When Faith Wildschuetz started her school career at Litzsinger School, she had no consistent way to communicate, struggled to sit up for more than a few minutes and did not tolerate shoes or her ankle braces. Now, however, she is able to communicate much more, vocalizing concerns, things she finds funny, approval, discomfort, need for a break, and verbally expressing she is “finished.” But don’t be confused and think “finished” means she’s quitting anything.
“Faith never quits,” said her physical therapy assistant, Heather Hawkins. “She is a wonderful motivator for her peers and staff and gives everything she has when working on a task.”
Faith is fifth-grader at Litzsinger and was born with a rare genetic diagnosis of SOX2 Anophthalmia Syndrome, which causes many physical disabilities, including decreased hearing, blindness, low muscle tone in her trunk, with higher tone in her extremities, and a movement disorder throughout her body. She often struggles to get her body to move the way she wants. But she’s not lacking in effort.
“Faith would walk through fire for her therapists,” according to her 1:1 nurse, Debra Trout.
One of Faith’s biggest breakthroughs came when Trout helped Faith decide/choose to smile for “yes” and frown for “no.” Once that revelation happened, a new line of communication was opened and great things began to happen.
“She could understand all we said, and she desperately wanted to communicate all that she knew and show us what all she could do,” said her physical therapist, Susan Long.
Long, Trout and Hawkins all state that Faith’s attitude, accomplishments and spirit have changed them, personally, by being a tremendous inspiration to them and everyone at Litzsinger.