A Project Celebrating Differences and Triumphs
Giovanni is Beautifully Different
Meet Giovanni! This incredible 4 year old little boy was born at just 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound 5.2oz. He has a total of 22 diagnosis, Prematurity, Periventricular leukomalacia, Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy (CP), and failure to thrive to name just a few. He spent the first 118 days of his life in the NICU and has undergone 10 different surgeries. Gio lives his life a little differently given his disability, limitations, and sensory challenges. Gio DOES have full range of motion and use of his left arm & hand. He also has HKAFO’s (braces) for his feet so he is able to walk in his gait trainer (more supportive walker). Gio also has a power chair that doesn’t play a big role just yet, but will eventually be incorporated in daily life since he fatigues very easily. He has learned how to maneuver himself around the house by scooting on his back.
Giovanni is Beautifully Different!
Gio’s family learned of his brain damage about half way through his NICU stay. His routine head ultrasound was showing “white space “ bilaterally in the frontal lobes. This is called PVL (periaventricular leukamelacia). The damage is grade 3-4 (moderate to severe). This is the result of deprived oxygen to the brain when both of his lungs collapsed 24 hours after birth. This news was absolutely devastating for his family. What made it even harder for his them is not knowing how it would effect him, as every child is different. The only thing the doctors were correct about given this diagnosis, is how his legs are affected.
A Day in the Life of Giovanni
Gio’s daily lifestyle is far different from that of a typical child. Gio needs a lot help physically. He practically lives at therapy! He has some sensory issues so he has to take life and life activities one day at a time. Eating has always been a struggle. Due to his CP and constant burning of calories , he requires triple the amount of your average toddler. We incorporate therapy in every day life when he is not physically at therapy. Constant practicing of fine motor skills , crafts & Play that require use of both hands, Core building strength, etc. According to Gio’s Mom, what is most heart breaking is Gio so badly WANTS to walk, play, jump, sit, etc … and can comprehend that he can’t. Almost everything that comes with children naturally is a struggle for him. Gio has had to learn (chewing, drinking , grasping, balancing, feeding himself, etc) He knows no different though as his family has always treated him as a typical child!
Loving. Determined. Brave.
One absolutely amazing thing about Gio is that he can light up a room from the second he arrives! He is definitely a charmer! He has a beautiful a personality and is so smart! Gio ALWAYS has a smile on his face no matter what the circumstance. Gio is defying the odds! Everything the doctors warned & told them he wouldn’t do… he is doing! He can eat independently, clap, color, walk with the proper help and equipment, talk, read, has an amazing sense of humor and personality, comprehends and is aware of his surroundings, he is amazing! Gio truly is an inspiration and has taught his family to NEVER take even the simplest of tasks for granted. He is such a happy little boy, and even though I only spent 15 minutes with him and his parents, you could see the love and support within their family. I am so happy to have met this incredible little boy!
For more information about the Beautifully Different project and how you can participate, click here. To follow me on Facebook click here!