She is a spirited little girl with a good sense of humor but is unable to walk, sit, talk, dress or eat without maximum assistance. Riley had what you would call “a traumatic birth” she suffered a stroke in utero and a hypoxic brain injury at birth. She had her first seizure on her first day of life. Riley was released from the NICU after 24 days. She has done regular therapy since age three months. At age two she began school at Easter Seals, at that time she was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. She has used a walker of some sort to move around since she was 10 months of age. Riley’s first seizures started when she was eight hours old. As she is getting older the seizures have increased and become longer requiring her rescue medications, emergency room visits and additional follow-up. This is something that may stay with Riley for the rest of her life. Increased seizures and daily medicines limit her performance in physical therapies due to the side effects including fatigue, headaches and behavioral concerns which then limits her progress dramatically. In some instances, it is like take one step forward and two steps backwards. Thus regular therapy is crucial in her rehabilitative efforts.
She loves playing outside, especially in water. Dogs and horses are her two favorite animals. She absolutely loves watching dogs play together and chase balls. Riley rides a horse every week for physical therapy.
Riley is learning to communicate non-verbally through signs, gestures, sound cues and most often through communication devices like GoTalk and Dynavox in school and on her iPad at home although she has very limited sustainable muscle control in her limbs especially her hands.
Above all Riley enjoys being active independently while mingling with her peers. She is very social in school and adores her classmates, therapists and teachers. Family and friends are most inspired by her incredible attitude. “Her smile lets me know everything will be just fine”, says mom, Rachel and biggest advocate.