Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Loretta Hicks, RN, PNP/MSN, hopes her new fun, safe environment for special-needs children will provide support to little ones and give families a much-needed break.
Hicks opened Lorettas Little Miracles, the central valleys first day care designed to the meet the needs of medically fragile children and their families, in Fresno, Calif. The day care can accommodate up to 35 special needs children.
Hicks credits the support of her family husband Doug, daughter, and twin sons with her dream to open the facility. She believes this encouragement will transfer into her work at the day care.Loretta Hicks, RN, (second from right) credits her familys support for the birth of Lorettas Little Miracles.
“The dynamics of everyday life are logistically challenging,” Hicks says. “Children need compassion and constant encouragement to have fun.”
Built with Children in Mind
The design of the facility is what sets Loretta’s Little Miracles apart from other day care facilities, she says. “You interact and you play.”
The center includes 45-minute stations at which children rotate throughout their day. The stations include different atmospheres and activities ranging from relaxing to exercise. Crafts, reading, homework, and puzzles are included depending on the time of day and station.
“It’s part home, part educational, and part medical,” Hicks says.
Hicks also says children’s needs were strongly considered when designing the building.
“Children need Vitamin D, and a large facility doesn’t provide that light they need. Children with neurological problems can’t sweat, and so they overheat.”
To this point, Hicks is proud of the skylight, fans, water station, and ambient atmosphere that Loretta’s Little Miracles provides.
Health, Happiness Go Hand in Hand
Hicks adds her own personal touch with the philosophy that children are unique and therefore need unique care. “You don’t just watch a child. You interact and you play,” she says. Hicks also adds that on each child’s chart there is a question that must be answered and documented. That question is “What makes this child laugh?”
Hicks says this approach to caring for a child will contribute greatly to their health and, perhaps just as important, their happiness.
For information, visit www.lorettaslittlemiracles.com.