Parents: new treatment center will keep children closer

Parents will do whatever they can when their child’s health is in jeopardy, which could mean traveling hours away. But that may soon change for some families.

A new children’s treatment center will open behind the Marshall County Hospital at 1230 Oak Level Road. It will specialize in treating autism and other behavioral health issues in children. And closing the travel gap for treatment will be invaluable to families.

This is the face of autism. Grace is screaming for her father, Bob Bloomingburg, even though he’s standing right in front of her. Grace has a severe form of autism, and it got worse as she got older.

“(She was) hurting herself, biting herself, pulling her hair,” says Bloomingburg.

For Grace’s protection, her parents put her in treatment. They would drive three hours to visit Grace, but could only visit for 30 minutes a week.

“Emotionally, we felt we were abandoning her and had no way of telling her we would be back," says Bloomingburg.

That’s why Bloomingburg says a treatment center closer to home would have made all the difference.

The new center has broken ground at the new site, but it’ll be another eight to 10 months before it’s completed

Board member for the center Dr. Maqbool Ahmed says they’ll treat several behavioral health issues in children. He says a treatment center like this is much needed in the area.

“It’s a lot of emotional burden on the family to take care of the child, and we hope we can lessen some,” says Ahmed.

Grace is too old to go to the treatment center now, and she is at a home in Paducah. But, Bloomingburg says, being closer to their children could give other families a better experience.

“(The difference is) to be able to say ‘Hey, I’ll be able to see you in a couple days,’ versus ‘I can’t come to see you that often,’” says Bloomingburg.

The center’s site is near the Marshall County hospital, but it will not be affiliated with the hospital.

Per state guidelines, a center like this can only treat a 5-year age group, so they’ll treat kids ages 12 to 17.

The center has not decided on an official name yet. It will start with around 24 beds.

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