The Kindering Center, located in Bothell’s North Creek Business Park, is continuing the legacy of service that was started in Bellevue 54 years ago.
“We meet the families where they’re at in the home, or in the community,” said Bothell Programs Manager Kim Gerdes.
Founded in 1962 by five parents of children with special needs, the non-profit organization has expanded to serving more than 4,000 families a year, and around 700 children a month who have special needs between their Bellevue and Bothell locations.
The Kindering Center focuses mainly on children from birth until three years of age, but in some cases continues working with children up to 11-years-old. Focusing mainly on in-home therapy and personalized care, the center also offers classes on-site which helps young children learn critical skills like social interactions, gross and fine motor skills and even basic tasks like eating.
According to the center, when children leave their programs, around 75 percent of them have narrowed the developmental gap between special needs and typically developing children.
For three-year-old Noah Benoit, Kindering Center was an invaluable help, his mother, Jill Benoit said.
“He’s doing great,” she said. “He’s made so much progress.”
Noah was diagnosed with Down syndrome in October, and is their third child.
“Noah was our miracle baby,” she said.
After his diagnosis, the family brought Noah to the center, where he learned how to eat solid foods in their classes, but even before that, the center was offering in-home help to the family.
“It was a very overwhelming time in your life when you have three kids, and one has special needs,” Jill Benoit said.
Northshore School District works with the center, and that’s where Noah is headed soon after his graduation, but Jill Benoit said they’ll miss the people they’ve met at the Kindering Center when they move on.