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Published on October 10, 2013

MU Children's Hospital Therapy Center Expands Pediatric Rehabilitation Services

COLUMBIA, Mo. — MU Children’s Hospital has opened a new rehabilitation center for kids.

The $1 million, 8,300 square-foot Children’s Hospital Therapy Center will provide expanded pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapy services and includes one of the only therapeutic rehabilitation playgrounds in the United States. It is located across the street from MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital at 525 Keene St., Suite 101, in Columbia.

“There is a great need for pediatric rehabilitation services in central Missouri, with many families currently having to travel to St. Louis or Kansas City for treatment,” said Timothy Fete, M.D., medical director of Children’s Hospital, chair of the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Child Health and Children’s Miracle Network Professor in Pediatrics. “Our goal for this new center is to provide rehabilitation treatment to more kids in central Missouri. In the first year, we expect to expand our patient appointments by approximately 50 percent — to 400 patient appointments per week.”

The 2,000 square-foot outdoor playground cost approximately $270,000 and was funded by donors including the annual MPix Coaches for Kids golf tournament and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Radiothon. Funding also came from the Frank W. and Emily Leonard Trust, the Matthew Carlisle Turner Fund, and the Mark T. Andrews Memorial Fund.

The specially designed playground is accessible to children with crutches, walkers, wheelchairs and other assistive devices. It also incorporates therapeutic elements such as hidden images of animals to test children’s visual development, different heights of steps to help children learn to climb stairs, and obstacles such as hills and gravel to teach kids to navigate their environments.

In addition to the playground, the therapy center includes:

  • speech therapy rooms
  • an activity room, where children will focus on hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills, as well as therapy for cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other conditions with TheraSuit equipment, donated by the Stephen and Mary Barnes family
  • a feeding and dysphagia treatment room for patients with swallowing disorders
  • a low-stimulation treatment room with sound-insulation and dimmable lights for infants and children with autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other conditions
  • an indoor treatment gym for physical and occupational therapy
  • a day-treatment care room, where patients who need all-day therapy may rest and eat meals
  • a splinting and casting room

“This new pediatric rehabilitation center will allow us to expand services for kids, and it also will provide us with a dedicated facility and state-of-the-art tools for treating our patients,” said Kim Dohm, O.T.R.-L., an occupational therapist and clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Children’s Hospital. “We’re especially proud of our new therapeutic playground, which our staff designed as an integral part of patient care to help patients meet their therapy goals.”

The therapy center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is staffed by nearly 20 pediatric rehabilitation specialists, including physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

To make an appointment, please call (573) 882-7350.