Sumlar Therapy Services, Inc. began in 2001 as a pediatric physical therapist’s plan to work a few hours a week from home. Kristin (Sumlar) McMillan, PT, began providing clinical therapy as well as hippotherapy—the therapeutic use of the rhythmic movement of a horse—in the front yard of her century-old home. As the demand grew, physical, occupational, and speech therapists began meeting there several times a week to treat children with mild to profound disabilities. The home’s original library became the main office. The front parlor became a therapy room, with brightly colored toys, therapy balls, and pediatric walkers lined up alongside the old fireplace mantle. The large dining room soon housed multiple child-sized tables and chairs, a swing set, and even a trampoline.
Sumlar Therapy therapists were also getting started in the area schools in 2001, providing therapy for students and support for teachers. In 2005, the staff took on the task of serving infants and toddlers in their homes, through Early Intervention programs. In October, 2007, Sumlar Therapy moved to Sam Lisenby Road in Ozark. The 4,000-square-foot facility, originally built by soldiers on Ft. Rucker, now boasts private treatment rooms with parent-viewing windows and a custom playhouse in the lobby. But most unique is the wheelchair-accessible riding arena and aquatic therapy pool.
Sumlar Therapy Services Inc. has recruited some of the most experienced and respected therapists in Southeast Alabama, placing special emphasis on finding people who demonstrated an innate ability to work effectively with children. Growing steadily since 2001, Sumlar Therapy has developed a reputation for dedication and professionalism among pediatricians, teachers, therapists, and families, and continues to develop innovative approaches to respond to the growing needs of our community and our children.
The Lewis Mitchell Grantham Arena for Exceptional Children
Dedicated in June, 2008, the arena that has been the site of first successes for so many children was named in honor of its greatest supporter, Mitchell Grantham. Mitchell was Sumlar Therapy’s first Chief Horse Handler, and the owner of two therapy horses, Midnight and Cinnamon. Mitchell’s time, effort, love, and dedication have been a great blessing to hundreds of children and families at Sumlar Therapy.
To create a caring and innovative learning environment to assist children with special needs and their families in achieving their highest potential by committing to providing effective, ethical services and achieving standards of excellence in pediatric therapy.
“And God will generously provide all you need. . . He will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (New Living Translation)