September 11, 2011 in City

Against long odds, child survived


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The odds were stacked against him at birth.

Remi Williams was born prematurely and weighed only 1 pound, 10 ounces. Before he was 1 month old, he got spinal meningitis, pneumonia and a blood infection. The first four months of his life were spent in the hospital. At 4 months old, doctors learned he was deaf and diagnosed him with cerebral palsy.

Now, 11 years later, Remi is making huge strides, thanks to new technology and speech therapy, and hearing aids.

“It hasn’t been easy,” said Stacey Williams, Remi’s mother, “but we don’t see it as hard. We just see it as this is just life.”

They are still working on the everyday things most people take for granted, such as speaking and eating.

“He doesn’t know how to use his tongue to put the food over to his teeth and chew it,” Stacey said. “He just lets it sit in the middle until enough saliva takes over and swallows it.”

Remi is using a palatometer. It is a device with three components, including a mouthpiece that resembles an orthodontic retainer, an interface worn around the neck that connects to a computer and uses computer software that simulates the tongue, enabling patients to see where their tongue is hitting the palate in real time.

The palatometer allows Remi’s therapist to see what’s happening with Remi’s tongue as he speaks or eats and helps him to work on tongue control.

In just a few months, Remi has shown improvement.

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