A Cottage Built for Kids
As a parent, you want what is best for your child. You want your child to grow up and be happy, tell you how they feel, run and play with their friends, learn how to sing the alphabet, and read exciting books about princes and princesses.
However, your intuition tells you something is wrong. You realize your child has not met important developmental stages. You know your child will need additional services, beyond what can be provided at their school. You don’t want just any clinic; you want to go somewhere that provides a multitude of services, a clinic with multiple specialists and a team of agencies networking with you to ensure your child is getting a well-rounded experience.
In August 2009, Esperanza Children’s Therapy opened their doors to the community with a strong team of specialists eager to help area children. They began with a small building of only around 3,000 square feet and a staff made up of a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and two speech therapists. Today, Esperanza has expanded to meet the growing needs of the community. The new clinic is equipped with two large gyms and motor rooms and eight individualized speech rooms each with a viewing window for parents to observe. Celina Waller, the clinic director at Esperanza, believes it is these viewing rooms that are unique to therapy in the area and set Esperanza apart in terms of empowering parents. Through the use of a viewing window parents can watch and listen as the therapist works with their child. These techniques can then be applied at home to further assist the child. “Parents love it [the viewing rooms] because they get to watch their children perform in different settings,” says Celina. The clinic also includes a kitchen where Crysel Torres, a speech language pathologist, has already incorporated new techniques into the children’s services, such as making play dough and other hands on activities.
While Esperanza has recently expanded the team is also looking to the future. Celina described the next phase for Esperanza as maintaining the new location and expanding to the adjacent lot. There, a new pool facility will be built to provide additional physical therapy services. A new adaptive playground is also in the works to further the services of Esperanza at their new location.
Esperanza is a leading children’s therapy provider in the area, but it is also a part of a larger network of services. Aprendamos Intervention Team, Alegria Family Counseling, Mariposa Autism Service Center, and Esperanza Children’s Therapy all work together to meet the needs of the community. Celina explains that Esperanza was created because after children were leaving early intervention (Aprendamos) at age three there were no other resources and services for the child. Thus, Esperanza was created to further therapy services for children. Alegria was then created to meet the needs of the family unit.
Utilizing multiple agencies is critical especially when making referrals. When one child leaves early intervention, their team can then refer them to Esperanza. The team can also refer the family to Alegria, because services should not end at the child but also extend to the family. The administrative team truly identified what the community needed in terms of services. Seeing a lack of services in all of these areas the administrative team chose to create services that would work within a network. This makes communicating between the services easier and timelier and the referral process for services a smoother transition.
The amazing work that Esperanza Children’s Therapy clinic does has not stopped at the Southern New Mexico community; in fact it has gone global. Several therapists have gone on outreach programs to Quito, Ecuador over the past several years. This year several therapists again traveled to Ecuador to learn and share their knowledge.
Celina describes how important it is for the therapist to pursue global outreach opportunities: “Our therapists bring back a large wealth of knowledge,” she explains. Trips such as going to Ecuador expose these therapists to other cultures, techniques, and it truly empowers them as people and professionals. Not only do Esperanza therapists seek to help and learn in Ecuador, they also bring back their knowledge and share it with the Esperanza team.
Whether through expansion to a new facility, using new techniques to help a child’s learning, or traveling to a different continent; the Esperanza Team is committed to helping children in our community. As Celina points out it is largely due to the effort of the Esperanza Team, “the longevity of our staff is really valuable to the foundation and for our growth. They understand the needs of the families and they are vested in this clinic. We just have exceptional employees.”