404-514-4990
Serving: Sandy Springs, 
Johns Creek, Cumming,
Dawsonville & White County

FAQs


Free Consultation
404-514-4900
  How do I know when my child needs an occupational therapy evaluation?
  How do I know my child needs occupational therapy (OT) to improve handwriting skills?
  Do you offer OT screenings?
  What does an OT Screening Entail?
  Common questions about Sensory Processing?
  Common questions about Insurance?




Teaching Proficiency
with Self-Help Skills



 
 

How do I know when my child needs an occupational therapy evaluation?

There are several risk signs that indicate that a child may need evaluation from an occupational therapist. For instance, if your child is experiencing difficulty acquiring age-appropriate fine and/or gross motor skills, playing with other children, and handling transitions, he/she may be experiencing sensory integration difficulties. Experiencing difficulty with handwriting can be another sign. If you are concerned that your child’s behaviors or tendencies may have a sensory or motor basis, contact us today for a free consultation to determine whether an evaluation is necessary.



We Utilize Handwriting Without Tears www.hwtears.com
 

How do I know my child needs occupational therapy (OT) to improve handwriting skills?

Signs that a child may need OT may include difficulty recognizing or forming his or her manuscript or cursive alphabet, complaining that handwriting tires them easily, or he/she may have difficulty sitting for a handwriting task. Sometimes a parent or teacher may notice a child’s pencil grasp is immature or that a child has difficulty sitting in their seat.




 

Do you offer OT screenings?

Yes, we do!


 

What does an OT Screening Entail?

An occupational therapy screening is a basic look at your child's fine motor coordination, sensory processing, visual motor skills and independence with self care skills to determine the need for further evaluation. Your child may need a screening if you have concerns regarding the above mentioned areas or is not meeting age excepted sensory-motor milestones. OT screenings take place at your child's school or daycare or at our office location. Please ask your school's director to contact us to set up screenings at your school!


 

Sensory Processing and Sensory Processing Disorders

What is Sensory Processing?

Successful Sensory Integration
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses.
Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.


What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.

What are the “Senses” involved in Sensory Processing?
The sensations that the nervous system recognizes are touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and the “hidden senses.” The hidden senses relate to body position (proprioception) and movement (vestibular) (Harron 1999).

Vestibular: Is the sense of movement. The receptors for the
vestibular sense are located in the inner ear and are stimulated by movement of the head and input from other senses. It provides information about where our body is in space and whether we or the surroundings are moving and whether movement is up, down, fast, slow or angular.

Proprioception: Is the sense of position. It refers to perception of sensation from the muscles and joints.
Proprioceptive input tells the brain when and how muscles are contracting or stretching, and when and how the joints are bending, extending or being pulled or compressed. This information enables the brain to know were each part of the body is and how it is moving.


Are there different types of Sensory Processing Disorder?
Children with SPD do not respond to sensory information the way other children do. Their nervous systems may be constantly over-stimulated or under-stimulated. As a result, behaviors seen with SPD are typically categorized as either being “Hyper” (over-active) or “Hypo” (under-active).  There is usually a combination of under-active and over-active behaviors present in a child with difficulties with sensory processing.


Sensory Seeker



Sensory-seeking or obtaining behaviors characterize hyposensitivity, also known as hypo-responsiveness or under-sensitivity. The brain of the hyposensitive child registers sensations less intensely than those of others. This child requires more stimulation than other children to elicit similar responses. For example, a hypo-vestibular tactile child is never still. This child has a need to feel pressure and therefore is usually leaning on or over things, can be physically aggressive to other children, and has a high tolerance to pain. He also may be described as a “seeker” because he is seeking this type of sensory input.


Sensory Avoider
Sensory avoiding or defensive behaviors characterize hypersensitivity, also known as hyper-responsiveness or oversensitivity. The brain of this child registers sensory activities or situations too intensely. Emotionally charged avoidance behaviors may occur: fright, flight, or fight. This child will avoid situations or activities that are viewed as threatening or rely on predictable activities or routines to decrease anxiety.






What Behaviors or Signs do Children with SPD exhibit?


