Developmental, Rehabilitative, Educational, and Adapted for Children with Mulitple Disabilities to improve everyone's quality of life.
In 2002, the number of children with disabilities in South Carolina was estimated at 52,798 – those with severe disabilities, 6336. (Rice 2009, Palisano 1997) In Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties alone, there are approximately 1,500 children. (www.census.gov, Anne E. Casey Foundation). Five years ago, the lives of four professional women (a pediatric physical therapist, a pediatric occupational therapist, a special education teacher, and a business professional and mother to Pattison) intersected because of one of these children. Pattison was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy as well as vision and hearing impairments and a severe intellectual disability. She requires a feeding tube, uses a wheelchair and needs constant care and supervision.
The level of care and attention she requires to maximize potential and minimize expensive and painful surgeries cannot be provided by a single person, school, or rehabilitation clinic in our area.
In 2006, Pattison’s Academy was formed with the mission to improve the quality of life for children with multiple and severe disabilities by providing comprehensive rehabilitation and education programs. The first initiative was to create a therapeutic summer program that provides daily special education instruction and community activities integrated with rehabilitation. In 5 years, the 5 week summer program has grown from serving 14 children to 45 children and we now have a public charter school by the name of Pattison's Academy for Comprehensive Education or PACE as we like to call it.
While the opening of this public charter school is the realization of a successful nonprofit business model and dream for many families and children, we are not content to rest. We are currently exploring partnerships with other organizations serving the same community in order to promote advocacy, provide professional and parental educational opportunities, promote effective and efficient systems change for these children and improve the quality of life for an entire community.
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