Meet 2-year-old Grandview Kid, Matteo! He is a smiley kid who loves animals (especially elephants), reading books and singing –– in particular, his favourite, Wheels on the Bus.
Matteo has Spina Bifida (L5-S5), and when his mother Michelle was 24 weeks pregnant, she underwent fetal surgery to repair the lesion at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. This was the ninth surgery of this kind to take place in Canada. Thanks to this surgery Matteo is thriving, but he does have some challenges with mobility. He still primarily crawls to get around, his parents Michelle and Victor detail, but he also has a walker to use for when he feels like it.
Matteo’s journey at Grandview started when he was a year old, with Grandview Physiotherapist Kate, where he began his physiotherapy treatment. His mother Michelle states, “he was developmentally behind in gross motor [skills,] which is to be expected in a child with Spina Bifida. The first thing she worked on was teaching him how to transition from sitting to lying down (and vice versa). Once he figured this out, his whole world changed! The small act of independence was a game-changer.”
Matteo is described as a cautious kid by nature by his parents, but that has not stopped him from pushing his boundaries and achieving massive goals by any means. In February, at 21 months old, he took his first independent steps with Kate! His parents did not think that he was ready for it at the time.
His parents describe the moment as very emotional, describing that at the time of his diagnosis they assumed that their baby would not ever be able to walk, “that was what we thought Spina Bifida meant. But with the help of Kate and Grandview, and other support organizations like Spina Bifida Families of Canada, we have learned so much more about Spina Bifida and that Matteo’s future is one of endless possibilities.”
Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic hitting pause on in-facility meetings, it has certainly not rested Matteo’s progress. He still gets excited to see and play with Kate through their Zoom appointments and learn something new. “I think he really likes showing off for her…his face lit up when he saw her and I had to stop him from grabbing the computer”, Michelle says.
His parents describe Grandview as “a place that helps kids who need some extra help reach their full potential in a supportive and inclusive environment.” Matteo is making tremendous strides in his progress and he is always learning and growing. Seeing his progress is inspiring.
What’s next? His parents say, “With Kate’s help, we are well on our way to reaching our goal of getting Matteo to walk independently – which has been a dream of ours since his diagnosis.” We cannot wait to continue following your story, Matteo!