At four years old, Jayden Lomas is like every other boy his age. He loves playing ball and looks up to his big brother, Tyler. But what makes Jayden so special is how far he has come in so short a time. At birth, Jayden suffered a stroke.
Doctors told his parents, Sean and Marcela Lomas, that there was a fifty percent chance that Jayden would not be able to walk or talk. Since then, he has already surpassed what healthcare professionals thought possible.
Because of the stroke, Jayden suffers from a form of cerebral palsy called hemiplegia, which is a neurological condition that weakens one side of the body. The stroke occurred on the left side of Jayden?s brain, — the side that controls his speech.
Jayden?s parents knew that early intervention and therapy were important. After having in-home therapy and travelling to other facilities for treatment, they enrolled Jayden in speech, physical, and occupational therapy at McLeod Seacoast in January of 2013, when he was three years old. He and his family have felt right at home from the beginning.
?Jayden loves to come to therapy, ?said Jayden?s mother, Marcela. ?It is like his second home.?
Jayden?s speech has progressed immensely since starting therapy at McLeod Seacoast, according to Jayden?s father, Sean. ?Jayden could speak between five to eight words when he started speech therapy a year ago,? said Sean. ?Now, thanks to Ms. Kaye, Jayden?s speech therapist, he is speaking to us in complete sentences.?
?He has expanded his vocabulary tremendously,? said Marcela. ?For example, Jayden used to call all vehicles ‘choo-choos.’ He now says ‘car,’ ‘truck,’ and distinguishes between all vehicles. He even corrects us if we abbreviate a word,? Marcela said jokingly.
?When he came to McLeod Seacoast a year ago, he had a difficult time identifying the words on the flashcards during speech therapy sessions. Now, he has conversations with his friends and family. Jayden?s neurologist reported during his last appointment, that this transformation in speech is unheard of in this short amount of time,? said Sean.
Jayden, or “J.J.” as his friends and family call him, has a deep love for baseball and basketball. One might say it is hereditary. His dad, Sean, played baseball during his college days at the University of Maryland, and is now the East Coast Director for Rawlings National Baseball Clubs. He is also an Associate Scout for the Kansas City Royals.
?Both of my sons play ball at home for hours and hours,? said Sean. ?Jayden is now old enough to play in a county instructional basketball league for four and five-year-olds. He is one of the youngest kids in the league and is already a standout. His passion for sports is another reason why physical therapy and occupational therapy is so important in Jayden?s day to day life.?
Due to the stroke, Jayden experiences weakness on the right side of his body. It is difficult for him to control his right hand. Jayden?s therapists have been working on improving his range of motion during therapy sessions.
?When Jayden started physical and occupational therapy at McLeod, his right arm was in a locked position. Now, he is able to straighten his arm, open up his hand and twist his wrist. This has greatly improved his everyday life,? said Marcela. Jayden and his therapists refer to his right hand as his ?helper hand.? He can now carry a lunch tray at school and even swing a baseball bat with the use of his helper hand.
Jayden also experiences weakness in his right leg. However, by working with his therapists, he has drastically overcome this weakness. ?Jayden has gone from wearing a brace that extends from his knee to his foot, to wearing just an ankle brace through the work with his physical therapist, Shelly. He is getting stronger and stronger everyday and closer to walking on his own,? said Marcela.
?What makes this place so special is that the therapists are constantly challenging Jayden. Once Jayden meets a goal, his therapists are on to the next goal. They are constantly re-evaluating him and coaching him to challenge himself. This is not only helping Jayden physically, but it is also instilling in Jayden the core values of hard work and determination that he will use for the rest of his life,? said Sean.
?The therapists are angels here and they have become part of our family,” added Marcela. ?They share the same vision as we do for Jayden to succeed. They are not just doing a job. They want the best for Jayden, and that makes all the difference.?
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