On April 30th, Lumiere Children’s therapy will be walking at the March of Dimes in Chicago for Macey. Macey, who was a twin, lost her sister shortly after being born. Macey was born weighing less than 2lbs at 28 weeks. She spent the first 4.5 months of her life in the NICU fighting to breathe and eat on her own. Macey is now a happy and determined 21 month old who loves Elmo, High School Musical, and is already learning her letters. She is being followed by many specialists and receives therapy 3 days a week. Macey still has her battles to fight but she has overcome many obstacles.
What is "March of Dimes"?
Prematurity is the #1 killer of babies in the United States. We are working to change that by helping more moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. From polio to prematurity, the March of Dimes has focused on researching the problems that threaten our children and finding ways to prevent them.
What does it mean for a baby to be premature?
Full gestational age (full-term) is considered to be 40 weeks, and any baby who is born before 37 weeks is classified as a premature baby. In the United States, 1 in 9 babies, or about 11% of babies, are born prematurely, resulting in more than half a million babies born too soon each year.
How can therapy help a preemie?
Generally, the earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of complications. These complications may affect the lungs, heart, brain, intestines, thermoregulation, metabolism, and immune systems. They are usually regulated while in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Long-term complications may impact cognition, vision, hearing, behavior. These complications along with being born early may impact development.
— Physical Therapy can help the child learn how to move their body. Problems with muscle tone are fairly common among preemies because the parts of the nervous system that control muscles are not well developed.
— A speech therapist can help with feeding difficulties or with the ability to use her mouth, lips, and tongue to communicate more easily. The muscles needed to suck, swallow, and eventually chew have not had enough time to develop – and a preemie's brain isn't yet able to coordinate these muscles.
— An occupational therapistcan help with sensory regulation and activities of daily living (use of hands to dress, bathe, feed, play). The NICU or home environments are very different from being inside the womb, exposing preemies to overstimulation earlier. Many babies that are born premature are sensitive to touch or other aspects of the sensory system because they had limited time inside the womb being protected and were exposed to a NICU environment with constant attention and monitoring.
— A Developmental Therapistcan help with cognition and social emotional regulation as the child grows. The developmental therapist integrates skills from all other domains. Developmental therapist's look to ensure the parent-child relationship, working for them to better read each other's cues.
Why "Lumiere" is going to walk?
Lumiere walks for the little ones that were born weighing less than 3lbs that are now learning how to navigate their environment or say their first words. We walk to support our parents that have been there every step of the way and have seen how hard their little one is fighting to live. We walk for the preemies that did not survive.
Click here to walk with us!