The Therapy Place provides services for kids who can't get help elsewhere

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 at 4:23 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2016 at 4:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Therapy Place in Columbia is helping children with disabilities who may not have anywhere else to turn in the Midlands for the kind of care they need.

7-year-old Declan Alexander is just one of more than 160 children The Therapy Place serves. Declan has a rare condition called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, a genetic disorder that has taken his speech and requires him to use a wheelchair.  Declan mostly communicates and interacts with his eyes.

"Can you pop a couple more?" Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!" said Declan's therapist as he popped virtual balloons just by looking at the screen on his special eye gaze device.

Once just a normal kid, the non-curable disease caused Declan to regress developmentally. When public school was no longer an option, Declan's parents sought an alternative which led them to the Bridges Program at The Therapy Place. He had been receiving speech therapy at The Therapy Place early in his diagnosis.

"Our main focus when we found out about Declan's condition, we were determined to keep him out in the world as much as possible. They take him as he is. They take care of him. They are trained to take care of him and it gives me peace of mind," said Declan's mother, Shannon.
In the Bridges program at TTP, Declan engages in social activities with other children in similar but unique situations. It's a different kind of day care.

"While they're here they do get their therapy. Most of the kids in these programs get speech, OT, and PT every single week. We like to refer to it as a therapeutic preschool type environment," said Bridges Program Director and Therapist Liz Pierce.

The goal of the program is to work on independence so the children can one day function in a more traditional school setting but Declan's parents know he is there to stay.

"In our journey, it's really all about him enjoying himself," said Declan's mother. "This is just a huge blessing for him and our family because I know that he's happy here and that means a lot to me."

Declan has made a big impact on his friends at TTP and the staff.

"He's constantly on my mind and I know he's one of those children that I'm always going to have in my mind. He's going to stick with me for a very long time," said Pierce.

If you want to learn about The Therapy Place or would like to somehow get involved now is a good time. TTP's big annual fundraiser Therapalooza is this Thursday at 701 Whaley Street in Columbia. It will be a catered event with several activities, performances, and presentations.

The goal is to raise money for scholarships for children and building improvement at TTP's facility on Covenant Drive. For more information click here.

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