Parents of children disabilities can quickly find themselves immersed in a dizzying world of various doctors, therapies, medications and treatment. The thought of their child spending several days a week – for years – in speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapies is frankly overwhelming. So we do understand the temptation of quick-fix, non-medical services that promise to “get your child talking” or “catch your child up” with just a month or so of intensive programming.
Call them hype or scams – but they don’t work.
In fact, some do more harm than good. They waste precious time and valuable resources – which can be especially damaging when you’re encouraged to interrupt or leave the routine of traditional, physician-recommended therapies.
“Parents of children with special needs will go to the ends of the Earth to get their child the additional help they need,” said Jennifer Voltz-Ronco, owner and founder of FOCUS Therapy in Fort Myers. What we don’t want to see is parents being taken advantage of. In fact, we care so much about these kids that we will even help parents investigate other treatment options and share information about and with other medical providers if that’s the direction parents want to go. But it pains us to see parents blindly signing up for ‘treatment’ from centers that make big promises, but objectively just don’t compare to what we’re offering in terms of quality and effectiveness.”
Out of an abundance of caution for our patients, families and staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FOCUS Therapy of Fort Myers will be closing effective TOMORROW (March 17th) until further notice at the direction of Florida public health officials.
We are working to contact each of our families individually and inform them of possible teletherapy options.
Teletherapy is currently covered by the following insurance companies:
We are also offering teletherapy at a reduced rate of $85 for those whose insurance does not cover (it is normally $100).
though we may be able to offer a reduced rate for those whose insurance does not cover this service.
If you have any questions, you can still reach us at email@example.com. You may also reach out to your child’s individual therapists if you have their contact information.
More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
We hope our FOCUS families continue to stay healthy and well, and that we’ll be seeing you again soon.
At FOCUS Therapy, we’re always looking for creative ways to teach our patients life skills by making speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapy fun and engaging. The new FOCUS Kids Store is yet another example of how FOCUS Therapy is looking outside the box to achieve this.
The brainchild of our Therapist Manager, Lisa Shogren, The FOCUS Kids Store offers an array of toys, games, puzzles, books, bracelets and more.
Patients can “pay” for items of their choice using FOCUS Bucks. FOCUS Bucks are earned by achieving certain therapy goals as well as completing a task from our list of chores. Each chore is tiered by price. Some examples of chores include:
- Refilling snack containers (once weekly – take note of any snacks we’re low on, inform our office staff if we are low so more can be ordered) – $5
- Paper shredding (twice monthly – gather any paper that needs to be shredded from all of the four offices at FOCUS Therapy, shred the paper and change the bag as needed) – $10
- Party Planner (once monthly – pick a theme and choose a day, make decorations and a list of food to be brought, design signs and display them to let everyone know) – $20
- Office closing sign creator (pick from one of the upcoming holidays FOCUS Therapy is closed, create a sign, laminate it, give to the front office staff so they can be hung the week before the holiday). – $1 per sign creation, $0.50 each to hang
FOCUS Families: Let’s talk coronavirus.
Also known as COVID-19, the coronavirus spreads between people who are in close contact (defined as within 6 ft). It can also spread by touching surfaces contaminated with droplets of the virus and then touching one’s face, mouth, nose or eyes.
FOCUS Therapy is taking several measures to address the concerns related to the coronavirus.
Happy New Year from all of us at FOCUS Therapy!
To ensure this year goes as smoothly as possible, we’re publishing the 2020 FOCUS Therapy Scheduled Office Closures list in advance.
Typically, our Fort Myers therapy clinic’s schedule mirrors that of the Lee County School District. In other words: If the schools are open, we’re open. If schools are closed, we’re closed. Keep this in mind anytime there are severe weather closures, etc. (particularly during hurricane season!). Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the summer schedule, but where there are deviations, your child’s therapists should alert you in advance. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!
Scheduled 2020 FOCUS Therapy Office Closures
- 4/10/20 – Good Friday
- 5/25/20 – Memorial Day
- 9/7/20 – Labor Day
- 11/26-11/27 – Thanksgiving and the Friday after
- 12/21/20-12/25/20 – Christmas Week
- 1/1/21 – New Year’s Day
(Note: We will be open during spring break, March 16-20th and Friday, July 3, 2020.)
