Domani Scott didn’t have an easy start to life. Diagnosed with cancer when he was just 1, he’s had a bone marrow transplant and more than his share of long-term hospitalizations.
“I was devastated,” said Lucinda, Domani’s great-grandmother and caregiver. “I didn’t know if he would overcome it.”
He had been typically developing until then, but when he came to MCFI’s Pediatric Skilled Nursing Program two years later, his language skills were delayed, his speech muscles were weak, and one side of his body had partial paralysis.
Domani also had lost the ability to eat and needed a Naso-gastric tube – a tube inserted through the nostril that extends to the stomach for feeding. His immune system was suppressed; he couldn’t leave his crib, and staff brought him sanitized toys so he could enjoy circle, or group, time with the other children.
“He used to try to so very hard just to roll over in his bed and watch his peers though his crib rails,” said MCFI Speech Pathologist Jennifer Eggert. “We would move his entire bed closer so he could still participate, but yet be safe from infection."
But Domani’s life would soon begin to improve. PSN staff immediately began physical therapy to strengthen his leg and trunk muscles, and occupational therapists taught him how to use his weakened hands and arms.
Fast forward to today. Domani, now 5, walks independently and speaks in sentences. He enjoys eating small amounts of food with his friends at MCFI’s School for Early Development and Achievement, and he fully participates in the academic curriculum.
"It is amazing today to see Domani running, participating in academics and having conversations with others,” said Jennifer. “He still faces challenges with balance and coordination, and his speech and language skills are similar to that of a younger child.
“But he can independently meet his wants and needs in a way that is developmentally appropriate, which is not only rewarding for him but also for those of us who work with and care for him.”
Lucinda, meanwhile, is grateful for the care Domani’s received at MCFI. “He’s been walking, talking. He’s had a lot of successes. He’s come a long way.”
(PSN is the only community-based skilled day nursing service in Milwaukee for children ages birth to 21 with special health care needs that is certified by Medicaid and accredited by the Joint Commission. PSN and SEDA are part of MCFI’s Children’s Center, early intervention programs for children with special needs and barriers to success to ensure they have a solid foundation for a lifetime of achievement.)