At 1½ years old, Torbyun, is a boy with a winning smile. We first met his parents when they visited our Developmental Center satellite in Hovd aimag, a province in western Mongolia. They came asking for help for Torbyun, but his needs were so complex that our Hovd satellite referred him directly to our Reaching the Light Developmental center in Ulaanbaatar. This is his story:
A year and a half ago, Torbyun’s twenty-one-year-old mother, Gantogoo, was in her second year of studies at Hovd University, preparing to be a Physical Education teacher. Torbyun’s father, Chylyyndorj, worked as a builder with a construction company to provide for his wife and their baby ‘on the way’. When Torbyun was born a month early, however, their lives changed forever. Only about 5½ pounds at birth, Torbyun had severe hypoxia, not even crying after birth. After two days, he went home, but three days later Torbyun’s jaundice was so severe he could neither suck nor breathe. He became unconscious and was treated with photo therapy for a week at the Neonatal Department. He returned home, but by five months old, Torbyun was still not holding his head up by himself or rolling. Gantogoo knew something was very wrong with her baby. The doctors in Hovd sent the family to the main children’s hospital in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar where he was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. After treating the baby with medicine and injections, the family was sent home to Hovd. But Toybyun was no better after the treatment!
What were they to do to help their child?
That is when they discovered our Developmental Center satellite in Hovd. There, the staff assessed Torbyun and realized that he needed to come to our main center to receive therapy. His unique challenge was that his muscles, in one moment would be extremely spastic and then a moment later, in another position, would become floppy.
When Torbyun was 15 months old, he was brought to our Ulaanbaatar center for the first time. Extremely tight, and with his back continually arched stiffly, Torbyun could not reach out for a toy. In fact, his hands could not come together. He also had no control of his head, wanting only to be constantly in his mother’s lap. He made a sad picture for one so young. Once at our center, Torbyun received three weeks of intensive therapy.
Today this little boy is learning to sit in a corner chair and the most impressive thing is that he is starting to roll to one side. His mother Gantogoo is an active part of his therapy. She is learning how to hold him, encourage him and do the therapeutic activities with him at home. Torbuyn’s father and mother also made the decision to move to Ulaanbaatar temporarily so that their son could continue this intensive treatment in our main center. In fact, Torbyun’s father and grandfather started to work in Ulaanbaatar so this year he will have several therapy sessions in our center. Torbyun’s family is very happy with his progress. Our carpenter made a special corner chair for him and he is enjoying sitting up for the first time at home. We are hopeful that Torbyun and his parents will see more improvement and that Torbyun develop new skills.