Passionate professionals help children SKIP at Jefferson City’s Special Learning Center.
With a look of fearless determination on her face, Abby put one foot in front of the other and began to walk. At 4 years old, walking was an accomplishment her parents weren’t sure would ever happen. It was like a miracle, but the Special Learning Center is in the business of making miracles happen.
Abby, like many other children, receives services from the Special Learning Center’s SKIP Clinic. SKIP — an acronym for super kids, infinite possibilities — provides physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapy to children between the ages of birth to 12 years old.
The clinic began on a small scale by providing medical-based physical therapy services to a handful of children. With a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health in 2017, the clinic purchased equipment and established a caregiver outreach program to help ensure children continued their progress while completing at-home therapy. Over time, the clinic expanded by incorporating occupational therapy services and recently added feeding and speech therapy.
Both outpatient and intensive therapy models of treatment are offered at theSKIP Clinic. Outpatient therapy is an episodic model of care in which a child is typically seen once or twice per week for an hour to work on a specific goal. For example, a child may focus on developing core strength to participate in PE at school. Intensive therapy focuses more on skill mastery with sessions lasting 2-3 hours per day, 3-4 days per week, over the course of 4-8 weeks. Intensive therapy gives children an opportunity to master skills through repetition, plus it allows therapists to take time to trial techniques and equipment, such as various walking devices or orthotics that work best for the child. For Abby, multiple intensive therapy sessions over the course of several years gave her the ability to walk.
At the Special Learning Center, the therapy department is led by Therapy Director and Occupational Therapist Jennifer Wright, while the SLC’s SKIP Clinic is led by Clinic Director and Physical Therapist Lisa Borgmeyer. The clinic team also includes Terri Brune, who serves as the occupational therapist; Abbey Twehous, physical therapist; and Dora Doss, speech language pathologist. In addition to the clinic-based therapists, Special Learning Center has more than 20 therapists on staff who provide educational-based therapy to school districts throughout Central Missouri. Collectively, the entire Special Learning Center therapy team serves hundreds of children each year.
As the need for specialized pediatric therapy continues to grow, the SKIP Clinic is excited to have the opportunity to expand its footprint. In 2023, the Special LearningCenter will begin planning for a new facility that will provide much-needed space to grow the clinic as well as the entire SLC program.
Today, you can find Abby laughing, playing, and walking the halls of her elementary school. Miracles like Abby learning to walk are a combination of hard work, determination, teamwork amongst the entire SLC staff , and family involvement, all mixed with faith and a belief that anything is possible.
To learn more about the Special Learning Center and how you can help them change the lives of children, visit www.speciallearningcenter.com.