While we are all facing challenges presented by COVID-19, children with disabilities are among those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Their families are also already experiencing the social and economic consequences of a global pandemic. Many Variety Kids have lost access to vital tools such as equipment and therapy following the closures of schools and clinics.
That is why Variety St. Louis is committed to providing local Variety Kids with uninterrupted access to critical medical equipment, therapy services and more. From the very beginning of this crisis, Variety has worked to develop innovative ways to ensure that these children are still able to get the help they need to avoid setbacks while staying safe at home.
Following the shelter-in-place orders and the pandemic, several therapy providers in the St. Louis region closed their doors out of concern for the health and safety of their clients. While some were able to transition to providing teletherapy sessions, others were not able to make the switch. Because physical, occupational and speech therapies are vital to the long-term health of many Variety Kids, Variety quickly adapted and expanded our TherHappy Kids program to include assistance with telehealth therapy sessions.
We have entered into a relationship with a new TherHappy Kids partner, E-Therapy, to provide access to virtual physical, occupational and speech therapy for children with disabilities without access to their therapist. E-Therapy is a telehealth therapy provider that has been delivering virtual pediatric therapy around the country for eleven years, and we have already heard many success stories from our families who have made the switch.
Variety has continued to offer assistance with up to three therapy visits per month, per Variety child. If a child’s current therapy provider is already offering teletherapy sessions, and is a TherHappy Kids partner, we have continued to assist with the cost of those sessions as well.
In addition, we have streamlined our application process to fast-track requests for assistance with both therapy and medical equipment so that we can meet the community’s needs as quickly as possible. Families of area children with disabilities (ages birth to 21) are encouraged to apply and submit requests for crucial services like teletherapy and medical equipment using our streamlined application for financial assistance.
We also understand that this pandemic as brought new challenges to many families of children with disabilities. So, we are now considering applications from families who typically would not qualify for financial support if special circumstances, such as a loss of income, apply. This applies to both our Durable Medical Equipment program and our TherHappy Kids program.
Finally, we are continually reaching out directly to current Variety Families to check on their well-being, updating them about programs they are involved in and seeing how Variety can help them during this time. And we are in constant contact with our vendor partners to better understand possible limitations and how these may affect Variety Families.
If you are looking for assistance for your child with special needs, please click here for more information and to apply now using our streamlined application. Please do not hesitate to reach out!
We rely on the generosity of our donors to continue making this level of care and support possible. If you can, please give to help Variety Kids at HelpAVarietyKid.org. Thank you!