Therapy Services

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

First, you will need a referral for therapy services from your physician. The referral will be faxed to the Anne Carlsen Center. Within one week, we will call you to schedule an initial evaluation. The initial evaluation is usually 60-90 minutes long. You will need to bring your insurance cards and come 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to give yourself some time to complete the intake paperwork. If your child has received early intervention services, other therapy evaluations, or doctor’s notes; bring copies of these documents.
The Anne Carlsen Center accepts most major insurance plans, including Medicaid. We will contact your insurance company to ensure that your policy benefits will cover the evaluation and subsequent therapy sessions. There are no guarantees that your insurance will cover the recommended services. Contact your insurance company to get an idea of the therapy benefits that your policy covers. All copays are due at the time of the service. Remember that if your policy requires a copayment for services, it may include a copay for each service provided. If a copayment is not received at the time of the therapy session, a bill will be mailed to you regularly.
Early Intervention services and school therapy services are equally important to outpatient therapy services and to your child achieving independence in their world. Outpatient therapy services will focus on your child’s medical diagnosis or delays in developmental milestones related to their impairments and functional limitations. Our outpatient therapists will add another set of eyes, observations, and intervention ideas to your child’s team. We collaborate frequently with you, your child’s Early Interventionist, vision consultants, school therapists, or other professionals on your child’s team.
Outpatient therapy services at the Anne Carlsen Center focus on a wide variety of developmental issues including language development, sound production, feeding and swallowing impairments, gross and fine motor delays, behavioral issues, sensory integration, torticollis and plagiocephaly, assistive technology needs, visual-motor impairments, augmentative communication, seating and positioning, social skills, and developmental coordination disorders.
At the Anne Carlsen Center, we know that every child is different. We know that each child’s plan of care will depend on parent preference, standardized assessment scoring, and determining each child’s functional limitations in their everyday environment. We will look closely at the progress of your child’s current therapy goals, areas of further improvement, and anticipated needs. The length of therapy needs depends greatly on the individual. The child’s parents (guardian) along with therapist input will determine the best plan of action. Your therapist will be a great liaison to navigating this new and unfamiliar world of services and equipment available to your child.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy focuses on helping individuals across the lifespan to do things they want and need to do throughout their day through the therapeutic use of daily activities. Furthermore, occupational therapy treats the whole person. As occupational therapists we look at the individual’s participation in activities, such as play, activities of daily living (dressing, feeding, toileting, hygiene, grooming, etc.), instrumental activities of daily living (care of pets, meal preparation, safety, shopping, etc.), education, leisure, and social interactions with family, peers, and the community that are being impacted. Overall, occupational therapists are helping individuals fully engage in their daily lives. Nevertheless, both occupational therapy and physical therapy play a very important role in healthcare.
The term ‘sensory processing’ refers to the ability to take information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, sight, hearing, balance) organize and interpret that information and make a meaningful response. The seven senses are fundamental to a child’s ability to learn & function in any environment. Sensory processing from the seven senses is highly specific but also interdependent, each sensation is affected by each other. Sensations are stimuli reported to the brain in regards to external and internal interpretations the child is experiencing. Occupational therapy uses a variety of strategies to assist with facilitating appropriate responses to aid in motor development and self-regulation.
Play is an important tool that influences a child’s life, the primary goals of childhood are to grow, learn, and play. It is primarily through play that children learn to make sense of the world around them. It is a child’s “job” or “occupation” to play to develop physical coordination, visual understanding, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other children, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new environments. Occupational therapists use play throughout the course of a session to target these underlying skills to help children meet their goals.
The OT and OTA work closely together to treat clients to the best of their ability. Despite the differences in their professional roles, they share a strong relationship with the most important aspect being communication. A difference between an Occupational Therapist (OT) and an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) is the involvement of the evaluation process. The OT is responsible for evaluating the client along with setting goals. It is the OTA’s role to use the information gathered in this evaluation period to plan treatments. The OTA can suggest changes, however, it is the OT’s responsibility to make the changes.
An occupational therapy evaluation is a test, observation, or parent report given by an occupational therapist to evaluate how an limitation, illness, or injury is affecting the child’s ability to play, help with daily life skills, manage and express their emotions and how to keep them regulated and fine motor skills. These evaluations are used to assess many different skills including visual motor, fine motor, sensory processing, self-care skills, play and social skills. The benefits of an evaluation is to show if the child is progressing or meeting their age appropriate developmental milestones.

