Our Services Occupational Therapy: Areas of Service MNRI- The MNRI (Masgutova NeuroSensory Reflex Integration) method isolates reflex dysfunction, engages restorative techniques targeting underlying neurosensorimotor dysfunction, and works toward facilitating the integration process, resulting in improvements and sometimes even complete recovery of general function. MNRI upper limb techniques target reflexes and the underlying neuro-structural system to engage and improve manual, gross, or fine motor skill function and speech delays. Reflex Integration Social-Emotional Regulation refers to the process by which individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express their feelings. Emotional regulation can be automatic or controlled, conscious or unconscious, and may have effects at one or more points in the emotion producing process. Social-Emotional Regulation A process in the brain that allows us to take information we receive from our five senses, organize it, and respond appropriately. Sensory integration focuses primarily on three basic senses- tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive. Their interconnections start forming before birth and continue to develop as the person matures and interacts with his/her environment. Sensory Integration These are skills that refer to the movement of the muscles of the face (mouth, jaw, tongue, and lips). This includes muscle tone, muscle strength, range of motion, speed, coordination, and dissociation (the ability to move oral structures, such as tongue and lip, independently of each other). This can impact feeding skills and can be addressed through OT intervention from birth through the lifespan. Oral Motor Picky eating is characterized by an unwillingness to eat familiar foods or to try new foods, as well as strong food preferences. The consequences may include poor dietary variety during early childhood. Causes of picky eating include early feeding difficulties, late introduction of lumpy foods at weaning, pressure to eat and early choosiness. Our therapists work to create a personalized feeding approach to assist with expanding your child’s diet. Picky Eating The ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists. Examples of fine motor skills include holding a pencil or scissors, writing, cutting, threading beads, playing with Legos, or buttoning up a coat. Fine Motor Skills This refers to a wide range of personal self-care activities across home, school, work, and community settings that a child completes throughout their day. Occupational therapy works to assist kids and young adults reach their full potential with these tasks. Daily living skills can be impacted for a variety of reasons, our team will complete an activity analysis and create a plan for your child to be the most successful with their daily routine. Daily Living Skills Gentle rocking and reflex integration movements that stimulate neural pathways and promote learning, emotional balance, and ease of movement. There have been many instances of positive shifts and change as these reflexes integrate and we form a proper basis for moving and learning. The types of rhythmic movement activities include skipping, marching, galloping, and turning and bending. Our therapist have been trained to implement this protocol in conjunction with MNRI to achieve the highest level of success with each child. Rhythmic Movement This stands for Balance, Auditory, and Vision exercises. This terminology is used most often to describe exercises that use rhythm and focused attention to help participants improve a variety of skills. It is a series of 300 exercises, most of which are done with sand filled bags often while standing on a Bal-A-Vis-X balance board. Requiring multiple thousands of mid-line crossings in three dimensions, these exercises are steadily rhythmic, with a pronounced auditory foundation, executed pace that naturally results from proper physical techniques. Bal-A-Vis-X enables the whole mind-body system to experience the symmetrical flow of a pendulum. Bal-A-Vis-X Refers to the assessment and treatment of balance disorders. The assessment looks at balance, functional mobility, oculomotor function (eye movement), and motion sensitivity. Treatment can focus on improving balance and safety with mobility, improving tolerance for motions the child tends to avoid, improving adaptive responses to sensory input, and visual motor exercises. Vestibular Therapy This therapy includes treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, health, wellness, and fitness of the patient population in an aquatic environment with or without the use of assistive, adaptive, orthotic, protective, or supportive devices and equipment. Interventions for people of all ages with various disabilities, disorders, or conditions are enhanced when performed within an aquatic environment. Aquatic therapy interventions are designed to maintain or improve function, balance, coordination, and agility, flexibility, aerobic capacity/endurance conditioning, gait locomotion, and body mechanics and postural stabilization.COMING SOON Aquatic Therapy Our team has been trained to implement TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) with all of our clients. A few of our therapists specialize in working with kids that have experienced trauma. We address the whole person by assisting with the social emotional regulation or other symptoms secondary from trauma. Trauma or TBRI Children with auditory processing difficulties may experience difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, following directions, and