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Now 28 years old, Renea Sageser figures she has spent 24 years of her life dealing with therapy in some way.
It began when she was a child going through several years of speech therapy herself. Then during her senior year of high school, her mother was involved in a traumatic automobile accident, resulting in a serious head injury.
Sageser took on the caregiver roll as her mother endured intensive therapy.
Somewhere along the line of being a patient herself to being a caregiver for a patient, her path became obvious.
"It was neat to see that speech therapy could be so many different things," she said. "Working on communication skills helps patients better their lives."
Now just days away from Monday's ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate her therapy clinic's new location, she said she can't believe how quickly her dreams are flourishing.
In January 2008, she started Associates in Pediatric Therapy in Shelbyville to help kids birth to 18 years. It was a one-woman show, and she worked with 10 patients in a space of around 600 sq. ft.
A year later, her staff has increased to 15 employees taking care of more than 200 patients – setting up a move to the 5,300 sq. ft. second floor of a renovated 1900 Midland Trail.
"We've had so many people volunteer their services,” she said. "Everybody we told what we're doing has tried to help out with their products or time. There has definitely been community involvement."
In return, the community now has a reliable alternative for pediatric therapy.
"They don't have to drive to Louisville to get quality services anymore," she said.
The staff includes occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers and more. Together they help children with autism, downs syndrome ADHD, ADD, auditory processing disorders, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and anything involving hearing.
"Psychology, counseling, anything a child would need is in this building except a pediatrician," she said. "The only reason we don't is because there are so many pediatricians in town, and we want to service all of them, not just one."
The clinic also travels to do therapy – going to peoples' homes, to the Dorman Center and to schools. And in two weeks, a new Academic Learning Center is set to open in the new location.
"All our teachers are certified," she said. "Most work in the Shelby County school system and will be here after school and during the summer."
The therapy and tutoring use multisensory training methods. There are chalkboard walls in the waiting room, a movie area for kids, a rock climbing wall, a soft playroom, and something called a Snoezelen Room.
"The Snoezelen Room is totally sensory, lava lamp, stars on the sky, bubble machines, anything you can think of to increase their sensory," she said.
Therapists and teachers will provide a child with a Individualized Learning Prescription: a format that includes 15 minutes of therapeutic listening, 30 minutes of individualized tutoring and 15 minutes of therapeutic play.
"We will have teachers doing one on one tutoring, but the difference is all the kids who come with get auditory, tactical, visual, all of your senses will be put to use in your training," she said.
Sageser graduated from Murray State University with a Master's degree in speech pathology. It was there that this Tennessee native met the man she would marry, Scott Sageser. She moved with Scott to his native town of Shelbyville three years ago. They have two children, Rose Kakray, 3, and Lana Claire, 2.
"I just saw the community didn't have much to offer with kids with special needs," she said. “There was a lot of driving to Louisville, and so I wanted to let them have a facility here in town really focused on pediatrics.”
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day will be in attendance at the ceremony Monday at 5 p.m. to kick off her open house.
For more information call Associates in Pediatric Therapy at 502-633-1007, or visit the Web site (under construction) at www.kidtherapy.org.