Thursday, August 6, 2015

San Antonio: CRIT USA & Soluna

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Right across the street from Morgan's Wonderland is a new therapy center called CRIT USA (Children's Rehabilitation Institute of Teleton.)  It almost feels like it really shares the same parking lot with Morgan's with Morgan's Academy in the middle (a middle and high school for children with special needs).  CRIT USA is a really large therapy center so you can't miss it from the street.   It opened in November of 2014 and is a 45,000 square foot state of the art facility that cost 18 million dollars to build.   I had the opportunity to schedule a tour while in San Antonio to view it.  I was in awe of it.  From the moment you walk in the doors you can very much tell how unique of a therapy center it truly is.  I've been in a lot of therapy centers and have seen nothing even close to this before.  

What makes this therapy center even more unique is how it accommodates providing therapy to children with relying on help from financial donors to ensure that every child can participate in therapy with a sliding scale of $1-$20 per therapy.  If you have a child with special needs you probably just fainted when I told you that amazing fact.  No insurance?  No medical necessity approval?  No PAR's?  No restorative potential questions?  None of it.  Your child needs therapy and you can't afford it - end of story this is the place you make a mad dash to.  Treating children with special needs has become a million dollar industry, with equipment and therapy costs not covered by insurance parents are draining all of their resources to offer their children a chance at recovery and a quality of life.  So just imagine if there was a place (and I'm telling you that there is) where those worries were taken care of? 

CRIT USA is extremely clean.  Hand sanitizing stations line the facility, the floors are clean, the walls are clean, chairs and tables all clean.  I even witnessed therapy mats being cleaned after each use.  Extremely important when you are dealing with medically fragile children.   They have all the traditional therapies; Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy; Speech Therapy, mixed in with some great new technology Lokomat, which is like a robotic outfit that assists with weight bearing, standing and patterning of walking.  Children walk while engaging in interactive games and dance programs on a screen in front of them.

They also have a beautiful sensory room for therapy, and likely the most gorgeous warm water pool I have ever laid my eyes on.  I didn't even know what to do with myself I kept thinking someone just pinch me I'm dreaming as you'd never guess that something like this existed, let alone all children with special needs be able to access it.  Most families in fact come from out of state (families from 38 states have so far traveled for therapy), and spend about 2 weeks each stay, with room and board generally at the Ronald McDonald house, or by stating with other families that they have connected with that live locally in the area.  And families come a few times yearly.  That of course is the hardest part would be traveling for therapy, and in our case really hard as it takes two parents to travel with Noah because of his high needs and taking 6- 8 weeks off from your employer isn't going to be possible for most people yearly.  Ideally the center has the potential to be so highly beneficial for children that you'd want to take your child multiple times weekly, year round.

A large physical therapy area had really nice and new adaptive equipment.  Various styles of gait trainers, standers, even recreational adaptive bikes.  Tons of money just in equipment alone - to use while there lined up neatly, nicely and again very clean in a row.  It was like a gorgeous show room of equipment.  They have a really quaint and quiet parent's room where you can wait during therapies or take a moment to rest, clean restrooms with adequate changing spaces, activities for siblings and recreational activities through the week for children to participate in, they have their very own complete medical staff of neurologists, psychologists  and nutritionists to accompany their team of therapists.  It's just beautiful. 

The concept of CRIT is something that I celebrate and admire greatly.  Sometimes it feels like everyone is standing in line to just take advantage of an already bad situation financially with special needs families.  CRIT even has what they call a "shop"  but you go in and get what you need.  Pre-loved items, new diapers... it's all there to help you along your stay at no cost.  You go in and get what you need.   CRIT has the right idea 100 percent.  They are giving so many children a real chance at help because they aren't charging these families an arm and a leg for help.  Generous donors are paving the way for possibilities for all of these children.  And I'm all for telling insurance companies they can go hug a rock - most of the time that avenue feels worthless anyway.

There was also a beautiful sense of community as you walked the halls.  Other parents openly saying hello, smiling, waiving.  It was certainly friendly, warm and welcoming.  I hope CRIT USA expands, I'd love it if they planted one in Colorado.  While predominately a Spanish/American facility it accommodates and services all children with special needs and nationalities.   If you are in the San Antonio area this center is definitely worth scheduling a tour/visit to determine if you think it is a good match for your child's needs.  If nothing else your jaw will drop from all the fancy technology and resources it has to offer.   This center gets a high five and a fist bump!  It is amazing.

After our tour we met the co-founders of Project Angel Fares for dinner at at wonderful restaurant called Soluna.  Texas has amazing Mexican food.  A really pretty restaurant with incredible plants and flowers.  We were greeted by Melissa and Kevin's son, Dylan.  He gave us the biggest hug.  A truly sweet and special young man.  I could tell in his genuine hug that he is going to grow up in his parent's footsteps and do amazing acts of random kindness.   He had such a tender way about him for his young age.  Our hosts could not have been more lovely and true to their mission of helping children and families on the special needs journey.   They have a sincere and honest passion, the kind of people when you are around them that inspires you personally to find ways of doing more - giving back more, helping more - being everything you can be to be that guiding light for someone else trying to find their way out of the darkness.

Dinner was scrumptious, and I think that Soluna had the best guacamole and queso that I have ever had.  The presentation of food was just lovely.  Comfort food at it's best.   A must dine place if you are visiting San Antonio.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel for the comforts of some great complimentary water and got some rest for our surprise visit to the San Antonio Aquarium and Sea World!!!! 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.