Child meets therapist for first time in-person after virtual journey of recovery from malnourishment

Nick Iadonisi Image
Friday, January 19, 2024
Pa. child overcomes malnourishment with virtual therapy
Once being supported by a feeding tube, Ella Witrock now celebrates her life improvements with her therapist as they meet for the first time.

QUAKERTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The strength of a 13-year-old Quakertown girl has brought her to a place of recovery.

"Ella started to develop phobias around getting sick, so she became very malnourished and lost a lot of weight, and ended up going into a hospital with a feeding tube," said Ella's mother, Carolyn Witrock.

At this point, she started to receive entirely online therapy from Focused Approach.

Focused Approach was started in 2023 by Dena Kelly, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed professional counselor.

"I started Focused Approach out of the need of a lot of families that were struggling to access care for their children that had significant feeding issues," said Kelly.

"She would pick a food each week to try. We'd start off with a little tiny piece of it, and then as the week went on, the piece would get bigger and bigger," said Carolyn Witrock.

Part of their journey involved a progress tracker that led to her obtaining a special gift at the end.

Ella hoped for a doll, and she received it.

"After about two months of working with her she was able to remove that feeding tube, ever since then she's got a great variety of foods that she's currently eating," said Kelly.

Now, Ella Witrock has met Dena Kelly for the first time in-person after this life changing experience.

"When I was in the hospital, I was always tired. But then I got to enjoy eating food instead of being scared of it," said Ella Witrock.

"I'm just so grateful that I had that resource because this ending could have been very different if it weren't in Dena," said Carolyn Witrock.

Ella's smile shines as bright as her future as she is now in a much healthier state.

For more information on Focused Approach, check out their website.