Proposed New Center Would Help Developmentally Handicapped Kids

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Helping developmentally handicapped children is the goal of a fund-raising drive for a proposed $6 million center to diagnose and treat developmental problems, the founder of the National Institute on Developmental Delays said Tuesday.

"We can train pediatricians. We can train therapists," the Rev. Paul Zahler said as he announced plans for the new facility on the grounds of St. Gregory's College in Shawnee.

"We're offering now a new perspective with people with developmental delays," the Roman Catholic priest said.

The proposed center will provide overnight and extended housing for children and adults who suffer from developmental delay, which can include a wide range of developmental disabilities from mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome. The center's four wings will house specific activities dedicated to diagnosis and therapy, intervention and education, recreation and research and development.

"Our successes come one at a time and are very personal to us at the institute," Zahler said. "Our reward is the laughter of children whose burden we have lightened and whose struggle to cope with their personal disaster has been lessened."

The Oklahoma Benedictine Institute Child Development Center, predecessor to the institute, was established in 1974 at St. Gregory's Abbey.

"His center has been there as long as I've been in Tecumseh," said state Auditor and Inspector Cliff Scott. …


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