‘Rhythms of the Heart’ symposium planned for caregivers of special needs children

CSUN will host a one-day symposium for parents and caregivers of special needs children on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The second annual ?Rhythms of the Heart? symposium is being hosted by Stillpoint Resources and CSUN?s Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled.

About 200 teachers, parents and therapists of special needs children will be attending the event, said Jennifer Porter, director of Development for Stillpoint Resources. It aims to help parents and caregivers of special needs children find out about available facilities and assistance.

The focus of the day will be to inform about the different types of therapies that are available for children with a variety of special needs, such as mental, physical and learning disabilities.

It will take place in the Abbott and Linda Brown Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

?(The event) is meant to bring parents out of their isolation and into a community,? said Porter.

The event will consist of panels discussing such themes as occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. Other topics, such as the non-traditional therapies, will also be available.

Examples of non-traditional therapies are vitamin therapy and the listen program, which is part of the occupational therapy, in which music is played in special headphones to help stimulate different parts of the brain that control motor skills, Porter said.

In addition, topics like the Special Olympics, Aquatic Center, sports therapy, water therapy and psychotherapy for parents and siblings of special needs children will be offered through the Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled.

Dannalyn Jaque-Anton, associate superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District division of special education, will be the keynote speaker at the event, providing information on the programs the LAUSD offers, Porter said.

?(She) is in charge of all 800,000 children (who) are in special education in (the) LAUSD,? Porter said.

Stillpoint Resources provides therapy for both individuals and groups. Fifty to 60 percent of their clients are families with special needs children, said Porter.

?(We) try to work with couples before a stressor occurs,? said Porter. ?It is estimated that 85 to 90 percent of parents with special needs children end up divorced.?

Stillpoint Resources介護 求人, founded in 1998 by Ross and Jennifer Porter, is an organization that raises money through private donors and grants, as well as through annual fundraisers. Last year, they raised $65,000.

Stillpoint Resources offered therapy, counseling, mentoring, seminars and workshops to about 400 families last year.

?We work with people until their pain is manageable,? said Porter. ?Our vision is healing and wholeness through counseling and educational programs.?

The Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled, also participating in the event, will be working with Stillpoint Resources to educate and administer the various panels that will be offered.

?(We have) a commonality of goals with (Stillpoint Resources),? said Carol Oglesby, chair of the Kinesiology Department.

The center also educates parents about the different methods of therapeutic involvement that they offer.

?A lot of parents are not aware of the adapted fitness activities for their children,? said Taeyon Juny, director of the Land-Base Adapted Therapeutic Exercise.

?(The land-base offers) strength, flexibility, cardiovascular, and how to balance fine motor skills, (such as) learning how to walk again,? said Juny.

In the land-base program, everything is done individually, but if someone needs assistance, an assistant will help them through their program, Juny said.

The goal is to prevent any secondary complication that can further damage their maintaining or improving their physical condition for independence, said Juny.

?Individuality and functionality are important keys,? said Juny.

The CAPD has offered a land-based program for about 35 years, and in the spring of 2003, the center opened its pools and Aquatic program. There are three pools and a Jacuzzi.

In the Aquatic center, there are individuals who work on their own, as well as individuals who work with students and specialized trainers, said Belinda Stillwell, director of Aquatics.

They are individual programs that are specialized to each person, said Oglesby.

There is a group class, which is called Deep Water, and it is offered in the movable pool. This pool has a hot water temperature of 90 to 94 degrees, which is normal for therapeutic pools, said Stillwell.

The floor can be raised to deck level and then lowered to be as deep as seven feet. It is especially useful in lowering individuals in wheelchairs into the water.

In the summer of 2003, a Children?s Hour was opened to allow children to participate in activities to gain strength, flexibility and improve cardiovascular health, said Stillwell. There are eight children in this program, and the activities are turned into games.

?(We) wanted to do something, so kids could integrate it in their lives,? said Oglesby.

For example, the Special Olympics are so they can find meaning in their lives, said Oglesby.