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Special therapy tools helping a child learn how to communicate

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tomato chair

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- The physical therapy doctors at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's are changing the life for one child, all with a chair and some buttons.

Aidan Eilers is learning how to communicate and use his muscles thanks to those tools.

Aidan has Schizencephaly, which gives him limited muscle use and makes him nonverbal.

"He likes to kick a lot, he loves kicking with his feet so in the tomato chair we have him sitting up and using the green button. I would lead up, ready set and a pause so he could tell me go by hitting the button and push off with his feet," said Skye Berger, a speech-language pathologist.

The tomato chair was provided by Children's Miracle Network, along with the switch buttons. Aidan's parents got a tomato chair to use at home as well.

"It is really helpful, he tries to talk more at home after using the button and it is easier to communicate with him. He's missing half of his brain so he doesn't have the motor function part of it so we have been having to hold him. We just got the tomato chair and he loves that. He will sit in that for an hour or two and eat in it," said Austin Eilers, Aidan's father.

And for Aidan, he is working his way up to a bigger toy.

"It's a way for him to communicate, hopefully kinda down the line the next step will be getting him an AAC device, augmented alternative communication, the purpose of the switch buttons is you plug it into this device and they get to use the buttons to talk," said Berger.

But today is just another play date.

Aidan does have an Augmented Alternative Communication device coming for him to start using soon.

2021's Children's Miracle Network Minithon

All this week you have the chance to make a difference in a child's life. KTIV is partnering with UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's and iHeartMedia to hold a Children's Miracle Network Minithon.

We are asking you to make a donation to help with the extraordinary work the Children's Miracle Network does in our community.

You can make a donation right now by calling (712) 279-3900. Donations can also be given online or through the mail, learn how here.

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Claire Bradshaw

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