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Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I know if my child needs speech and language therapy?

Make sure that your child is meeting their age-appropriate skills and language skills. If your child is not meeting their milestones, then an assessment is needed to ensure proper development of skills.

Signs of the need for speech and language therapy:

  • Has very few words or word combinations by age 2
  • Does not use words to communicate
  • Is hard to understand
  • Struggles to say certain sounds
  • Has difficulties thinking of what to say
  • Has a hoarse voice
  • Speech is dysfluent (stuttering)
  • Social skills seem different from their peers, such as eye contact, engaging with others, play skills, turn taking, and knowing how to make friends.

How do I know if my child needs occupational therapy?

Make sure that your child is meeting their age-appropriate motor skill and sensory development. If your child is not meeting their milestones, then an assessment is needed to ensure proper development of skills.

Signs for the need for occupational therapy:

  • Has difficulties paying attention or following instructions.
  • Seems weaker or tires more easily than other children.
  • Needs more practice than other children to learn new skills.
  • Has difficulty putting on socks, shoes or getting on coat with zipper.
  • Does not enjoy jumping, swinging, or having feet off the ground.
  • Dislikes playing with puzzles, small manipulative toys (blocks, beads, etc.), or avoids coloring/drawing.
  • Has difficulties with handwriting skills.
  • Overly active, unable to slow down and appears to be in constant motion.
  • Frequently pushes, hits, or uses too much force when playing with other children.
  • Does not accept change in routine easily.
  • Over-reacts to touch, taste, sounds, or odors.
  • Finds it difficult to make friends.

What are some possible signs of autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a complex developmental disability in which the child demonstrates repetitive patterns of behaviors and has challenges with social interaction skills. The symptoms are of varying degrees for each child but are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning. Autism is typically diagnosed by a developmental pediatrician or neurologist. However, speech and occupational therapy services are designed to help children with autism gain skills and become more independent in their communication and daily living skills.

Signs of autism may include:

  • No words by 16 months, or meaningful phrases by 24 months of age
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
  • Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
  • Has difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment
  • Repeats the same actions or movements repeatedly, such as flapping hands
  • Lacks “pretend play”, has a lack of interest in interacting with others
  • Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, often involving numbers or symbols
  • Doesn’t know how to connect with others, play, or make friends
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Gives unrelated answers to questions
  • Has unusual attachments to toys or strange objects such as keys, light switches, or rubber bands
  • Has trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings.
  • Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humor, irony, and sarcasm)

Do you work with children with autism?

Mary Washington Pediatric Therapy (formerly known as Fox Therapy Center) is proud to be the first center in Virginia to be certified for quality Autism care from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Stand (IBCCES). This designation means that the Mary Washington Pediatric Therapy staff have undergone a rigorous training process that will assist in providing services for those who have Autism. Because of this training, parents of children with Autism can be confident that we not only understand your child but are trained to provide the best services possible for your child.

How do I make an appointment for an evaluation?

To make an appointment, please call 540.446.2654.

What are your hours?

Our office hours are Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Can my child start therapy immediately without doing an evaluation?

An assessment allows the speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist to identify and describe your child’s strengths and weaknesses, compare him or her to other children of their age, and determine what would be the best approach to prepare the individualized treatment plan. However, if you have had a professional evaluation within the 3-6 months, please contact the office. At that time, we will determine whether additional testing is needed, and what course of treatment is recommended.

What happens during an evaluation?

Prior to all evaluations, parents complete the appropriate forms, which provide information regarding their current concerns, the child's medical, developmental, and educational history, as well as the review of our policies. We ask that everyone arrives 30 minutes prior to the evaluation to complete paperwork so that the entire time is spent with the clinician. If the child is receiving other services and/or school related services, please bring a copy of the reports and/or IEP (individual education plan).

During all evaluations, your child's medical, developmental, and educational history is carefully reviewed. Parents are interviewed regarding their concerns and the child's history. This information helps the clinicians identify areas to evaluate more closely. A variety of methods, including formal and informal tests, observation, parent/caregiver interview, and play-based activities will be used to evaluate speech, language or occupational skills. Selection of testing methods is based on your child's individual needs.

Following all evaluations, Initial results of the evaluation and recommendations will be discussed with you. A written report detailing evaluation results and recommendations will be given to you or mailed to your home (if no services are deemed necessary) as well as faxed and/or mailed to your child's physician.

What happens in a therapy session?

The child will attend the therapy session by going back with the therapist to the designated therapy room or sensory gym area. Therapy sessions have set expectations and routines but are fun to keep the child engaged and motivated! Our clinicians alter planned activities as needed to support the child’s success in completing the therapy targets set for that day! Performance data for the targeted goals is taken each session and exercises are given for practice at home. Home practice is essential to help children establish and generalize their new skills to meet their milestones!

How long is a therapy session?

We offer 30-minute therapy sessions for speech therapy sessions. Occupational therapy sessions are 50 minutes. We respect your time as well as our own, and therefore, expect to start and end therapy at the designated scheduled times. The clinician will brief the parent and recommend homework, if appropriate, for the last few minutes of the session.

Can I observe therapy sessions?

Being able to separate from parents is an important skill for children to work toward. Most therapy sessions are held with the clinician and child in session to ensure full attention and focus on needed skilled therapy targets. However, parents are so important to the therapy process and may be invited to sit in for part or whole sessions when appropriate. After each session, home activities will be sent home and the clinician will be happy to teach parents any new items to practice. Please discuss any concerns that you have with your clinician.

Do you offer co-treatments?

Yes, we do offer co-treatments for combined speech and occupational therapy sessions based on the child’s needs.

Do you offer home health services?

At this time, we only offer therapy services in the clinical setting, and do not offer home visits, or home health options.

What if a session needs to be cancelled?

Please call our office if you need to cancel a session at 540.446.2654. Cancellations must be made within 24 hours of the appointment or a "cancellation fee" will be charged. We understand that due to illness or other unexpected events it may be necessary for you to occasionally cancel a therapy appointment. You can leave a message if you reach voicemail. We appreciate two weeks notice of vacation plans. Make up sessions are encouraged.

What if I need to stop my child’s therapy sessions?

If you need to terminate therapy, for any reason, please give us two weeks notice so that we can wrap up therapy and complete final counseling with you. If your termination is due to financial concerns, please contact the billing center (540.741.1041) to set up payment options to continue the needed services.

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