Elizabeth Adams

Brother's Love, Dedicated Rehabilitation Team Help Child Move Forward After Brain Injury

Published: Jul 16, 2014

 

 

Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2014) — Like many big brothers, 6-year-old Ashaar Shaheen knows how to trigger a response from his younger brother Kheejee.

 

When Kheejee pouts or cries in frustration, Ashaar's words of reassurance calm him down. When Ashaar gives Kheejee pats on the head and kisses on the face, the 4-year-old's face breaks into a smile.  

 

More than his brother's keeper, Ashaar is his brother's champion and partner in recovering from a severe brain injury. In April, when Kheejee took his first steps at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, Ashaar was holding his hand, urging him forward with encouragement. It was an emotional moment that Dr. Erika Erlandson and members of the Kheejee's rehabilitation team will never forget.

 

"We all had tears in our eyes and were in awe," Erlandson said. "There was excitement oozing out of the whole team."

 

Erlandson, assistant professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, said in Kheejee's case, involving Ashaar was one factor that contributed to his quick and unexpected progress after suffering from an anoxic brain injury. After three months of inpatient treatment, Kheejee has exceeded the recovery expectations of Erlandson, who leads interdisciplinary rehabilitation team. She attributes the success of Kheejee's case to a devoted team and a deeply involved family.  

 

"What's made this case so remarkable is that he broke all the rules," Erlandson said of Kheejee. "He didn't follow the natural progression of his diagnosis or what the medical literature suggested for recovery. He made a significant amount of progress in a short amount of time."

 

In January, Kheejee underwent a surgery to correct holes in his heart. A post-surgical complication stopped blood flow to his brain for several minutes, resulting in an anoxic brain injury. Kheejee came to Cardinal Hill for inpatient care unable to make purposeful movements, which included walking, talking, moving his head or following motion with his eyes.

 

"His recovery was very guarded when he first came in," Erlandson said. "Initially, I told his parents I thought a good goal for him would be to have some head control and for him to be able to track them around the room."

 

An interdisciplinary team worked with Kheejee for three hours daily for three months. Erlandson said because a child's brain is still in its developmental stages, its neuroplasticity allows it the chance to repair from injury. Kheejee engaged in exercises designed to stimulate both sides of his brain and help him control his movements. Ashaar, who was attending school during the daytime in the winter, attended therapy sessions in the evenings or on snow days. Their mother Atiya Shaheen said before Kheejee was interacting with most adults, he was responding to his brother.

 

"If he got a little bit agitated, my older son told him not to cry and to be brave - 'I am here for you,'" Atiya Shaheen said. "Even when he was not communicating with me, or not in a condition that he could understand me, he started with his brother. Being a mom, I am confident that my older son has really helped him."

 

At an early July check-up with Erlandson, Kheejee was laughing at his doctor's funny faces, calling for his mom, scanning the room with his eyes and kicking his feet out of his wheelchair footrests. He is now able to walk with the aid of a walker, hold up the trunk of his body, say single words and feed himself baby food. His mother said he expresses excitement when he smells her cooking food and cries "no" in opposition when it's bath time.

 

Erlandson, whose passion for rehabilitation medicine stems from having a family member with a disability, said Kheejee has given her hope for all her patients. She considers his case a powerful example of what can happen when a family believes in a child.   

 

"This is a reminder that recovery is possible - and that his support system at home is very remarkable."

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams; elizabethadams@uky.edu

kheejee_and_ashaar.jpgkheejee_and_dr._erlandson.jpg
November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Appalachian Forum with Dr. Fran Ansley
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Circle of Love Name Distribution
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
#UKEDTALKS: International Opportunities for Education Majors
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
Chili and Pie Cook-Off Supper
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
UK Rep Bands Concert
College of Agriculture, Food & Environment 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research
Amanda Rogers, "Black Flags, ISIS 'Swag' & Jihadi Rap: Marketing Militancy after the Arab Spring"
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
Education Abroad Open House
CatWatch Party
Appalachian Forum and Film Screening of "Up the Ridge"
Tue
19
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
International Games Day
Global Design with Phil Duncan
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
International Education Week Keynote Speaker: Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education at USAID
Tobacco-free Tailgate 5 Year Anniversary
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
MEAT.
Fri
22
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reset Page