Center for Independence in Pine Township helping children cope
Dr. Abigail Schlesinger understands the challenges faced by children with anxieties, learning disabilities or delayed development.
That's why she became a psychiatrist.
“I had family members with attention deficit disorder, and my mother had trouble getting treatment for them,” said Schlesinger, 39, of Meridian, Butler County, who now make a career of helping families find such help.
Schlesinger is medical director of the new Center for Independence operated by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at Pine Center in Pine.
The center opened July 1 in a second-floor suite of the Pine Center to serve children, up to age 18, with mild to moderate developmental or behavioral problems.
Schlesinger plans to offer group therapy sessions, for example, for children already receiving therapy on an individual bases from a psychologist or psychiatrist, speech, physical or occupational therapist.
A goal of the Center for Independence is to provide an opportunity for children to practice, in a group setting, physical to behavioral skills that they're learning during individual therapy sessions.
“We know that putting kids around their peers is the best way to help them succeed,” Schlesinger said.
Schlesinger planned to kick off Center for Independence programs this week with sessions for a small group of children preparing to enter school.
She expected participants to practice such classroom skills as sharing, sitting still and using devices.
A child diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, for example, may have trouble sitting still or following multiple steps of instruction.
“We have a lot of kids who have trouble adjusting to new foods. They don't like how it feels in their mouth,” Schlesinger said. “If there's anxiety in the child, it can make it worse ... Anxiety disorders are the most common. “
Obsessive-compulsive behaviors also are common, Schlesinger said.
After the widely publicized 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, “kids became afraid to touch doorknobs,” Schlesinger said. “We have kids who wash their hands a lot. We have kids who are afraid they're going to throw up, so they don't want to go to a restaurant.”
The Center for Independence plans to offer programs for children facing such challenges, along with issues related to feeding and grooming themselves, plus, a “chatterbox” group to help autistic children learn communication and social interaction skills.
“We know that putting kids around their peers is the best way to help them succeed,” said Schlesinger.
The Center for Independence is among a growing number of outpatient services available through the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at Pine Center.
Bernard Patter son of Ross said he's pleased with the speech therapy his 3-year-old daughter Lucia receives through Children's Hospital at the Pine Center.
“The outpatient therapy just seems to be better than at-home therapy,” Patterson said. “There are less distractions.”
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh also offers a dermatology and acne treatment clinic at Pine Center, plus Children's Community Pediatrics, where approximately 100 physicians see children for routine checkups, and can refer children to occupational, physical and speech therapists, ophthalmologists, mental health professionals and specialists in multiple areas of neurodevelopment.
For information on child and family counseling services, call 724-933-3910.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins’ Scuderi, Despres an odd couple on defense
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Pitt’s Dixon searching for answers in Maui
- NFL notebook: RG3 ‘not happy’ with benching
- Kiski Area boys ready for encore
- Kiski Area girls brace for rough season
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet
- Holiday greeting cards benefit charities
- ‘Charlie Brown’s Christmas’ reminder of holiday message
- Former Worthington police chief going to trial
- Manorville boy gets his wish: a week at Walt Disney World