Local program helps kids with cerebral palsy, motor disorders

By Jillian Capobianco - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A local program is giving some kids with special needs more than double the amount of therapy they would normally get in a week.

It's the first day of class for 6-year-old Cooper Darby and he's enjoying his exercise. "I like getting stronger," he said.

Cooper along with the other children here suffer from cerebral palsy or other motor disorders.

They come to the Therapy Place to learn more physical and social independence. Monday's class is part of a 5-week program.

"They're getting some education and they are getting therapy. They're getting stretching and strengthening exercises," said Dawn Darby, co-founder of the Therapy Place and Cooper's mom.

Darby had to quit her job and almost deplete her family's savings, because most innovative therapies are offered out of state.

"These kids deserve the same thing that kids in other cities have," said Dawn.

That's why Darby along with another Mother created the Therapy Place. That means moms like Tana Schuler no longer have to travel to Georgia for this kind of treatment.

"It's wonderful," said Tana. "It's wonderful."

The summer program gives children 3 hours of therapy a day, which is much more than the usual 3 hours a week covered by private insurance or Medicaid.

"It's going to help get them a lot further along in a shorter amount of time and catch them in a window when they're really young and need a lot of help," said Dawn.

It's help Cooper needs, so he'll be confident walking into his first grade class this fall.

The cost for children to attend the program is $2,000 and about half of the kids are on scholarships.

The therapy place is run completely off of donations and grants. If you would like to help out, go to www.thetherapyplace.org.

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