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East centre and daycare pleads for support to help children with developmental delays and special needs

Baby Therapy Centre support to babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities and includes speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Non-profit organisation Baby Therapy Centre (BTC), a multi-disciplinary early childhood intervention therapy centre, supports children with developmental delays and special needs.

For the past 29-years, the centre in Lynnwood has been promoting child health by minimising developmental delays and remediating existing or emerging special needs.

“We support the whole family by assisting with adaptive parenting and family functioning to accommodate the children’s different emotional and physical needs,” said Marisa Mosca, who is responsible for the centre’s fundraising and occupational health management.

Mosca said the centre’s services and support to babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities include speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and other types of services based on the needs of the child and family.

“We try hard to help the children with special needs so that they learn new skills and overcome challenges and can increase success in school and life.”

According to Mosca, the centre is run by registered professional nurses and trained assistants.

“All of the staff are trained in basic life support and first aid, tracheostomy care, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeds (feeding tubes) as well as the Tiny Handz signing system. In addition to an individualised stimulation programme, our therapists run daily stimulation groups to encourage social participation and involvement.”

The daycare programme includes:

• Carryover of the individual therapeutic training programme into the day care setting.

• Weekly group music therapy sessions.

• Weekly group occupational and speech therapy.

Mosca said they aim to make therapy services accessible to all, regardless of financial standing.

“Through our outreach programme, we provide therapy services to disadvantaged communities and children who would otherwise not have access to quality medical care.”

According to Mosca, the centre includes the child’s family and community in their therapy programme and provides skills, tools, advice and counselling to maintain the best outcomes for the child.

“Children with disabilities have limited possibilities for independence and are reliant on parents and caregivers to provide for them in situations like bathing, dressing, and feeding.

The inability to communicate verbally can be very frustrating to a child as they are unable to verbalise their needs or alert to when they are ill or in pain. This can be life-threatening in certain situations.”

Mosca said the journey with the children starts from birth.

“Babies benefit from special therapeutic intervention when born early or when born with medical complications, or congenital conditions. These babies benefit from special therapeutic interventions and the BTC multi-disciplinary therapy team visits these infants in hospital in the newborn intensive care unit to evaluate developmental progress, provide inpatient feeding and swallowing exercises, if necessary, discuss goals with the family, develop treatment plans and provide specialised care which facilitates the baby’s appropriate progress.”

“We also teach therapeutic interventions, activities and handling strategies to the parents and primary caregivers for the babies to achieve their developmental milestones,” she said.

Children who are treated at BTC are provided with a full range of expert care by the team of therapists, nutritionists and nurses to ensure that each child develops to his or her full potential.

“Our family-centred care ensures that the parents play a vital role in the development and well-being of their child,” Mosca said.

“As part of the services that we provide at BTC, the daycare centre provides a stimulating environment for children who require additional developmental support.

The BTC team is absolutely dedicated to improving the lives of children with special needs and providing support and a warm and comforting environment to these children and their families.”

She said for this group of people, it is much more than just a working environment, but a calling and every staff member was there to unlock the full potential of every special child they have the privilege to work with.

Mosca said the centre will host a premmie workshop to provide the mothers of prematurely born babies with a practical understanding of their development by giving tips on stimulation techniques to catch up to normal development within the first two years.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

– An introduction and concept of kangarooing, safe feeding, swallowing, and positioning.

– Expected weight gain, common problems – reflux, constipation, and colic.

– Physical milestones development and facilitation.

– Sensory integration and how to stimulate your child’s senses.

– Tips on speech development.

– Introduction to solid food – when to start, what to give and the importance of texture.

– Hydrotherapy – fun in the pool.

– Play development and education on toys and electronics.

She said the centre is also pleading for support and donations.

“As a non-profit organisation, we rely on the generosity and kindness of our community and corporate institutions to keep our doors open. Whether this is financially or in an offer to donate time, services or materials for the constant maintenance of the facility, we welcome and appreciate all.”

She said they would like to reach more children utilising the outreach programmes and offer bursaries to those who require our daycare services.

“For this to be achieved, sponsorship is needed. In conjunction with this, we would like to maintain the offer of therapy to those children who are in places of safety or in a family situation that cannot afford the services needed for the child,” she concluded.

Anyone willing to assist can contact the centre on 012 348 206 or email admin@babytherapy.org.za

ALSO READ: Tshwane chases R1.4-billion from non-paying east ratepayers

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