FOCUS Therapy Frequently-Asked Questions
How do I know if my child needs therapy?
This question is often best answered with another question: “Is my child functioning at the same developmental level as is typical for his or her peers?” If the answer is “No” or, “I’m not sure,” it may be worthwhile to seek a free screening for pediatric therapy. Approximately 75 percent of children ages 2 and 3 who receive therapy start because of a speech delay or language delay. Typically, by 12- to 15-months-old, babies should have a wide range of speech sounds. By 18-to-24 months, children should have between 20 and 50 words. A 2-year-old should be able to identify common objects, point to eyes, ears or nose when asked and follow two-step commands (i.e., “Pick up the ball and give it to me.”). For more information about key developmental milestones, we suggest visiting the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can also always ask one of our experienced therapists for an opinion if you have specific concerns. We offer free screenings, as well as comprehensive evaluations used for diagnostics, including the ADOS test for gauging a child's risk of autism. It’s true that all children develop at varying paces, but it doesn’t hurt to seek a screening if you are worried. In many cases, we find a parent’s instincts are usually spot-on. At FOCUS Therapy, it is our strong belief that early intervention is key to minimizing the adverse, long-term impacts of a developmental delay or disability.
Does FOCUS Therapy accept my child’s insurance?
We accept the following insurance: CMS Title XIX, CMS Title XXI, Staywell/ Wellcare, full Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield. We also offer competitive self-pay rates.
Will my child's health insurer cover their therapy?
Whether an insurance company will cover your child's recommended therapies depends largely on the carrier, the policy, the child's diagnosis, and the type/amount of therapy that's been recommended. State laws mandate Florida health insurers provide certain early intervention therapies to "eligible" children - usually those with specific diagnoses (such as autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, global developmental delays, etc.) where services are deemed "medically necessary." That doesn't necessarily mean insurers will make it easy. Our FOCUS Therapy team will do all we can to help families in requesting insurance pre-approval for doctor-recommended therapies.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy or behavioral therapy?
For an evaluation or therapy services, FOCUS Therapy generally requires a physician’s referral. Screenings, however, are free and do not necessitate prior doctor approval. Our findings in a screening can be presented to your doctor to request a referral for formal evaluation and/or services. We also conduct comprehensive ADOS testing for autism spectrum disorder. Pediatric specialist use ADOS test results when deciding whether a diagnosis of ASD is appropriate.
Doesn’t the school district already provide therapy for children with special needs?
To an extent. School district administrators analyze certain criteria to determine if a child qualifies for an individualized education plan (IEP). Therapy could be recommended as part of that IEP. However, parents must sometimes really advocate for these services, and it’s often not as frequent or intensive as our FOCUS therapy program. Plus, the criteria used by the district to determine IEP eligibility may differ from the metrics our therapists use to ascertain how the child’s potential can be maximized. Ideally, children with more severe special needs will receive both private therapy as well as therapy in school. The National Center for Education Statistics reports approximately 13 percent of all students – 6.5 million in U.S. public schools – receive special education services. These services are undeniably valuable. However, they often aren’t enough. There are absolutely excellent therapists employed in public schools. However, the unfortunate reality is many districts are underfunded and overwhelmed. That’s why the FOCUS pediatric therapy services in Southwest Florida are so critical - especially in terms of early intervention before a child is old enough to qualify for assistance through the school district.
What should I expect on our first visit to FOCUS?
Your therapist will meet with you and your child to discuss concerns, review the medical history and go over any questions regarding your child's developmental progress. The therapist will observe the child during play and work to engage the child in a set of tasks, based on the skill sets targeted. The therapist will take note of the child’s strengths and limitations. The therapist will then report those findings back to the family/ caregiver to discuss whether therapy is needed and if so, set goals. Feel free to ask for a tour so you can witness firsthand our holistic, multi-disciplined and fun approach to pediatric therapy.
What role do parents/ caregivers play in the therapy process?
Parents and families are vital to the success of any pediatric therapy. Our therapists will work during each session to strategically further the child’s goals. Ultimately though, it’s up to the parent to follow through at home. Parents will have an opportunity at each session to receive a verbal report of the session, ask questions, discuss problems or concerns, and to learn about how they can carry over our FOCUS therapy strategies at home.
How long will my child need therapy and how often will he/she come to FOCUS therapy?
It depends. Both will be based largely on your child’s medical condition, the findings of your therapist’s comprehensive evaluation, your insurance and of course, your schedule. We will periodically re-assess progress to update your child’s plan-of-care. Usually, children with more severe needs are seen between two and three times weekly per discipline, but that can vary depending on the child’s individual needs.
Where can I find FOCUS Therapy's online Patient Intake forms?
FOCUS patient intake forms are now available online. Just click here: https://focusflorida.com/patient-intake-forms/
We also require new patients to print, sign, and return medical information & insurance release forms (2 pages total), which can be found here: https://focusflorida.com/medical-insurance-release-forms/
Where can I find a copy of FOCUS Therapy's Policies & Procedures?
This document - including our financial policy, sick/cancellation policy, etc., can be found here: https://focusflorida.com/policies-procedures/