Ivy Rehab Opens New England’s First Pediatric Center In Newtown
UPDATED: This feature has been updated removing several services listed as available at the Newtown center in our print edition. Some pediatric services are not yet offered at all Ivy Rehab for Kids centers.
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With more than 200 rehabilitation centers nationwide, when it came time to open New England’s first Ivy Rehab for Kids pediatric rehabilitation center, the company chose Newtown.
Founded in 2003, Ivy Rehab is a rapidly growing network of outpatient physical, occupational, speech, and ABA therapy clinics in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast, according to the company website. The Ivy Rehab network consists of multiple brands, including pediatric centers like the one locally, dedicated to providing exceptional care and personalized treatment to get patients feeling better, faster.
That is the goal of the small and highly engaged staff of Ivy Rehab for Kids at 33 Church Hill Road, which is led by lifelong pediatric rehab specialist Colleen Weitekamp, MSPT, PCS, the Newtown clinical director. Her team includes Christy Machan, OTR/L, Kerri Bell, CCC/SLP, Kathleen Doan, OTR/L, and Katrina Campbell, patient coordinator.
“I’ve been a physical therapist since 1998, and have worked in pediatrics for the entirety of my career,” Weitekamp told The Newtown Bee during an interview February 12. She said she valued her first opportunity to be a pediatric clinical director, “and it’s doing what I love at Ivy’s first pediatric rehab center in New England, which is really exciting.”
This highly specialized “Pediatric Therapy Center of Excellence” brings together numerous specialties under one roof, Weitekamp explained. Among the services offered locally are pediatric PT/OT and speech, as well as feeding therapy, telehealth, and free developmental screenings.
Weitekamp said she knew after her own relationship formed with a physical therapist following a high school running injury that this would be her career.
“Physical therapy was really interesting for me,” she said. “I loved the problem-solving element of the work, and I saw how my own therapist was figuring things out by just moving me in different ways. So I thought I would go to PT school and work with outpatients.”
But when she arrived and learned there was a pediatric specialty, Weitekamp never looked back.
“I’d always been a kid person — I was a coach, a babysitter, and really gravitated to children. So when I realized I could do something I already thought was super interesting, and do it with children, it was a grand slam,” she said.
This newly opened Ivy facility is located in the Vein Institute building across from Bagel Delight. Ivy Rehab and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) have partnered to jointly open these Centers of Excellence, providing a wide range of equipment and services with highly trained therapists.
“We’ve created a warm, caring, and fun environment that will exceed expectations and enable each child to reach their maximum potential,” Weitekamp wrote in a recent blog.
“This facility specializes in developing individualized treatment plans, customized for each child’s unique needs,” she said. “Whether it’s improving sensory processing skills, handwriting, mobility, self-regulation, developmental delays, motor coordination, speech sound production, stuttering, feeding, language deficits, social skills, or other needs, the compassionate team in Newtown is here to help.”
As indicated, Weitekamp is highly experienced in treating infants, children, and teens who have a wide variety of reasons for requiring physical therapy.
Among the conditions she specializes in are developmental delay, torticollis, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, medically complex children, toe walking, gait abnormalities, and genetic disorders. She combines her broad experience with her sincere passion for her work to not only impact the lives of her patients, but also teach the families how to advocate for their children.
“Parental or caregiver involvement is absolutely vital from visit number one,” she said.
“If therapy is only happening during the 45 minutes they spend in my office twice a week, there’s not going to be the kind of success you can have if everyone is buying in to the therapy. Part of that is focusing on the things happening at home to be part of the family lifestyle,” Weitekamp said. “I try to make sure things like setting up how you play with your child and how you carry your child in more purposeful therapeutic ways are as user-friendly as possible so the caregivers can see the value of what they do is as important as what I do.”
She said first-time visitors to her pediatric center are often surprised at how different it is from an adult physical therapy outpatient center.
“What we do here is much more neuro-developmental,” said Weitekamp. “This comprehensive pediatric rehab center, affiliated with the Hospital for Special Surgery, will fill a vital need for infants, children and teens needing PT, OT, or speech therapy. We, as a team of therapists, look forward to helping our community and caring for its youngest members.”
Newtown resident Kerrie Glassman — regional director of operations for Ivy Rehab — said the company leadership is thrilled to expand their presence into her home town and to begin building relationships with patients and physicians in the area.
“This pediatric facility will be the first of its kind in the Northeast, offering PT, OT, and ST,” Glassman said. “It’s an honor to join this bright and growing community. With the highest quality of care, dedication to education and patient outcomes, we know this special facility with have a very positive impact on every child and family who enters it.”
The Newtown office offers early morning and late evening appointment hours and is open Monday through Friday.
To request an appointment or to learn more about pediatric, occupational, physical, or speech therapy at the Ivy Rehab for Kids HSS Pediatric Therapy Center of Excellence in Newtown, call 475-282-0932 or visit ivyrehab.com/location/newtownct.