Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
Jesús Antonio Murgía Mejía

     This is Jesús Antonio (“Toño”) and how I wish you could see him in person; the smile is even bigger and the eyes brighter. Toño lives in Atotonilquillo with his parents, Graciela  and Antonio, plus two older sisters, Graciela Guadalupe and María del Rosario, ages 7 and 6 respectively.
     Toño will be four years old this November and was born with cerebral paralysis due to a delayed delivery.  His mother tells us he was in a breech position and that the doctors were unsuccessful in getting the baby delivered quick enough to prevent some neurological damage. At first it seemed that Toño would be unable to walk at all, and he didn’t demonstrate any good motor skills or communication skills which children begin to exhibit at ages one and two.  The only way he was able to move about the house was in a child’s walker, and he didn’t talk.
     At about age 2-1/2 Toño’s mother started weekly therapy sessions for him at DIF Chapala, and Niños Incapacitados became involved with the boy about eight months later when his mother came to us for help in purchasing orthopedic shoes. The shoes were a big help but the physical therapists at DIF suggested the flexible/adjustable brace that you see in the photo. This brace has only recently been fitted for little Toño, and the progress he has made since then is remarkable. He practically runs across the room now, albeit with a slight limp and he still has to drag his feet a bit.  At his last visit with us, he even had scraped his elbows after taking a fall while playing.
     The other important improvement in Toño’s life is that with increased confidence in mobility, other skills have also “kicked in” and he is now communicating verbally to a degree; his mother tells us that he likes to follow along in a book as she reads to him and shows him the pictures. And we may have a budding artist in our midst as one of Toño’s favorite pastimes is molding small pots and cups out of clay. He plays actively now with his sisters and loves to have them push him around in his toy car.
     More importantly, he is now in a special needs kindergarten and doing very well.
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