Nacogdoches Treatment Center began in 1972 with a mission of meeting the unfulfilled needs of adults and children with disabilities, regardless of their ability to pay. The center has adapted over the years as different needs became apparent in the community, and, today, our care focuses on families dealing with dementia.
Nacogdoches Treatment Center has touched many lives over the years, and we are proud to have served the Nacogdoches County community in so many ways.
The Nacogdoches Treatment Center for Handicapped Children & Adults, Inc. was founded as a non-profit organization to provide physical therapy for persons who had sustained injury, were recovering from surgery or required long- term physical therapy to meet their daily needs for independence. At that time, Mary VanHoom, the only physical therapist in Nacogdoches County, worked for Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital and could not see patients after they were discharged. Through her vision and dream, the Nacogdoches Treatment Center was born.
Our physical therapy services continued until 1996 when it was determined that outpatient therapy needs were being met by the county’s two hospitals.
Even down time at Nacogdoches Treatment Center was spent well through our arts and crafts program. Between the early 1970s and 1980s, residents from nursing homes were transported to the Center for physical therapy. About 15 people were transported at once so while those residents were waiting for the others to complete their physical therapy, they filled their time with arts and crafts. It was a fun activity, and it served as occupational therapy and useful motor skills exercises, too.
Ladies from the community started coming to the Center in 1974 to make crafts for a bazaar, the proceeds of which helped provide funds to continue our non-profit work. The first annual bazaar was held in 1975, and it has continued to be one of our most successful fundraisers. The handmade items are crafted by volunteers who use mostly donated materials. Crafters still meet at the Center to socialize and make these crafts. Others do their crafting at home and unveil the finished product just before the bazaar which is held every year on the second Friday in November.
A quilting group for elderly ladies was formed in 1978 to encourage them to get out of the house and remain active in the community. This program is still going strong today. 10 to 15 members continue to meet weekly at the Center. All fees charged to the community for quilting are donated to the general fund of the Nacogdoches Treatment Center.
In the late 1980s, we introduced speech therapy into our services. This was of particular importance to stroke survivors whose insurance would no longer cover speech therapy. A partnership was formed between the Center and Stephen F. Austin State University to provide these services. The Center provided an off-campus location with special observation rooms. A licensed speech pathologist from SFASU would observe master’s level students in these rooms as students worked with our clients in a lab setting. These services later expanded to young children who needed speech training prior to attending school.
Individuals with disabilities found vocational preparation training and specialized job development at the Center beginning in December 1990. These five-week classes offered adults job readiness training, resume assistance, and interview techniques. Clients also learned when and how to disclose their disability to an employer, as well as techniques on how to live with a disability in the workplace. A job developer was employed specifically for this program, and they worked one-on-one to help clients find full and part-time jobs that fit their capabilities.
Our physical therapy services were terminated in 1996 after it became apparent that this need was being fulfilled elsewhere. Thus began our search for another way to help the community. It was soon discovered that a growing number of families were dealing with dementia. Often in these cases, there is one primary in-home caregiver for the dementia patient, and they have no relief from their caregiving duties. In August 1996, plans began for a Day Activity Program. A grant from the TLL Temple Foundation allowed us to remodel the building so that we could provide a safe, secure, and loving environment to offer social interaction and mind-stimulating activities for four hours a day.
The Day Activity Program became operational in January of 1997 with three clients attending three days a week. Enrollment rapidly grew to an average of 20 clients attending five days a week. The Center soon began offering a support group with a free luncheon on the last Friday of each month. Caregivers find comfort at these sessions through speakers, educational materials and group discussions.
A computer training skills program for students with special needs at Nacogdoches High School was initially started in 1997. A year later the program evolved to include all adult individuals with disabilities in our community who needed computer training. These clients were taught basic and upgraded computer skills needed to enter the competitive job market.
In May of 2001, Nacogdoches Treatment Center was awarded a HUD grant to provide a services coordinator to Independence Manor I & II, an accessible apartment complex for individuals with disabilities. Each of the 70+ residents have special daily living needs to maintain independence. The job of the services coordinator is to help find services in the Nacogdoches area through government, state or private agencies with little to no cost to the resident.
In 2009, we introduced a Weekend Respite Program for our clients and their families to use for extended care.