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. 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. 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. Early intervention is key to minimizing the impact of a developmental delay.
Does FOCUS accept my child’s insurance?
We accept the following insurance: CMS Title XIX, CMS Title XXI, Molina, Staywell/ Wellcare, full Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield. We also offer competitive self-pay rates.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy or behavioral therapy?
For an evaluation or therapy services, we generally require 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 evaluation or services.
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), and 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. The fact remains, however, these services often aren’t enough. Make no mistake: There are excellent therapists employed in public schools. But the unfortunate reality is many districts are underfunded and overwhelmed. That’s why the FOCUS pediatric therapy services in Southwest Florida are so valuable.
What should I expect on our first visit to FOCUS?
Your therapist will meet with you and your child to discuss concerns and review the medical history and go over any questions regarding your child’s developmental progress. The therapist will then 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, what kind of goals are achievable and will meet the child’s/ family’s needs. Feel free too to ask for a tour so you can witness firsthand our multi-disciplined and fun approach to pediatric therapy.
What role do parents/ caregivers play in the therapy process?
Parents are vital to the therapy process. Our therapists will work during each session to work strategically on furthering 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.