When Silas Arbuckle turned 4 in May, it also marked the 1-year anniversary of his cerebral palsy (CP) diagnosis.
“Silas was a full-term baby and passed all his newborn screenings. He was a little behind hitting his infant milestones, but nothing that set off any alarms for us or the doctor,” said Sarah, Silas’ mom. “It wasn’t until a family member commented that his walking looked different that I thought maybe we should make sure it’s nothing serious.”
Sarah decided to take Silas to a new physician for an evaluation, who referred Silas to an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Mark Adamczyk. In the end, Silas’ stride – flat-footed on one side and tiptoed on the other – had nothing to do with his bones or muscles, but everything to do with his brain.
“I was shocked…the neurologist thinks he suffered brain damage during birth or in utero,” said Sarah. “CP definitely wasn’t on our radar – I didn’t even really know what it was. We’ve been on a journey with Akron Children’s ever since his diagnosis.”
And a journey – both figurative and literally – it has been. For the Massillon family, driving Silas to appointments at the Akron campus were frequent to start and tapered down once his care plan was in place. Silas’ speech and cognition were on target, but he needed rehabilitation services to aid in his mobility and function, especially on his left side.
“We started therapy at the Belden office, but I knew Children’s was going to open an office in Massillon so I requested his therapists be people who would have hours in Massillon once it opened,” said Sarah. “Twice a week I would drive Silas to therapy in Belden for 45 minutes of therapy, drive him back to Massillon for school and turn right back around and drive to Belden for work. Our mornings were really rough. It was a lot of driving, but I had no choice because I knew he needed the therapy to improve.”
Silas has made progress and is focused at therapy. He practices going up stairs, riding a tricycle, putting on his jacket and zipping it up.
“He loves his therapists and so do I. Miss Lori gives him a great big hug every time she sees him. It’s like they’re family,” said Sarah. “I used to go into therapy with him, but now I just wait in the lobby. He knows what’s expected of him and I trust them. We’ve established a relationship with his therapists since the beginning and it has made a big difference for us.”
“I sometimes work days and other times the night shift so the therapists have been awesome at working around my schedule and accommodating us,” said Sarah. “What’s great, too, is that we can book back-to-back sessions so we get all his therapy done in one day.”
Today, Silas continues with therapy and is getting ready for another year of preschool in the fall. He’s very social, enjoys his teachers and classmates and is a big helper around the house. At Massillon Public Preschool, Silas is also able to participate in physical and occupational therapy once a week in addition to his weekly sessions at Akron Children’s.
“It (the Massillon office) is like a one stop shop,” said Sarah. “I had to make an appointment for my daughter at the Akron campus and was able to do that while I waited for Silas’ appointment to finish up. It’s great having an office so close because it saves us so much time.”
Free community open house
Alongside Silas’ family, the community attended an Open House of the new Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Services, Massillon on Saturday, July 13. Read more about the event that featured self-guided tours, light refreshments and family entertainment.