Making therapy fun for younger patients

Southeastern Therapy for Kids has been serving the Hampton area of Virginia since 1993, providing  therapy for young patients. In recent years, the organization has expanded to the Richmond and Charlottesville areas, opening clinics in Midlothian, Chester and, most recently, Zion Crossroads.

The Zion Crossroads clinic, which is the first in the area to focus on therapy for children, opened its doors on Sept. 9. Corbin Tilson, the clinic’s director, said that the location makes it ideal for serving a rural community like Louisa.

“We’re closer for most parents than driving into Charlottesville,” she said. 

The clinic offers physical, occupational and speech therapy. Staff address issues ranging from coordination and balance to fine motor skills to voice disorders.

The clinic houses a state-of-the-art therapy gym, one of the largest in the area. The gym is equipped with suspension systems to hang a variety of swings including a six-foot Lycra swing that patients can crawl across the room in. 

A large foam climbing structure with stairs and a slide encourages patients to explore their environment while working on gross motor and coordination skills. Crash pads, tunnels, therapy balls and tactile exploration bins are also used in therapy sessions.

One of the primary focuses of the clinic’s staff is to make therapy fun and engaging for their young patients.

“The occupation of childhood is play,” said Sarah Johnson, the clinic’s occupational therapist. “We address the skills through play tasks by incorporating the therapy into an obstacle course.”

The clinic opens at 7:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 9:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, closing at 6 p.m. on those days. They also have hours on Friday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’re open early and in the afternoons so we can see people before or after school,” Tilson said. “We also work with home-schooled kids.”

In addition to working with the children at the clinic, the therapists also work with parents and local schools to help continue the therapy at home and at school.