Michael J. Workman was my son's first physical therapist. My son was born with Down Syndrome and when he was two, we realized that he was having difficulty learning how to walk. We were referred to Michael through my son's feeding therapist. At the time, my son wasn't able to stand up on his own and also lacked the motivation to do so. With these challenges, Michael provided me with a fresh perspective of hope and created a plan on how to get my son to begin his journey to successful walking.
During my son's therapy, Michael employed multiple strategies, including: positive reinforcements, sensory therapy, a harness to ensure proper alignment, the use of electrodes to enhance muscle awareness, information on where to obtain a therapeutic walker, specific detailed exercises with instruction on correct form assistance, varying walking surfaces and props, the best places to go for both indoor and outdoor exercises, and sound advice about enrolling my son in a scholastic program that would help him with his special needs. Then, when my son was almost three, Michael referred me to Shriner's Hospital for Children, where my son was assessed and treated with foot and leg braces to aid in appropriate alignment.
It's all been a great success. I remember the first day my son actually walked. It was during a therapy session with Michael. He walked about 10 feet, not just once, but repeatedly. The previous months of positive reinforcement and the persistent implementation of all Michael's strategies to get my son to walk had truly paid off. As a mother, it was one of the most fulfilling rewards of a lifetime and a day I'll never forget, and my son has been walking ever since.
Michael is professional, enthusiastic, informed, and is an especially innovative physical therapist. His positive attitude was contagious and my son found him truly endearing. I think that some people have a special gift for this kind of work, and Michael J. Workman is definitely one of them.
When we learned that our daughter Kate had Prader-Willi Syndrome, we started asking professionals before we even left the hospital about which physical therapist would be best for Kate. The PT at Primary Children's Hospital suggested Michael J. Workman. Kate was home from the hospital in only a few weeks, covered in tubes with monitors attached everywhere. Even though we had four other children and had plenty of experience with babies, we were afraid to move her; she seemed so fragile. Then, Michael rang the doorbell and everything seemed to change. He got Kate out of her bed and quickly had her performing the physical movements of any baby her age. He helped ease our fears! He adeptly taught us how to help Kate become the running, jumping, galloping, and giggling 3-year old she is today!
Many parents we spoke with over the next three years had commented about how fortunate we were to have Michael work with Kate. His knowledge base is so broad. He is willing to try new approaches to get the results he knows he can achieve. He expects parents to implement what he suggests and knows that such monitored and measured performance will accomplish the maximum benefit. The icing on the cake is Michael's fun-loving personality! He helped bring laughter and comfort to our home at a fragile time in our lives. Every time we pass a playground now, Kate squeals and asks, "Mike be there?"
Michael began working with our first child when he was less than three months old. Our son had been diagnosed with a stroke and brain aneurysm in utero. The effects of the stroke and the complications of apnea made therapy sessions difficult. Often, Michael had to modify an activity in order to ensure our son's safety. Our son enjoyed his therapy because Michael made it fun.
Physical therapy wasn't just a session-based event. We were always given instructions on how to incorporate his therapy into daily life with realistic goals. The education was vital to our son's success and made an uncontrollable situation controllable. The look on his neurologist's face when our son walked into his office at 19 months was astounding! He pulled out his notes and read "This child will not walk until the age of three." The next month he was running!
Thank you Michael for all of the extra work that you put into helping our children! We never could have achieved this level of success without your help, hard work, and dedication to improving their lives.
-Peter and Rachael Anjeweirden
Ethan started seeing a physical therapist when he was about 8 months old. By the time he was 16 months, his therapist felt like he was progressing well. He seemed to be very close to being able to walk. He was standing up to furniture and starting to cruise. Because of this, the therapist decided that Ethan didn’t need her help any longer. We assumed that she knew best and that if we continued to do what we were doing he would be walking within a few months. However, that did not happen. He got “stuck” in this phase of motor development and we didn’t know how to get him through it. We tried the things the therapist had done with him, but it wasn’t enough. Seven months later, Ethan had made little progress. When a friend referred us to see Michael J. Workman, we finally felt like we had found the person that Ethan needed. Michael empowered us by teaching us through play how to help Ethan. He challenged Ethan by working him just beyond the level that he could do on his own. We would meet at the park and he taught him how to climb and walk on uneven surfaces such as grass, dirt trails, gravel, and small hills. It was amazing how quickly Ethan progressed. Within a month Ethan was walking independently. After working with Michael I regretted that we didn’t find him sooner. I feel that Ethan would have been walking many months earlier. I was also very impressed that Michael didn’t stop working with Ethan once he had learned how to walk. He continued to push him and encourage him to do more. Ethan is now doing very well and I feel that his gross motor skills are one of his greatest strengths. He can run, dance, climb, kick, and play!
Another thing I came to appreciate quickly after meeting Michael was his attitude. He encouraged us not to feel overwhelmed by the physical challenges, but to find ways to solve our problems creatively. My husband and I caught the vision that Michael had and we were able to find an oxygen delivery system that was portable and small enough for Ethan to carry himself. We got a backpack for Ethan (then 2 years old and approximately 23 pounds) to carry his new oxygen tank. With Michael’s help we taught Ethan how to balance himself with the backpack holding the oxygen. We felt enabled to give Ethan a better life. Suddenly he was not tied down by a 12 pound tank or 50 feet of tubing dragging behind him. I highly recommend Michael J. Workman as an exceptional physical therapist. It is clear that he is very experienced, compassionate, dynamic, and loves the work that he does.
Beth D., mother of 3 year old Ethan who has Down syndrome
Years ago, Michael became my son Eric's primary physical therapist. As a special needs child, Eric could not stand or walk before the age of three. Michael patiently and diligently worked with Eric week after week over a five-year period. During those hundreds of difficult hours, Michael's humor, warmth, and understanding kept Eric "In the game" even on the most challenging days. Eric bonded with Michael in a way that still surprises me.
Eric now stands, runs, and even plays for "Coach Mike's" soccer team. More importantly, he has the confidence to play with even the most athletic kids in his class. Although they no longer work together professionally, the bond of which I speak is as strong as ever. Without any hesitancy, I would highly recommend Michael J. Workman as a truly professional and top-notch physical therapist who has the patience and skill to handle the most difficult cases.
Michael provided our little boy, Kaden, with wonderful physical therapy that reduced his muscle tone so he can move more freely, is more comfortable and, no doubt, has prevented additional physical issues. His muscles have strengthened, due to Michael's "workouts", and he is better able to control the movements of his body. Besides having magical hands, Michael has trained us how to perform certain therapies on Kaden between his visits, and this complements his efforts. We appreciate Michael's attitude towards wanting Kaden to achieve all that he can, and not setting any limits on him. We see many improvements and are grateful for all that Michael has done to help him!
On May 10, 1995 our son Hagan fell into a local creek during spring runoff and consequently suffered a severe anoxic brain injury. Shortly thereafter, we came to the realization that barring a major miracle, Hagan would always require total care. We were blessed with many caring medical professionals but none compared to Michael J. Workman from Professional Therapies. Michael taught us countless ways to help our son with his physical needs but more importantly he moved us with the way he genuinely loved our boy and us.
Hagan passed away on August 19, 2005. During those ten years and beyond I have worked with Michael and his team as a medical equipment sales representative. There is no individual I would give a stronger endorsement to than him.
-Eric and Kristen Johnson