WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — For parents who juggle careers and kids, daycare is often necessary.
But what if you’re a working mom or dad who has a child with specific medical needs? That’s where pediatric extended care facilities come in.READ MORE: Allegheny County Health Director Says Delta Variant Is Fueling Rising Cases, Hospitalizations
Ryan Leeper is an energetic 6-year-old boy who enjoys riding his bike. He’s not letting anything get in his way, including Moebius syndrome, a rare disorder he’s had since birth.
“It impacts your eyes. He cannot look left and right or up and down. His face is basically paralyzed. He doesn’t have any facial expressions,” said Lauren Leeper, Ryan’s mom.
Ryan Lepper has been going to Your Child’s Place in Washington County since he was about 3 months old. It’s a daycare that specializes in care for infants and children who need skilled nursing care.
“Once we had him, we were concerned. Who are we going to trust and are we going to be OK with other kids around him?” said Lauren Lepper.
“All of our staff are registered nurses that are highly trained in all pediatrics,” said Marsha Androsik, the vice president of Children’s Services with Pathways.
Therapy is a large part of a child’s day at Your Child’s Place, but there’s also time for learning and fun.
“They do art class. They do communication class. They do circle time. Scheduled activities throughout the day,” said Androsik.
On top of that, Your Child’s Place has added a sensory room, and it’s one of Ryan Lepper’s favorite places to go.READ MORE: 'Itchy Mites:' Preventing Bites And The Itch That Comes With A Mite Bite
“It has a swing, lights and it has a couple of toys in there,” he said.
The room is designed to create a calming effect with lights, sounds and shapes.
“If we have somebody who might have just had a seizure and we need them to go into a quiet place, we have a mat that does vibrations. So it will calm them down and relax them after having a seizure,” said Androsik.
Rubi Moore’s parents, Jessie and Ray Moore, said having a facility like this gives them a sense of normalcy that they didn’t think was possible. It’s an opportunity for their soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter to make friends while mom and dad focus on their full-time jobs.
“It’s very important for families to return to work. Financially, they need to. They need their health benefits,” said Androsik.
Health insurance covers the cost of care if families qualify. It’s a huge benefit as the need for this kind of care continues to grow.
“More children seem to be having surgeries that need post-surgical care and the only option families are given is having a child at home and having a nurse come in,” said Androsik.
A grant from the United Way helped fund the sensory room at Your Child’s Place. While facilities like this are a growing trend nationally, there are only a few others in southwestern Pennsylvania.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Temperatures Continue Rising On Thursday
Your Child’s Place in Washington, PA, Aveanna Health Care, and North Versailles, and Child’s Way, in Pittsburgh, are all Pediatric Extended Care Centers in Western PA.