'Adventure Zone': Owner of Kidz Therapy Zone publishes first book for children
Allison Klimowicz has been immersed in the world of children's therapy for over a decade, but now she's added a new title to her repertoire: children's author.
Klimowicz owns and oversees Kidz Therapy Zone in Chambersburg, a clinic that provides occupational, speech and physical therapy along with a feeding clinic.
"My entire goal was to really just kind of demystify what children's therapy is," she said. "We don't want to not talk about it. We want it to become more of a daily language for everyone. Our goal here is to treat children in a playful way that they can work to the best of their ability, and everybody's ability is just a little bit different, and that's OK."
That's what sparked the idea for "Adventure Zone."
Klimowicz noticed that an old high school friend was posting her work on children's book illustrations on Facebook and decided to reach out to collaborate.
Veronica Stanley-Hooper was hooked from the beginning.
"Allison had a great concept, and we chatted a bit about common experiences with our children," she said. "She mentioned some children were coming into her office and really feeling sad and a little confused and worried about coming to therapy. There are some negative stigmas among their friends about going to therapies."
Stanley-Hooper could relate.
"My children never needed to go to therapy but my oldest was bullied in school and so it really made an emotional connection for me, because I never want to see kids suffer just being themselves," she said. "I have to become attracted to the project. I have to have an emotional investment in some way because then that helps me really feel creative."
Stanley-Hooper has always been drawn to the arts but was a teacher by trade for over 30 years.
"Then I was a product designer for a toy company for a few years," she said. "I decided to homeschool my children. Now that journey is coming to an end, I am now starting to illustrate."
Her background in education helped with the vision for this project.
"I can see this as instructional material for school counselors, especially when there's a diagnosis that happens at the school site," she said. "This could be a tool at elementary schools where they discuss possible treatments to help children to become more socially active in the classroom or behavioral or educational processes that need to be addressed in the classroom as well. I see this as a tool, not just for therapy offices, but for laypeople as well."
That's what Klimowicz hopes this book can be.
"What we wanted to do mainly was create a story that kids could understand and educate parents," she said. "We have a lot of misconceptions in regards to therapy. We work with a lot of disabled children, so we wanted to be able to make something that was inclusive for them, that we could not only educate but make it fun because that is the goal at our office is, of course, to make therapy fun."
"We decided to make the main character an explorer and changed the title to "Adventure Zone," Stanley-Hooper said. "The explorer walks through a jungle format and visits each room, and the kids are playing and having an adventure while they're doing their therapies."
The duo is also incorporating a technique that helps provide more information for readers.
"You've probably seen it in some of the Magic School Bus books, where they do pop-outs on the pages to present educational definitions," Stanley-Hooper said. "So in this particular circumstance, we're using those pop-outs to educate and define some trade words and therapies so that it can be used as an educational tool, and as a calming story to educate kids in a fun way."
The book, scheduled for a mid-summer release, is going to revolutionize how families are introduced to the programs at Kidz Therapy Zone.
"It is going to become part of something that we hand out to new patients that come in," Klimowicz. "We'll possibly send that to them so they can read the stories to their children prior to even entering our office, so they have a better, relaxed feeling when they're coming in."
For more information and an updated release date, visit https://www.veronica-stanley-hooper.com/adventure_zone_paperback.html#/
Carley Bonk is a Watchdog Reporter for the USA Today Network - Pennsylvania. Her coverage spans across the southcentral region of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @carls_marie.