COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Non-profit aims to provide therapy for special needs kids at no cost

Community Spotlight: Therapize helps children with special needs
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:37 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - There is a relatively new non-profit organization in the Wilmington area that aims to help special needs children by providing fun therapy. It’s called Therapize.

“We want to bring additional therapeutic programs to the families affected by special needs children and we want to do it in a fun way,” said Dr. Karen Harum, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician.

Dr. Harum is the lead physician at the Clinic for Special Children located off Eastwood Rd. in Wilmington. The clinic specializes in working with children who have special needs such as autism and hearing loss but those services come at a cost. The programs Therapize offers are not covered under insurance which is why the non-profit was started.

“Without those insurance benefits being able to pay for them, we just want to provide those services that we know are good for them,” said Dr. Harum.

Therapize focuses on providing fun therapy for children. The non-profit, for example, puts on canine events for children who might benefit from a therapeutic dog but might be afraid of them. Other fun but therapeutic events include hayrides and “Quiet Visits with Santa” and special haircut sessions for children at a farm in Castle Hayne.

“Kids who are super sensitive to electronics or hair cuts done by any means can have an opportunity to get a very slow haircut at the farm,” Dr. Harum said.

Dr. Robert Nutt is another physician at the Clinic for Special Children. He specializes in working with children who are hearing impaired just like he is. Therapize would not only help the children, but their families who may not have any experience in communicating with the deaf or hard of hearing.

“And so we are looking into sign language classes for parents and siblings,” said Dr. Nutt. “That’s something that we hope to start as well as opportunities for those families to connect with each other.”

The organization also provides music and dance therapy.

“We’ve also done a program called ‘Chance to Dance.’ We have a very gifted teacher and she knows sign language and she’s just gifted,” Dr. Harum said. “And she teaches dance to special needs kids and makes it super fun.”

Dr. Harum says she knows Therapize is making a difference to children and their families.

“These families are stressed out and they need breaks and they need support,” Dr. Harum said. “And one of our other initiatives is pulling together a support group for parents to be able to meet one another and to realize that they are not alone.”

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