Signs of Vestibular Dysfunction:


Hypersensitive:

 Avoid playground equipment
 Does not like being tipped upside down or having head inverted as
     in somersaults
  Afraid of falling
  Difficulty maneuvering over uneven surfaces
  Avoid rotating movements
  Avoid riding a bicycle, using skates
  May complain of feeling ill, get carsick or complain of headaches or
     stomachaches
Hyposensitive:

  Seek additional movement
  Have difficulty staying in their seat or sitting still
  Jump up and down, rock, or crave intense movement experiences
  Spin continually; rarely gets dizzy
  Can’t sit still
  Thrill seeker
  Dart from one activity to another



Others may exhibit the following symptoms:

  Find their bodies loose and floppy
  Tire easily, slouch, and not have energy to move
  Have balance or coordination problems
  May not have consistent hand dominance
  May have difficulty with gaze stability, eye control, and visual perception


Signs of Tactile (Touch) Dysfunction:


Hypersensitive:

  Avoid certain textures of clothing.
  Need tags removed from shirts.
  Avoid hair cutting, baths, or nail trimming
  Avoid crowded environment due to fear of being bumped
  Does not like to have hands dirty and will refuse messy play
  Resist cuddling or light touch
  Resistant to wearing socks and certain shoes
Hyposensitive:

  Repeatedly touches or feel things
  Frequently bump into people and objects
  Accident prone
  High threshold for pain (May even enjoy pain)
  Don’t realize their hands are dirty or their face is messy
  Play rough with peers



Signs of Proprioceptive Dysfunction:


Hypersensitive:

  Push too hard, breaking toys or the lead of pencil when writing.
  Appear clumsy
  Difficulty understanding
  Gross motor skills appear awkward and uncoordinated
  Difficulty knowing where their body is in space.
Hyposensitive:

  Press too lightly when writing, making it difficult to read
  May be aggressive with other children.
  Love rough play
  Love to be squished and bear hugs
  Often crashing, jumping, and stomping


Signs of Auditory Dysfunction:

Hypersensitive:

  Cover ears to loud sounds
  Fearful of vacuums, hair dryers, public toilets flushing, lawn mowers
  Avoid or react to noisy public places (e.g., movies, restaurants,
     auditoriums, and even school cafeterias)
  Aware of sounds that others do not notice
Hyposensitive

  Makes noises with their mouth (e.g., hums).
  Loves loud music
  Have difficulty determining where sound is coming from
  May not respond when their name is called
  Frequently respond by saying, “What?”


Signs of Oral Dysfunction:

Hypersensitive

  Picky eater
  Limit food to certain textures and excludes certain food groups (e.g.,
     may exclude vegetables and some fruits).
  Have definite likes and dislikes with foods and is adamant
  Prefer food with intense flavor or texture (e.g., chips, pickles,
      lemons, crunchy foods)
  Dislike tooth brushing and is very fearful of the Dentist
  May have difficulty with swallowing, chewing, sucking and
      even articulation
Hyposensitive:

  Prefer food with intense flavor or texture (e.g., chips, pickles,
      lemons, crunchy foods)
  Frequently chews on non-food items (buttons, collars, hair, shirt,
      pencils)
  Lick or mouth non-food items
  May drool





Signs of Visual Dysfunction:

Hypersensitive:

  Notice all movement in classroom and is easily distracted
  Avoid eye contact
  May be bothered by bright lights or overly sensitive to sunlight
  Can become overly aroused in an overly decorated room (e.g.,
      classroom or brightly colored room)
Hyposensitive:

  Mix up similar letters (e.g., “E” and “F” or “M “and N”)
  Lose place when reading or copying from the board
  Have difficulty with visual discrimination
  Have difficulty with visual pursuits (e.g., tracking an object)



Can a child present with both Hyposensitivity and Hypersensitivity?
Yes. It is not uncommon for a child to exhibit both hyper and hypo sensitivities. Sensory Seeking and Sensory Avoiding behaviors share common threads. They are both characterized by inefficient processing of sensory stimuli. In the sensory avoiding child, too much information gets in and the child avoids it, while in the hyposensitive child, too little information gets in. The sate of sensory deprivation results in unpredictable behaviors characterized by both sensory-seeking and avoiding behaviors.

For example, a child who fluctuates may show signs of both under and over-responsiveness, not noticing food on his face while being unable to tolerate the tag on his shirt (Murray-Slutsky and Parris 2001).


