‘It’s sad’: Riverview children suffering with no school physiotherapist, parents say

Dante Cormier (left) and Keian Moase (right) have received physiotherapy all their lives for special physical needs, but it's no longer being covered without a physiotherapist in school. Callum Smith/Global News

Two mothers from Riverview, N.B., say they’re concerned that physiotherapy is no longer available in their school.

“I passed the point of frustrated; I’m angry,” says Natalie Moase, the mother of a Riverview boy with special needs and needs a walker.

She says her son lost his school’s physiotherapist at the end of last year, leaving him without the treatment he needs.

“It’s sad. I’m really sad and disappointed,” says Melissa Cormier, the mother of 12-year-old Dante. “It’s hard.”

Melissa Cormier says her son Dante may require an additional surgery if he doesn’t get the treatment he needs. Callum Smith/Global News

Cormier says her son, who lives with cerebral palsy, has tight muscles after missing out on a summer of physiotherapy — something that was covered by the education system.

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Cormier is worried her about her son’s health due to the lack of resources.

“He’s had surgery,” she says. “If we don’t keep up with the physio and keep him active, then he could end up having another surgery.”

The cost for the mothers to visit a physiotherapist runs about $90 per hour out of their own pocket.

“I was lucky enough to have insurance,” says Moase. “But they only cover $500 per fiscal year.”

Natalie Moase says her son Keian has been suffering because he’s not receiving physiotherapy. Callum Smith/Global News

She says the physiotherapist used to see nine-year-old Keian every two weeks, so it’s been a difficult challenge for her and her son to face, as the position remains vacant.

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“He’s just going to go backwards,” she says. “He’s already going backwards because he needs this surgery, and it’s not just in the muscles this time – it’s in the feet; in his bones, so it’s a bone surgery, and that’s a major surgery.”

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She says changes are needed because the system is failing the kids.

“These children need these services,” says Moase. “They’re neglecting them.”

In an emailed statement, Horizon Health says it has two physiotherapist positions, along with four occupational therapist positions it’s trying to fill for children within their jurisdiction.

“In the interim Horizon has contracted some positions to private agencies to serve these clients until the positions can be filled,” the statement reads.

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Both mothers say they know nothing about the news, and their children will continue to suffer without the services they need.

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