In keeping with its reputation as a great place to raise a family, Dyer is home to a number of top-tier providers that specialize in the treatment of children.

‘When a Child Smiles’

Wee Care Therapy started in 1994, and since then the facility has grown to be one of the largest pediatric intervention service providers in Northwest Indiana and the southern Chicago suburbs, says founder Susan Swindeman. Swindeman, a registered occupational therapist, has also co-authored several publications and presented workshops around the world on sensory processing.

Wee Care Therapy employs three administrative staff members and 22 services providers that include two behavior analysts, five developmental therapists, four occupational therapists, four physical therapists, and seven speech/language pathologists.

“We are honored to employ highly regarded professionals who are respected in their fields, and to be considered a model treatment facility,” Swindeman says. “We serve approximately 250 families in their homes or other natural environments through First Steps, or at our clinic through insurance or other funding.”

The therapists at Wee Care Therapy incorporate multiple intervention techniques, including sensory integration, neurodevelopmental treatment, and a variety of feeding techniques, she says. “Children feel like they are in a playground instead of a medical clinic as they slide and swing to improve their balance or say new words. We are conveniently located in the White Oak Children’s Development Center, and often bring our therapy outdoors so that the children will experience some of the benefits of ‘natural’ play.

“These benefits include enhanced sensory motor development, increased attention span, improved creativity, added opportunities for socialization, development of vision, and progression of motor skills,” Swindeman says. “We are working toward certification as a nature-based learning center, and we are on target to be the first certified therapy clinic in the country.

“However, our highest honor is achieved when a child smiles after learning a new skill, and the family recognizes the difference.”

Early Prevention

At Pediatric Dental Care, Dr. Lynn Karr and her staff are committed to providing stress-free, painless dental visits for children and their parents. She believes in calm dentistry, and offers general anesthesia in her office as it is needed, according to her website. She uses state-of-the-art dental technology that includes digital radiography, which exposes the child to 65 percent less of the already minimal exposure of radiation.

Dr. Karr encourages parents to bring their child to the dentist by age one for a “lap to lap” exam, which not only starts prevention early but also informs parents on topics such as bottle and pacifier use, as well as healthy eating habits and juice consumption.

Dr. Karr, a 1991 graduate of Munster High School, graduated from Purdue University in 1995 and completed Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1999. She also completed a specialty degree in pediatrics from the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital.

Where Kids Come First

Since 2005, Kids First Pediatrics on 30 has treated youth in Dyer, and since 2009, they have ranked among the top of the Times Media Company’s Best of the Region list of pediatricians.

The practice began with Dr. Tae’Ni Chang-Stroman in 2005, and has since expanded to include three other physicians: Dr. Parul Pathak, Dr. Nancy Albright and Dr. Kenan Qin.

Office manager Jacqueline Chang-Stroman says she and Dr. Chang-Stroman first chose Dyer because it was close to their home, but the location has turned out to be a great choice. “The location on Route 30 between Calumet Avenue and U.S. 41 was perfect, because it had easy access for many people to get to,” she says. “The doctors have patients that come from all over, not just the local area, but from into Illinois and farther east and south in Indiana, as well.”

The pediatricians work hard to make sure they are accessible to patients day and night, and parents have the personal cell phone numbers for their pediatricians.

The doctors strive to be on top of the latest technology, and the practice is working on becoming a certified patient-centered medical home, Chang-Stroman says.

Dr. Qin joined the practice in July 2012, and specializes in pediatric endocrinology as well as general pediatrics. “We are so lucky to have him,” says Jacqueline Chang-Stroman. “Patients used to have to go to University of Chicago to see him, and now he’s here.”