What should I expect during the initial evaluation?
We will ask you to fill out a number of questionnaires prior to the evaluation, so the focus of this session will be on your child. We want to test your child’s best performance, so the therapist will start by helping your child become comfortable in a new environment. Our therapists will begin to attune to your child’s sensory and social-emotional needs during the initial introduction. Testing will start with tabletop activities in a small room and you are welcome to join, especially if your child will feel more comfortable with you present. We use tests that are created to be fun and engaging for your child.
The second portion of the evaluation will take place in one of our play gyms. The rooms are filled with swings, mats, foam blocks, and toys. The therapist will observe how your child interacts with the equipment in a new environment, and may ask you to play with your child to assess typical engagement.
How do I talk to my child about the evaluation process?
It is of utmost importance that your child feel relaxed, comfortable, and supported during the initial evaluation. We believe in assessing your child’s best performance. It may help to explain, beforehand, the purpose of the evaluation and what to expect. Of course the explanation will depend on the age and individual needs of your child. For example:
“Everybody’s body is different. At Sensory KIDS the therapists will help us learn about your body, and how to make some things easier for you. (The therapist) wants to get to know you before you play together. He/She will ask you to do some things, and even play some games, just to see all of the things you and your body are good at doing. Some things might be a little hard, but he/she will be there to help. Once those games are over, you’ll get to go play together in the gym!”
If your child still seems unsure or anxious, ensure that you will be there the whole time to watch and cheer him/her on!
Will I receive a written report?
This depends on your insurance coverage. Many insurance companies do not reimburse for the cost of a written report, but we will provide a comprehensive report for an additional fee. When covered by insurance or out-of-pocket fees, the therapist will provide a detailed written report of the evaluation findings. In addition, we will schedule a parent meeting (adults only) to review evaluation findings. At this meeting you and the therapist will work together to set meaningful and functional goals.
Will I have time to talk with my therapist?
Unlike many clinics, we offer adult-only parent meetings and we believe this is an essential part of our therapy process. In most cases a parent meeting is scheduled approximately one week after the initial evaluation. In this meeting your therapist will review findings from the evaluation and work with you to set family-centered goals. We encourage further parent meetings throughout the therapy process where you can collaborate with your therapist on treatment priorities, home programs, and updates on progress.
Can I drop my child off for treatment sessions?
We believe strongly that parents should be a part of therapy sessions. In many cases therapists prefer to have a few sessions alone with your child to build a strong relationship, and to learn about your child’s individual sensory and regulatory needs. After these initial sessions we ask that caregivers be available to play during sessions, or observe through our 1-way mirrors. This allows the therapist to give you a better understanding of what is happening during sessions, to make recommendations for home, or provide coaching during play.
Will you provide a sensory diet for my child?
Research shows that a typical sensory diet is not only ineffective, but causes increased stress for both parents and children. Instead, our goal is to help you (and your child) learn a sensory lifestyle. We will help you recognize your child’s sensory and regulatory needs, and learn ways to adapt and use strategies to support your child’s function within a meaningful context.
Will there be other children in the gym during my child’s session?
Yes, most likely your child will play in the big gym while other children are in session. We have 3 small treatment spaces that can be used in the event that your child is over-stimulated or distracted in the big gym. In many cases we believe that it is more realistic for your child to work on play, engagement, and attention in the presence of other sessions.
How long is your waitlist?
We are working from a lengthy waitlist but do our best to get new families in as soon as possible. In most cases the process will begin with an initial evaluation and parent meeting. There may be a number of weeks between the initial parent meeting and the first therapy session, depending on scheduling needs. Esther and Janique may be able to give you a rough estimate of wait time.
What will therapy sessions look like?
We believe that therapy should be fun! Children learn best when they are engaged so our therapy should look like play. Your therapist will talk with you about the benefits of play-based therapy, and will probably ask you to join in the play!
While it may just look like fun, there are many neurological benefits to play and social connection. We will help you attune to your child’s strengths and challenge areas to support a flow of engagement and organized play. We will also provide strategies for helping your child increase body and emotion awareness during play.
Do you have social groups?
We do occasionally run groups (social, feeding, yoga), but it is more common that our therapists will work together to coordinate play 2-on-2 sessions to maximize therapeutic support during play.
Do you have summer camps?
Unfortunately we are not currently running summer camps.
What training/experience do your therapists have?
All of our therapists have extensive post-graduate training in sensory processing and related therapies, and regularly attend continuing education courses. All OTs at Sensory KIDS have gone through the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation intensive mentorship program with Dr. Lucy J. Miller, and have weekly one-on-one mentorship sessions with our director, Lisa Porter. We prioritize continued learning and teamwork, and have weekly interdisciplinary meetings with our occupational therapists, speech-language pathologist, and counselor.
What are the most common recommendations you make for home?
Play, play play!!!! We cannot emphasize enough the benefits of playing with your child (social skills, engagement, self-regulation, self-esteem, motor skills, impulse control…) Have FUN!!