Great story in the Warwick Beacon about the Newly opened Sensation Station in Warwick, RI, where graduate students will be able to intern.
From the Warwick Beacon:
Sensation Station, a private, family-centered therapy facility specializing in the care of children dealing with learning, social and physical challenges, was welcomed to Warwick by Mayor Scott Avedisian and Congressman Jim Langevin with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
The facility, located at 535 Centerville Rd., opened on Oct. 14 and will provide specialized individual intervention by occupational therapy, speech pathology and physical therapy professionals for children from birth to 21 years of age. Most of these services are reimbursed through health care insurance. Other one-on-one services include advocacy support with school IEP [Individualized Education Program] development, parent and sibling support, and home environmental assessments.
Owner Randy Fedoruk, a pediatric occupational therapist and associate professor at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) first established Sensation Station in 2010 in Guilford, Conn. Working together with Carol Doehler, professor and chair of Occupational Therapy at NEIT, Fedoruk brought Sensation Station to Warwick and Rhode Island to help fill the gap left by the closure of the outpatient department at Meeting Street, the main resource for kids with special needs in Rhode Island.
“We were told it was due to finances,” Doehler said of the Meeting Street department closure. “The reimbursement structure makes it challenging to do an outpatient program, so we had to be innovative.”
Doehler said Sensation Station is not driven by a traditional medical model, but rather by a family-centered model.
“The child and family come first,” she said. “Working together with Randy, we had the common belief that when you’re working with kids with special needs, it’s a family affair; it affects everybody.”
Fedoruk said a Parents Advisory Committee was established to assist staff by telling them what needs to focus on and determining which services to run because they are familiar with the day-to-day issues that may arise at home, school or in the community.
According to a press release, “The Parents Advisory Committee meets closely with staff to help meet those unique needs of the entire family and better incorporate the lessons learned at Sensation Station into all meaningful interactions.”
When the outpatient department closed this summer, it left more than 200 families “without high quality resources and few places to turn.”
Doehler said she and Fedoruk loved the therapists at Meeting Street, and since they were out of a job with the department closure, they were hired and brought to Sensation Station.
“We’re happy to do this in Warwick,” Fedoruk said. “We’re here to help kids make connections, learn motor skills and address developmental needs; to meet the needs of social skills and develop physical skills.”
Fedoruk said the facility features a kitchen to help develop living skills, such as cooking and cleaning, a private therapy quiet room, and a gym containing everything from swings and trampolines to a climbing wall.
“We’re still having things shipped in,” he said.
Langevin said the program is an exciting addition to the community and will fill a vital need.
“When Meeting Street closed its outpatient department, it left a void for families and kids; you’re filling that void,” he said, before presenting a citation to the facility. “I’m the proud uncle of a boy with autism, so I understand the benefit to the community. I love the concept of integrative therapy and play. It will be therapeutic and a lot of fun.”
Avedisian said Sensation Station is about appropriate interventions at appropriate times.
“We know what families need and we have the ability to provide that, it’s just a question of getting it all together,” he said. “You’re filling a huge, unmet human need in the community. There will be lots of little voices, activity and noise to show how interventions pay off dividends.”
Fedoruk said Sensation Station is not just about children with delays and learning disabilities, but welcomes all children, who are eligible to join the Kid’s Club.
“The Kid’s Club is facilitated by professional outpatient therapists and is open to all children,” Doehler said. “We hope to service 150 to 200 kids through the Kid’s Club and do it through play.”
Doehler explained that no more than six kids would meet at a time to use the gym space for an hour.
“They can schedule what works for them,” she said.
Doehler said the Kid’s Club does not require insurance or a medical referral, but rather utilizes a monthly membership fee, similar to a health club.
“Parents told us that was a huge deal,” she said.