Local doctor answers call for more special needs care

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Two-and-a-half-year-old Amir Sibley is a bundle of smiles and energy, and mom Shari says he is tackling his Cerebral Palsy with full force.

“Definitely the cans, definitely the strengths for everything he can do,” Shari says about his list of accomplishments since becoming a patient of Dr. Valerie Bowman.

Dr. Bowman’s practice, Bon Secours Developmental & Special Needs Pediatrics, is dedicated to children with complex medical issues. It is part of a growing trend of practices catering to patients and their parents who have questions beyond what others may be able to answer.

As the mother of a special needs child herself, Dr. Bowman taps into personal and professional experience to treat her young patients’ general health with an understanding of their unique conditions.

“When you see a child grow it warms your heart,” explains Dr. Bowman. “It warms your heart even more when you see a child overcome their challenges or even continue to have to work with their challenges but not giving up.”

Amir takes a few steps with Dr. Valerie Bowman's help, while mom Shari offers encouragement.
Amir takes a few steps with Dr. Valerie Bowman’s help, while mom Shari offers encouragement.

Dr. Bowman has many patients with Cerebral Palsy, like Amir, along with Autism and those on ventilators. She works with a social worker and nurse navigator to connect families, who often are dealing with financial and emotional strains, with resources in the community.

“She makes sure that all the t’s and i’s are crossed,” says Shari. “She shows that she cares for the children.”

In 2011, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration released this study finding children with special needs often have additional issues with insurance, school, nutrition and more. Surveys like this one identified a demand for practices like Dr. Bowman’s that can connect families with support groups and other services when they do not know where else to turn.

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