'I Can We Can' makes therapy fun

March 1, 2012 10:05:51 AM PST
Therapy for children with disabilities has become fun and exciting. There is also inclusion therapy for children with and without disabilities.

"I Can We Can" combines traditional occupational therapy and gymnastics movements with a common goal of improving children's overall functions.

At one of "I Can We Can" locations, occupational therapist are working with children with and without disabilities from toddlers to 6 years old.

"I Can We Can" was started in 2010 by Kelly Donley.

"They can have fun and they can be in a more mainstream setting, which parents really enjoy, and then not only that, but it has a lot of equipment that we can use to enhance the therapy," Donley said. "We do one on one and we have small groups.

"Typically, a child who wants to do a small group setting will start off with one-on-one and after we evaluate the child and assess their level of functioning so we can find a compatible group for them.

"Everythng is tailor-made for the specific child as well as age range and developmental processes."

Staff at "I Can We Can" are occupational therapists. One of them is Jackie Olson.

She is also the mother of 6-year-old Haley, who has autism and seizure disorder.

"She has trouble with her speech, she has trouble with her coordination, she has trouble with movements, following directions, her vision is affected by the seizures and the autism, and so here, she's working on all those different areas while she's playing and it's very fun for her." Olson said.

Since she has been coming to "I Can We Can," Olson has seen improvements in her child.

"Haley is much more energetic," she said. "She used to have a lot of problems transitioning from one surface to another and she now can run and double-up in the gym, and before, she would get down on all four's crawl to the next level of surface and then get back up.

"Now she feels so much more confident and she' ready to try to stay with her peers and do the same thing her peers are doing. She's much more verbal."

In addition to gymnastics, "I Can We Can" offers aquatic and art therapy.

"I feel like when the kids come, they think they're going to gymnastics or swim class and it's more enjoyable for them that way and then I feel like the parents feel less of a burden on the child to continually go to therapy," Donley said.

For more information, visit www.icanwecan.org

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