Caleb Brown Still Making Progress As Therapy Starts In Atlanta

Friday, November 12, 2010
Caleb Brown in Atlanta
Caleb Brown in Atlanta

Caleb Brown, the two-year-old boy who suffered traumatic injuries when he was struck in the back of the head by a rock at Fall Creek Falls State Park, continues to make steady progress in his recovery.

He was initially treated at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital in Chattanooga.

Caleb spent his first full day with his parents, Tim and Tiffany, on Thursday at the Scottish Rite rehab facility in Atlanta.

His father reported in the family Facebook page that he still has not spoken and there are questions about his eyesight. But he is learning to swallow and he often reacts to family members as they work with him.

Here is his dad's account from Nov. 11, 2010:

Today marks the beginning of a whole new chapter. That’s how Tiffany and I felt at the end of the day after we went through hours of intense therapy with our son Caleb. We arrived at Scottish Rite yesterday, again with that sense of being lost, not knowing anyone and where anything was. This time was different however, as we were not rushing through the ER with the sinking feeling that we were about to lose our son. This time we entered the ER with a feeling of hope, of expectation and even anticipation of the days and weeks ahead.

We began this morning with what would be a long series of orientations as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, etc. would come in, introduce themselves, and do a short routine to gauge exactly where Caleb was in terms of his prognosis and to help them formulate some goals for what they want to do with him while he is here in rehab. We expect to hear the results of those goals tomorrow as well as a time frame on how long they see us staying here.

From the beginning Caleb did very well. As each doctor and therapist looked him over they were impressed with how well he could move his arms and legs, and body in general. Speech and sight are still a challenge, but each day we do see some positive changes. We are pretty sure that Caleb can hear us, and to some extent he can understand us. He has done things, moved, etc. on command, and he has grown very emotional when we (mom and dad) speak to him—often he indicates through his crying his need to be help and cuddled. As for sight the doctors believe that he can see light and dark, perhaps shapes, and perhaps also moments of even more clarity. I know that when Tiffany and I are in front of him, he can look at us and move his eyes to locate where we have moved to, if we move—all good signs.

One very good thing to report today is what happened when we were working with the speech therapist. Little did we know that speech and eating therapy go hand in hand, and part of the therapists strategy in helping Caleb learn how to vocalize and talk again is to engage him in the familiar process of eating (one of Caleb’s favorite processes…J) The therapist began with dipping a plastic spoon in cold ice water and putting a tiny drop in his mouth. You could tell the experience intrigued Caleb, as he would roll his tongue around. The goal was to see if he could swallow, and after a few moments, he did swallow. It was slow at first, but by the end of the day as Tiffany and I was working with him again on his swallowing, he did it wonderfully about 4 times in a row!

One other feature of the eating and swallowing therapy we did today was when the therapist pulled out a small cherry lollipop and rolled it around a bit on Caleb’s tongue. It was so cute watching him because you could tell he loved it! He even leaned forward once to get another lick. J

As we moved to physical therapy Tiffany and I were pleased to learn that all the PT that we did with him while at T.C. Thompson really paid off. We learned that a lot of the kids that come to rehab here often come very stiff. However since we had been working with Caleb intensely on his range of motion, stretching, etc. he was as limber as could be, had good muscle tone, and was ready to roll! It was good to see him sitting up in Indian style, and even standing up with the assistance of the therapist. He is nowhere near ready to walk yet, but it was very good that he could stand with his legs being locked in place by the therapist.

The highlight of the day came later that evening when it came time for family time. Our schedule runs from about 8:00am to about 3:00pm or 4:00pm. One of the things that Tiffany and I are doing is even in the break times and evening times we are still doing things to continue to work with Caleb. I had the idea of going and getting a floor mat today so Caleb and I could have some floor play time. Once of the things that Caleb always expects is that when daddy comes home, the first thing we do after we eat is we go and hop on the floor and play, play, play. So we got the map, put some toys on it, and holding Caleb, we did just that, played our hearts out! We got to see Caleb smile again, and I even got him to chuckle again which was so amazing. But here is where the best news comes in…the highlight of our day. Poppy (his grandfather) bought Caleb a Leapfrog book that lights up, makes sound, and narrates as you turn the pages. I asked Caleb to turn the page, and I noticed that he tried to lift his hand. I then supported his elbow to give him a little help, and on his own he turned the page, on command, 4 times.

That was the end of a beautiful day. We thank God that we continue to see improvements in our son. We wrapped up the day with a little TV time (Thomas the Train, and Caillou). We read night time books, and off to sleep he went.

Caleb with father, Tim
Caleb with father, Tim

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