Making a splash!
From Spotlight on Health May/June 2008
Care goes swimmingly for young patients with early
intervention by St. Cloud pediatric physical therapy team
At age 7, Kaya Inkster has been subjected to
scores of medical tests.
To look at her, you’d have no idea the number
of health issues she has struggled with. Her
parents, Brianna and John Inkster of
St. Cloud, credit for how far Kaya has come
much to the early intervention by the
St. Cloud Hospital pediatric physical therapy
(PT) team, which started treating Kaya’s
torticollis (a weak or crooked neck) when she
was 6 months old.
“Starting PT so early has been Kaya’s saving
grace,” Brianna said.
Kaya and her twin sister, Ellie, were born
prematurely at 33 weeks gestation at St. Cloud
Hospital. After the twins were discharged, the
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit follow-up clinic
monitored the girls through age four and
addressed concerns as they arose.
“We started noticing
differences between them.
Ellie started flopping
around like a fish and
eating solids, Kaya
was sleepier making
Kaya’s parents also
noticed she wasn’t
using her right side, so
she began occupational
therapy at 9 months.
Kaya was one of the first
patients to undergo
constraint-induced therapy, which
forced her to use her right hand by
confining her left hand in a mitten.
She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at
age 1. Dystonia, a rare neuro-muscular
disorder similar to Parkinson’s, was diagnosed
at age 3. As a result, speech and eating became
difficult. Because she is unable to digest food,
Kaya had a jejunum tube placed into her small
intestine to provide nutrients. Kaya also is
immune deficient requiring Immunoglobulin
therapy every 21 days via infusion in the
Pediatric Short-Stay Unit at CentraCare
Health Plaza. As a result of all the different
procedures, Kaya suffers from anxiety and
With the recent expansion of the pediatric
rehabilitation clinic and pediatric behavioral
health clinic at CentraCare Health Plaza, the
Inksters are able to get all of Kaya’s care under
“We can spend anywhere from 10 to 15 hours
a week at the Plaza,” Brianna said. “She sees
physical, speech and occupational therapists, a
dietitian, a child-life specialist, an allergist,
behavioral health professionals, as well as her
The Inksters like the privacy of the expanded
space and quiet environment. The new
viewing rooms allow them to observe Kaya
without distracting her. But their favorite
addition is the heated therapy pool. “The pool
is suited to her condition and provides
resistance and strengthening with less strain
on her body,” Brianna said.
“Kaya’s care is complex. The communication
here has been wonderful. With this being our ‘medical home,’ Kaya’s care plan is accessible
to all of her providers,” Brianna said. “Kaya looks good for a reason. We have a
Learn more about Pediatric Physical Therapy and Pediatric Rehabilitation.