Seashore Pediatric Therapy Center Geared Toward Helping Children Grow

Aug 09, 2017
Courtesy of: Jane DiMaggio/Seashore Pediatric Therapy Center

Like many other children’s stories, Loren Eisley’s “The Starfish Story” is both simple and profound. It goes something like this: A man walking along the beach crosses paths with a boy who is busy throwing starfish back into the ocean, and the man, essentially, tells the boy he can’t possibly make much of a difference given the number of starfish on the “miles and miles of beach.” The boy then picks up a starfish, tosses it into the surf, and says, “I made a difference to that one.”

That story has resonated with Rob Matthews for a long time, and was, at least in part, the catalyst behind the recent opening of Seashore Pediatric Therapy Center in Manahawkin.

“I spent some years as an outpatient physical therapist, and with adults in that setting you’re treating multiple people at once,” said Matthews, a 1986 Southern Regional High School graduate and managing owner of Seashore, located at 230 Division St., at the corner of Lyle Avenue and a block off Route 9 near Oxycocus Elementary School. “With children, especially those with special needs, you’re doing one-on-one treatment and intervention. And that’s why we’re here, to make a difference in the life of a child.”

After years of working within other practices and with schools for 14 years, Matthews saw a need in Southern Ocean County for a pediatric therapy practice to deal with the increasing number of children with special needs – from autism spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy to gross motor delay and neuromuscular disorders.

“I’ve been in this area since the 1970s, lived in Barnegat and went to Southern, so I know the area well,” he said. “And unfortunately, the nearest therapy center that really focuses on this type of treatment and intervention was in Toms River, so there was a tremendous need around here for these types of services.”

Given the need, Matthews and several therapists he knew developed a plan to deliver for the community. The next trick was finding a place where they could provide such service. Matthews came upon the former site of Healing Hands, which moved to Mill Creek Road early in 2016.

“The building is a good size for what we need, and it’s a good location for us,” Matthews said. “Dr. Nicole Bonner was great to work with, and we’re looking forward to serving the community from the building.”

Along with physical therapist Daniel Gilson, occupational therapist Tamara Hollenback, speech pathologist Christine Eiserle and office manager Keirsten Lipowski, Matthews said Seashore is going to be heavily focused on “providing professional, comprehensive care for children in a fun, safe, well-equipped environment.”

“We’re not just a bunch of therapists doing a job,” he said. “This is a calling, and as corny as it may sound, we’re really there to make a difference in the lives of the children we’re going to serve. Our focus is not on where they’re at, but where they’re going in life. A lot of what we do helps children for the rest of their lives.”

And while Matthews acknowledges that the largest need in the area includes children with special needs, he also said Seashore can help children in other ways.

“We’re specialized in many aspects of therapeutic care and intervention,” he said. “So, while we definitely have a great handle on how to help children with special needs, we easily can help children who have had injuries or have been treated for cancer and other childhood illnesses.”

Matthews and the Seashore team also know the service and care they provide doesn’t end once a child walks out the door of their office.

“We promote family involvement as a valuable part of the therapy process and encourage education and training,” states Seashore’s website. “Our goal is to help each child and family grow.”

For more information about Seashore Pediatric Therapy Center, visit seashoreptc.com or call 609-607-7400.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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