At just 17 months old, Ella may not realize how much joy and positive energy she emits daily. However, the smiles on the faces of those around her give it away. Ella was diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome and a rare heart defect. In October 2015, Ella underwent open heart surgery to correct her defect. After surgery, her parents worked tirelessly to help her through her recovery. Less than a month later, a clot became lodged in an artery causing Ella to have a stroke affecting her right side.
The stroke left Ella unable to sit up, roll over, crawl, or make sounds. After a referral from The University of Kansas Medical Center, Ella started the pediatric medical rehabilitation program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) for physical, occupational and speech therapies.
Ella’s parents felt isolated especially with others that did not understand Ella’s special needs. “From the first day at RIKC we were welcomed as a family and have since formed a bond with Ella’s therapists and other staff. They always provide positive feedback and reinforce our belief in her”, said Danielle Hall. Ella can now feed herself, sit up with assistance, and mimics sounds.