How Does Therapy Help?

Our pediatric therapists “play” with children to maximize each child’s potential by providing individualized incremental motor, sensory or language challenges that require a child to perform with a little more skill each time.  Children learn through therapeutic play. It is similar to a child that has difficulty with math; a math tutor can significantly improve the child’s math performance thus a therapist can improve a child’s sensory, motor or language performance. In addition, when a child engages in “just right” challenges not only does learning occur in that area of function but also a great impact is made on his/her social/emotional development, self esteem and peer relationships.

How should children react to therapy?

A child should WANT to see his/her therapist every week as he/she knows this person understands him/her and his/her needs.  Your child will simply view therapy as “play” with a special person they love to see.

What does therapy look like?

Since therapy is play, it looks just like play.  The child is not aware that every step of the way a therapist has a therapeutic goal in mind and is moving towards those goals each and every session. Many of the “toys” are only available in therapy catalogs however others are highly familiar and can be played with in a new therapeutic way.  Each treatment session is planned and customized for an individual child’s needs, goals and speaks to that particular child’s inner drive.

How do you explain to a child that they will be going to therapy?

Depending upon a child’s age and understanding it is usually best to inform him/her that you found a person that “plays” with children just like them. This person really understands “what is tricky” for them and can help make it a lot easier.

How long does therapy generally last?

Private therapy can last from 3 months to 2 years depending on the severity of the child’s needs, parent’s goals and observable progress. The parent is the “boss” and is in charge of the length of time they want their child seen. Early Intervention or Preschool (4410) services follow the IFSP (Infant Family Service Plan) or IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for the frequency and duration of service.

Should I wait to see how my child does this year in school before we begin therapy?

Documented Research states that the greatest benefits from therapy are achieved at a younger age. As a result, it is recommended that a child receive an evaluation to uncover the underlying deficit areas as soon as your concerns arise. You can get a clear understanding from our motor and language experts about your child’s strengths and areas of concern. In addition, it is always helpful to get feedback from your child’s teacher.  Find out if he/she has any concerns & bring them to our attention.

How do I begin therapy? What do I need to get started?

Please contact to provide us with some basic information, receive our policies and a questionnaire will be sent to you. This questionnaire provides us with developmental information as well as your current concerns about your child. Feel free to fill out this questionnaire in order to help you decide whether or not you want to move forward with therapy. You will need to provide us with a current prescription for OT, PT or ST services (feeding). If you plan on submitting your invoices for reimbursement the prescription must have a diagnostic code from your child’s doctor. This diagnostic code will then appear on your invoices. Please call our office if you need assistance with what the appropriate diagnostic or procedure codes would be for your child.

Is private therapy covered by insurance? Who pays for private therapy?
Most insurance companies pay for “medically necessary” therapy. Our office helps every way we can by providing invoices that are “insurance ready” and progress reports as requested. Invoices include all the diagnostic and procedure codes necessary for your child. The parent pays directly for services and get reimbursed from their insurance company as we do not manage insurance reimbursement.
How is private therapy different from therapy offered at the school district?

Therapy offered in a school district focuses on the “measurable” academic delays. If a child’s difficulties are not “measurable” and not significantly below average a child will often not get approved for therapy services through his/her school district. Private services can provide for those difficulties that a parent feels is holding his/her child back despite the school not identifying them as significantly below average. School based services follow the frequency and duration as identified in a child’s IEP and private services follow the frequency and duration as requested solely by the parent. School district services are of no cost to the parent and private services must be paid for out of pocket.

Who pays for Early Intervention (EI) or Preschool (4410/CPSE) services?

If your child is approved for EI or CPSE services there is no out of pocket expense. These services are free. Please see services for Early Intervention (EI) and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

What classes might be helpful for my child?
Classes in ice skating, martial arts, horseback riding and swimming often make a wonderful impact on children with various types of difficulties. Of course this is dependent on the age and ability of your child, your individual therapist should be consulted.
What if my child has been approved for preschool or school age service?
If your child has been approved for services through your local school district at the preschool or school age level simply give us a call. We just need to know the frequency that has been approved and the school district within which you reside. We can call your district for you and let them know of our availability to service your child. We are an approved NYS provider for OT, PT and ST therefore, your district may already have a contract with us or one can be entered into without delay.
Children who no longer qualify for services or do not qualify for summer services.
If your child no longer qualifies for services through the school but you still feel they need support, private therapy is an option. Children can be seen in our clinic during or after school/camp or during evening hours.
Will my child outgrow his/her difficulties?
We believe that if a child has a difficulty that is interfering with his/her daily functioning it makes sense to get a “tutor”. This also holds true for sensory / motor / language functioning. If a child has a difficulty or delay in sensory, motor or language functioning a therapist can make a definite difference in the child’s daily life. The teacher and the parent may not know how to intervene to help and as a result the concerns may not resolve. “Practicing” a skill may help with that one skill but therapists are trained to understand the foundational skills that may be interfering. Our therapists work on the foundational skills so that a child can independently begin to master his / her environment.
What is Sensory Integration dysfunction?
Sensory Integration is the ability to put the pieces of incoming sensory information from the environment together. Sensory information comes from the skin (tactile), inner ear (sense of balance/head position), joints/muscles (for body awareness) (proprioceptive system), visual, auditory, taste and smell. A person needs to respond effectively to these incoming sensations so they can act on and in the environment effectively. When a child is not registering sensory information accurately or is not able to act on it effectively they may have Sensory Processing Difficulties.
What causes Sensory Integration dysfunction?
Sensory Integration dysfunction or sensory processing difficulties are not caused by anything the parent did or did not do. Sensory processing difficulties are simply a weakness for the child. We all have strengths and weaknesses and children do as well. If the child’s weakness in sensory processing is significant enough to interfere with a child’s self esteem and / or ability to engage in the environment Occupational therapy services would be indicated.
Do all children on the autism spectrum have Sensory Integration difficulties?
It is believed that 98% of children on the autism spectrum have sensory integration difficulties. Children on the spectrum typically have a different way of perceiving the environment. This different sensory perception can interfere with the child’s ability to attend, communicate with others, have peer relationships and can interfere with learning. This alternate way of perceiving the environment can be highly distracting resulting in an attention to less relevant stimuli rather than focusing on the stimuli that are necessary to complete a task.
Are there strategies that I can learn to help my child at home?
There are many strategies that can be provided to a parent to help their child at home. Once a therapist gets to know your child a home program can be provided that includes exercises, activities and suggestions that take into consideration your individual child’s current level of functioning. If you have not yet started therapy an initial evaluation can be performed and you can be provided with ideas of what you can do at home.