BUFFALO, N.Y. ( WKBW ) He was a visionary beyond his years Dr. Robert Warner founded The Center for Children with Special Needs at Women and Children's Hospital in 1956. The center was desperately needed to address the polio epidemic, cerebral palsy, and a list of other medical issues emerging in the late 1940's.
Today that work continues with a dedicated team of doctors and therapists lead by Dr. Martin Hoffman.
"It's a busy place and I'm proud to be a part of it now," said Dr. Hoffman.
The center tracks every child born in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Ten thousand children visit the center each year and the staff provides on-going treatment to 5,000 patients every year.
All with varying mental and physical needs.
"Gross motor which means big muscle skills, fine muscle skills, speech and language, skills, cognitive skills which means intelligence awareness issues and social issues too," explained Hoffman.
Christine Pierson's two year old daughter Lilly had delays in speech, motor skills and she had problems eating. When Christine tried to get help she was turned away by other facilities.
"When she was denied for early intervention I basically knew that she still had delays and didn't know what to do about it," said Pierson.
Until she came to the Robert Warner Center.
"She's actually using two and three word sentences whereas she barely spoke before at all, any words." Pierson.
Progress that parents see in their children can't be measured in words. For Casey Swan, one of the telethon celebrity twins is about building muscle. Thanks to the magical playground at the center's state of the art therapy pool.
The five year old with cerebral palsy has fun while gaining the strength she needs to walk outside of the pool.
"For the first time when she got into the water and this kind of therapy it gives her," said Ken Swan, Casey's father.
"The water is very warm, it's usually around 94 degrees so it really relaxes your muscles for kids who have spasticity like Casey it really makes your muscles a lot softer so you can move more easily. You can stretch more easily you can also stand up for little kids who are not able to stand by themselves," said Dominique Safar-Riessen, Casey's aquatic therapist.
The lives of children across Western New York continue to be transformed by the ambitious vision of a pioneer who wanted to make life a little bit easier for kids.