February 10, 2014

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Meet a Member!

It’s always exciting to watch a child grow and develop, but even more so when you know the challenges and obstacles he has had to overcome.

Meet Malik Cleveland, an 18-month-old little boy who loves Elmo, his big brother and playing horsey on his mom’s lap. Malik was born 14 weeks premature and is legally blind.

For the past year, Malik has received physical and occupational therapy services from Epic’s South Houston office.

Before receiving care from Epic, he had a hard time sitting and holding his head up. He wouldn’t respond when spoken to or coo around anyone other than his mom and dad. Also, he could not be held for more than 15 minutes before he would start crying.

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Malik with his dad, Leo.

But after a year of Epic physical and occupational therapy, Malik has made remarkable progress, including improving his fine motor skills and vocalizations.

“I am proud to say that he is making more vocalizations, smiles, coos and babbles when he is spoken to,” said Martha Merino, Malik’s occupational therapist. “He tolerates more than 30 minutes of therapy, has improved head control and is rolling from his stomach to his back more consistently.”

Now, when Malik lies on his side, he will push himself up and roll over. Plus, he is doing things he couldn’t do before, like reaching out for toys, being around other people and holding his head up for a long time.

Laquesha Francois and Leo Cleveland, Malik’s mom and dad, are overjoyed by the progress he’s made and the care he’s received from Epic.

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Malik at 8-months-old.

“I wouldn’t trade our therapy team for anything in the world.” said Laquesha. “This is my team, and as long as my child needs therapy, he will get it from Epic!”

On the weekend between therapy sessions, Malik’s parents practice what he’s learned in therapy with him. He sits up, looks straight ahead, rolls over and rolls back over. Leo also helps Malik with his ankle foot orthoses.

“He continues to make progress each and every week,” said Martha. “It is exciting to see what he will be doing next!”

We are all so excited for Malik, and we look forward to being a part of his continued progress!

Thank you so much to Malik’s family for sharing his story with us.