Clinic Based Therapy

September 16, 2014
Many of our clients started with home based services prior to the age of 3.  Home based therapy has it's benefits.  As a matter-of-fact, that's how Helping Hands was started.  However, while addressing the needs of the clients, I realized many areas of treatment that just couldn't be carried out in the home setting.  I was limited on what I could bring into the home and I always wished for something I didn't have.  This was one of the reasons Helping Hands was created.

Equipment - as I mentioned before, there are limitations as to what you can bring and what can be used in the home setting.  Clinic based therapy allows for a variety of equipment to meet the needs of the child.  The equipment that is available can be a motivator for clients who have challenges.  Sensory integration therapy was designed to be delivered in a clinic.  The premise behind SI therapy is to adapt the environment and provide "just right" challenges for the clients so they can make changes.  Swings, bolsters, ball pits, climbers, crash pillows, and ramps are a few examples of equipment that you will find in a clinic based setting. 
Sensory gym with ballpit, climbing wall, swings, crash pads, and trampoline.

Sensory gym with ballpit, climbing wall, swings, crash pads, and trampoline

Resources - although we always have a plan to target the needs of the child, often times the best plans can fail.  A clinic based setting is stocked full of toys, resources, manipulates, anything you can imagine that can be reinforcing for the child.  If we have something planned and see it's going south in a hurry, we have plenty of other options to choose from.
Toy closet!

Toy closet!

Collaboration - I have been working with children for the past 20 years (ouch!  long time, huh?).  Despite all of my education, experience, and ongoing training, I don't have all the answers!  In a clinic based setting we work side-by-side with other disciplines.  We see the techniques they use to target their goals and we incorporate those methods into our own treatment sessions.  Therapists will often offer suggestions while we are working with a client and we can immediately incorporate those suggestions.  We must do a good job with this because many parents who have come from other clinics say things such as "I can't believe how much language your OT's use during their sessions", or "my last speech therapist always put my child in a highchair, she never let him move around and play during speech therapy".  Just a little side note - movement enhances speech!  If your child sits in a highchair or cube chair for the entire session, it's time to find a new therapist 🙂

Socialization - lets face it, kids come out of the womb exposed to technology.  I'm not a big fan of technology for children (or anyone for that matter), as it impacts their ability to socialize, learn social cues, read facial expressions, and affects their ability to communicate.  In a clinic based setting we always have other clients around where we can target specific social/pragmatic related goals.  We jump on opportunities for clients to work together, play games, initiate and share information.  Not only do we practice this with peers, but we also have clients practice their skills with adults.  In the clinic, we can set up situations to ensure the child's success, resulting in improved confidence.

Accountability - in a clinic based practice we have policies regarding our therapists' continuing education.  The courses our therapists choose must be focused on best practices, new treatment approaches, be evidenced based, and apply to our clients needs.  Our therapists share the information they learned at their course so we can all benefit from that knowledge.  We also have procedures in place for therapist cancellations, and we typically have another therapist available to cover.  This ensures consistency and is yet another opportunity to obtain a second opinion about a child's strengths and needs.
Cross training - postural control.

Crossing training - postural control.

Parent Support - this is one of the most amazing aspects of clinic based therapy.  Our parents get to know one another.  They share with other parents the experiences and ideas that have worked for them in the past.  Parents get support from other parents.  This is an enormous benefit, as most parents often feel overwhelmed in their plight to help their child.

It has been a journey watching our clients evolve and develop over the years.  We are constantly looking for ways to make our clinic even better than it already is.  If you are interested in touring our clinic to get an up close view of what it is all about, call us at 815-462-4928.

Have a great day!  C
185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451