Toddler With Lissencephaly Feels “Free” in the Pool

Lissencephaly is a rare genetic mutation that gives the brain a smooth surface, as opposed to the bumpy one that most people have. Doctors diagnosed Noa, now 3, with lissencephaly after she started having seizures. She is the size of a 3-year old, but developmentally, her father David, says she is more like a 6 to 9 month old. We talked to David about Noa’s love for the Otteroo.

And I think the Otteroo has been a great product for us and for her, because when she’s in the pool with her Otteroo she’s totally free. She kicks, she splashes to her heart’s content. And she’s able to get around the pool, go where she wants to go by kicking.

Why does Noa like being in the Otteroo?

Because of this brain malformation, her body is perpetually constrained and she relies entirely on her caregivers to get around. She can roll and crawl a little bit, but to get from one place to another, she’s entirely relying on her caregivers. The one place where she’s sort of free is in a pool. And I think the Otteroo has been a great product for us and for her, because when she’s in the pool with her Otteroo she’s totally free. She kicks, she splashes to her heart’s content. And she’s able to get around the pool, go where she wants to go by kicking.

She floats around and it’s just been great for her, and it allows her two older siblings to play with her in the pool and interact together. It’s a totally different interaction where they could play with her in a pool and push her around.

It sounds like she loves the independence?

There’s always an adult in the pool with her, but her caregivers don’t need to be carrying her. There’s this weightlessness that a pool gives everyone. Not only does she love it, but everyone else does too. She floats around and it’s just been great for her, and it allows her two older siblings to play with her in the pool and interact together. It’s a totally different interaction where they could play with her in a pool and push her around. Whereas, they do that outside the pool too, but it’s just more freeing. And we live in the Northeast so we don’t actually do a lot of swimming half the year. But during the summer, we’ve really taken advantage of it.

How do you know she likes it?

If we bring the Otteroo out, she’s already connected that that is swimming, and she’s excited.

We can see why! Keep on kicking Noa.

Julie Forbes

Julie Kroenig Forbes graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She spent the next 10 years working as a news anchor and reporter in various cities, most recently in Nashville, Tennessee. After a few years in Northern California and New York, she now lives in Ohio with her husband and four kids.
Julie Forbes

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