Our therapists here at Pediatric TLC specialize in diagnosing and/or treating a variety of childhood developmental and acquired difficulties, including breakdowns in communication, speech sound development, comprehension, play skills, motor skills, and sensory processing. The following is an explanation of the therapy process to give you an idea of what to expect when seeking our services:
Step 1: Scheduling an Evaluation
Before we can begin seeing your child for speech/language or occupational therapy, we need to get a thorough understanding of how your child’s difficulties manifest in a variety of contexts. We do this through an initial evaluation where we assess your child’s development as related to each discipline. Call our front office to set up an initial evaluation. Our front office staff will email you a packet of information. We ask that you bring in the packet of information on the day of the evaluation, along with a script from your doctor.
Each evaluation lasts approximately 80 minutes. Prior to the evaluation day, one of our therapists will contact you to gain an understanding of your main concerns you would like her to address during the evaluation.
Step 2: Undergoing an Evaluation
Parent or caregiver interview
The speech pathologist or occupational therapist conducting the evaluation may wish to speak more extensively with you on the day of the evaluation. During this time, you will be asked to walk with your child into our treatment area to discuss your concerns in greater detail and answer specific questions the therapist may have. The therapist may also have you fill out a survey or questionnaire that will help her learn more about how your child communicates or responds to his environment at home and in other settings. This information will be combined with clinical findings to help qualify your child for services and determine the best plan of treatment for your child.
Our therapists use a variety of techniques to fully assess your child’s strengths as well as areas he or she may need help with. We tailor these techniques to the individual needs of your child to give us the most complete picture of your child’s abilities. The following is an explanation of the tools we frequently use in our speech and language evaluations:
Clinical Observations – Our therapists will observe how your child adapts to his/her new environment, plays on equipment and/or with toys, and interacts with others. They will also observe the areas of concern, such as speech, language, gross motor, fine motor, and/or feeding/eating skills.
Standardized testing – Standardized measurements are structured tools we use to probe for a variety of specific skills. Standardized tests give us a measure of how your child’s specific skills compare to those of children in a similar age range when performing the same tasks. Scores are based on a sampled population and are analyzed using statistical methods to determine how your child’s scores compare to his or her peers.
Step 3: Receiving Evaluation Results
Immediately following the evaluation, the therapist will give you a general overview of her clinical findings apart from the in-depth analysis that some clients require. Based on these findings, she may recommend that you schedule for ongoing speech/language or occupational therapy right away. This decision is ultimately up to you based on your unique situation such as your child’s individual needs and your ability to negotiate the logistical and financial components of therapy. Although we try our best to accommodate our client’s therapy day and time preferences, your ongoing appointment will be scheduled based on the availability of therapy slots. You may or may not have the same therapist that conducted the evaluation as your child’s permanent therapist for this reason.
In the weeks following the evaluation, you will receive a copy of the comprehensive evaluation report, in which the therapist will report the results of her in-depth analyses and recommendations. Due to the thorough and descriptive nature of our evaluations, these reports often take several weeks to construct. Sometimes parents or therapists choose to wait to schedule therapy until after the evaluation report is completed. The therapist will contact you upon completion of the report either by phone or in person to discuss the results of the evaluation and make recommendations. If the therapist determines that your child shows a need for therapy, she will recommend a frequency, duration, and estimated prognosis for therapy based on her clinical findings. If therapy is recommended, you will also receive a copy of your child’s Plan of Care, in which the therapist develops specific therapy goals based on your child’s individual needs.
Step 4: Attending Therapy Sessions
Pediatric Therapy and Learning Center, LLC, provides speech-language, occupational, and art therapies using a developmental model. This means that we either follow your child’s interests or design activities that are developmentally appropriate based on where your child is functioning. In order for true learning to occur, we must find what intrinsically motivates your child, rather than offering frequent external rewards. You will NOT often see us sitting at a table or even staying in one room. Our clinic is designed so that children and therapists can move about, rather than be confined to a chair or desk.
We are well-trained in our theoretical frameworks, which include DIR/Floortime and Sensory Integration Theory, and have found a great deal of success using these overlapping approaches. You will mostly find us integrating a number of developmental skills, rather than addressing isolated skills for an extended period of time. Our approach is different from traditional occupational or speech therapy, or ABA, which are often based on addressing isolated skills, rather than looking deeply into the root cause of the difficulties. In addition, other approaches may not be integrating those skills into a context and may physically confine a child in order to gain compliance. In some circumstances, these skill-based approaches may be appropriate; however, our educational and clinical experiences have shown us that the developmental models are a better experience for both children and families, and that children tend to experience more growth in all areas of development.