For years, Santa Cruz County’s pediatric physicians, and physical and occupational therapists faced an unexpected issue when treating young children with spectrum disorder, sensory processing and motor coordination issues—space.
“Part of the way to assess a child is by watching them in an environment—what they seek and avoid—and we didn’t really have the space to do that before,” says occupational therapist Beth Ralston. “We couldn’t get the full picture.”
When Dominican Hospital sought a new location to house its outpatient rehabilitation center the hospital was able to provide the space for a new pediatric therapy area.
After a long search, the hospital acquired the former Sports Authority building on Madrone Street in Santa Cruz. Now remodeled, the new center provides therapists and patients the ample space they need to learn and play.
The space wasn’t the only obstacle for therapists and patients. The rehabilitation center’s staff needed equipment to fill the new pediatric gym. The Dominican Hospital Foundation was eager to help and provided the funding to make it a reality.
“The foundation has always been extremely supportive of rehabilitation work, and we are very grateful for that,” says program director, Leah Santos.
“You can do so much with each piece of equipment,” says occupational therapist, Jen Beck. “For example, the climbing wall helps with strengthening and motor planning, which is huge problem for some kids. But if you can work on those challenges when they’re young, in a safe space, it makes all the difference.”
Dignity Health/Dominican Hospital Foundation: 1555 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz
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