EDMONTON – An Edmonton company is making various kinds of special-needs therapy easier to access for more families across the province.
Speech language pathologist Robyn Henderson launched Kids Uncomplicated after years of working with kids with special needs. Having two children of her own with developmental disabilities, she knew how difficult it could be for some families – especially those in rural areas – to make it to in-person appointments.
“A lot of times with clinical work, you’d be traveling out and maybe there’d be a month between consultations. Now you don’t need that,” she explained.
Henderson decided to bring the experts to families via technology. The Kids Uncomplicated service connects speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to families in real-time or through videos recorded by parents.
“They can capture or record things that are meaningful to them,like special snack time, or things they need help with – bed time – and just send it to our server. And then we’re able to talk with them at times that are convenient to them,” she added, explaining that it also allows parents to capture children in their natural state.
“Kids are different when they have people watching them.”
The service has proven to be a blessing for the Wiebe family, who started using it two years ago to help their little girl, Samantha.
The now eight-year-old was born with a lesion in her brain. The abnormality causes seizures, problems with fine motor skills like writing, and a significant speech delay. But her parents have seen a vast improvement after monthly sessions with two speech language pathologists and an occupational therapist. The team analyzes home videos of Sam and offers expert advice.
“I used to have to be a translator and as she’s progressed through our travel with Kids Uncomplicated, I’m not a translator anymore. So that’s super cool,” said Sam’s mother, Andrea.
According to Henderson, special technology ensures security and privacy, and makes therapy more cost-effective. Alberta’s Family Support for Children with Disabilities program may cover the cost for some families.
Each session lasts about 15 minutes. The company also does in-home visits when necessary.
It will soon be expanding to Calgary, Lethbridge, and potentially, Ohio in the U.S.
“It’s really exciting,” Henderson said. “We’re going to be able to help a lot of families. That’s what it’s all about.”
With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News