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MO's Kids with Disabilities Thrive with Proper Resources

Missouri's Capable Kids and Families program aims to reduce the cost of raising a special-needs child by loaning therapy equipment so parents don't have to buy it. (cpozarks.org)
Missouri's Capable Kids and Families program aims to reduce the cost of raising a special-needs child by loaning therapy equipment so parents don't have to buy it. (cpozarks.org)
December 20, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Parenting a child with disabilities is challenging, but can be much easier when the proper resources are available.

Often families can benefit from the loan of developmental therapy equipment, access to a playroom with adaptive equipment or information about networking meetings.

The Community Partnership program, part of the Family and Community Trust, does just that.

Executive Director Jean Darnell says the nearly 20-year old program provides support to families in four Missouri communities.

"We hope to help the child gain new developmental skills, progress in their development, but we're also hoping to address the isolation and the stress levels of the families," she states.

Darnell says the need for loaner equipment to families caring for children with disabilities is significant in both rural and urban areas across Missouri.

She notes that families of children with developmental delays and disabilities often feel alone and have difficulty accessing proper treatment.

"When you have a child who's born with a disability, many times one of the parents has to quit work, there's multiple trips to doctors and specialists and therapy appointments, and so by loaning them the developmental therapy equipment, that's not one more thing they have to find in their budget," Darnell relates.

Darnell says two research projects conducted by the University of Chicago showed that families that participate in the Capable Kids and Families program know their rights and advocacy channels, scored higher on their ability to network with other families, and their children are progressing at faster rates.

"Those that had access to the developmental therapy equipment actually had a statistically significant increase in their developmental skills, so we know it's making a difference," she states.

Missouri's Capable Kids and Families program is now active in Springfield, Rolla, St. Louis and Jefferson City.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - MO