by News Channel 8's Jocelyn
Maminta, Watertown-WTNH, June 14, 2004
Selecting the right daycare is a challenge for any parent, but more so for
parents of special needs children. There are only a few childcare centers
equipped and staffed to do the job.
Playing with other kids is part of growing up, but four-year-old Jared
Rollo has to learn how to share and communicate with children his own age.
His mother Rebecca Rollo says Jared's behavioral issues require special
attention other daycare centers could not handle.
"I was looking for someone that can take care of him, someone who can
teach him things learn to share, learn the ability to reason with other
people," Rebecca said.
She found Cathy Wickline, owner of Kangaroos Korner in Watertown, who acts
as a case manager for desperate families like Jared's.
"There are a lot of programs out there," Wickline says. "It's just hard to
know where the programs are and which ones are the good programs."
Wickline is an occupational therapist. She began this non-profit facility
to welcome children of all abilities. "I have children with special needs.
I know what it's like to be alone out there and not have the connections."
This session has Jared trying to better connect with other children.
Wickline says eye contact and learning to take turns are key to improving
Jared's social skills.
"We started off by looking at different therapy programs that can do some
occupational and physical therapy with him, evaluate his overall
development and to see if there's a problem with his development."
Rebecca Rollo says, "my son has done a total complete 180. He is very
nice. He shares with the kids. He's learning everyday tasks that sometimes
I cannot do because I work full-time."
That's progress in only three months. Now Jared is getting building blocks
to a brighter future.
Currently a third of the students at Kangaroo's Corner have behavioral to
physical needs. Cathy Wickline is looking to start an outreach program to
train daycare centers in the Waterbury area.