EDITOR'S NOTE: "On Sunday, we will air "A Celebration of Hope," a telethon we do every year in support of Tupelo's Regional Rehab Center. It is one of the city's best known treatment centers for speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dyslexia and so much more. In this story, WTVA's Mike Russell profiles a four year-old boy, adopted from overseas, helped to walk by the Regional Rehab team.
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - In Tupelo, Regional Rehab is well known for being a home to clients with special needs. One of those is a little boy from South Korea, learning to move with a growing confidence. His name is Gibson Herndon.
"Reach, reach, reach. Good job!!"
That's the sound of encouragement -- Gibson's therapists cheering his progress in what feels like a game, but is, in reality, a physical move designed to stretch his little legs. Gibson's muscles get a little tight, so they work on range of motion, building his little body as they go along to give him a leg up on his future.
"He has improved with his strength and his endurance," says physical therapist Brandy Evans. "As far as balance, he is less likely to fall now than what he was."
That's the sound of determination - Gibson "catching" plastic frogs in a roll-around cart designed to build his upper-body strength.
Gibson is fun-loving little boy who just happens to have cerebral palsy. Adopted internationally a year and half ago, his parents wanted to jumpstart his treatment right away.
"When I saw the love that they put into their patients here," says Gibson's mom Megan, "there was just no question that this was exactly where we needed to be."
To augment his physical therapy, they also work on speech therapy, working out minor kinks in his young speech patterns, though it doesn't have anything to do with his intelligence. That's not an issue at all.
"Gibson is so smart. He is so, so smart," says Evans. "He just happens to have a little brace right now on his foot. And who knows? He may not have that in years to come."
"We're so thankful for the opportunity that Gibson is able to be served here at Regional Rehab," says Megan Herndon. "We're just so thankful."
It is poetic that Gibson is attending TCPS (Tupelo Christian Preparatory School) because they are the Eagles. Gibson's therapists at Regional Rehab are giving him new wings to fly.
FINAL NOTES: Gibson's mother is full-time teacher at TCPS - and his services at Regional Rehab are provided at no charge to his family. A reminder, you can watch "Celebration of Hope" this coming Sunday from 1 to 3pm on ABC WTVA. Or you can watch in person in the food court at the Mall at Barnes Crossing.