Your first step for a child with feeding concerns is to contact us to schedule a free consultation with our feeding specialist at 303-221-7827. You do not need to complete any forms until after this consultation.
Process of Screening, Assessment, and Feedback at STAR Center
Importance of Early Identification of SPD
Early diagnosis increases the chances of successful intervention and treatment and can prevent secondary problems from developing. Secondary problems are issues such as behavior problems, attention problems, emotional challenges, difficulty with social relationships, limitations participating in school and community activities, poor self-regulation of moods and anger, and poor self-esteem and/or self-confidence. Diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder requires careful assessment by a trained therapist. Unfortunately SPD is not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (see SPDFoundation.net/advocacy/html for more information about our partner, the SPD Foundation, efforts to get SPD included in the upcoming revision of the DSM). Until SPD is formally recognized, we must say SPD was “identified” or “recognized” rather than “diagnosed” in written reports.
At STAR Center, we believe that appropriate and effective treatment is grounded in assessment that considers the whole person. When you or your child is evaluated at STAR, highly trained, professionally recognized experts are evaluating you. Many of the professionals at STAR Center are involved in teaching continuing education on Assessment to other professionals in their fields.
Comprehensive OT and/or Speech/Language Assessment
A comprehensive Occupational Therapy and/or Speech/Language Assessment includes three components:
1) Standardized tests when possible,
2) Subjective analysis of strengths and limitations, and detailed clinical observations in a naturalistic (non-testing) setting to assess real-time observed abilities,
3) Standardized parent – report measures.
This evaluation is conducted by one therapist with the goal of determining appropriate treatment options based on evaluation results. The comprehensive assessment does not result in a formal diagnosis. But for those who already have a diagnosis or whose primary goal is not diagnosis, the Comprehensive Assessment may meet your needs.
Our team uses a wide variety of standardized scales and parent-report measures depending on the age and needs of the client. Many of these scales were developed and nationally standardized by STAR Center Founder, Dr. Lucy Jane Miller. Dr. Miller’s scales include: The Miller Function and Participation Test (MFun), the Miller Assessment for Preschoolers (MAP), the Toddler and Infant Motor Evaluation (TIME), and six other standardized scales.
The “right” or “best” test to administer depends on what reason that the evaluation is being conducted (e.g., different scales may be administered to determine program eligibility vs. treatment planning). Tests administered will vary based on age, stage, and purpose of assessment.
Allow about 2 hours for the Comprehensive Assessment to be administered. Scoring, interpreting and writing a written report will usually be accomplished by the time of your feedback meeting. (An exception is in the Extended Assessment as described below).
Multi-Disciplinary Assessment (MDA)
Our Multidisciplinary Assessment is an option when more information is needed than that which can be provided by a single professional. This assessment has a variety of parts and is administered by a team of our specialists. The specific professionals included depend on your questions. Professionals representing the disciplines needed to answer your questions will participate. Once the multi-disciplinary team is selected for your situation the assessment may include one or all of the following: a health and physical evaluation by our pediatrician, a speech/language evaluation, a sensory-motor and relationship/engagement evaluation by occupational therapist, social-emotional evaluation by our psychologist, family priorities and needs evaluation by your case coordinator, and possibly referrals to other specialists outside our center if specific problem areas are identified. A feeding evaluation may also be administered.
Our Multidisciplinary Assessment uses standardized testing, detailed clinical observations, and parent-report measures to provide information from which the team develops a comprehensive, integrated treatment plan that addresses the specific needs of the child. If you wish, a formal diagnosis can be addressed if this is one of your questions. MDAs are appropriate for very complex children who need an in-depth assessment in order to develop a treatment plan. Allow 4 – 8 hours for a multidisciplinary assessment, depending on how many professionals are involved.
Questions typically asked for which a MDA is indicated:
What is my child’s diagnosis?
Does my child need to be on medication?
What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses (and/or age level of functioning) overall including sensory, motor, cognitive, speech and language, social participation, play abilities and other developmental and behavioral aspects of his/her individual profile?
What type of school program does my child need?
A MDA typically takes three days since we can not obtain valid results if we do too much testing in one day. The time may be more or less depending on child’s age and your questions.
Extended Occupation Therapy Assessment
Because a 2 – hour assessment provides only a snapshot in time, we also offer an extended assessment, which is an assessment that begins with a 2-hour comprehensive assessment but then the assessment process is continued every day over a 1 to 2 week period, usually with one, sometimes two, professionals. During that time, we may also conduct also several preliminary treatment sessions. This enables us to develop a working knowledge about the types of intervention and ongoing services we feel would be useful in addressing the child’s or adult’s needs.
