October 2017: With the Odds Against Her, Morgan Danced

tags: Infant Neurodevelopment Center

Dr. Lana Warren: I am Dr. Lana Warren from Kennedy Krieger Institute. Today I am joined by Dr. Mary Leppert, a physician form our neonatal follow up clinic.

Dr. Mary Leppert: Thank you, Lana. I am happy to be here and tell you about my friend Morgan, who is a one and a half pound little peanut who’s been six weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was born very prematurely and came to the NICU follow-up clinic where I met her mom for the first time. In about four or five months of life and her mom set the tone right away for how the appointments were going to go in the future. Morgan’s mom told me that Morgan had been through a lot and that she was well aware of the fact that Morgan was at risk for developmental problems as she grew up and that my job was to be honest and direct about my assessments with Morgan so that her mom could get her the services she need and optimize her outcome.

A photo of Morgan, a former patient at the Infant Neurodevelopmental Center

By a year, we made the diagnosis for cerebral palsy for Morgan and referred her for physical therapy. She’s been through quite a number of therapies and surgeries over the years. But is otherwise done very well, well enough that at 5 I discharged her from NICU clinic with the directions to mom that she may have problems in academics and attention later in life. Sure enough, five years later, mom remembered what I said and gave me a call back saying “we’re struggling a little bit in school, can we come back in?”. I made some recommendations for accommodations in school and Morgan’s done beautifully. She’s an honor student in the 8th grade and on the Student Government at her school doing very well academically.

But what really really inspired me about Morgan, is here’s this little girl with cerebral palsy, a 26 week pre-me, who took up dancing and is now dancing in national competitions and winning awards. She just amazes me.

Dr. Lana Warren: Inspiring moments is produced for WYPR by Kennedy Krieger Institute. I am Dr. Lana Warren.