UPCT was founded to fill gaps in care for children’s rehabilitative or educational therapy. Working in collaboration with regional partners, UPCT will first help cover summer therapy needs for children by providing a 6 week program in Marquette and Delta Counties, with expansion expected in the coming years. Other areas of need are being evaluated and addressed by UPCT’s experienced Board of Directors. UPCT is funded by grants, donations, service fees and other fundraising. UPCT is not an insurance based program.  

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In the early 1990’s, UPCT Founder Dave Aro, who worked in therapy staffing, partnered with Nancy Bell who was the Regional Director for Easter Seals to provide a quality summer speech therapy program for children throughout the central Upper Peninsula of MI. The program, run by Easter Seals and staffed by Aro’s company, would run for 6 weeks and provide two sessions a week for a small registration fee. Over the years, this program grew to serve more than 120 children each summer in Marquette, Delta, Schoolcraft and Alger Counties. With the subsequent changes at the Easter Seals organization, the program moved to being funded primarily by the Bell Foundation and the CBC in Manistique and managed under the Bell Hospital umbrella. With the change in local healthcare, the Bell Foundation and Bell Hospital separated and became the Western Marquette County Health Foundation and the for-profit UPHS – Bell and the program had to look for a new home. The YMCA of Marquette County housed the program from 2013-2016 with Superior Rehabilitation & Professional Services (SRPS) managing the program, but the YMCA, due to organizational restructuring, retreated to core programming so the summer speech was again looking for a partner. Thankfully the 2017 summer was saved by the Lake Superior Community Partnership Foundation, who graciously agreed to house the program for that summer while SRPS continued to look for a non-profit home for the program, which was also now working closely with the Northern Michigan University (NMU) Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences on the program. With time running short, the partners of SRPS – Wendi Thomas, Kristin Andreae and Dave Aro agreed to start a non-profit organization to give the summer speech program a permanent home. With the help of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, the arduous process of forming a 501c3 non-profit began in May of 2017 with 501c3 status granted in September. When word got out, other gaps in care or programming for children that were related to rehabilitation began to surface. This prompted the formation of an active governing board to evaluate and address the perceived gaps in children’s services that UPCT could potentially help with. The board has set the goal of stabilizing the then growing the summer program and will look at other needs in the community. UPCT is a very young organization but has very deep roots. It is our goal to make sure that the rehabilitation needs of children, whether they be speech therapy for articulation, occupational therapy for self-care, or physical therapy to help a child walk safely, are addressed regardless of insurance or ability to pay. This is not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be cheap, but we believe that there is enough support for children in our community and region to give us a fighting chance to be a part of the solution!
  • The summer speech program provides 6 weeks of either individual or group therapy to children generally between the ages of 3 and 12 years old. The therapy is generally very helpful to continue gains made throughout the school year or to prevent regression.  Children may have a clinical diagnosis in addition to educational.  The program can be more intensive and focused than school therapy.
  • The children who benefit from this program are those who would not attend Baycliff Health Camp. Letters are mailed to every school in the areas serviced to the attention of the special education department and speech therapists with program information as well as to clinical therapists.
  • The therapy provided is based on the suggestions from the child’s school or clinical therapist and generally is a continuation of the school or clinical program, although possibly more intensive. For young children, the referral can come from a physician or other sources such as NMU.  Progress reports are done each visit and a summary is done for each child and sent to the school therapist and parent upon completion of the program.  Participant feedback has been 100% positive.
  • Program began in the mid-1990’s under the local Easter Seals office and was provided at first in Marquette county and then moved to Alger, Delta, Schoolcraft and Dickinson. For 2009-2011, the program was partially funded by the Bell Foundation as Easter Seals pulled out of the U.P. entirely.  Currently the program has been provided in Marquette, Ishpeming and Escanaba.
  • At its peak in the mid-2000’s, the program was seeing up to 150 children. In 2014 this program saw 20 children, in 2015 it grew to 41 and has hovered around that mark but has had limited funding to promote the program, as well as limited funding to provide the services so has not been aggressively marketed.
  • Superior Rehabilitation & Professional Services (SRPS) employs the staff and management that has run the program since Easter Seals left the area. Since 2015, the program has been done in conjunction with NMU staff, and receives limited grant funds from NMU.
  • The program partners with local school districts and ISD’s for space to provide the program and in 2015 NMU’s summer program merged with this program and uses their facility. There is no other program like this in the region.
  • The cost of the program is for the direct cost of staffing and supplies. SRPS provides the staffing at a steep discount.

UP Children’s Therapy

600 U.S. 41
Negaunee, MI 49866

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Office: (906) 401-0040

Fax: (906) 401-0180

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