Taking steps and smiling
Dolores, or Lolita as she prefers to be called, is a very smiley, seven-year-old girl. She has a lot of fun playing with balls, dolls, her older brother, her cousins, and her family’s chickens. Her mother, Cruz, adds that she also likes to help around the house, washing dishes.
Six days after she was born, Lolita was transferred to the Regional Hospital in Quetzaltenango for a Meningocele repair and subsequently, a peritoneal shunt to treat her hydrocephalus. Shortly thereafter, she arrived at ADISA.
When Lolita began her therapies, she was a very serious and shy girl, scared when strangers greeted her and crying often. At first, she only wanted to work with Andrea and always needed her mother by her side, helping her with all activities.
Therefore, during her first animal-assisted therapy sessions, Anelvi involved Argos little by little so that Lolita would be comfortable and build trust with Argos. Over time, Lolita began to allow people to get closer with her and work with her and she started to smile and engage more with her therapists, letting go of her mother.
Now, during therapy with Argos, she is working on her balance, crouching down on one side, holding objects, or stepping over obstacles in her pathway.
Oftentimes, Argos is in her pathway and Lolita must move from one side to the other. Argos typically performs the activity first, providing an example for Lolita. She loves watching Argos do the activity, and is always smiling.
Through these therapies, she has gained confidence in herself. Her mom is always there, observing her and congratulating her, but Lolita no longer needs her mother to participate in therapies.
Before, she did not like to stand up much, but now she can stand up for longer stints of time, combing Argos’ fur.
We have observed many advances with respect to socialization. Now Lolita maintains short conversations, she is no longer frightened by visitors, and loves to hug Argos. We practice mathematics, doing small sums and differences with Argos’ food before she feeds him.
Currently, in addition to animal-assisted therapy with Argos, Lolita receives physical therapy, inclusive education, and medical checkups with the neurologist every six months. She is also enrolled in first grade in a public school, near her house.
Her mom says,
I am very happy that Lolita can take small steps now. When she was four, she was crawling and now she can walk with the parallel walking bars.