distinguishing between similar sounds. Our therapists use a variety of interventions to address these symptoms to help your child be successful at home, school, and in their extra-curricular activities. Auditory Processing The brain's ability to use and interpret visual information from the world around us. Our therapists are trained to assess and provide intervention to assist your child’s visual system. A skilled occupational therapist will assess how your child’s eyes are moving along with how the brain and eyes are communicating. If your child struggles with reading, writing, or complains of headaches or fatigue during reading an assessment might be warranted. Visual Processing Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Our skilled occupational and speech therapist will collaborate to develop a personalized plan to help your child reach their full academic potential. Dyslexia Bowel and bladder regulation can be affected for a variety of reasons. If your child is having daily or nightly accidents after the age of 7 an OT evaluation might be the key to their success. Sensory or social emotional regulation and food diet can impact bowel regulation. Our skilled therapists work to address the whole person to provide them with more of a routine. Primitive reflexes can impact bowel and bladder regulation and can be instrumental in reversing daily accidents. Bowel & Bladder Regulation A non-invasive therapy that uses an electrical current to stimulate the muscles responsible for swallowing. Electrical stimulation is used to aid muscle strengthening and muscle recruitment to rehabilitate the swallow. Vital Stim Therapy Speech Therapy: Areas of Service Children begin communicating as early as 3 months. With language development, there are many milestones that children experience to indicate typical development. These include things such as speaking their first word at 12 months, and combining words at 18 months. If you feel that your child’s language is affecting their ability to communicate wants and needs or interact with others, our speech therapist can provide assessment and treatment to help them communicate effectively. Childhood Language Impairments Do you have a difficult time understanding what your child is saying? It may be due to an articulation delay or phonological processing disorder. Our speech therapist will utilize assessment, as well as parent-provided information to help determine how best to help your child improve their speech abilities. Articulation and Phonology Some children need extra assistance to be able to communicate more effectively. AAC is a form of communication that may include existing speech or vocalizations, gestures, manual signs, communication boards, and/or speech-output communication devices. Our speech therapist can provide assessment to determine the AAC services that can help your child fully participate in their environment. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Feeding and swallowing is an important part of development, not only for health and wellness, but also the social aspect. Do you notice your child exhibiting any of the following with meal times: choking, coughing, wet vocal quality, frequent throat clearing, gagging, vomiting, food refusal, extended time for meals, reflux, chronic infections, or spiking temps? Our speech therapist can provide a clinical evaluation for dysphagia, as well as provide appropriate recommendations and referrals. The evaluation can help to identify and diagnose abnormal anatomy and physiology of swallowing and detect additional disorders of the upper aerodigestive tract. Feeding and Swallowing (Dysphagia) Stuttering, or disfluencies, can develop at any age, with the most common form beginning during the preschool years. With many different disfluency types, our speech therapist can provide assessment and treatment for fluency disorders occurring at all ages, as well as counseling for the client and family. Fluency Disorders Voice is our primary means of expression and helps to identify who we are. Voice disorders can affect people of any age, and disordered voice production may affect your child’s ability to effectively communicate. Voice disorders can occur due to medical conditions, misuse, or abuse. Our speech therapist can provide assessment and appropriate recommendations or referrals to help your child utilize their best voice. Voice and Resonance Disorders Motor speech disorders are difficulties related to problems of movement resulting from neurological disorder or injury. A motor speech disorder may result in difficulty with speech production. Our speech therapist can diagnose a potential motor speech disorder and provide personalized therapy for your child. Motor Speech Disorders Our speech therapist can provide extensive testing to diagnose and treat dyslexia. We utilize a multi-sensory approach, as well as a multidisciplinary approach, involving both occupational and speech therapy, to allow your child to reach their maximum potential. Dyslexia Does your child demonstrate difficulty with any of the following: slowed processing, paying attention to the task at hand, following multi-step directions, repeating back information just provided to them, emotional control, shifting from one task to another, or planning and/or organizing information? Therapy focused on executive functioning can assist them with tasks completed on a daily basis and help to alleviate negative emotions. Executive Functioning Speech therapy for autism focuses on the whole person and their ability to participate in all daily tasks. Our speech therapist will provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine appropriate therapy for the client and their family. Autism Children can experience brain injury due to various causes. Cognitive and language difficulties may be associated with TBI. Our speech therapist is able to provide services specific to the type of injury sustained and associated difficulties. