Harley Grows with Physical Therapy and Neurosurgery 

Harley baby playing with ball

Harley Alvaro has been in and out of the hospital since he was only a month old. His smiling face and easy-going disposition light up each room he enters. And there are a few. Harley’s team brings together not one but three pediatric specialty programs to treat his conditions: physical therapy; orthopedics and neurosurgery.

It began when his mother, Deiyanira Alvaro, had complications during the last few weeks of her pregnancy. Usually, as a baby gets closer to the delivery date, he will move into the ideal delivery position — head down. But without a lot of wiggle room, Harley’s body didn’t flip into the proper position and he was born in the breech position, feet first. 

Trusting the St. Christopher’s Team

Deiyanira and her husband had known before Harley’s birth he would need to see an orthopedic specialist. They remained positive but learned soon after Harley’s birth that he had torticollis, or wry neck, and positional plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, which can result from wry neck. The Alvaro’s prepared themselves for weekly appointments at the hospital.

“Our family has felt overwhelmed at times because there are so many appointments for Harley,” says Deiyanira. In addition to caring for Harley, their four-year-old daughter, Riley Alvaro, keeps the parents busy. As parents, the Alvaro’s want only the best for their bundle of joy — to grow up happy and healthy. “We do worry about our son and his ability to develop properly.” But the Alvaro’s found a second family at St. Christopher's. “We trust our son’s team. They’re with us every step of the way.”

Harley Improves with Each Visit

“I had the pleasure of meeting the Alvaro family when Harley was one month old,” says Christina DiMichele, a physical therapist with St. Christopher's. “Watching him grow and meet his physical therapy goals is an absolute joy.” Harley’s exceptional parents and big sister have played a pivotal role in his progress. “His family dedicates their time to an extensive home therapy program and they don’t miss one physical therapy session at the hospital.” Because of the hard work and commitment, Harley is meeting his gross motor milestones and showing improvements in his neck flexibility and head shape,” says DiMichele.

Neurosurgery Team Monitors Harley’s Development

Harley visits the neurosurgery team for treatment for flat head syndrome. A small percentage of infants can develop a flat spot on their head due to pressure on that area. Harley’s brain development has also been closely followed during his first few months of life. The neurosurgery team monitors Harley to ensure he is progressing. 

Staying Close to Doctors and Therapists

Harley baby

The Alvaros enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle and want that for their kids too. Big sister Riley plays soccer and also participates in gymnastics. Describing their family as “sporty,” two of Deiyanira and her husband’s favorite activities include cheering on the Philadelphia Flyers and watching Sunday night football together. 

“We know that our son will be a happy and healthy child,” says Deiyanira. “We’re beyond grateful for all the individuals at St. Christopher's who work with us and our son. Harley turns one year old in a few short months. We hope to stay close with his doctors and therapists for years to come.”