Michele Henning’s Story *
Last February, my son was injured in a high school hockey practice. The hit that he received from one of his own teammates led to a lengthy rehabilitation and he finally returned to the ice in uniform just this week. As he walked out the door, with all of his goalie equipment, I was so thankful. I wanted you to know who I credit much of his rehabilitation to: Rachel Coleman, Speech Therapy department. Her cognition therapy was crucial to unlocking [my son]'s cognition again. Many parents tell me that the timing was just right and that the therapy was secondary to allowing [my son]'s brain to have enough time to heal. However, I witnessed firsthand very drastic changes to [my son] during his time with Rachel. The first thing we noticed was that [my son] was able to go from a one or two step command to a complete three step command within two weeks. Secondly, he went from not being able to remember anything he learned in three years of Spanish to finishing the class without missing one assignment. All of his tutors noticed how his concentration increased after he started therapy with Rachel, from only being able to sit for 45 minutes of tutoring to 2 hours of tutoring to then returning to half days of school and finally to returning to school full time. Initially, [my son] was so frustrated by some of the things that Rachel asked him to do (and with his homework assignments from her) but eventually he turned a corner and realized himself that his thought process was becoming more oriented. He didn't ever like his assignments from Rachel, but he did them without any grief because he knew she was right, it was helping him heal. Rena Wiseman, Occupational Therapy. Her initial assessment of [my son] revealed a very crucial detail. [My son] did not have his balance back at all. He was not conscious of his surroundings. He was susceptible to a fall if he were to be pushed backward in the school hallways or out in public. The other day he mentioned to me that last Feb and March, he had no emotion, he felt nothing. He admitted that he was afraid at that point that he would never feel anything again. Into our lives comes, Rena. She knew I was scared, she looked at me with such fierce determination and announced that [my son] would regain what was missing and then some. I believed in her and so did [my son]. She could have made his OT nonspecific to his age group, but that isn't Rena's style. She seems to care about each patient and she really related to the fact that she was treating a 14 year old teen and not an older gentleman. [My son] enjoyed his time with Rena, I mean he was not happy that he was in OT due to an injury but he was happy that her OT was helping him heal. In other words, if he had to be in OT then he is happy it was with her. She was in one word: amazing. The last day that she had [son] as a patient, she made him bring his backpack to the clinic and then she went through the building, simulating situations he would face in the hallways, cafeteria and on the bus. She asked him questions while he manipulated his surroundings, she did that every single visit. If Rachel was teaching [my son]'s brain to multitask, Rena was teaching his body to not fatigue from the brain's work. Together they were, I say it again, Amazing. That in itself would be enough to call the experience satisfying. But it goes further than that. From the initial phone call to make [my son]'s appointment for evaluation, all the way up to follow up phone calls after he was discharged and in between, last minute changes to the schedule due to unexpected changes in [my son]'s siblings schedules, Chris, at the front desk was a rock. I think he knew that [my son] and myself were just in shock the first week. I had spent the last four weeks watching my son sleep 16-18 hours a day. I was worried and I really thought that trying to manage two therapies would be a scheduling nightmare. Not with Chris. He made it all just simple. He always had a "hello" and a smile when we walked in and a "see you soon" and another smile when we walked out. That just does not happen everywhere. It is something so simple, so pleasant, that stays with you. We always walked out of CCX with a smile, well thanks to Rachel and Rena, [my son] regained that emotion and he started smiling again, too! I know there must be many people behind the scenes that went above and beyond to make a patients experience there so pleasant. I do not have the names for the people in the billing department but I did have to speak with Colleen Marigliano once about an appointment and again, I was expecting abrasive and sterile, but when I walked into her office she was welcoming and warm. And she knew who my son was and she wished us the best and was compassionate about the road the injury had taken us on. All in all, I cannot say enough about the Rehab Department at Chappaqua Crossings. I will never go anywhere else but there. I hope that you know how amazing they are all and that you pass on our genuine appreciation for all they did to help [my son] in such a pleasant and understanding way. You have not just an amazing rehab center, but you have amazing people that are patient focused and health oriented working there. You are very lucky to have such a brilliant staff.