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) KF Testimonials Sensory Regulation From the time my daughter was six months old she had a developed a habit of twisting/pulling her hair and sucking her thumb. Around two we noticed some major sensory issues with clothing, socks, and shoes. We would have immense battles just trying to get dressed and out the door. After her 4th birthday and numerous conversations with the pediatrician at yearly well checks, hoping she would outgrow these behaviors, we decided it was time to seek OT services. These behaviors weren’t improving and by this time the hair pulling habit was so strong she had developed bald patches on her head where she had twisted and pulled her hair out. Her thumb sucking was almost non-stop. We had even stopped going to church and other functions because the battle to wear clothing, socks and shoes was lasting hours. We had to do something. After an initial OT visit we learned about retained primitive reflexes. It felt like someone had given me all the answers to what we had been dealing with. Six months into OT services we started seeing small changes in my daughter’s behaviors, the hair pulling/thumb sucking were a little less frequent and her bald patches had hair! A few months later I remember crying happy, thankful tears the day she put on socks and shoes without a single struggle. We spent a little over a year in OT services for retained primitive reflexes, by the end my daughter was wearing shoes she never would have been able to wear before. She no longer pulled her hair and sucked her thumb. Today her hair is down past the middle of her back and sensory battles with clothing are a thing of the past! After getting my first daughter Norah seen by Kidz First, I decided my second daughter should be evaluated. She was an overly active, can’t stand still, wiggle worm with the attention span of a bee. She was always buzzing around and wouldn’t pay attention. She would talk non-stop and smell people and objects. She would whine a lot and trip, due to poor coordination. Since starting she is a completely different child.. she can pay attention, follow directions, and SIT IN A CHAIR!!! She couldn’t sit or stand still before... now she can! She stopped smelling weird things and we now know how to help her use sensory the right way. She never falls anymore, is able to run very well, and is very strong. We are so thankful for the help we have received for our children with these awesome, caring people. Before Norah started therapy with Kidz First, she was having recurrent pneumonia’s, swallowing trouble, lack of coordination and weakness. Since starting at Kidz First, she is now off her thickened liquids, her swallow has gotten stronger and improved greatly! She hasn’t had pneumonia since! She is able to keep up with her friends, and pay better attention in school! She was diagnosed with ADHD and SLD in mathematics earlier this year, and her wonderful therapist has made a plan specific to her needs. The future looks pretty bright for my little Norah. We love the people that work here like family. Thanks Kidz First! Social Emotional Regulation Our older son's anxiety was increasing. It seemed to stem from having the stomach virus. He didn't want to leave the house, hated riding in the car, was scared to eat most foods. We figured it was just scared to get sick again but it persisted and made a family vacation really challenging as we did a huge road trip and of course we were eating out or shopping in new stores. He ate very little that trip and while we all had fun, by the time we got home we knew we had to DO SOMETHING for him. So we started out with some natural remedies which helped a bit but nothing lasted. I emailed the clinic after reading a testimony in a mom forum. I mentioned everything that was happening and asked if it could be helped by OT or if we needed to pursue things in another way. She offered an evaluation with one of the Kidz First team members. As a Chiropractor I had some exposure to retained reflexes but it hadn't occurred to me that was what was happening with my son because we hadn't had many issues until this point. Once I talked to the therapist and saw the results of the tests, all the pieces fell into place. His "picky" behavior about clothing, his disinterest in reading, terrible handwriting, anxiety and car sickness. It all went together! The therapist implemented the plan beautifully and within TWO WEEKS our son no longer had car sickness. It was like a miracle! I could not believe that some exercises and sensory treatment could take that away so quickly. His anxiety came down and within a month we could return to our activities without drama about leaving the house. Once I saw the progress in our older son, I asked the therapist about evaluating our younger son. We had just survived a 6-hour tantrum that week. Yes, SIX HOURS! I didn't know what was wrong, I didn't know how to help him, comfort him. It was awful. He was fussy, LOUD, chaotic, sensitive, high energy, fearless, but also his language skills seemed to stop progressing. He was startled easily, and was not developing any social skills (stopped making eye contact unless he initiated it). Again, the therapist implemented the plan and