Corey K Corey K. Loves Making Everyone Smile

For families who are coming to CSH for the first time, I want you to know you’re in the best place. The staff is phenomenal and they really care, not only about the kids but about the families, too.

Corey Katz first came to Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH) in 2007 at 11 months old for an evaluation as he hadn’t been hitting many of his milestones. “Corey was born 4 weeks early,” shares Lisa Katz, Corey’s mom. “He was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for two weeks after he was born, and then wasn’t eating. He had to use an NG Tube for feeding and after we were home, we noticed that he wasn’t developing on target with his peers.”

Corey as a babyWhen Corey originally came to CSH for an evaluation, it was recommended that he begin occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy eventually followed. With the help of physical therapy, Corey began walking with the assistance of a walker after the age of three. “He never actually crawled,” shares Lisa. “He would just scoot around and then jumped right to walking. He was very stubborn but he started walking in his sessions with the help of a walker.”

Physical, occupational and speech therapies helped Corey with his development and beginning school. “I don’t know where I would be without early intervention services,” says Lisa.

As a child, Corey was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), which is a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow along the nerves. Lisa shared that she also has a diagnosis of NF1, so she wasn’t surprised to learn of Corey’s diagnosis.

Some signs and symptoms of NF1 include learning disabilities and bone deformities. Over the years, Corey was eventually diagnosed with autism and in July of 2021, he underwent surgery for rotated tibias.

Corey at homeReturning to CSH

After undergoing surgery, Corey, now 15 years old, returned to Children’s Specialized Hospital, this time for inpatient rehabilitation.

“It was great coming back to CSH after Corey’s surgery,” shares Lisa. “He remembered so many people from when he first came for therapy services and now everyone knows him here…he’s like the mayor!”

While inpatient, Corey received a number of services including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and recreational therapy.

“Corey did great in occupational therapy,” shares Jocelyn Dulanie, Corey’s occupational therapist. “We focused a lot on his activities of daily living (ADL’s) and daily routines following his surgery, but we also noticed that his quality of self-care needed some work, which was expected given his age and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We initiated a toileting schedule to get him back on track, and did initial training with bathing. Both mom and dad were always present and engaged in supporting Corey.”

Corey with DadCorey continued making progress while in inpatient rehabilitation. “After surgery he was wearing medical cam walking boots, and ankle foot orthotic (AFO) braces. I didn’t think he would be walking with the walker so fast, but he did and it’s wonderful,” shares Lisa.

Outside of his therapy sessions, Corey has made the most of his time at the hospital. Lisa shares that he really enjoys spending time in the recreation room enjoying the different activities put on by the Child Life and Recreational Therapy teams, and he has made many new friends. “Corey has a great imagination and enjoys making others happy. He is super friendly and is always smiling - he will talk to anyone!”

“Corey and his family were always a pleasure to work with, and encouraging to all of the other families in the building,” adds Jocelyn.

Corey with MomHomeward Bound

Corey was discharged at the end of August and will be receiving outpatient physical therapy as he continues to heal and rehabilitate from his surgery at home. He was also referred for outpatient occupational therapy to help him continue working on his ADL’s and lifestyle skills.

“When Corey came in after his surgery, he needed assistance for all of his basic care activities,” shares Jocelyn. “By the time of discharge, he only needed close supervision and verbal cues! He was so motivated and happy to participate in any activities.”

When asked about her hope for Corey’s future, Lisa shares, “Corey’s overcome so much and I remember every one of his ‘firsts’. He’s always willing to try and has gained so much confidence through the help of his therapists. When he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, he was able to recite every single word. It was incredible! To me, he is a miracle and I just want him to never give up.”

She went on to add, “For families who are coming to CSH for the first time, I want you to know you’re in the best place. The staff is phenomenal and they really care, not only about the kids but about the families, too. It doesn’t matter your religion, race, where you’re from, everyone is family here. They even provided kosher meals for our family while we stayed with Corey. The whole experience with CSH over the years has been incredible.”