Four-year-old Daimé, spots speech therapist Dawn Ferrer across the hall and squeals with delight as she runs into her arms. Dawn bends down to Daimé‘s and asks her about her morning. As they chat back and forth, they head off to the therapy room hand in hand.
The room is sunny and bright, full of colorful toys and special equipment designed to engage the child in the oral and physical exercises used to encourage speech and language.
Dawn lifts Daimé gently into a swing “box” that hangs from the ceiling and sits on the floor facing the young girl. An Ipad sits to the right of Dawn within arms reach. She gives Daimé a dog puppet and asks her what the dog says. Daimé moves her hand to move the dog’s mouth and says “bow-wow”. Dawn then clicks the Ipad screen to an image of a dog. She asks Daimé what the image is and the girl quickly says “dog”. They continue their exercises using a combination of the swing, puppets, and the Ipad as Dawn helps Daimé pronounce each word and rewards her with high fives and high praise.
Daime’s mother, Armanda, appears ecstatic as she watches her daughter. “Her progress is incredible, and it’s only been one month! What I love about Abilities United is they understand my child. No one judges her. She gets really good service here. Even though we can get therapy services for free, what we get here is better because of the sensory integration. I absolutely think the $120 per hour is worth every penny.”
The Therapy Clinic was the brain child of the Abilities United staff when they repeatedly heard from parents of children graduating from the Early Intervention program that their 3 year old children still needed individual physical, occupational and speech therapy. Since each parent and child had established relationships with the Early Intervention therapists, it made sense and was beneficial to the child to continue those relationships.
The Therapy Clinic is a private pay service and does not require a referral from a pediatrician or regional center. The clinic now serves 55 children from infancy to school age. For the children and parents from Early Intervention and Milestones Preschool, the clinic is a familiar and convenient option. For the children who are new to Abilities United, the Therapy Clinic offers a “one-stop-shop” of the various therapy modalities and provides immediate therapy with no wait list. For all clients, the fact that all the therapists are under one roof means that they collaborate and consult with each other so each treatment plan is cohesive and potential developmental delays can be immediately addressed. The skills the child learns in one therapy can be generalized to other therapy sessions. Dawn Ferrer explains; “If a therapist is concerned about the progress of their client or wonders how to more effectively work with their client, they can consult with other therapists about their approach and the results of that approach. They can advise each other on how to maximize their therapy time with the child. They share tips on how to communicate with the child to help them make more progress. ”
Armanda adds, “I feel the therapists are kind and helpful. They teach me how to work with her. They teach me about what is going on with her and what the problems are. They explain what they are doing and give me tips on what I can do with her at home.”
In addition to physical, occupational, and speech therapies; the Therapy Clinic also provides small group sessions including the “Jump Start Language” for children 18 months to 2.5 years old, speech articulation for 4 – 9 year olds, and social skills for children 4 years and older.
Dawn further states; “Our therapists have a great reputation in the community and parents want to continue their child’s therapy with their current therapists. But our goal is to get them (the child) to a place where they don’t need us.”
For more information on the Therapy Clinic contact 650-618-3353 or dawn@AbilitiesUnited.org