING IT HAS A LOT OF ABILITY TO REWIRE TO COMPENSATE FOR THE DAMAGE IT SUFFERED WHEN HIS ABM LEAD. WE WILL PROBABLY GET MUCH OF HIS MOTOR AND SPEECH SKILLS BACK. AS FOR HIS HIGHER COGNITIVE SKILLS, THAT WILL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL HE GETS OLDER AND GETS MORE EVALUATED AS HE KEEPS GOING THROUGH SCHOOL. BUT FOR NOW HE IS A LUCKY YOUNG MAN.

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