Being a parent is an awesome responsibility. It would be wonderful if there was one book that contained all the answers to countless questions that arise on a multitude of issues relating to a child’s physical, oral communication, and social development. Unfortunately, there isn’t such a book, which makes the role of parents even more difficult as children come into the world unique in their own being.
As they grow, a child’s ability to learn and function cannot always be charted under one personal growth umbrella. It’s fair to say that some children are indeed at risk of falling between the cracks, especially when it comes to uncovering issues and behavioral patterns that speak to underlying problems of development not being addressed.
Many times parents, the first line of observation, can suspect that something is wrong but don’t know how to work through this nagging and, at times, unspoken concern. Small signals can indeed be sending out larger calls for help. Maybe it starts with a child being a really picky eater or a kid that even at the earliest age fights you to do simple tasks. Maybe it’s the way they don’t handle social settings. Maybe it’s the attitude of not wanting to go to school or participate in verbal communication. It’s usually not just one concern, but a range of presenting issues. As we said before, each child is different.
Searching all the crossroads for what’s really going on with your child can be overwhelming like a giant puzzle that needs to have all the pieces sorted before it makes sense. This is where I would like to introduce you to Ann Marie Noll, MS, CCC-SLP, Director of Outpatient Therapy Services with Theracare (TOTS) located at 9957 Allisonville Road in Fishers.
Professionally, Noll is a licensed pediatric Speech Language Pathologist with over 12 years of experience with developmental teams including speech, occupational and physical therapy. The work that she and her team provide is clearly driven beyond the boundaries of standard care for those children who are at risk. Noll deeply cares about her “kiddos” as she affectionately calls the children she treats as a speech therapist.
“As a mother of two children, I know personally that parents who find us are looking for help in seeing what they perhaps can’t quite put their finger on in their child’s behavior. Development issues are not always blatantly obvious. When we consult with parents, we pay attention to their concerns, as well as observing the broader area of small signals the child might be sending in behavior patterns,” Noll said thoughtfully. “I believe that a mother’s instinct is a powerful resource that should never be taken lightly,” she adds.
Theracare Outpatient Therapy Services (TOTS) has 3 main areas of pediatric therapy services: Speech, physical and occupational therapy.
Children with (speech) language delays that are not addressed early on have more difficulties with reading and academics, as well as social, peer-to-peer interactions. This delay can affect their overall behavior and, just as important, their personal confidence to communicate effectively. Speech therapy will assess a child’s speech and language skills; their oral motor strength coupled with coordination and swallowing concerns.
Occupational therapy works on fine motor and sensory issues. Often times, children can struggle with handwriting skills because there are underlying tone and strength issues. Hand and eye movements are not in sync and make ordinary skills difficult to manage and control. This can cause behavioral problems as they struggle to focus on learning tasks. Theracare’s occupational therapists utilize sensory integration techniques to address a child’s performance in play, school and activities of daily living including tasks such as bathing, dressing and feeding issues.
Physical therapy helps children that come across as clumsy and uncoordinated, which may be contributing to underlying strength, agility and coordination issues. It’s important to look at range of movement through a variety of child friendly and fun activities. A physical therapist is involved in helping a child improve their overall muscle strength, balance and flexibility.
“Each child we treat is unique and one-on-one care is essential. We created a different approach to developing a pediatric therapy program that combines treatment with fun – children respond best when they are helped in this kind of an environment. We put together a custom tailored treatment plan designed to reach individual desired goals. It’s a kid friendly environment,” Noll said. “All too often our society attaches a stigma when it comes to perception of a child’s normal development. Fear can also plant a seed. To me, each child is a masterpiece. Sometimes it just a few more brush strokes to help a child’s whole being come to life,” she said with one of her big smiles that fits her joyful outlook on life.
If you are a parent with concerns, don’t hesitate to call Theracare as complimentary developmental consultations are available. It could make all the difference in the world to a struggling child.
For more information call Ann Marie Noll at (317) 903-9675 or visit their website at www.totsindy.com for a complete list of services.