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Little Gemma finds strength to battle hypotonia, ‘courage’ to try new things


Gemma was 1 year old when she started outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital for hypotonia, a condition that weakens the muscles, making it difficult to sit, stand or walk. As part of her therapy, pediatric physical therapist Kate Rustem has used Kinesio Taping to facilitate core muscle stability.

Gemma Outpatient Pediatric Therapy“We use it to tape her abdominal muscles, which really support her to have a more stable core and that in turn allow her to develop some more mobility skills, be more stable in a hands-and-knees position or in a standing position to allow her to start to develop some of those crawling and walking skills appropriate for her age,” Kate said.

Her mother, Heather, says she appreciates how therapy has given her now-14-month-old daughter the “courage” to try new things.

“Just the joy on her face, as a parent, makes me really appreciate the work that we’ve done at Mary Free Bed,” Heather said. “Every time she takes a couple steps or starts to crawl on her own – of course, I’m glad that she’s doing those things, but what really makes a difference is the courage that she’s found to do them.”

In the video posted above, Heather discusses the positive impact Mary Free Bed has made and shares how another young patient was instrumental in motivating Gemma.

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