Family Finds Special Needs Support at Children's Therapy Center
The Children's Therapy Center, located at 29-01 Berkshire Road, offers educational and therapeutic care for children with developmental disabilities
The excitement new mom Danielle Paul felt after giving birth to twins -- a boy and a girl -- soon shifted to concern upon noticing her son, Aiden, wasn't behaving like other infants.
He hardly made a peep, had difficulty executing an army crawl and struggled with the transition from baby bottle to cup.
After a few months, worried about her son's persisting mental and physical difficulties, Paul took Aiden to pediatricians and neurologists hoping to get some answers.
Rather than providing her with a conclusive diagnosis, however, doctors told Paul they preferred to take a "wait and see" approach.
By the time Aiden was three months old, Paul, who lives in Carlstadt, had enrolled him in an early intervention physical therapy program. It was there, through his physical therapist, that she first learned of the Children’s Therapy Center in Fair Lawn.
The Children's Therapy Center is a school that provides educational and therapeutic services for children with physical, medical and developmental disabilities. The Fair Lawn campus serves children from 18 months through six years of age. An upper school extension in Midland Park caters to 7-to-13-year-olds.
“I was elated that there was a program out there," said Paul, who enrolled Aiden as soon as he reached 18 months. "The CTC was the first place I felt like people took me seriously. There were other people in my situation with children that had difficulties and without concrete answers. There was sense of community as well as professionals that helped him work to his potential."
The school offers adaptive physical education, yoga, dance and music classes as well as physical, speech, occupational and feeding therapies. Lower school classes, which are taught by certified special education teachers, are capped at eight students.
“Although many students who attend our school are non-verbal, they are very bright, they understand their feelings - but they essentially are trapped by their disability,” Children’s Therapy Center development associate Lisa Babin said. “But, with advanced technology and the expertise of our therapy and teaching staff, we have found ways for many of our students to communicate through appropriate devices and ways for our students to move around their environment -- either with a walker or a power wheelchair controlled by head movements."
Paul said her son, now almost five and still clinically undiagnosed, has taken enormous physical and mental strides since he began attending the Children’s Therapy Center.
He now walks and is close to being able to run, has started to talk and can even spell his own name. When asked if he wants to go to school, Paul said Aiden's eyes light up and he begins reciting his friends' names and the alphabet. He's doing so well, in fact, that the Pauls are considering transitioning Aiden into a more mainstream educational environment.
Grateful for what the Children's Therapy Center has done for her son, Paul urged other parents of children with special needs who feel isolated and overwhelmed to seek the appropriate help.
“If you ever feel down or that you are being punished, think about what your child has given you not what you feel has been taken away," she said. "Always reach out to special needs support groups and never assume that you are the only person with these problems."