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West Texas Rehab Center: Baby Arielle

TX (KSWO)- Now to an inspiring battle out of Texas. All this week we're bringing you the stories of patients and their families at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center in Abilene. Who, with the help of the staff, are making progress that once seemed impossible.

This is the story of a little girl named Arielle:

Arielle is an 18-month-old toddler crawling on her hands and knees.

"It's overwhelming at times."

But each step she makes is a step-in progress. 

"Where we started to where she is now is a complete 180."

Arielle was diagnosed with down syndrome after her parents found a heart murmur shortly after she was born. One month in, she did what any parent would be afraid of. She underwent open heart surgery in Dallas.

"It's scary as it sounded, of course you're thinking open heart surgery, it sounds scary, you're thinking your daughter, small child in general, they really reassured us and helped us through that."

But now it's more than a year later, and little Arielle is able to move more than she ever could.

"It's just, the milestones for her are a little different. but being able to see her reach those, and to pass those they've set for her, it's been a big deal for us..."

Her therapists at West Texas Rehab spend their days working with Arielle's strength and movements.  They look at her bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination and visual motor-type skills.

"She's probably the happiest little girl...we evaluated her, we looked at her hand strength, her hand coordination, being able to bring her hands together, being able to transfer items, bring items to her mouth and be able to engage with us as well. She's very independent so we like to engage on those skills."

But for now, while her movements are slowly progressing, Arielle continues to crawl, one hand, one knee at a time.

West Texas Rehab specializes in a number of treatments including physical therapy, prosthetics, speech and hearing therapy. For more on the work that goes on inside the Rehab center, make sure to tune in to 7News this Saturday for a special broadcast at 7:00 p.m.

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