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Children’s rehab facility gets new name, branding

HOWLAND — When a child goes through a traumatic experience or is born with a disability, interventions to provide for social, physical and verbal development are essential to their well-being.

However, finding the services the child needs while he or she is young, and going into the future, can be quite a daunting task, especially when it comes time to navigate insurance or private payment.

A local provider is hoping to make more people aware of what they do and who they do it for, and is hoping the generosity of the community will help connect more children to rehabilitation services in the tri-county area.

In an effort to drum up a campaign, the executive director of Children’s Rehabilitation Center of Howland announced Wednesday the center is changing its name to Northeastern Ohio Children’s Rehabilitation Center.

Along with a new name, the center is rebranding itself with a new logo and new web site, and focusing on highlighting what it needs in order to keep providing services to children in the community, said Michael Crogan, executive director.

The new website, NEOCRC.org, can accept donations, Crogan said.

Crogan said while insurance pays for some services, it often limits visits per year, and some children need more visits than what is allowed.

There are waiting lists for children to get into the therapies NEOCRC provides, Crogan said. And some other rehab facilities geared toward children only focus on the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, rather than longterm therapies that improve the quality of life of the young people in the long run.

“There is no shortage of need for our services. We try to serve as many as we can, and often keep serving them even if the insurance runs out,” Crogan said.

The center provides physical therapy to promote independence and mobility, occupational therapy to promote learning, self-care and play skills, speech-language therapy to develop language and communication skills, infant therapy for early interventions, and social service intervention to help kids develop coping strategies, social skills and build healthy relationships.

In the past, local agencies were able to supply more funding for operations, but that funding is becoming scarce because the organizations don’t have access to as much money as in the past.

Crogan said he hopes to see a grassroots-like campaign to keep the center funded.

“We are hoping for donations of $10, $20 from people who care and want to easily donate on the new website. We are looking for bigger donors too, anything is on the table — naming rights, wings, bequests, monthly supporters, one-time donors, other types of sponsorships,” Crogan said.

The hits to the local economy with the loss of some big industries lately trickle down, Crogan said.

“We have to get out there and tell people what it is we do and move forward in a self-sufficient way. Hopefully we can grow as we do and serve more people,” Crogan said.

Board member Renee Maiorca of Cortland became involved in the center about 30 years ago when her then-17-month-old son suffered a cardiac event. The incident left him with disabilities.

Her son, now 32, received services at the center as a child. Seeing a gap in services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, especially a lack of social events, Maiorca created a camp and an organization to encourage social relationships for people like her son.

Maiorca said having support from family or other people in similar situations is important for parents of children who need rehabilitation services.

“I’ve seen kids who have come a long way, kids that wouldn’t talk or look at you, kids with no social skills, who have totally changed the direction of their lives with these therapies,” Maiorca said. “Good things happen, just by giving these kids a chance.”

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