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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - THERAPEUTIC SERVICES

 
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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • THERAPEUTIC SERVICES QUESTIONS

    What is Occupational Therapy?
    Occupational Therapy (OT) uses purposeful activity to achieve improved function.  The goals of therapy are:

    • to promote health
    • to prevent disability or injury
    • to develop or restore the highest level of function and independence possible

    OT goals may initially focus on early developmental skills, such as muscular control in the trunk and shoulders, before moving to fine motor and hand skills.  Based on the child’s needs, the therapist may also work on visual perceptual skills, visual motor control, sensory motor skills and sensory integration, cognitive skills, and activities of daily living (ADLS).

    What is Physical Therapy?
    A Physical Therapist evaluates the way an individual moves, the movement patterns he or she uses, and his or her posture and postural control.  Factors that influence movement include:

    • Muscle tone: How floppy or stiff the muscles feel
    • Range of motion: How fully the joints can be moved
    • Skeletal alignment: How the bones are shaped and how the joints are lined up
    • Strength: The power and effectiveness of the muscles

    Physical therapy focuses on developing or improving the prerequisites for normal movement to the highest level possible, with the therapist providing structured activities to improve strength, flexibility, range of motion, balance and control, coordination and dexterity, relaxation, motor planning, cardiovascular and/or respiratory endurance, and sensory integration and modulation.

    What is Speech Therapy?
    The Speech-Language Pathologist (often informally referred to as a Speech Therapist) assesses and treats speech, language, and swallowing disorders.  Speech Therapy activities may be designed to improve speech, language, swallowing, and/or cognitive skills.  For children who are unable to produce intelligible speech, therapy may focus on use of an alternate communication system,such as picture boards, sign language, or a communication device.  Swallowing therapy may focus on indirect pre-feeding exercises and oral-motor exercises, or on direct swallowing exercises using food/liquid.

    What kinds of activities are used in therapy?
    Therapy with children is generally based on the child’s, family, and educational goals and interests.  With children, therapy activities are geared toward helping the m acquire the highest level of function and independence possible for the performance of daily activities.  Therapy spaces are equipped with  gait training devices and adaptive equipment (e.g., walkers, standers, braces).

    Therapy with children often includes play, using activities that are specific to each type of therapy.  For example, sensory integration therapy may use activities that allow the child to use touch or taste, or to swing, spin, jump, and climb.  Therapy may include play activities that help develop turn-taking skills, or the ability to imitate an action, gesture, sound, or word, or the ability to use an alternative communication system.

    What is sensory processing?
    Sensory processing is the ability to take in information through our senses, organize it, and produce a meaningful response. Effective sensory processing influences our behaviors and allows us to perform our daily activities, from simple tasks such as sitting in a chair to complex ones like mathematical equations.  People with sensory processing problems/or deficits often have difficulty making sense of this input, and may have difficulties/problems relating appropriately to others and to their environment.

    What is sensory integration therapy?
    Sensory integration therapy uses a variety of activities to help develop the child’s ability to respond appropriately to sensory input and to regulate interactions with others as well as their environment.  This therapy has been effective in treating a variety of disorders, including:

    • Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder
    • Developmental Coordination Disorder
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
    • Other Autism Spectrum Disorders

    What ages and types of disabilities do you serve?
    We serve children from birth through 21 years of age at our facilities.  Our children are individuals with many different types of developmental and acquired disabilities, including:

    • Autism
    • Cerebral Palsy
    • Genetic Disorders
    • Muscular Dystrophy and other Muscular Disorders
    • Neurologic Disorders
    • Orthopedic Disorders
    • Sensory Processing Dysfunction
    • Traumatic Brain Injury

    Who should be evaluated for an augmentative communication system?
    Our Program for Augmentative Communication Enhancement (PACE) provides comprehensive evaluations and training to infants, children, and adults who are unable to communicate through speech alone:

    • Individuals may have some speech, but not enough to express their thoughts, needs, and feelings effectively
    • Or they may be very verbal, but difficult to understand
    • Or they may have no speech at all

    What type of training and experience do your therapists have?
    All therapists and social workers are licensed by the New York State Department of Education.  In addition to the college degree(s) and work experience required for licensure, many of our staff members have 10 or more years of clinical experience in pediatrics.  Our therapists are committed to excellence in service delivery, and our staff often exceeds NYS continuing education requirements.  Many clinicians have advanced training in specialty areas such as:

    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
    • Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT)
    • Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT)
    • Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children (TEACCH )

    Where are services provided? 
    Our services are provided at our school in Poughkeepsie, NY and preschool in Wappingers Falls, NY.  Prior authorization by the child’s home county (i.e., Dutchess, Ulster) is required for services. Preschool-based and school-based services require prior authorization by the child’s local school district.

    Do I need a doctor’s prescription or insurance authorization before starting therapy?
    Parents should consult the specific program authority (e.g., insurance plan, Early Intervention, school district) to determine whether authorization and a doctor’s prescription are required prior to initial evaluation.  All on-going occupational and physical therapy and some speech therapy services require a prescription from a licensed physician, and may require prior authorization from third-party payers.

    What type of referrals do you accept? 
    Services are educationally related to the child’s school program, and are documented in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) developed by the child’s school district.