KidsInclusive patient Gabby

Gabby Lapointe has an infectious smile most days, but the two-year-old beams a little bit brighter every time she has an appointment with KidsInclusive Centre for Child & Youth Development. Her therapy appointments, which are more like strategic play dates, are her time to shine and show her therapists the progress she’s made since her last session.

Gabby has been the seeing the team at KidsInclusive since she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy right after her first birthday. Together, the physical and occupational therapists work side by side with the toddler and her parents, Aubrey Lapointe and John Robinson, to create a personalized care plan which includes helping develop her motor skills. Everything from crawling up and down the stairs safely, to navigating getting around with her walker and picking up small objects.

“She has a unique life, with a unique perspective and unique challenges,” says Aubrey, Gabby’s mother. “Little things that we think are nothing and take for granted are huge to her.”

“We strive for kids to live their lives in the best way they can, no matter the diagnosis they may have,” explains Sydney Hampton, an occupational therapist with KidsInclusive. “Being able to adapt their environment and their activities to their needs is what helps us see how amazing they are in their daily life.”

For Gabby and her parents this means working with the therapy team to find the right tools to set her up for success. The trio also has to carve out time daily to practice her exercises, like using her right hand to pick up small objects, all with the ultimate goal of helping Gabby thrive in her day-to-day life.

“We noticed a big confidence change in her once we started physiotherapy and she started building her strength,” says Robinson, Gabby’s father. “She has overcome challenges within the body she was born with, and she never lost her smile.”

Baby Gabby
One of the first goals that Gabby achieved in therapy was building her strength and learning how to sit up on her own.

“Gabby needs about 30 minutes a day of therapy,” says Hampton. “A lot of the progress she has made is because of the motivation and support of her parents. A big part of my job is teaching the parents - they are the ones that continue along with therapy and help them at home.”

And now the family, who live in Brockville, has something else to celebrate. Gabby's therapy journey started with appointments at KidsInclusive's Kingston location, combined with weekly home visits from staff, but now they don’t have to travel as far for her in-person sessions. In August 2023, KidsInclusive opened a brand new centre in Brockville to help serve families, like Gabby’s, in communities east of Kingston.

“Now that the Brockville clinic is here, the progression is even more amazing,” beams Robinson. “We are somewhat limited with the physio we can do at home and had to get creative, but here is a big beautiful space with lots of different equipment. Gabby gets excited to come here, she is even more positive about her therapy now.”

“We are a single income family with one vehicle,” adds Aubrey. “Being able to stay close to home allows Gabby to get the therapy she needs and deserves, but it doesn’t interfere with our family dynamic.”

Just like most two-year-olds, Gabby is a bundle of energy and loves playing with her toys, jumping on trampolines (with help from dad, of course) and is fascinated by stairs. She may have exceptional needs, which would surely cause any parent to worry, but thanks to the skills they’re learning at KidsInclusive and the work they’re putting in, Gabby’s parents are incredibly optimistic about her future.

“It feels like I don’t have to worry about her,” explains Robinson. “All the fears and foolish things that the mind comes up with about what her future might be like goes away because she works hard to overcome every single challenge she faces.”

“KidsInclusive helped us realize that we had to allow Gabby to be Gabby, we have to follow her lead,” says Aubrey. “Once we figured that out, it’s been all smiles.”

And it makes our teams smile, knowing KidsInclusive is the place that helped make it happen.