What is Therapy and Fun? Therapy and Fun is our summer therapy program, which meets three mornings a week for seven weeks from June to August. Our young clients receive speech language, motor and sensory therapy all surrounded by games, music, crafts and Fun. In addition to the many individual skills that were achieved this summer, the 2012 program also accomplished its primary goal: to build the capacity of children and their families.
The numbers add up to success: This year, the program opened with 25 children, 15 paid staff and 31 teen volunteers. Half of the children were low-income or very low-income, and the majority qualified for financial assistance. Thanks to significant contributions from the community, Therapy and Fun was able to aid these students. The children in the program had diagnoses including autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, Down syndrome, sensory disorders and several others.
This year, Therapy and Fun was able to achieve 75% of the children’s learning objectives in only 21 days of treatment. That 75% encapsulated hundreds of skills in four critical areas: speech-language, sensory processing, and fine and gross motor skills. Speech-language goals included learning to say “s” and “r” sounds as well as asking questions using “wh” words. Motor-sensory goals included fastening buttons and using scissors, crayons and pencils.
What do parents have to say? Parents were thrilled with their child’s desire to attend. “My son enjoyed getting up…” said one, “and he doesn’t do morning[s]!” According to another, “My son called it ‘camp-school.’” Parents rated Therapy and Fun 4.6 on a 5-point scale. The staff and volunteer therapy aides scored even higher with 4.81 out of five. The ratio of staff-to-children was exceptional at 3-to-5 and benefited from the additional support of volunteer aides. The parents also enjoyed the frequency of reports about their child.
In addition to working with the children, Therapy and Fun also empowers parents to advocate for their children. This year’s Therapy and Fun included no less than six workshops for parents lead by experts in their fields. Topics included, Understanding Your Child’s Individual Education Plan for Special Education, Fun Sensory Crafts, Encouraging Literacy and Language Development at Home, Childhood Nutrition, Connecting to Community Resources, and Financial Planning for Your Child’s Future.
Our teen volunteer program is unique and powerful: Parents aren’t the only ones pleased with Therapy and Fun. One donor expressed praise for the large number of volunteers. Another donor commented, “I can see what a great learning experience this is for teen therapy aids.” Teen volunteers received more than 40 hours of training in both therapy techniques and leadership skills. Overall, these diligent teens dedicated 2,459.5 hours of service. Thanks to our “Springboard to College” workshop, many of these teens are utilizing their volunteer experience to gain entrance to college or a skilled career. One accomplished volunteer wrote: “My favorite part was realizing that some of the same therapy is given at the hospital as it is at Therapy and Fun.”
Would you like to help? This year, Comprehensive Therapy Center marked 30 years of service to West Michigan at Therapy and Fun. In the future, we aim to increase enrollment and plans to recruit even more new therapy aides. The growth potential for Therapy and Fun is significant, and the program continues to accept children without regard to income. With additional support, Therapy and Fun could extend services to as many as 50 children. There several ways you can help, not the least of which is to make a donation today. Please also join our mailing to keep up with our latest news and events.