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'Our Lifeline': Mother Of Girl With Down Syndrome Uses Video Sessions To Connect With Daughter's Physical Therapist

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Shannon Striner finds herself teaching and caring for her 3-year-old daughter Sienna at home now that the coronavirus has shut down her school. Sienna has Down syndrome.

Four times a week, Sienna goes to the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh for her various sessions, like speech, occupational and physical therapies. But with the institute being closed due to COVID-19, all of that came to a halt -- a scary situation for Sienna's mother.

"Their routine is extremely important to them," Shannon says.

Seven weeks ago, The Children's Institute began using an online service called Telehealth. It's similar to Zoom and Sienna got to see once again the physical therapist she has known all of her life.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"Her face lit up for the first physical therapy session, as soon as she saw Amy on the other side she was so excited," her mother says.

Brooke Racicot is the senior director for rehabilitation services at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh.

"We are servicing over 65 percent of the patients that we were servicing prior to the closure," says Racicot. "This month we will deliver over 1,800 visits and that's touching about 475 different unique patients."

Unique patients like little Sienna.

"The Children's Institute has done so much for us," her mother said. "I had a feeling that they might be our lifeline and they have been… They really have."

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