Geni's Story

Twelve years ago, Geni began a lifelong partnership with the experts at Ability KC. At 5 years old she was bit by a tick which rapidly and unexpectedly became septic and led to encephalitis, an inflammation in her brain. As a typically developing child, Geni had to relearn all of the skills she had developed at that point in her life. Geni and her family spent five days a week for two months in Ability KC’s programs receiving physical, occupational, and speech therapies focused on regaining the skills to walk, talk and eat.

After graduating from Ability KC’s Pediatric Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation program, she continued to return to services each year for outpatient therapies and specialized summer programming to target areas of her development that challenged her the most. Due to the nature and location of the encephalitis, Geni experiences weakness along the entire right side of her body that has changed the way she uses her hands, arms, and legs for everyday activities.

To combat the weakness and limited right side use that became apparent the more Geni aged, her mother quickly started her in Ability KC’s Intensive Constraint Summer program. “The constraint had so many benefits beyond increasing her hand and arm function. She became more mature, her vocabulary grew, and started to be able to use her right and left sides together not just one at a time like she had been. She was able to achieve all this because she was using the part of her brain that was injured that she didn’t always use,” said Geni’s mom, Tricia.

During the school year, Geni receives speech therapy at her school district and continues to visit Ability KC for intensive therapies. The collaboration between our teams and the therapists at her school ensures that she is supported to be successful in every setting. Geni is a junior in high school now and has her next goal set on starting her own dog-walking company. As she prepares for adulthood she and her family have once again turned to Ability KC to help her build the skills for the next chapter in her life. In Ability KC’s Life Skills program, she has learned how to manage her medications, count pills for each day designating AM or PM, and has grown her confidence with meal prep. “She used to be scared to use the oven or stove that she might burn herself but now she is independently able to do everything from cutting food to cooking it,” said Tricia.

Over the past 12 years, our therapy teams have become like close family to Geni and her mom. At Ability KC Geni has grown from a young child to a young adult, she has experienced frustrations and celebrations and she has always kept moving forward. Geni’s success is highlighted in the friendships she makes each summer at Ability KC, the new skills she is able to apply at home with her family, and the confidence she gained to tackle any challenge that lies ahead of her.

A Better Tomorrow Starts Here

Please feel free to reach out to our team regarding any questions or comments you may have.

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