The history of the Spokane Guilds’ School & Neuromuscular Center (SGS&NMC) began September 29, 1960 when the guilds, a group of caring women, started providing respite care for children with developmental disabilities and their families. None of the program’s founders were parents of disabled children, but were community-minded members who shared a special awareness and concern. These volunteer groups were mutually interested in educating the community about disabilities, while at the same time caring for children and families.
The SGS&NMC program is a family-based program for children, birth to three years of age, and is operated twelve months of the year. Treatment is specifically tailored to meet the individual needs of each child and their family. In 1979, the school opened the neuromuscular center at the request of, and with the assistance of, Washington State’s Crippled Children’s Services; it was designated as Eastern Washington’s first neuromuscular center, a comprehensive evaluation center for children with developmental disabilities. The school’s name was officially changed to the Spokane Guilds’ School & Neuromuscular Center (SGS&NMC). The center provides pediatric evaluations and a personalized, quality, coordinated treatment program that includes physical, occupational, and speech therapies and a special education program.
Since 1960, the SGS&NMC has grown from a part-time, volunteer staffed respite center for children with developmental disabilities, to a full-time, year-round quality center with a professional staff of certified teachers and therapists serving children who experience many types of developmental delays. In addition, the neuromuscular center is fully staffed with pediatric nurses, a pediatrician and medical social workers, and has become an integral part of the area’s medical community.
We serve more than 250 children annually in Spokane County who experience developmental delays and/or disabilities, providing a comprehensive program to all children and their families without regard to race, gender, religion or ability to pay. Due to resource issues, we currently can only serve 30% of the children in Spokane County who are eligible and in need of this program.
For children suspected of developmental delays, the neuromuscular center provides comprehensive assessment. Intake teams consisting of a nurse and a family resources coordinator (FRC) provide in-home developmental screening, resource identification and referral. Children are also assessed by a developmental pediatrician and a team of qualified therapists and teachers. Children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, hearing or vision impairments, speech delays, muscular dystrophy, autism, traumatic brain injury (shaken babies) and other forms of developmental delays and rare syndromes, are all served. The unique team approach structure of the school is of maximum benefit to a child. Program options include: individual therapy, toddler groups, preschool groups and home-based services. Children may be referred to the SGS&NMC by a physician or by self-referral. Parents are an integral part of successful treatment and must agree to take an active role in their child’s program.