Friday, April 19, 2024

Volunteers provide special needs therapy to San Pedro community


In July, a set of volunteers came down from the United States of America to take part in the annual summer Camp Starfish for children with special need. These volunteers began providing speech and physical therapies during the camp, as well as assessments and advice to parents on how to meet the needs of their special children. Early last week, three volunteers from two prestigious US universities were in San Pedro providing evaluations relating to therapies for children with special needs at the Lions Den. The three professionals were Dr. Brooke Riley and Bethany Wolf (physical therapists) from Arcadia University and Kaley Marston (speech therapist) from the University of Tennessee.Physical Therapy Lions Den Arcadia University Camp Starfish-3
According to organizer Lara Goldman, two summers ago, she became involved with Camp Starfish, and at the end of the camp, something struck her. “At the end of event I was standing there, looking at all these children and I told myself that there must be someone that knows somebody who can provide therapy for these children. Then it dawned on me that the university I went to in the US, Arcadia University, is the number one school in the US for physical therapy. I contacted them and made them aware that we might need some help down here on the island and if anyone would be interested in coming to San Pedro,” said Goldman.Physical Therapy Lions Den Arcadia University Camp Starfish-2 Arcadia University reached out to its student body and other universities, and as a result, three professionals visited the island and shared their knowledge. “The therapists were on a three-day visit to basically provide assessment of the situation of the children with special needs in San Pedro. The three volunteers also identified families that have children with these conditions. Most of them had been tracked from their participation during the summer camp and there were meetings with individuals in order to make an evaluation and begin a program of assistance. At the end, the information gathered from the meetings was taken back to the universities in order to come up with a proposal for a long term transformation,” ended Goldman.Physical Therapy Lions Den Arcadia University Camp Starfish-1
She indicated that in the process of the three days, the volunteers were able to help many of the attendees, including many of the summer camp participants.Physical Therapy Lions Den Arcadia University Camp Starfish-5
In November, Goldman will be visiting Arcadia University, where she expects to get involved in a large project for children with special needs. Upon her return, she will provide us with more information regarding the program.Physical Therapy Lions Den Arcadia University Camp Starfish-4
The San Pedro Sun thanks Goldman and the three therapists for their generosity and care for our very special community members.

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