Editorial / The News-Enterprise
ISSUE: HMH develops therapeutic playground
OUR VIEW: Wonderful asset to region’s health care
Overcoming a disability or injury is not always child’s play.
That is until Hardin Memorial Health’s Pediatric Therapy Center made it that way.
The center recently added what is described as a one-of-a-kind indoor therapeutic playground, that includes swings, slides, rooms with doors and windows, rings, monkey bars and other equipment.
The 1,500-square-foot area was a large part of a 3,700-square-foot expansion of the center and constructed as a replica to playground sets at parks and schools.
It was procured by the Hardin Memorial Health Foundation thanks to donations from WesBanco, WHAS Crusade for Children and the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels.
The purpose of the area is to help children master tasks – climbing stairs, tying shoelaces, holding pencils, working a padlock, which many of us take for granted – in a setting where the therapy doesn’t feel like work.
For Lexy Mays, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy, the center has helped her make her biggest strides, her mother Catrina said.
“Not only is it helping these kids physically, but it’s also helping them emotionally with their confidence,” Catrina said in a recent interview. “Most kids with special needs aren’t going to play on the playground. They’re going to sit on the bench because they may not be able to do all the stuff. When they come here, they can work on those specific tools.”
The playground doesn’t just focus on physical ailments, but other therapies as well.
Children can spend time in a castle, underneath the playset, where they can work staff members on speech therapy and sensory exercises.
Exercises at the therapy center also can be aimed at specific life adjustments children go through as they grow older.
With its ability to cater to a patient’s individualized needs, it doesn’t appear the demand for the center will slow soon.
In 2016, the center had 2,399 visits for pediatric occupational therapy, 1,897 pediatric visits for speech therapy and 1,725 pediatric visits for physical therapy.Roughly 90 kids are on a waiting list to begin therapy at the center.
There truly is a need for this new asset to the community.
This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.