For more than 50 years, the Child Development Center of Natrona County has been serving the needs of the community. Throughout the years, CDC has constantly grown and evolved to become one of the community’s biggest resources for a variety of subjects.
Recently, CDC has made even more changes to their services, all of which will continue to serve parents and children in the years to come.
Some of those changes have come as additions. CDC recently welcomed a new Physical Therapist (Ashlyn Brennan), a new Registered Dietician (Abby Roich) and a new Audiologist (Dr. Kalley Ellis). All three bring with them a wealth of knowledge and a heart for children.
Ashlyn is coming on as a full-time Physical Therapist, with a focus on neuro-physical therapy. That’s not the only change to the CDC Therapy Services. In addition to the presence of Ashlyn, CDC is also offering Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy, all of which are in-house.
“We have 22 therapists that focus on providing kids with therapy,” stated Alisha Rone, Executive Director of the Child Development Center. “I feel like the CDC has really become a pillar in our community for serving kids.”
The addition of Ashlyn only strengthens that pillar. Rone continued, stating that Ashlyn will do “a number of things to get [children] back to where they should be, developmentally and motor-wise. From going upstairs to getting them off their walkers, to getting them out of their leg braces. It ranges, depending on the special needs that the child has. Ashlyn will continue to work with them, developmentally to get them to where they need to be.”
Likewise, CDC is proud to welcome its new Registered Dietitian, Abby Roich. Now, more than ever, proper nutrition is proving to be a cornerstone of healthy growth and development in children, and Abby is dedicated to helping resolve the challenges associated with feeding a family. She can provide personalized nutrition counseling services for nutrition-related issues such as breastfeeding support, weight management, disordered eating, failure to thrive, food texture and sensitivity concerns as well as eating to support ideal health and wellness.
“I think [nutrition] will come into play with a lot of kiddos, with or without special needs,” Rone said. “It’s hard to get your kids off the macaroni and cheese and hot dogs diet and get them into fruit and vegetables. How do you introduce that? And how do you introduce giving healthy snacks and giving families meal plans within their income level that’s healthy? We’re off to a great start with nutrition. I think it will impact more children than we realize.”
A child’s ability to hear is also vital to his or her development. Because of this, CDC welcomes its clinical audiologist, Dr. Kalley Ellis, Au.D., who specializes in working with kids. If a child has hearing loss, early intervention is key to identifying solutions to assist with clear communication, improved social skills, success in school and more. Services available through the Child Development Center and CDC Therapy Services include newborn hearing screenings, diagnostic evaluation, hearing aid services, follow-up testing and more for children birth to 21 years of age.
Rone stated that “[Dr. Ellis] will be here all the time and can see kiddos every week. What’s great about this, is that appointments can be scheduled within a short period of time and families will not have to travel as far. Dr. Ellis is also trained in working with children, so families can rest assured that the best practices are being used to know what their kiddo is hearing. She also works in collaboration with the Wyoming Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, traveling to other CDCs across the state to provide necessary training on hearing screenings, as well as ensure each center’s hearing equipment is functioning well. This is huge because we want to ensure that all of our kiddos are not only receiving great developmental and vision screenings, but great hearing screenings as well.”
CDC is also able to test and fit hearing instruments for children, in-house. All of these additions, plus many more to come, prove that CDC not only hears but actually listens to the needs of the community.
“CDC has been here for 52 years now and we’re going to be here for another 50+ years, providing for children and all of their needs,” Rone concluded. “We constantly listen to our families and get their feedback and continue to grow the program, based on the children’s needs in our community. We’ll have exciting things to come, I have no doubt. Already, with the audiologist and expanding nutrition, and CDC Therapy Services- we’re just filling in the gaps of the needs of our community children and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. Our goal is to be THE place that meets these needs for Casper’s kids! How exciting is that!”