after just a couple of sessions and some home movements/exercises our youngest was so much more comfortable. Within a month his vocabulary increased again. He started making eye contact more frequently (it had even something that would come and go), was less injury prone. He now plays dress up and imagination games. He told me this morning "I'm a basketball player, let's go to the game" because he had a basketball on his shirt. This type of communication and social play is awesome. He also climbs to the top of the dome we have in our yard. He can make it to the top without falling or scaring us. I honestly didn't think that would happen. Several months later we still see advances, he is progressing and when we notice that he stops making eye contact or starts to have a tantrum we now have skills to help him. We know he has a high need for sensory input and we can help him to achieve that safely. Kidz First team has helped me to feel like a better parent, has helped my kids to be more comfortable in their own skin. This team is the real deal. They are skilled, compassionate, kind and fun. We love you! As I began noticing some struggles my kiddo was having, my husband and I both received a recommendation the same week from different people in favor of trying Kidz First. I contacted them immediately and have not been disappointed. My daughter has shown improvement in coordination, balance, anxiety, and social emotional regulation. I love hearing her genuine laughter and seeing positive changes that are helping her become her best self. I learned that a child doesn’t require a diagnosis to benefit from an array of OT therapies, and I highly recommend Kidz First! I cannot say enough about how amazing Kidz First Therapy has been with my son. He had so many issues when he started with them, not just physical ones but emotional ones as well. Within the 1st month of treatments, we began to see a significant drop in his ADHD meltdowns, and within a few months, his coordination was better. His soccer coach was amazed at the difference from the fall to the spring in how he could now dribble the soccer ball without tripping over it. He almost graduated from the program when his Grandfather died. He had a considerable setback behavior-wise, and they upped his treatments and stuck with us while we got him through the anxiety he was feeling. It was a tough road, but they never gave up on him or on helping us. Their support for both his physical and emotional wellbeing has helped him be an amazing kid who is thriving in his social and academic life. We owe a lot of that success to Kidz First Therapy and his excellent therapist. We started OT because of behaviors that my neurotypical child was having. That was almost 4 years ago. Since then the amazing team at Kidz First Team has been able to help my child through bed wetting, handwriting, anxiety, coping strategies, behaviors and so many more things I’m forgetting I’m sure. My daughter’s behavior improved enough for us to take a hiatus for about a year. When her behaviors returned and we were stuck, the team welcomed us back with open arms. Her therapist has always gone above and beyond for us. I’ve texted her late at night and early in the morning with “I don’t know what to do anymore” texts and she’s always there to listen and give more strategies and ideas. She’s always encouraging and uplifting but holds my child as accountable as I do and wants success just as much as well! Her therapist truly loves all of our kids not just the one that she treats! I truly don’t know where we’d be without the team at Kidz First! We started Kidz First Therapy because my daughter was struggling with Social Anxiety. Her therapist has easily become one of my favorite people and will forever hold a special place in my heart. She wants the best for my daughter just as much as I do. I’ve put my trust in her and the process from day one and my daughter has come so far. With my daughter’s anxiety, it can trigger behavioral issues. The therapist always knows what to do and how to handle each situation we’ve thrown at her. She recognizes things that I sometimes miss which also shows how much she knows about my daughter’s situation and anxiety triggers. She’s also become another ‘mom’ type figure and voice of reason for my daughter which is a tremendous help for me as a mother. She has helped my daughter with recognizing her anxiety, talking through what causes anxiety and behavioral issues as well as coping strategies. My daughter has made such progress that we no longer need weekly appointments and now go every other week. We owe so much to the staff at Kidz First Therapy. They’re all so amazing and willing to jump in and help each amazing kid that walks through their doors. Bowel & Bladder Management Cassie W. My daughter has struggled with toileting issues for a few years now and we tried so many different things for her. Working with Kidz First has been the best thing to help my little girl resolve these issues. She's going to the bathroom regularly and able to listen to her body's internal cues. She's also built a tremendous amount of strength and balance as well. She has so much more confidence now and we haven't had any more trips to the ER for broken arms! She treats my kiddo like family and I feel so lucky to have not only wonderful Occupational Therapy services for my daughter, but another strong woman for her to look up to. Amber Jenson Kidz First Therapy is a lifeline for my family. Two of my children have been seen due to the fact that they didn’t have any bladder control or awareness that they had accidents. One