CDSLP is celebrating our 10th year in business. We have grown, across these last 10 years, from a single provider treating children in a small office room - to a 12+ provider, multi-specialty pediatric practice serving two counties. For our very first blog, I wanted to describe this amazing journey and what it means to me.
Our practice started as an idea born of need. Personal friends of my family had a young son with cerebral palsy and were traveling 45 minutes (one way!) multiple times per week for therapies in Wilmington. At the time, I was working for a private practice in New Jersey, but was looking to return home to be near my family. I recognized the need in Kent and Sussex County to have quality services for our local children. With support from my family, I took the plunge and, at 26 years old, filed for a business license and rented office space. I will never forget those early days - eager, waking up early, getting dressed, hitting the pavement all on my own to spread the word about my new business venture to doctors and schools. Most of all, I will never forget sitting in the empty office and the feeling I had the first time I answered the phone and accepted a patient.
Since those days, CDSLP has grown slowly and organically. We hired new therapists based on impeccable qualifications, feedback and reviews we received from families and other therapists, and based on our shared mission to provide excellent services. We hired skilled office staff we felt would help us succeed in our mission. We focused on patient care and supporting the families of the children we serve. We have worked hard to keep the children and their interests at the heart of our practice. Our pride has swelled with each of their accomplishments and our hearts have been heavy witnessing some of the struggle along the way - but each step has been a privilege to witness. Our families are truly our family here - our staff know each child, parent, and sibling by name. In fact, our front desk staff know each child's lollipop flavor preference. We lose sleep when a tough IEP is approaching, we ask about beach trips and family vacations, and our patients ask us about our sons/daughters/grandchildren and life events. We aren't perfect - sometimes the office makes mistakes, sometimes patients forget scheduled appointments. But we are in this together, and that's a good place to be.
Far from the days I spent waiting for the phone to ring, I now sometimes have to circle to find a parking spot :) As I look around, I see each and every person here for the right reason. Parents sacrificing - making time in busy schedules, toting siblings along, observing sessions, facilitating meetings with school teams; Therapists working hard - collaborating with other professionals, writing appeal letters for services, searching for the "key" that will reach a particular child. We are busy and expanding (new office space in Sussex, addition of Occupational Therapy services!). Each room now is filled with children learning and progressing - with needs being met. Our services are provided with compassion and respect for the work these children have to do, just to be able to communicate like all other children. I am filled with very humble gratitude that my therapists have let me share my vision with them, that our parents place their trust in us with what means most to them in life, that the office staff persevere because they know that each insurance battle equals care for a child in need, and most of all - I am filled with awe at the children - that they come, weeknights and weekends, often with smiles (sometimes not!!) and fight for what others take for granted - to have their say in the world.
With many thanks to all those whose shoulders I have stood upon and to those that have walked with me and, sometimes, carried me -