CI Pediatric Therapy Centers is fulfilling a need in Waunakee and Dane County, providing occupational therapy and mental health services to young people. Mona Jonet and Annabelle Knight, both speech therapists, spoke about youth mental health needs and the services the centers provide during the May 27 Rotary Zoom presentation. It would be the last time the club would meet in a virtual format for the foreseeable future.
Todd Schmidt noted that the Create Waunakee committee has been bringing speakers to various service club meetings to discuss mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mona and Annabelle said 7.7 percent of youths have no access to mental health services, adding 13 percent of children ages 8-15 experience serious mental illness at some point.
Getting help begins with a referral from a pediatrician.
The different types of mental health providers include psychotherapists or counselors and psychologists, who focus on the connection between the brain and behavior. There are also psychiatrists, medical doctors who can prescribe medications to address chemical imbalances in the brain.
Common warning signs of mental health illness include feeling sad for more than two weeks, taking more risks, changes in sleep and appetite, seeing, or hearing or believing thoughts that are not real. Anxiety habits to watch for include repeating questions and needing a routine.
Feelings of depression or anxiety and some behaviors can impact a child’s ability to function and learn. The occupational therapists help by working from the child’s strengths to develop coping skills such as physical activity and mindfulness. Occupational therapy uses a preferred occupation such as cooking or reading, and recreational therapy will use sports to help young people find a positive activity and boost confidence.
Speech therapists can help with communication disorders. Mona and Annabelle said language impairment can result in misperceptions. The child’s use of language may give the impression of defiant behavior.
Mona and Annabelle discussed ways parents can support their children’s mental health in their home environment. These include establishing routines, using visual aids to help children identify their emotions and working with them to create calm spaces. To view the meeting its entirety, use the link below.  
Passcode: H9KS2@?L
Other news:
-The club will meet in person at Rex’s Innkeeper next week. Waunakee High School students who received Rotary scholarships will be present with their parents. See you next week!!
-Phil Willems still has some flower baskets left. Let him know if you want one.  
-June 29 is the steak fry, or changing of the guard, at Drumlin Ridge Winery.
-June 21 is Make Music Waunakee and a sesquicentennial celebration will be at Hometown Pharmacy.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: June 5, Cindy and Brad Patzner; June 6, Howard and Elizabeth Ann Teeter;  June 7, Don and Mary Hoffman