By Cassidy Whitson
“Olivia Pitts is so beautiful!” she says to herself in the mirror.
When her teachers describe the 3-year-old, they say she is always singing, excited and happy. Sophia Gianfrancisco works at Kidworks, Olivia’s preschool, and says Olivia likes to speak in the third person.
“She looks like she’s off balance sometimes, and she’ll fall over but get up and say ‘I’m okay, Miss Sophie! Olivia Pitts is okay!’” Gianfrancisco said.
Olivia has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination. Her mother searched for ways to give Olivia more independence as she grows. She found a solution in a service dog.
Dr. Lisa Finnegan, director of Curriculum & Instruction for United Cerebral Palsy Central Florida, said cerebral palsy affects everyone differently.
“Some individuals are faced with difficulty controlling motor function where as others may not be able to walk or feed themselves,” she said in an email.
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