CRIT La Paz Serving the Children of Baja California Sur

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I have been asked the same question several times; what is that big orange building in the La Posada area by the beach?

The big orange building, shaped as a starfish, is a state-of-the-art pediatric facility that opened its doors in November 2010 to offer services to children with neurological and musculoskeletal disabilities and to their families. It is known locally as CRIT.

Teleton Children’s Rehabilitation Center (Centro de Rehabilitación Infantil Teletón, or CRIT BCS for short) was built and is supported from funds raised by the Teleton Foundation.

The Teleton is an annual event started in 1997 and is broadcast live nationally to collect funds to help create CRIT centers in cites across Mexico. CRIT BCS was the seventeenth facility built. There are now a total of 22 CRITs in Mexico. Teleton Foundations goal is to have a CRIT in every state of Mexico to cause a higher impact on all children with disabilities so they can lead happier, more independent lives.

Last week I went on a tour of CRIT BCS with their Director of Public Relations, Elisa Gomez Fong. Elisa stressed to me throughout our time together that CRIT BCS is all about the need to inspire a more inclusive and accepting environment for children with disabilities and their families. The staff and a network of over 50 volunteers want to empower patients and their families with the tools needed so they can go out into the world and live life to their fullest potential.

If you think the starfish shaped bright orange building is different looking, wait until you are inside. It is very unhospital-like. Bright festive colors, including lots of orange, blues and yellows make things cheerful and a happy place for the children.

I was first introduced to a large, modern playground outside that is wheelchair accessible and large cafeteria and dining area for families. There are also doctors offices and several therapy rooms for different types of treatments.

Elisa informed me that CRIT BCS has already offered more than 2000 children and youth in Baja California Sur with disabilities, access to services and specific attention, which before 2011, was not available in La Paz. There is nothing like CRIT available to families in the State and many need to travel over 12 hours for appointments and therapies.

CRIT BCS provides a safe and productive environment to help them achieve self-sufficiency and a productive life. They have a dedicated medical staff and the latest amenities to provide the best care possible to all of their patients.

Every major type of therapy is covered. The most impressive to me was the heated swimming pool for water therapy. Parents and therapists work with the kids in the pool and there are individual hot tubs for just the therapist and child.

Another area that piqued my interest was the wheelchair training and practice area where kids could get use to using their wheelchairs over rocks, sand and even a flight of stairs! If you have walked the La Paz sidewalks, you can understand the need to practice mobility on uneven surfaces.

I had a wonderful time at CRIT and it was humbling meeting patients and their families. The experience left me in awe of the work Elisa and the team at CRIT do for families who really need the attention and support.

Elisa, who is fluent in English, would love to invite the readers of The Baja Citizen for a personal tour of the facilities. You are welcome to give her a call at 612 175 0910 or send a message on the CRIT Facebook page at CRIT Baja California Sur and she will be in touch.

Maybe it is time to learn what the big orange building is all about.

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