Twins Kevin and Rachel Cogil have been coming to Timber Creek for more than seven years. Kevin was the first to begin treatment there, after an autism diagnosis at the age of three.
“He had learned 10 to 12 words before he began to regress,” says Roxanne Cogil. She and her husband Craig are raising their four children south of Jamaica. “Kevin became completely non-verbal so the only way he could communicate was through behaviors.”
Because he was non-verbal by the time he came to Timber Creek, therapists there worked with him using pictures and sign language. Once Kevin learned to associate meaning with language, his behaviors began to decrease.
As therapy continued, Kevin began to speak again. “It took a while for him to get going, but once his words started to come, he made amazing progress,” Roxanne says.
Just a couple of months after Kevin began treatment at Timber Creek Therapies, Rachel also began speech therapy sessions there. Her speech was delayed but for her, the problem was seizures that began when she was two-and-a-half years old.
“The seizures would wipe her out for hours, and caused short-term memory loss. She was on four different medications, which put her in a fog much of the time,” says Roxanne. “An MRI showed she had abnormal white matter lesions throughout the right half of her brain. Doctors believed she had Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, a rare, progressive brain disease that usually affects only one hemisphere of the brain.”
There is no cure, but with this diagnosis, the best chance for quality of life is removing half of the brain. In March 2009, after fighting the seizures for three years, the right side of Rachel’s brain was removed during surgery at the UCLA Medical Center. She spent two months there, followed by another two months of inpatient rehabilitation at ChildServe in Johnston.
The left side of Rachel’s brain took over the commands that were previously from the right side. She lost all motor skills on the left side of her body and had to re-learn everything. She has since regained most skills, except she lost some use of her left hand and arm permanently and her peripheral vision to the left out of both eyes.
Rachel hasn’t had a seizure since the surgery. Once she was able to come home, she returned to Timber Creek for both physical and speech therapy. “The hydrotherapy pool did wonders helping her regain movement,” Roxanne says.
“The help Kevin and Rachel have received at Timber Creek Therapies has been excellent,” Roxanne says. “They continue to make gains.”