Last updated: August 17. 2014 3:42PM - 447 Views
By - lmoody@civitasmedia.com

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BURKETTSVILLE - Twenty-eight Darke countians can be seen at the Center for Neurological Center here on any given day through the week; 21 are patients and seven are employees.

The center, according to Director Joan Kiser, is non-profit, so it receives no state or federal aid.

“We depend solely on contributions to pay the bills and meet the challenges of these expenses,” she said. “We have gotten money from Darke County United Way, and Midmark has donated equipment. Darke Rural Electric has donated and Eldora Speedway is giving us some of its money from 50/50 drawings. On seven of their races, we get one-third of the half through the Tony Stewart Foundation.”

Otherwise, other organizations and individuals have fundraisers for the center.

“E&R in Yorkshire does duck races every year and we received $19,000 this year. Goat Hill Acres and E&R hold chicken dinners regularly, three or four times a year, and have probably been doing that for 20 years for us. We depend on the goodness and charity of the private sector”

The center primarily deals with neurologically-impaired children and adults, who because of damage to their brain cell, suffer from physical, perceptual and academic handicaps.

Through the four stages of mobility development (arm and leg movement, crawling, creeping standing and walking), workers there encourage the unhurt portions to become activated and take over bodily functions.

Neurological impairment covers a broad spectrum. Some of the specific diagnosis that the center has experienced are brain damage, brain injury, mental retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s’ Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, learning disability, neurological dysfunction and spinal cord injury.

Kiser has been with the facility since it began 30 years ago when she was a live-in care-giver. Five families, at the time, were driving to the Piqua Center.

The center was founded in 1984 by those five Mercer County families, who were seeking a facility to house an outpatient therapy clinic. Of the original five families, three are still coming to the center in Burkettsville.

For the first 18 years, the facility was located in a retired school building owned by the St. Peter Catholic parish near Fort Recovery. Through their generosity, the center occupied the building free from rent.

On June 25, 2002, the board of trustees decided to purchase the elementary school building owned by the St. Henry School District in Burkettsville at a price of $1. The purchase of a building and decision to move came from a desire of those involved in the organization to create a permanent home for the center.

This facility can serve a greater number of clients per day with room to grow.

There are many operating expenses including the cost of therapy equipment, maintenance, etc., that must be financed solely by the center.

Patients have to be evaluated for a fee, but then they can start at the center for however long they want free of charge if they are accepted.

The patient has to bring one helper with him/her.

The day-to-day use of the center to the clients is free of charge due to the volunteer staff. The center provides and trains volunteers to aid clients in carrying out their therapy.

The volunteers, it was pointed out, are the heartbeat of the organization. Their selfless involvement enhance the overall morale and make being a part of the center a unique experience.

The center is ruled by a 12-member board of trustees. The daily operating staff consists of a director, assistant director, secretary and therapist assistant. A tutor is available to provide academic perceptual and speech stimulation to clients when warranted.

To enroll, a client must be evaluated by a certified, sensorimotor developmentalist. An appointment can be made by contacting the center at 419-375-4878. The center, located at 78 W. Main St., is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Clients are re-evaluated approximately every four months, at which times programs are revised following progress achieved.

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