Posted 3/07/17 (Tue)
This is the conclusion of a three-part series.
By Sydney Glasoe Caraballo
She blows bubbles underwater. Her loose ponytail of wispy, long brown hair floats in front of her wide-open blue eyes as she surfaces with a gurgly giggle. She swipes bangs off her forehead and grins.
“Uno. Dos. Tres. Cuatro,” says the woman. “Cuatro jumps.”
She dunks under – her bottom touching bottom. Her feet flat and pressing down on the pool floor, knees bent, she then pops up. One, two, three, four times.
The girl clearly understands the request given in Spanish as she bounds up one final time and remains above water after the fourth jump.
“Good job, Aubrey!” says the woman.
The girl swims into her arms and hugs her.
Aubrey Nygaard, who is 7 years old and a second-grader at Divide County Elementary School, exercises under the direction of her physical therapist, Nicki Loucks, in the indoor therapy pool at St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Aubrey, who showcases mermaid skills and can remain underwater for nearly a full minute, meets with Loucks twice a week for a half-hour swim session. Loucks works with her on coordination, strength and stability. Aubrey has a genetic deletion that places her on the autism spectrum and also impacts her muscle tone, balance and overall strength.