Cordelia is an amazingly smart, happy, intelligent, beautiful little four year old who happens to have Down Syndrome. During our pregnancy we found that there was a possibility that our baby had Down Syndrome. It wasn’t confirmed until Cordelia’s arrival; it was less than 24 hours after giving birth that we would hear those words “Your daughter has Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome.”
Cordelia was also born with two holes in her heart - called an Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Her heart was completely repaired at four months old. Since then Cordelia has had multiple surgeries and diagnoses; however, none of this has stopped her from hitting her milestones and growing into the independent toddler that she is today!
We were first introduced to Dankmeyer when Cordelia was around 1 ½ years old by her physical therapist, Havala McKinney, PT, DPT, MSPT, PCS, CEIM (pictured above, right, with Cordelia in the gym.) Havala was Cordelia’s physical therapist starting at just one month old through the Infants and Toddlers program in the Baltimore County school system. It was thought that the Sure Step orthoses would help Cordelia gain the strength needed in her ankles to support her in walking independently. So, I set the appointment.
Jamie (Dean, Patient Services Representative) greeted us when we came into the office for the first time and Jed (Newhardt, CPO) guided us back to the “big” room where Cordelia was measured for her first pair of Sure Step braces. Jed has the patience of a saint. He never complained about Cordelia not sitting still. In fact, he would crawl around on the floor with her, working with her, watching her positioning and measuring her feet and ankles.
At 22 months old, just one month after she was the flower girl in her cousin’s wedding, Cordelia took her first steps. She was off and running. There was nothing stopping her now; well, maybe a baby gate here and there.
Cordelia has worn two different types of braces over the years. She has had two pairs of Sure Step braces and one pair of DAFO #4’s (an example in yellow, above.) We are currently waiting on a new pair of Sure Step braces to arrive. When Cordelia doesn’t wear her braces I can definitely notice a difference in her positioning when walking. I truly feel that the braces have helped with the straightening of Cordelia’s feet (she tends to walk pigeon-toed) as well as stopped her from pushing/flexing her knees back.
I am truly grateful for Havala sending us to Dankmeyer and for the amazing experiences that we have had since. The entire office is amazing!! I feel like they listen to our concerns with Cordelia; their willingness to work with Cordelia’s therapist is like nothing I have ever seen.
Cordelia is currently working towards and meeting goals within the school system. She is an amazing climber on the playground and has no fear when doing so. If she falls she gets right back up and attempts to do the obstacle all over again. There is nothing that will ever hold Cordelia back. This is her life; this is her normal and she will accomplish anything that she is asked to do and wants to do.
Down Syndrome does not limit her.
Her disABILITY is beautiful.
I cannot wait to see what she will accomplish next.
- Written by Angie White, Cordelia's mom