• Sierra Christensen

Ally's Story

#telehealth #awareness #milestones #development #successstory #testimonial #theguidetophysicaldevelopment #parenting

“When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was ecstatic! My mind immediately created visions of her entire future, full of hopes and dreams. I dreamed of all she would do, become, and accomplish. I could barely contain my excitement for the future, which is how most parents feel, right?

I was a new mom, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in regards to development and skills. Ally was born full-term without any issues. She seemed to be perfect! But as Ally grew, I just felt like something wasn’t right. She didn’t seem to be as mobile as other babies her age. At 6 months old, I noticed that she had difficulty bearing weight on her legs.

After fighting with the rollercoaster of emotions that ensued (scared, anxious, confused, frustrated, heartbroken, denial, overwhelm), my husband and I decided to seek help. We brought our concerns to the pediatrician, but we were told that we should just wait and see, that it was something that Ally would just grow out of.

The few days after that initial visit to the pediatrician led to more uneasiness and concern. I was able to see how the little things that Ally struggled with was impacting her everyday life. Finally, when we couldn’t take any more stress and uncertainty, we decided to seek a second opinion, this time directly from a therapist. We had heard about telehealth from a friend, whose baby received telehealth PT for torticollis (another condition I had no idea about!)

We scheduled a consultation with Dr. Sierra to see whether or not Ally needed help. I was a little hesitant to use a ‘virtual’ PT, but my friend was raving about it. We decided to use develoPT Pediatrics and not to go through Early Childhood Intervention or our insurance because we felt that the earlier we could get Ally assessed and services if she needed it, the better.

It was apparent from our very first video meeting that Dr. Sierra knew exactly what she was doing, and I immediately felt comfortable and confident with our choice. She asked my husband and me to perform different activities with Ally that seemed to be play. What I didn’t know until after the assessment, was that Dr. Sierra was observing Ally and the way she moved and played throughout the whole visit! With her observations and evaluation, we discovered that Ally was not only delayed with bearing weight through her legs, but also with many other motor milestones.

When we found this out, I was immediately struck with guilt. All I could think of was why didn’t I know about the milestones she was missing, why didn’t I get help sooner, and why did our pediatrician not SEE this??! I conveyed these feelings to Dr. Sierra, and she listened! She helped me work through my questions and guilt with patience and compassion. This meant the world to me! I realized that while Ally may have missed important milestones, I did trust my instincts to seek another opinion. Dr. Sierra also gave me hope that since we got Ally in early, her brain was still within the important time of neuroplasticity (flexibility). Dr. Sierra reassured us that by getting early treatment, Ally had a great chance of learning the milestones she had been missing. This gave me much-needed hope and dreams of a future that was still bright.

After reviewing the assessment and evaluation, Dr. Sierra recommended a plan of treatment for Ally. We performed frequent telehealth visits where Dr. Sierra would teach, demonstrate, and provide guidance and feedback on activities to do with Ally during our normal daily routine.

In between our visits, my husband and I would work on the suggestions that Dr. Sierra gave us multiple times throughout the day, and after a few weeks, Ally was able to sit alone and support herself when we held her in standing.

Ally is still working on gaining skills, and currently is trying to crawl, but we have decreased the frequency of our visits because she is doing so well. Dr. Sierra has given us ideas on how to help Ally’s development in all areas, not just her physical skills. Ally has had a slow start, but we have hope that she will continue to progress quickly.

I just can’t stress how important it was that Dr. Sierra made us feel so comfortable and how she cared for Ally. Even though we have not met in person, we feel so connected with her!

I guess my main message for other parents out there is to first get educated on what your child should be doing! Secondly, trust your instincts. Don’t panic immediately, but don’t go into denial either. My husband and I want to have another baby soon, so I am definitely taking Dr. Sierra’s baby course on development. I felt so lost and scared at the beginning, but now I understand what I need to know! I am investing in my parenting skills to become more observant and aware, so that I can cut out all of the unnecessary worrying, and save time getting early intervention if I do notice any delays. You don’t know what you don’t know, so just take my advice and take Dr. Sierra’s course.

-Briana L., mom to Ally and student of Dr. Sierra's

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