Physical Therapy

The Anne Carlsen Center’s physical therapists work on all motor (movement) impairments. The following is a list of concerns that physical therapists will address development delays, genetic diagnoses, neurological issues, short-term rehabilitation, motor learning, pediatric orthopedic and sports injuries, torticollis and plagiocephaly, balance and coordination impairments, independent mobility and walking, power mobility, tone management, assistive technology assessments, postural issues, as well as orthotics and prosthetics.
If you’re already seeking therapy services and looking at this website for options to start therapy, there is a good chance that your concern for your child is valid. Discuss your concerns with your primary care physician or call our therapists to ask a specific question about your child. We would be happy to visit to determine if a physical therapy evaluation is warranted. If your child is not meeting gross motor milestones (rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, jumping, biking, coordinating motor movements), getting frustrated with motor skills, or not keeping up with his or her peers, an evaluation will provide details of which specific motor areas your child is needing assistance.
Therapy sessions are usually 30-60 minutes in length. They focus on your child’s impairments and use creative, play-based therapy to address muscle strengthening, muscle stretching, therapeutic activities, gait training, aquatic therapy, balance activities, weight bearing, and equipment trials and recommendations. Therapy sessions also include instruction and training to parents or caregivers on home programming and recommendations.
Muscle tone is the state of muscle tension when your body is at rest. Your child may be observed to have low muscle tone, normal muscle tone, or high muscle tone. Muscle tone has an impact on postural control and postural stability and control of your body that is necessary to stay upright and stabilize you during movement. Someone with very low muscle tone might have a difficult time sitting upright, often supports their head on their hands to rest, sometimes sits with a slouched posture, or sits with their legs in a W-pattern for stability.

Children with low muscle tone may struggle with coordinated, controlled movements. A child with high muscle tone will have difficulty moving their legs through their full range of motion. Muscles are tight and children with high muscle tone often have a difficult time alternating their body movements between their right and left sides, making tasks like walking very difficult. Although muscle tone doesn’t change, physical therapy will help your child find ways to strengthen and stretch specific muscles to make movement easier. Physical therapy will also help your child find strategies for managing their muscle tone.

Speech Therapy

Speech-language pathology is a health profession aimed at helping individuals develop effective communication skills for all ages. Our professionals are educated and trained to evaluate and treat children with speech, language and swallowing problems receiving both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree and are nationally certified and state licensed.
A speech-language evaluation is performed by a speech-language pathologist to gain insight into a child’s developing speech language and communication skills.

A speech-language pathologist will obtain a variety of scores from the tests utilized in the evaluation. These scores (standard scores, age equivalents and percentile ranks), as well as information from other types of tests, help the speech-language pathologist determine if a child has delayed or disordered language, articulation (speech), voice, or swallowing.

In addition to determining if a language delay or disorder is present, speech-language pathologists may give special tests, observational scales and parent report measures to gather information about social, play, communicative and behavioral patterns that are characteristic of autism. A report is generated that uses this information to help other professionals make diagnostic decisions about whether the child has an autism spectrum disorder and to make recommendations for intervention.

Trust your instincts! Most of the time, a caretaker’s instincts about a child are absolutely right! It is not helpful to ignore those instincts. Others may say that the child will simply “outgrow” a speech or language delay. While this could be true, it is impossible to know which children will outgrow their delay and which will need support from speech-language therapist to help them academically or socially. If a child needs help with his/her speech or language, it is important to get that help as early as possible. Language problems often run in families. If any of the child’s relatives has a language problem, it’s even more important to talk to an expert in children’s speech and language development as soon as possible.
Each client is unique in their speech and language needs. There are a variety of factors that contribute to therapy frequency and duration. The speech and language pathologist will recommend a frequency for treatment based on the results of the evaluation and/or therapy goals. Therapy can be provided up to several times per week to occasional consultants for skill maintenance.
Insurance coverage varies by provider. Many do cover. Please check with your insurance company to determine what benefits your child is eligible to receive.