of those children I was potty training for four years. It didn’t concern my doctor that we were still working on this, but she did refer us to another OT clinic for what I later found was Sensory Processing Disorder. We were able to get help for Sensory Processing Disorder, but not for lack of bladder control. I took her to a Urologist and found that nothing was physically wrong with her. I searched potty training devices and bought them. They didn’t hold the answers either. A friend referred me to Kidz First Therapy and mentioned they had training in reflex integration. With time my daughters have developed awareness of their bodies through this method and the specific way it is implemented at Kidz First Therapy that has helped them use the restroom like other typically developing children. The child that had urinary incontinence and Sensory Processing Disorder can go the the bathroom independently and has not had any lapses in several months. Because of Kidz First, she is also able to function at home. She would behave well at school, but once she got home anything would set her off in a tantrum. Our family life has improved because she has strategies to use, but also she feels better after the reflex integration. Our family has also been educated on how to help her. The other daughter having bladder control difficulties has gone from eight accidents each day to one accident every few weeks. She is also doing well with nighttime accidents and only having a couple a week I had never entertained the idea of trying overnights because days were a disaster. Kidz First Therapy employees have gone through training to make this work. Also, they have kept helping me to find answers for my children’s needs. There have been months in my life when I felt hopeless, but they kept encouraging me to stick with it because they know the methods work. They have validated what I felt for years as a parent—that my kids needed help and I needed support to be able to help them. I tell anyone who will listen about OT and specifically about the methods Kidz First Therapy uses because it has changed my family to help us have a quality of life I didn’t think was possible. Motor Planning & Coordination Our son Kolten was introduced to the Kidz First team during his time in Missouri First Steps. His therapist knew from the beginning how smart but stubborn our boy was going to be. Once First Steps could no longer come to our house (due to him turning 2) his therapist offered services through her clinic, Kidz First Therapy. Kolten struggled in many areas, one of the biggest challenges being walking. Even at an early age, she and Kolten’s other therapists would always tell me that Kolten had it in him to do many things but for our boy, it would be when he was ready. I always had some doubt and worried about him and his struggles often but the Kidz First team never gave up hope on him! They used to always stress to me “it’s never too late.” With the continual push from his therapist with Kidz First Therapy, Kolten FINALLY walked at age 6! I began to think walking was never going to be an option for Kolten but with the hard work between Kidz First and Koltens” behavioral school, the day came and I got the video I had been waiting Kolten’s WHOLE life for...him walking! Kidz First Therapy as a whole continues being a HUGE support system for Kolten and I will never be able to thank his team of support enough! The most important thing that I have learned the staff at Kidz First Therapy is that each kid is unique and it is never too late for them to do amazing things! We have been a part of Kidz First Therapy for several years now. The moment we stepped into the door we knew that we had found a pretty special place! Our daughter has a rare chromosome deletion and we were in the beginning stages of accepting and understanding why she was struggling in so many areas. Fine motor skills, social skills, balance... the list was long! At the age of 8 she still was not even able to tie her shoe.I am very happy to say not only do we know so much about her challenges but Kidz First has helped her overcome them! Not only do we have more understanding, we still have more to learn and they are right there with us researching, trying new things, making excellent choices in what is best to help her succeed.I cannot imagine, and I don’t even want to imagine, what her life would be like today if we did not have these amazing people in our lives. She has come so far and knowing that she will continue to face challenges we are confident that her therapy and therapists will be there to help her through. From her first success of learning how to tie her shoe at the age of 8 to having the confidence to order a shake all by herself at the age of 12 to knowing her future is bright with their help! We are forever grateful, thankful and blessed! Academic My son struggles with handwriting and reading. In Kindergarten the teachers started to have some concern about his motor skills and pencil grip. At the beginning of 1st grade, we decided to get an evaluation done at Kidz First. I loved that they immediately were thinking of solutions and strategies to help my child grow and learn. They have built a relationship with him and he looks forward to coming every week. I feel like they are constantly working and creating solutions tailored to my child's needs. I feel like they are really invested in him and his future. I feel like I have someone in my corner who is supported me and him. His teacher said she saw so much improvement this year. I look forward to his continued growth at Kidz First Therapy.