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Bell County clinic offers virtual therapy for medically fragile children

Posted at 10:40 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 23:40:36-04

KILLEEN, TX — COVID-19 has forced a number of businesses to meet their clients where they are at- their homes.

Virtually, of course, but what does that mean for those that heavily rely on in-person interaction?

One Bell County clinic is adapting to the times, offering a telehealth option for children with weakened immune systems who still need their therapy sessions but are not leaving the house.

Since Sawyer Clark battles spinal muscular atrophy, he has a higher risk of getting a more serious case of COVID-19.

"It's a serious thing that we're, we're really worried about that," said Brandi Clark, Sawyer's mom.

So worried, in addition to sheltering in place, the family also decided to stop taking the 10-year-old to his "essential" therapy sessions.

"Slight sniffle or a cough, it could be, you know, just a head cold, but for Sawyer, it could be a full blown upper respiratory infection," said Brandi.

Sawyer is not alone. Kelly Barr, owner of Kidz Therapeze in Killeen, said more than half of her clients have stopped bringing their children to her physical, occupational and speech therapy clinic.

"We're hanging on to keep their skills where they're at and progress them forward, and when they miss for protracted amounts of time, they decline in skills," said Barr.

The clinic has turned to telehealth to make sure patients do not fall behind.

"He [Sawyer] said to me that like touched my heart is, "Miss K, I'm so glad to see you. This is kind of a routine now." So the fact giving these kids back a routine is so key in their every day function because it's been so off," explained Kaylyn Andress, occupational therapist at Kidz Therapeze.

Barr said a large percentage of her Kidz Therapeze patients fall into the medically fragile category.

For the patients who do show up, Kidz Therapeze staff is doing lots of screening and avoiding the use of the waiting area in an effort to prevent crowding.

To learn more about Sawyer's journey with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, you can click here.