Frequently asked questions
Do you accept Medicaid or commercial insurance?
We do accept Medicaid and several commercial insurance plans. We also accept private pay clients and will work to assist you in getting the services your child or family member needs.
Do you accept checks or credit cards?
We accept personal checks, Visa, or Mastercard. Please be advised there is a $35 fee for any check returned for insufficient funds.
How long are the therapy sessions? How many times per week do they come?
Clients typically come one or two times per week, depending on the client’s needs. Treatment sessions are usually 30 minutes for speech and one hour for other therapy, unless it is felt that the client needs times other than these. Treatment time and the number of sessions per week always depends on the needs of the client.
How long will my family member need to receive speech or occupational therapy?
Duration of treatment will always be client-specific. It typically depends on the diagnosis, severity of the disorder, attendance, learning capacity or carryover outside the treatment session, to name a few of the circumstances. Unfortunately, we are unable to give you an accurate time frame. As professionals, we work with the client to meet goals as quickly as possible to encourage him/her to function to his/her fullest potential.
Can I attend the therapy session with my family member?
Although it is your choice to attend a therapy session, we strongly prefer that you do not attend. We have found that clients, especially children, perform much better without any distractions in the room. We will always speak to you at the end of the session to recap what we did and to answer any questions that you may have. If, for some reason, we have another client and are not able to follow up with you immediately, you will have the email address to your therapist and may follow up with her at any time to ask questions. We want our family members involved. We are in this together. We are all family.
May I bring my other children to the evaluation?
Please do not bring other siblings, especially younger ones, to the evaluation. Therapy time needs to focus on the client. If our therapist’s attention is split between the client and another child, we are unable to focus on the client and his/her needs. It is our goal to provide the best quality evaluation and treatment to your child which includes an intensive interview with you during the evaluation.
Will the therapist that evaluates my family member be the one who treats him/her? Will he/she see the same therapist each week?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee this for numerous reasons. While we try to pair the client with the therapist best suited to treat the needs of the client, some clients need to be exposed to change for successful treatment. Also, therapists are people too and have family obligations, get sick, etc. For that reason, we need to be able to move clients around so each client knows various therapists. That way, there will not be a major crisis when a therapist is not available.
Do I have to have a physician's referral to make an appointment?
A physician’s referral or prescription is required for evaluation and for treatment for our therapy. If there are any problems, we will assist you in obtaining these.
Can I choose my own therapist? How do I know the therapist is qualified?
All of our therapists are licensed and certified. We have Speech-Language Pathologists who have completed their Masters Degree in speech-language pathology and have completed or are completing their nine-month clinical fellowship during which they must be directly supervised by someone who is nationally certified (CCC: Certificate of Clinical Competency). Our Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are registered, licensed, and have passed the board examination, as have our Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) and Physical Therapy Assistants.
Unfortunately, you are not always able to choose your own therapist. We will make an effort to fulfill your request; however, we try to pair the client with the therapist best suited to treat the needs of the client. Also, some clients need to be exposed to change for successful treatment. Therapists are people too and have family obligations, get sick, etc. We need to be able to move clients around so each client knows various therapists. That way, there will not be a major crisis when a therapist is not available.
What if my therapist is absent?
Although we attempt to cover all absences, there are times when we have no choice but to cancel an appointment, just as you do. As much as we love our jobs and our work families, we also have our own family obligations. We have a 24-hour cancellation policy. If the client is sick, we ask that you call by 8:00 am the day of the scheduled visit. We will extend the same courtesy. We will also attempt to offer a makeup therapy time at your convenience if possible, so that you do not lose a treatment session. We ask that you respect the same needs of our therapists. We are all part of a family and want to take care of and support one another.
Speech Therapy Questions
How do I know if my child's speech and language is developmentally appropriate for his/her age?
What is the difference between speech therapy in schools and speech therapy in our clinic?
When speech therapy is offered in school, the therapy offered is only going to relate to educational matters, meaning anything that happens within the school day. A private clinic will evaluate whether there is a disorder that affects the child in the school, at home, in the community or anywhere, and offer appropriate therapy.
