BEACHWOOD, OH - It's like trying to keep up with a race car that’s going 500 miles an hour.
When you're new to everything, everything you see is cool, especially when you are a toddler in a room with bright colors, noise and people who encourage you to go after everything. But since they’re physical therapists they’re going to make you work for it.
Amelia Musial is about an inch or two smaller than other children her age. But what she lacks in size her mom Andie says she more than makes up in personality and determination.
“She's doing 18-month-old behaviors...she's definitely behaving like she's older than she is even though she's not physically able to keep up with an 18 month old." Andie Musial said.
When Amelia was born in May of 2014 she was almost four months too early and weighed little more than a pound. She spent months in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Hillcrest Hospital. Her head was no bigger than a golf ball and her diaper looked like a Band-Aid.
17 months later, she's a dynamo, but her body is a few months behind where her head tells her she should be.
Cleveland Clinic’s NICU follow-up clinic is a part of the hospital's Children's Physical Therapy Services. It's a unique approach to try to get the body and the mind in sync.
“Her physical therapist and occupational therapist are working so well with her but they are also great about being able to change pace when Amelia has a mind of her own,” Andie said. “They’re really good about being patient with her and knowing that if she is frustrated with one task they can transition to another task and then come back to the task that they needed her to work on that day.”
On this day it was about developing the strength and balance she'll need to start walking.
So far Amelia through the NICU Follow Up Clinic has learned to grasp objects and feed herself and work on other fine motor skills.
Amelia's first Thanksgiving last year was spent in the hospital tied up to a breathing machine. This year she'll be home and well on her way to taking those first steps.
“Just such a miracle and we are so blessed that she’s come so far and every benchmark that she's made and every little baby step she's has been able to accomplish in the last year has been tremendous,” Andie said.
So far the work at the NICU Follow Up Clinic has done a lot for Amelia.
She's working harder to stand up now and can grasp objects a lot better like beads or even hair.
Her mom says they're going to have a big gathering for Thanksgiving as her whole extended family will finally get to spend a holiday with Amelia at home and not in the hospital.