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New pediatric therapy facility opening

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By Deborah Swearingen

Brenda Harkness knew something was off with her 7-year-old son’s speech, but she didn’t know how to move forward and address the issue.

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That’s where Pediatric Speech Therapy Associates came in. Harkness took her son, Dylan, now 8, for evaluation at the Centennial-based therapy center. Dylan had trouble making “s” and “th” sounds, but after a year of working with a speech therapist, he has made significant strides. In addition to improving his speech, therapy helped Dylan excel in spelling and reading, Harkness said.

“It has been a blessing,” she said.  “Now, he’s more confident for sure.”

Beginning in early May, families in South Jeffco will have access to the same services when Pediatric Speech Therapy opens its third location near Southwest Plaza.

Offering speech language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, reading therapy, feeding therapy and more, Pediatric Speech Therapy Associates helps children with articulation or language difficulties, as well as those with oral and motor difficulties, food aversions, sensory integration difficulties and weak fine motor skills.

Operating as a one-stop shop for pediatric therapy is beneficial for families, particularly those with children who need multiple services.

“It’s nice that we’re able to offer all those services at one location,” said Jessica Shepherd, owner and clinical director. “ … We’re able to maximize therapy for a child and work closely with our therapy team to collaborate and help with transitions, help with challenges at home and really make steady progress on therapy goals.”

Oftentimes, pediatricians recommend children for therapy. However, in cases such as Harkness, where a parent is unsure, Shepherd recommends bringing the child in for assessment. Parents can talk with a referral coordinator to share concerns, determine needs and schedule appropriately from there. Although Pediatric Speech Therapy sees children of all ages, early identification is helpful for all.

Considering there are families who drive from South Jeffco to Centennial for therapy, Shepherd recognized a need for the new location and hopes it will better serve those in need.

Clinician Emily O’Sullivan has been working at the Centennial location and will serve as the clinic lead at the Littleton facility when it opens.

She remembers the gratitude expressed by parents when she helps a child talk or eat properly. Last winter, she shared a moment with a parent whose child was finally able to speak fluently.

“She said, ‘You’ll always be the person who gave my daughter her voice,’” O’Sullivan said. “It was so touching.”

Furthermore, it is memorable for a therapist to discharge a client who has successfully completed treatment. While it can be tough to say goodbye, ultimately, this is the goal of therapy.

“It’s so great. Our job is for kids to stop seeing us even though we build these close relationships,” she said.

Want to learn more? Pediatric Speech Therapy Associates has already started scheduling evaluations for its new South Jeffco facility, located at 9200 W. Cross Dr. Ste. 120. For more information, visit www.coloradospeechtherapy.com or call 720-542-8737.