Lake Zurich Center Helps Children With Cerebral Palsy
Director explains Cerebral Palsy, the services the center offers to treat it and talks about the organization’s upcoming fundraiser.
Jackie Bathery, director of the Northwest location of the Center for Independence through Conductive Education in Lake Zurich, spoke to the Rotary Club of Lake Zurich at its weekly meeting on Friday to explain Cerebral Palsy, the services the center offers to treat it and talk about the organization’s upcoming fundraiser.
The Northwest location is housed at St. Francis de Sales Ministry Center and currently serves 12 children, half of who live in Lake Zurich and the other half are from Barrington, Bathery said. There will be more students during the summer.
“Cerebral Palsy is brain damage, so it is not a condition that is genetic,” said Bathery. “It usually occurs before, during or after birth and is caused by a lack of oxygen.”
People with Cerebral Palsy can’t tell their muscles what to do, Bathery explained. So, the children afflicted with it need to learn how to do things most people take for granted, such as eating and going to the bathroom.
“Here the kids are all like each other,” Bathery said of the center. “Their faces light up when they walk in the door.”
The not-for-profit center in Lake Zurich was started by area parents in 1998, according to Bathery. Since then, no child has been turned away due to an inability to pay. A total of 125 people are served between the Lake Zurich, Countryside and Pilsen neighborhood locations of the center.
“It’s really a great program for these families,” Bathery said. “We help children to make them as physically independent as possible.”
It’s not unusual for a child with Cerebral Palsy to need 10 hours a week of services. Costs for those services can be as much as $120 per hour, she said. The center offers services to children age six months to 12 years , but at a cost of just $10 an hour. The center also can provide services at whatever cost a family’s insurance will pay.
Program participants must be able to see and hear, but they don’t have to have perfect vision, said Bathery. The program also is best for those who do not have uncontrolled seizures.
About 87% of high school graduates who have attended programs at the center attend college away from home. “That’s a huge accomplishment and we’re really proud of it,” said Bathery. “They are doing things they didn’t think they could do or the entire world didn’t think they could do.”
The center uses conductive education, a practice first developed in Hungary in 1948, explained Bathery. It’s based on the premise that a child’s brain can be retrained. Conductors who lead the program serve as a combination physical therapist, occupational therapist and teacher. They also work with participant’s other personal therapists.
The pre-kindergarten or preschool program is offered at the center for 2.5 hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. For school-age children, there is a three-hour program from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Additionally, there is a summer camp from Wednesday, June 20 through Sunday, July 15.
The center will hold its 5th annual fundraiser on Friday, March 4 at Concorde Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Rd., Deer Park. It includes a dinner dance and silent auction. “We would love for people to attend the event or make a donation,” said Bathery. Ninety-five percent of every dollar donated goes directly to the children in the program.
“We are able to do this thanks to the generosity of St. Francis de Sales,” she said.
For more information, contact Bathery at 847-401-2995 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rotary Club of Lake Zurich meets at 12:15 p.m. on Fridays at Chancery Banquets, 365 Surryse Rd. The meetings are open to the public.