This process can be started with either a comprehensive evaluation or a multidisciplinary evaluation, depending on the child and family’s wishes and needs. It provides an option for out of town clients who are unable to stay for our recommended treatment period. Those families w ho already have superior therapy support may also be interested in the Extended Assessment which can provide feedback directly to your therapy team at home if you wish.
The Extended Assessment includes two hours of additional time for your therapist to write treatment recommendations for you to share with your team at home. Additional consultation to your home team can be arranged via telephone or Skype at our consultation rate.
Clinical Evaluation of Child recently tested by OT
Occasionally a child will come who has recently completed standardized testing at another location. IF the tests were administered and scored less than a year ahead of time, we can sometimes use those test results and administer a one-hour observations in the clinic “mini-evaluation.” This option most likely occurs when a child is brought to us for treatment who already has the requisite testing and the main need is for the therapist to become familiar with the child before beginning treatment.
SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Center is a trans-disciplinary program for assessing and treating children with feeding and weight/growth difficulties, directed by Dr. Kay Toomey who developed the SOS Approach to Feeding Program. Our specially trained trans-disciplinary feeding team conducts several types of feeding assessments, which are used to evaluate infants, children, and adolescents with feeding, weight and growth difficulties.
Trans-Disciplinary Feeding Assessment
A two-hour comprehensive evaluation by our trans-disciplinary team of five specialists with 3-hour feedback / education session for parents. Professional assessors usually include: pediatrician, psychologist, registered dietitian, occupational therapist, speech/language pathologist. Dr. Kay Toomey, director of the Feeding Solutions at STAR is the Team Psychologist.
Assessment makes sure that all physical reasons for atypical feeding development are examined and thus can be appropriately treated (including medical issues). In addition, skills across all developmental areas are assessed as they relate to feeding.
The three-hour assessment feedback is an opportunity to discuss your child’s strengths and challenges, and make specific follow-up recommendations for treatment options tailored to you or your child’s needs.
Condensed Feeding Assessment
A two-hour assessment with 1-2 members of the evaluation team includes 1 hour of face-to-face time, 30-minute write up and a 30-minute discussion with parents.
Occupational or Speech Assessment Feedback
Feedback is provided to parents (or adult Self) after the scales are administered and scored. In most cases evaluator will provide clients with a rough draft of assessment results at this meeting. Parents (adult self-advocates) can then read the draft and point out any inconsistencies or inaccuracies before the final report is produced. If possible we appreciate attendance at this feedback session by both parents/caretakers.
Feedback on feeding assessments is usually provided the afternoon of the evaluation and the report is provided at a later time.
Goal Writing Session (Occupational, Speech and Feeding Therapies)
For those clients continuing on to intervention, a goal writing one-hour session is scheduled and then intervention is begun. (See Treatment to read about these segments)
First you will contact us by phone or email. You must send in your developmental history form before an intake is scheduled, but feel free to call with any questions at any time.
Developmental History Form (to be completed by parents of children under 18 years of age)
Adult History Form (to be completed by persons 18 years of age and older)
Please also send us copies of previous testing conducted elsewhere. If you have questions before sending in your forms, please write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 303-221-STAR (221-7827)
Schedule an Intake.
Once your forms are received, we will contact you to schedule a complimentary Intake Screening appointment in person for occupational therapy assessments if possible, or by Skype or phone if not possible in person. Feeding assessment Intakes are conducted by phone.
Parent comes to STAR for an Intake Screening for Occupational Therapy
Our Intake Screening is the first step in our evaluation process. It is conducted by our assistant director, Andrea Stoker or another trained team member. The Intake is free and takes 60 to 90 minutes. The purpose of the Intake Screening is to make sure that you or your child is an appropriate candidate for treatment at STAR Center. We will review the developmental history form, clarify presenting problems, and consider specific goals that you have for treatment. You will also receive a tour of STAR Center and the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, our research and education partner. We strongly recommend that you leave your child home / school for the intake meeting.
If you live too far away to come in for an intake screening, we offer a free telephone screening. We also provide a specialized treatment program designed specifically for our of town clients. (Click here to go to Out of Town Treatment Program)
The specific assessments administered will depend on your (or your child’s) needs. STAR Center is not one-size-fits-all. We individualize the assessment process to fit your priorities and resources.
Assessment is conducted
Comprehensive assessment, multi-disciplinary evaluation, extended evaluation, clinical evaluation, and/or feeding evaluation is administered.
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