Carri Featheringill, director of nursing at Sproutlings Pediatric Day Care and Preschool, attributes much of the success of Graham, Cade, and other children at Sproutlings to the collaborative approach the center takes to serving all children.
“Here, the medically fragile children can get the medical attention they need, as well as the education and socialization in one place,” said Carri. “We want to help everyone involved to do as much as possible to help that individual child.”
Upon enrollment, a protocol of care is developed for each child with the child’s parents, physicians and Sproutlings caretakers. Children who work with therapists can do so in classrooms, or in the center’s state-of-the-art Snoezelen sensory room, which allows children space to relax, move and create new cognitive connections with the help of a wide array of sensory stimuli. Therapists also work closely with teachers for optimal support to address various diagnoses. Cade’s vision therapist, for example, has coordinated with his teachers to suggest activities he can do in the classroom to aid in his progress. For Paul and Melanie, watching their children interact with their peers in the same way typically-abled children would have been priceless. It’s the key reason the boys have made such incredible progress, they said.
“The kids are integrated from the beginning,” said Paul. “It’s such a cool thing to experience.” This integration is a benefit to all of the children, said Carri, not just those with special needs. Because most of the children start at the center as babies, they tend to grow up to be more accepting and inclusive with their differently abled peers. “We hope that long-term, these children grow into more caring, sympathetic humans,” said Carri.