Nine months ago, Tyler Randall of Cogan Station proudly took his first few steps on his own two feet. His mom and dad cried with joy as many parents do seeing their child walk for the first time.
However, most parents don't have to wait 11 years to see it.
Now 12, Tyler has Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation Type 1a (CDG Type 1a).
Tyler Randall, right, with physical therapist Denise Lorson.
According to his mom, Andi, Tyler initially was diagnosed with everything from cerebral palsy to Dandy Walker Syndrome as a baby and he began therapy services with Children's Development Center at the age of 11 months when he was seen at home through the Early Intervention Services.
He officially was diagnosed with CDG in May 2000 at the age 3.
According to WebMD, CDG Type 1a affects several different organ systems. Especially affected are the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (motor and sensory nerves outside the central nervous system), and the liver, in which many of the glycoproteins in the blood are made.
Most affected individuals exhibit severe delays in the acquisition of skills that require the coordination of mental and muscular activity; moderate to severe mental retardation; impaired coordination and balance due to underdevelopment of certain portions of the brain; impaired nerve transmission to the legs, resulting in progressive, severe muscle thinning and weakness; skeletal malformations; or visual and hearing impairment.
"At the age of 3, he began attending the preschool at Children's Development Center, which benefitted him greatly," Andi said. "He also had therapy services including physical therapy with Denise Lorson, occupational therapy with Elizabeth Dixon, and speech therapy with Joan Dice. Children's Development Center has been a great asset to our family - both Tyler and our daughter, Megan, who also has CDG."
Today, Tyler continues his physical and occupational therapies.
"Tyler's greatest challenge with therapy is being able to stay focused and keep on task to do what the therapists ask him to do," Andi said. "Tyler has made great gains thanks to the therapy services at Children's Development Center. He started as a little boy who couldn't sit, lie on his belly or even hold his head up. On Feb. 5 of this year, he took his first three steps independently - without the use of his walker. How proud he was of that accomplishment! As well as him being proud, it just so happened that his dad and I were able to witness it first-hand. We all cried, even everyone at therapy.
"Tyler is a regular boy with an uncommon condition. His favorite hobby is playing PlayStation. He is very interested in hunting and is hoping to get a chance to go hunting with his dad this year. He wants to be a police officer when he grows up. His loves hot dogs, sharp cheese and Mountain Dew. We are grateful that the services provided by Children's Development Center help Tyler enjoy these everyday things that 12-year-old boys do," Andi added.
Through its annual funds distribution process determined by community volunteers, United Way allocated $126,000 to the speech, occupational, and physical therapy programs at Children's Development Center.
"Lycoming County United Way is focused on five critical needs areas: nurturing our children, serving those with special needs, caring for people in crisis, supporting our seniors, and strengthening our families," said Kate Pacacha, director of resource development and communications for LCUW.
"We are pleased to provide funding to these therapy programs because without Children's Development Center, families like Tyler's would not have local access to the highly specialized instruction their children need."
For more information on Children's Development Center, call 326-0565 or visit www.cdctherapy.org. For more information on Lycoming County United Way or to support the campaign that funds programs like these, visit www.lcuw.org or call 323-9448.