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Local Pediatric Center For Disabilities Disguises Education With Play
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on February 21, 2013 @ 9:27PM
Created on February 21, 2013 @ 8:10PM
People from the tri-state area and farther away drive to Harrison County for a special kind of pediatric center. It's called Cornerstone and is located in Bridgeport. They specialize in helping kids with all sorts of special needs, but there's a chance you haven't seen a place like it before.
One father said it's a miracle that he found out about the center that's designed to feel like a playpen and not a doctors office. Taking one peek inside, you'd think you're at a Chuck E. Cheese. But a lot of learning takes place. Not just for the kids, but families reap the benefits too.
"There's a lot of interactions between the families in the waiting room and there are times when it's almost been like a support group where the parents just strike up a conversation with another parent that they may or may not know and then they develop friendships," said Kathy Citerone, the clinical director and therapist.
The kids also learn how to form relationships, but it's a lot more fun. One of those ways uses something called a T-wall, or touch wall. Children are able to play different games, depending on what the therapist is working on. It helps kids with ADHD, their reaction time, attention, focus and plenty more. 
"We wanted to make sure that along with the design that we used for the building, we wanted to make sure the materials that we put in the building were as all natural as they possibly could be," said Andrew Citerone, the executive director.
The facility is filled with calming colors, all natural bamboo floors, no fluorescent lights, natural stone and low chemical paint. 
"The first couple times we brought her here there was a definite change," said Steve Roberts, talking about his five year old daughter, Samantha. She was taking occupational and speech therapy near her home in Ohio. Not only did he and his wife see results within the first few days of being at the center but they're now taking "dives" more often in a hyperbaric chamber.
The one used at the center simulates the pressure of being about seven feet under water and safely and effectively delivers 100% oxygen to the bloodstream. Treatments for chronic conditions can be repeated over days or weeks. 
For the second time ever, after just two days of using the hyperbaric chamber, Samantha wrapped her arms around her dad and told him she loved him. Perhaps a coincidence, but needless to say, her parents were thrilled.
During the summer months, the center uses horses for treatment. It's called hippotherapy and helps kids with speech, physical and occupational disabilities. 
"We've seen amazing bonds with children maybe with autism or other delays, or a child that has been afraid of animals his whole life who goes out and is able to get on this 1,200 pound animal and ride and love it," explained Kathy.
There's even a zip-line, which is used as a form of reward, that the kids get to use after completing other exercises.
"Seeing the kids smiling in here I think is one of the biggest rewards that we get every single day," said Andrew. "The kids are exciting about coming to Cornerstone."
"I'm so, so grateful to love what I do because I know that not everyone has that opportunity so I'm really grateful for that," explained Kathy.
Cornerstone's website is packed with information. You can find out more about what they do by clicking here, or calling 304-842-0044.

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