Do children with SPD have motor delays?
Due to difficulty with vestibular processing (movement and balance) as well as tactile and proprioceptive processing (knowing where your body is in space), it is not unusual for a child with SPD to be delayed with meeting motor milestones, have difficulty with planning complex motor movements, learning new motor skills, difficulty with ball skills, bilateral coordination and much more.



No More Tantrums
Can difficulty with attention and emotional control be attributed to SPD?
Children with SPD often present with difficulty regulating and organizing the degree, intensity, nature of response to sensory input in a graded and adaptive manner (sensory modulation). They have difficulty with adapting to changes in the environment, responding in an organized fashion, using a level of arousal and attention appropriate for the task, blocking out irrelevant information, attending to relevant stimulation, and responding appropriately and in direct proportion to the sensory input (Murray-Slutsky and Parris 2001).

They exhibit some of the following symptoms:

  Poor organization of behavior
  Impulsive, lack self-control
  Easily Distracted
  High Activity Level
  Low Activity Level
  Difficulty transitioning from one activity or situation to another
  Inability to unwind or calm self
  Short Attention Span
  Difficulty in Social Situations
  Difficulty waking in the morning
  Easily frustrated



Oral and Tactile Fun
How is SPD treated?
Once children with SPD have been accurately diagnosed, they will benefit from Occupational Therapy utilizing a Sensory Integration approach.

The goal of Sensory Integration (SI) is to facilitate the development of the nervous system’s ability to process sensory input in a more typical way. Through integration the brain pulls together sensory messages and forms coherent information upon which to act. Sensory Processing Therapy uses neurosensory and neuromotor exercise to improve the brain’s ability to repair itself. When successful, it can improve attention, concentration, listening, comprehension, balance, coordination and impulsivity control.

During treatment, a child is guided through activities that challenge his or her ability to respond appropriately to sensory input by making successful, organized responses. Therapy typically involves activities that provide vestibular, auditory, proprioceptive, tactile, and oral stimulation.

  • Body Control

  • Linear Input

  • Building Strength

  • Motor Coordination at Work
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s ability to adequately process sensory input, please contact Star Therapy, Inc. today, at 404-514-4990. Our trained Occupational Therapist can further evaluate your child and determine if your child does indeed have a Sensory Processing Disorder.


 

Common Insurance Questions


1.  Do we need a referral from our physician to come to Star Therapy for services?
Star Therapy does not require you to have a medical doctor refer you for services, but if you want services billed to an insurance company, it is necessary that you get one.  Most clients find it helpful to have a medical referral on record so it is there if needed.
 
Insurance companies differ regarding the need to obtain preauthorization for services, the number of visits they will cover in a given time period, and whether they require periodic re-evaluations.  The client/parent is responsible for keeping track of these requirements.  While Star Therapy can help you make insurance inquiries, we are not responsible for keeping track of this information.

2.  When do I need to pay for my child’s services?
Clients have the option of paying for treatment at the time of service or they may choose to prepay each month. You may submit the paid invoices directly to your insurance company.


Free Consultation
404-514-4900
3.  Will you bill my insurance company automatically?

We do provide this service for BCBS clients.

We are unable to do this for out of network clients, but we are happy to provide you with an invoice that you may use to submit to your insurance for reimbursement.
 

4.  My insurance company said that you cannot bill me for your services directly.
This is only true if we are a provider for your insurance company.  Our fee agreements state that you are responsible for payment of your bill for services rendered. 

 5.  My insurance company said that they would pay. Can they pay you directly and I only pay the  copay/coinsurance?
Unfortunately, due to nonpayment from a number of insurance companies we are unable to wait for your insurance payments.  We will give you monthly invoices for you to submit to your insurance company on your own as long as you have paid your balance in full.  Most insurance companies take at least 60 days to pay our claims.  We appreciate your understanding.

Star Therapy provides exceptional Occupational Therapy services in our “state of the art” mobile therapy gym.
The OT BUS service areas includes Cumming, Dawsonville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, and Sandy Springs.



Contact Us today to schedule an evaluation for your “Rising Star!

Star Therapy, Inc  provides Occupational Therapy , in children’s homes, schools, and day cares, in Cumming, Alpharetta, Suwanee, Johns Creek and surrounding areas.

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