Children at Gulf Coast communication center learn important skills while also having fun

Children at Gulf Coast communication center learn important skills while also having fun

LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Helping young children with complex communication needs is the main goal for the Children’s Center for Communication and Development, located on the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park Campus.

More than 40 kids have lots of fun while also absorbing critical information.

For Jacob Neumann’s birthday, it’s party and learning time as the young boy with down syndrome celebrates his life while he also learns the sights and sounds of this important milestone.

“Yes we gave him a birthday party, but we’re also giving him the language of a birthday party,” said Haley Rishel, center coordinator. “We work with a lot of kids who have complex communication disabilities, ages 0-5. We work with kids with genetic syndromes, we work with kids on the autistic spectrum, and with kids who have significant hearing loss, teaching them to listen and speak.”

Meanwhile, Branson and Davis are enjoying a day on the listening and spoken language farm. Both boys have hearing loss, but here, the lessons are coming in loud and clear.

“The whole goal of our therapy is to play, just like any other child,” Rishel added.

The center has been here since 2013. However, it was in a different building across the street, and the new building, along with the learning tools, comes through donations and grants.

In other words, it’s no cost to the parents.

“The whole goal of the children’s center is to get these kids into their regular schools, so they can be with other kids, and we’re preparing them for that,” Rishel said.

There are also plans for an outdoor therapy center right next to the current building. For more information on the facility, you can learn more by clicking this link.

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