Abby McCormick Piano

An Early Intervention Success Story


Meet Abby – A diagnosis of Spina Bifida did not stop Abby from getting the help she needed – starting with Early Intervention.

This diligent High School student, a singer, musician, and cheerleader with an amazing spirit was born with Spina Bifida. She received Early Intervention Therapy from teli to address childhood developmental delays that often occur in children born with this condition.


Abby was born with Spina Bifida, which literally means “split spine” in Latin. It is a congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the spinal cord in utero.  Depending on the location of the opening on the spine and the nerve damage, the symptoms vary. The treatment for the condition includes multiple surgeries at a very early age through early teens, in conjunction with intensive physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Melissa, Abby’s mother, faced a challenge they never dreamed of facing. Abby was struggling with movement and gross and fine motor skills as a result of her condition. Her parents saw childhood developmental delays that were very worrisome and searched for resources to address Abby’s hurdles, which drew them to teli.


Children born with Spina Bifida have varying levels and severity of spinal injury which restrict their movement as well as potentially affect other organ systems. The developmental delays that Abby had experienced were complicated by the multiple surgeries required to address her Spina Bifida, but her spirit and focus even at an early age was apparent.

At the age of three, Abby attended teli ‘s Ohio Valley Pre-School and  received occupational therapy and physical therapy from devoted teli early intervention therapists. At the same time, she was receiving an excellent academic foundation from the Center’s dedicated teaching professionals.  The teli therapists still remember Abby for her hard work and devotion to her therapy with a determination that was unparalleled.  Abby spent a total of 2 and one-half years with teli and was more than prepared for entry into Kindergarten at the age of five.


Abby is now a freshman in high school with a schedule that is not for the faint of heart.   She is maintaining excellent grades while participating in Pittsburgh Shining Stars Cheerleading, Girl Scouts, Miracle League Softball and trying out for the High School Musical. “Her passion is music”, says Melissa, Abby’s mother.  “She has been taking piano and voice for many years through a local music studio and recently started taking guitar lessons.  Through her guitar teacher, she is playing and performing as a lead singer at various venues including the Hard Rock Cafe next month.”

To say Abby makes the most of her day would be an understatement, as she also exercises regularly and completes a daily required medical treatment on her own, in the midst of all of her activities. She is literally a walking billboard for what you can accomplish with the right attitude and support.

” We are blessed to live where we live where there are so many resources like teli  for families. The Spina Bifida Association of Western PA helps families access a network of resources and serves as an advocate for you and your child. My recommendation to other parents of children with Spina Bifida is to take advantage of the opportunities to help your child achieve their goals”   Melissa, Abby’s Mo