ELKS Little Miracles
Another of the Florida Elks' "best kept secrets" is the Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services. Established in 1999, this service has provided statewide occupational and physical therapy for thousands of families over the years. Some range from profound physical problems to delayed motor responses and body awareness.
Children born with disabilities- whether it's because of premature birth or other factors- present significant challenges for the family. But, not being able to get help for your child is even more heartbreaking because there is help available. Sometimes the families are unable to travel the distances required to access professionals. Often, the ability to pay for therapy is overwhelming. These are children who would otherwise slip through the cracks due to location and inability to get qualified practitioners, have financial limitations and other logistics. These children are provided the extra care and attention they need and deserve because of the Elks.
Premature birth presents a myriad of developmental problems. Autism and learning difficulties are common. Social skills and other developmental issues are all within the scope of the team employed by the Elks Youth Therapy Program. Vans are provided and stocked with the latest equipment. Therapists travel to virtually every corner of the State.
On any particular day, the therapist's schedule could find her working with children at a school, where she also interacts with their teachers to provide suggestions, check progress and offer advice based on her area of expertise. If physical problems are detected, she doesn't hesitate to refer a physical therapist. Afterwards, she makes her weekly visit to a home where the child is the star and focus of her time. After only a few weeks, the therapist may see great progress which she credits to the consistency and work of the parents.
While going to the homes of children, the therapist is able to work with the parents to monitor development and make suggestions. Such ordinary items such as a soft rocking animal, can assist in balance, exercising the legs and core and helps with spinal alignment.
For a parent, the Elks are a true blessing. One such parent stated, "Even if we could find someone who could accept her insurance, we would have to take her out of our home, which wouldn't teach us as much. This makes it easy to incorporate these things into our lives all the time. It's great to not have to pack her up. Having someone coming to you is just awesome. And it's safer."
For a therapist, each day and each child is a chance to make a difference. "I love this program and these kids," one such therapist said. "They're little miracles."
To learn more about Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services,