Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs youngster advantages from providers offered by The Useful resource Alternate – Colorado Springs Gazette

Mason Chapman was barely three months old when he was diagnosed with infantile spasms and a defect in his heart.

During his stay in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis, doctors told Mason’s mom, Angelia Chapman, her son would benefit from early intervention. The unwelcome news prompted Chapman to explain Mason’s situation to her son’s primary provider, Dr. Bridget Tewes.

Tewes set up a meeting with The Resource Exchange to discuss Mason’s intellectual and developmental disabilities. Known for providing a range of services from early intervention to long-term care coordination, the organization’s pediatric team that assists about 1,500 children annually.

Believing The Resource Exchange could help her son, Chapman enrolled Mason in an early intervention program. With the aid of a cardboard box, Mason in time proved he was independent and mobile.

“His dad plopped him in a diaper box to play, and Mason sat upright and held his head steady for 20 minutes,” Chapman said.

Through The Resource Exchange, Mason, now 1 ½ years old, receives occupational, feeding and vision therapy.

“Since being in early intervention we have seen a huge improvement in development,” Chapman said.

Mason is one of nearly 9,000 El Paso, Park, Pueblo and Teller county residents The Resource Exchange helps navigate through the complex system of available supports. It differs from similar agencies as it works to tailor services to each person based on available, suitable needs, said spokeswoman Julie White.

“We provide a range of services … working closely with people along the way, understanding their needs and building relationships that often carry on for years,” White said.

“We help with disabilities or delays, mental health needs, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, long-term care supports and early intervention for children birth to 3 years old.”

On July 1, 2019 The Resource Exchange assumed Single Entry Point entry responsibilities and now administers Colorado’s Medicaid waivers. The agency serves about 9,000 people across a four-county service area. Presently, 3,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are awaiting services through Colorado’s Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver.

“TRE significantly expanded its reach in the community last year when it assumed SEP responsibilities. We served an additional 3,600 people and their families compared to the prior year,” White said.

To date, The Resource Exchange has partnered with more than 200 community agencies and organizations to assist with state-funded services access, and coordinates delivery of Medicaid waivers for those with disabilities or delays, mental health needs or long-term care supports.

Its various events help make programs possible. The TRE Art Shows feature original work from The Resource Exchange and partner agency artists, and its annual Breakfast with Santa enables children to visit with the Jolly Old Elf. The GoBabyGo event brings together community to build miniature customized cars for children.

Through this program The Resource Exchange receives a portion of its revenue from Medicaid, state, federal and private insurance sources, and accepts donations, grants and private philanthropy.

“Philanthropy helps fund programs not covered through government funding, and helps fill gaps due to budget shortfalls, especially when the state budget was cut due to COVID,” White said.

Chapman said having the wealth of information from the team of providers through The Resource Exchange is one of the biggest reasons Mason receives the care he needs from his specialty doctors.

“There are all kinds of services offered to our family and having the support from TRE is a huge blessing,” Chapman said. “It’s helpful, especially as Mason’s mom, because being a special needs parent is often isolating. The support and encouragement I get from our team is so incredibly beneficial to both Mason and myself.”

Chapman recommends The Resource Exchange to families in need. “Our team through TRE has gone above and beyond to help both Mason and our family. I can easily communicate with Mason’s specialty doctors now and feel confident in myself as well because of the support of our team through TRE,” she said.

Looking ahead, White hopes The Resource Exchange will continue to create new ways to reach people where they live, work, learn and play. As communities grow and, with help from donors, the agency can serve more people who need state-funded services, either through Medicaid waivers or early intervention.

“To see a child grow and develop as a result of speech, occupational or physical therapy, or to connect someone to vital services they need to live a better life, is why we do the work we do,” White said.

To learn more, contact White at 719-785-6468 or email juliewhite@tre.org.

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