Will’s Story

4-year-old Will at the Glenrose for rehabilitation

Four-year-old Will either has a smile on his face, or has the whole room smiling. While today he is a chatty, funny, and active little boy, things weren’t always that way 

In 2020, when Will was just 9 months old, his family and doctor noticed he was starting to miss some of his developmental milestones.  

Shortly thereafter, Will was referred to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, where he was diagnosed with hemiplegia – a severe or complete loss of strength leading to paralysis on one side of his body – and several months later, autism. For Will, this meant that he had difficulty walking and using one of his hands. When he crawled, he dragged one foot behind him.  

Through occupational and physical therapy, and a procedure involving Botox and a brace to help correct the position of his foot, Will took his first steps with his foot flexed at the Glenrose. With additional therapies, he was not only walking, but jumping, and gaining better mobility and function in his hand to participate in everyday activities.  

“Without the Glenrose, I don’t think my son would walk, use his hand, or communicate. We were really fortunate that so much of Will’s treatment was happening here and his therapists were constantly in touch with each other, figuring out how to navigate his particular needs because he had so many concurrent things going on.” – Colleen, Will’s mother  

With the breadth of care that Will received through the Glenrose Pediatric Specialized Rehabilitation Outpatient Program (SROP), he had access to a highly dynamic care team including a physiatrist, neurologist, psychologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and a speech language pathologist, all under one roof.  

Will’s mom accredits the dynamic nature of his care team for his early autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, which allowed him to access the Glenrose’s early intervention program for toddlers just like him – the Social ABC’s.  

“Doing the Social ABCs program has made an incredible difference in my son’s life. He’s happy. He’s content. He’s funny!” – Colleen, Will’s mother  

He went from being non-verbal to verbal and communicative almost immediately after starting the program. In addition to the Social ABC’s, Will has been given tools through the hospital’s I CAN Centre for Assistive Technology, including an iPad, to help him better communicate with his friends and family. Today, he is using his iPad almost fully independently, and often uses his device to greet his friends, express his silliness, and even demand a toast from time to time!  

The therapy and early intervention that Will received at the Glenrose has not only helped him find his voice, but also gives him the opportunity to live an active and mobile childhood.  

Help other kids like Will today. Make a gift, of whatever size, to the Glenrose Hospital Foundation.  

Share This Story


Related Posts

At this last year’s National Philanthropy Day awards, we had the pleasure of celebrating the profound acts of kindness and generosity of five Edmonton community[...]