Published: 2009-07-29 18:28:58
Author: ABBEY ROY | Neward Advocate | July 12, 2009
NEWARK -- Julie Endly can vividly describe her first encounter with Devan Kreager.
"He was a two-by-four," the occupational therapist assistant said, straightening her back and balling up her hands to emphasize the child's stiff demeanor -- which, she adds, was compounded with nonstop bouts of crying.
That was more than three years ago, and Devan, who has spastic cerebral palsy, now is 4 years old. He brightened Endly's week Tuesday when he kicked his feet in the water of his aunt's backyard pool, and opening the refrigerator door also is on his latest list of accomplishments.
As the son of Amanda Henderson prepares to attend preschool at Newark City Schools for the first time this fall, Endly has big dreams of the potential Devan possesses. Her hope is that no child -- whether one with a chronic condition, developmental delay or otherwise -- misses out on care that can lead to advancement, in school and in life.
"I want every child to have the opportunity," she said.FROM TEARS TO TRIUMPH
For Henderson, the changes in Devan's physical potential and overall demeanor during the past three years have been remarkable, she said.
"He does really well for being a quadriplegic. I was always told the worst of things, and with having therapy and things, I know it's helped him a lot," Henderson said.
Henderson, a single mother, sought assistance from Medicaid to secure the necessary care for Devan. She learned about Executive Care in Newark through the state's Help Me Grow program and has worked with Endly from the beginning.
"It's hard to find good pediatric therapists. It really is," Henderson said. "I was lucky to find Jay and Julie. They're like family."
Three times per week, Devan receives in-home visits from Endly, who specializes in pediatrics, and Physical Therapy Assistant Jay Redman, both of whom work for Executive Care.
Their sessions three years ago began with Endly holding a crying Devan on a therapy ball, slowly rocking him back and forth to loosen him up and stop the crying.