Saturday, Dec. 7th: FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers Offering 3 Hrs of Free Childcare to Patients & Siblings!
Need a few kid-free hours to knock out your holiday shopping? Or maybe you could really just use a much-needed mom-date or some “me-time.” FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers has your back!
Our licensed, certified and experienced therapists are giving our clients the gift of three full hours of child-free time during two convenient time slots (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. OR 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.
“We know how tough it is for so many parents of children with special needs to carve out the time just to get through the business of everyday – and then try to tackle something like holiday shopping on top of that,” said FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers Owner Jennifer Voltz-Ronco. “Taking your kids with you may not be an option (you wouldn’t want to anyway if you’re buying presents for them). But the other challenge is finding someone you can trust with your child.”
FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers is now offering the ADOS test for autism diagnosis.
Unlike simple developmental screenings, the ADOS test is a more rigorous medical evaluation conducted by trained clinicians. It’s considered the gold standard evidence on which pediatric neurologists diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which has a current prevalence rate of 1 in 59 children (and 1 in 38 boys).
As providers of pediatric speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapy at FOCUS, we preach the value of intensive, early intervention therapy because we KNOW it works. It’s most effective when initiated before age 5 – but almost no health insurance provider is going to cover that treatment absent a qualifying diagnosis. One of the first steps in that process is an ADOS test.
What is an ADOS Test?
ADOS stands for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. It’s a semi-structured evaluation of:
- Communication (voice, speech and language skills)
- Cognitive function
- Social interaction
- Social-emotional function
- Adaptive skills
Social media newsfeeds everywhere will be suddenly awash today with blue light bulbs and puzzle piece art, marking World Autism Awareness Day (every April 2nd) and the beginning of National Autism Awareness Month. At FOCUS, members of our team have been providing Fort Myers therapy for children with autism (and many other conditions) for more than a decade now.
Occasionally during Autism Awareness Month, we come across questions/hear sentiments like:
- What difference do blue porch lights and profile pic frames make?
- Doesn’t everyone already know about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at this point? After all, the CDC’s newest estimate that 1 in 59 children/1 in 37 boys are diagnosed in the U.S. now annually.
- Do we really even NEED an Autism Awareness Month anymore?
Power to the puppets!
For children with a range of difficulties and disabilities, our speech and occupational therapists in Fort Myers have seen striking benefits in working with puppets during our sessions with kids. Puppets, first and foremost, are fun (who doesn’t love Sesame Street?). But they can also help us engage children in ways they might otherwise struggle, namely in peer-to-peer and child-to-adult interactions. They can also help kids better understand certain functional roles and responsibilities in everyday life.
Puppets can be an entertaining yet powerful visual to help us illustrate action-word vocabulary or spatial concepts. As speech and occupational therapists, we can use puppets to help teach the rules of conversation, general social interaction and causal connections. A puppet might “forget” they shouldn’t interrupt or talk so loudly or push to the front of the line. Puppets can be frustrated, sad or angry about something, and it allows the child to explore those complicated feelings and situations without being overwhelmed – because puppets are inherently silly too. They also tend to be more effective than a two-dimensional picture because they rely on visual, audible and tactile senses.
FOCUS Therapy is proud to support OneTree.org in its mission to reforest this community and beyond, one tree at a time. The “Trees for Mom” campaign by OneTree is a great local initiative that involves planting trees right here in Southwest Florida. It’s an opportunity to name a tree after a special mom in your life!
Mother’s Day is coming up – just a few days left – and Trees for Mom is a sweet way to honor her with a lasting symbol, and simultaneously make Southwest Florida more beautiful. Each tree is just $12, and OneTree was co-founded by one of our own in the “FOCUS family!”
Our Fort Myers speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists at FOCUS believe in planting the seeds of effective communication, growth and well-being for the next generation. Success is achievable when we aim for steady, long-term solutions and stay the course.