Teachwell Staff Supported Mariah From Infancy
Mariah Matthies was born with Down syndrome and began receiving developmental services through the Birth to Three program in the Brandon Valley School District when she was just two months old.
Today, Mariah is a student at Brandon Valley High School and no longer needs PT or OT services, thanks to a lot of hard work and her determined nature.
“I met Mariah as an infant. I remember the first time she climbed on her back yard playset,” recalls Lorelei Thompson, a physical therapist employed by Teachwell Solutions. “Her family was very involved and we made great progress. In kindergarten, she was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). She had a lot of bone pain and she quit walking. We had to start all over. She has overcome so much and is just an amazing person.”
Mariah’s mom, Teresa, credits her daughter’s therapists for their part in her many successes.
“They gave us consistency and the ability to work with the same people every time. They knew what motivated Mariah and how to challenge her,” said Teresa. “They have been a wonderful resource. When you work with people this closely, you develop a relationship. They were in our house, they were in our lives. They are still like family to us, and we know this has never been just a job to them.”
Some of Mariah’s many talents include swim, dance, piano, chorus and jumping rope.
“After recovering from leukemia, Mariah wanted to jump rope like all her friends at school. She practiced constantly for over a year and her therapists really helped. Today she can jump forwards, backwards, criss-cross and backwards criss-cross—you name it. She’s pretty impressive,” says Teresa.
“In terms of physical ability, Mariah is amazingly strong,” says Diane Mork, a Teachwell Solutions therapist who worked closely with Mariah through elementary school. “She has solid gross motor skills and can do pretty much anything she sets her mind to doing. Her parents are very involved and this has really benefitted her.”
The goal for Mariah has always been to give her the skills to do things on her own and live independently as an adult.
“In the beginning due to Mariah’s low muscle tone, I would not have known how to teach her things like rolling over, sitting up and walking without her therapists. Those goals seem so far away now…and we’ve tackled so many others since…Brad and I just can’t thank all the people at Teachwell Solutions enough for the positive impact they’ve had in our lives,” said Teresa.
Teresa, Mariah's Mom