'Magic bus' provides therapy to children with special needs who are stuck at home

Stacey Sager Image
Friday, September 4, 2020
'Magic bus' brings sensory therapy to children with special needs
Stacey Sager has more on a Long Island-based pediatric clinic that is bringing much-needed therapy and exercise to children with special needs.

PORT WASHINGTON, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island-based pediatric clinic and play gym is bringing much-needed therapy and exercise to children with special needs using an innovative mobile workspace.

Packed up and ready to go, Laura Kelly is both the occupational therapist and the bus driver on the first run for the "magic bus" as they like to call it.

3-year-old Liam was the first child to be picked up in Port Washington.

"It is the best idea ever, because he just walks out the front door, goes on the bus, gets his therapy and everybody can resume their schedules as normal," Liam's mother Kim Scheinthal said.

Liam has autism and like many others on the spectrum, he is in need of these vital services which for the most part have only been offered remotely for months now.

The facility "More Than A Gym" based in Plainview offers on-site sensory therapy, but coincidentally six months ago they developed the bus for community outreach.

It's potentially a lifeline at a time when many kids with special needs can't seem to get mandated services and parents often have increased responsibilities at home.

"The remote sessions do not work for everyone, and they really need the one-to-one sessions, so we're bringing that to them," owner Yelena Palazzo said.

The smaller space actually helps children on the spectrum feel more secure as the ceilings are low and they can still get the workout they need.

In addition, the bus is easy to sanitize, it has a HEPA filter as well as vital equipment from the gym.

Right now, the therapy is being offered in Great Neck, Manhasset, and Port Washington, but the goal is to expand the reach to meet parents' increasing needs.


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