What is apraxia of speech?
I think my child is stuttering. What do I do?
The Stuttering Foundation offers some general guidelines on what is considered “normal” stuttering at certain ages. Click the link for more information. If you have questions after reviewing this information, please reach out to us for an evaluation and possible treatment. We treat stuttering in children.
Why can't my family member drink regular liquids? Why do they have to be thickened?
There are several reasons that clients are unable to drink thin liquids and must receive thickened liquids, but the most important one is for safety. Most of these clients need thickened liquids to prevent aspiration (liquids entering the lungs rather than the stomach). When liquids enter the lungs, it can create aspiration pneumonia which can be very dangerous and difficult to treat. Thickened liquids travel more slowly down the throat which makes them easier for the client to control. There are various consistencies of thickened liquids. The safest consistency for the client should be determined by a modified barium swallow study and a speech-language pathologist should teach you the safest consistency for your family member and how to thicken it. We are also available to follow through with these recommendations, perform feeding and swallowing therapy and make recommendations for diet changes. This is done by a combination of speech and OT services.
Does speech and language really affect my child in school?
Speech and language skills can adversely affect many aspects of your child’s academic career. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has a website with some of the ways children can be touched by these in the classroom.
My child can't say his "l" or "r" sound. Is that ok?
Speech-language pathologists have developmental norms/guidelines they use to determine if your child is within normal limits for his/her age or is delayed and would benefit from skilled speech therapy services for an articulation and/or a phonological delays. Rebecca Harvey from The Speech Hut compiled the Iowa-Nebraska Articulation Norms into a great visual tool for parents to understand what sounds should develop at what age.
As SLPs, we are also looking at patterns of speech errors. These patterns are called phonological processes. These phonological processes are all normal at some point, but become disordered after a certain age.
What can I do at home to help my child with communication?
There are so many ways you can help your child at home without it feeling like the dreaded “h” word—“homework.”Your therapists at The SpOT Clinic will give you suggestions and will answer any questions that you may have. Here are some further resources:
Physical Therapy Questions
How can I get my child started on physical therapy?
Many parents start by having a conversation with their child’s pediatrician. Or perhaps a teacher in elementary school or daycare will talk to a parent about something they have observed. Parents may observe that their child is slow in developing certain skills. If you have been told that your child might benefit from pediatric physical therapy or you suspect it based on your own observations, call us. We can help you get started on therapy if your child can benefit from this help.
I don’t know for sure if my child needs pediatric physical therapy. What should I do?
If you suspect a problem, you are probably right. You watch your child’s day-to-day development more than anyone else. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s progress. Or you can call our office to get your questions answered.
When should my child start pediatric physical therapy?
As soon as a delay in the development of strength, balance or mobility is noticed. For some children, physical therapy should start right after birth. For other children, it may not be apparent that they need this additional support until they start playing with toys or walking. If you observe a possible delay in your child’s mobility, balance or strength. talk to your pediatrician. They can help you accurately diagnose any difficulty that exists and get your child started on physical therapy
Is there a difference between pediatric physical therapy and pediatric occupational therapy?
Physical therapy is concerned with your child’s gross motor skills. That term refers to your child’s ability to use the larger muscles to move their body around. Improvement in walking, running or using adaptive equipment such as a wheelchair would be addressed in physical therapy. Occupational therapy deals with fine motor skills, such as strength and coordination in the hands and wrists which is needed to care for themselves, write, draw, feed themselves and play.
Occupational Therapy Questions
What is sensory integration therapy?
The following links will provide additional information. For further questions, please contact us so we can educate you in more detail.
What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills include the use of the small muscles in the hands. Some fine motor skills include grasping, writing, cutting with scissors, shoe-tying, and fastening buttons. We need these to be able to care for ourselves and to functionally participate in activities at school, in the community, and at home. Occupational therapy helps clients to develop and improve these skills.
What are some characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder? Is my child on the spectrum?
This is quite a complex question to answer. As stated in the diagnosis, Autism is on a very wide spectrum from severe to mild. Autism is becoming more widely diagnosed at an earlier age. Correct early diagnosis is important for early intervention. A pediatrician can help you understand the characteristics you may be seeing in your child. Occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists can also provide some guidance in those characteristics and what might be considered “normal” versus not atypical development. It is important to know that no two people with autism are the same. The Autism Speaks website offers a good description of possible characteristics at each age or stage of development.
How does OT help with handwriting skills?
Occupational therapists can have a major impact on the success of handwriting skills in those who have deficits for various reasons. Some of these difficulties may include:
- Knowing how to form letters and numbers from memory
- Letter/number orientation (direction the letters/numbers are facing)
- Placement of the letters/numbers on the lines of the paper
- Size of the letters/numbers
- Starting the letters/numbers at the proper place
- How to sequence the formation of the letters/numbers
- Spacing between letters and words
- Handwriting control, neatness, and overall legibility
What factors contribute to these difficulties?
Handwriting problems can be caused by external factors, internal factors, or a combination of both.
- External Factors: height of the child’s desk and chair is improper and does not “fit” the child, poor or inconsistent handwriting instruction, child may be placed too far away from the blackboard to see how to properly form the letters
- Internal Factors: unrecognized vision problems, poor grip strength and/or endurance, poor eye-hand coordination, poor posture, proprioceptive/kinesthetic issues, child is not holding pencil properly
- Motor planning difficulties: poor shoulder and/or wrist stability, delayed fine motor development
What are the consequences for children with poor handwriting?
- Poor grades. The child may be perceived as “lazy” by teachers and peers, may not finish assignments because their hand becomes tired; they may have difficulty taking notes or difficulty understanding school assignments because so much energy is focused on trying to produce legible handwriting
- They may miss out on social activities, such as recess, because so much energy is focused on trying to produce legible handwriting
- Lower self-esteem
How can occupational therapy help children remediate handwriting problems?
Handwriting difficulties are the #1 reason for referral to occupational therapy services in schools. Our occupational therapists help children improve their handwriting by identifying the internal or external factors that are contributing to a child’s handwriting difficulties, and teaches the student and parents how to remediate these difficulties.
Feeding Therapy Questions
Who should I speak to if I think my child has feeding difficulties?
Please talk to your child’s pediatrician, or you can call or email us and ask to speak to someone in our OT or speech departments.
What is the difference between speech feeding and OT feeding?
Speech feeding focuses on the oral motor skills one needs to eat such as tongue retraction (ability to move the tongue back), tongue lateralization (ability to move the tongue side to side), lip closure, etc. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), states that feeding therapy falls within the category of swallowing treatment. Per the ASHA guidelines, the three phases of swallowing (oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal) are included, in addition to atypical eating (food selectivity/refusal, negative responses to foods).
However, in order to provide the most specialized care for our clients, our clinic provides feeding therapy for food “pickiness,” refusal, or selectivity or negative behavioral responses toward feeding from our occupational therapy department. Our clients that demonstrate difficulty with the mechanical aspects of feeding including portion control, pocketing foods in their cheeks, rate/speed, chewing, moving the tongue, and swallowing safely are treated by our speech therapy department. This may look like clients with alternate methods of feeding, clients demonstrating difficulty maintaining weight or gagging during meals.
What is a swallow study?
A swallow study is also known as a modified barium swallow study (MBSS). This is a type of test that looks at a person’s swallow abilities in the mouth and throat areas. It is typically done in a hospital setting with a speech therapist and a radiologist. When the testing is complete, the speech therapist may recommend certain changes to your child’s diet to help them eat and drink in a safe manner. Your speech therapist or occupational therapist may recommend that you complete this study before beginning or while in feeding therapy.
What should I bring to feeding therapy?
We recommend you speak to your child’s therapist about this. You may be asked to bring purees, thick liquids, thin liquids, crunchy textures, soft textures, etc.