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Sensory Integration

Sensory Integration is the process in which a child is able to effectively process information from their environment with ease. This is a very intricate and complex system in which a person processes visual, auditory, touch, smell, gustatory, or olfactory sensations simultaneously. Additional sensory information that needs to be processed at the same time is related to the vestibular (receptors that process movement / balance) and proprioceptive (receptors that process input from our joints) systems. The inability to process any of this sensory information causes what is called a Sensory Processing Disorder or Dysfunction, also known as SPD. It is common for children who present with SPD to be labeled as having "behaviors" or misdiagnosed with ADD / ADHD.

Children with SPD are often known to have difficulty regulating or modulating sensory input. They are either Hypo-Responsive (under-reactive to the stimulus) or Hyper-Responsive (over-reactive to the stimulus). A few examples of these include:

  • Visual: Seek out fast moving TV programs or video games OR avoid large crowds, birthday parties, etc.
  • Auditory: Seek out noise OR have adverse reactions to vacuums, blenders, airplanes, loud noises, laughing, crowds, etc.
  • Touch: Touch everything OR don't like tags in clothing, being touched, messy hands, glue or Play-Doh, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Olfactory: Smells everything OR comments on unnoticeable smells
  • Gustatory: Licks / Puts everything in mouth, overstuffs mouth OR is averse to a variety of foods (picky eater)
  • Vestibular: Seeks out constant movement, fidgets, and presents with decreased attention to task OR dislikes movement, such as when tipped backwards for diaper changes or hair washing, or are fearful of swings and slides, etc.
  • Proprioceptive: Seeks hugs frequently, purposefully bumps into objects, people, or falls on floor, likes small spaces, loves rough-housing, climbs frequently, stands too close to others, likes tight objects, pushes hard on pencils, chews on non-edibles, OR prefers stationary play

How do the vestibular and proprioceptive systems affects everyday life skills?

  • Low muscle tone and low muscle strength impact a child's ability to complete all tasks with ease. They fatigue easily, etc.
  • Poor Postural Control will impact balancing skills, dressing, sitting still or upright, kicking a ball, etc.
  • Poor Bilateral Integration skills will impact success with riding a bike, skipping, jumping rope, playing sports, catching and throwing, tying shoes, writing, etc.
  • Poor Discrimination / Praxis will impact a child's ability to know where their body is in space. They are clumsy, trip and fall, have a hard time dressing, and figuring out basic skills, etc.
  • Visual Skills may impact copying from a board / book, speed of schoolwork, eye-hand coordination, catching a ball, eye contact, etc.

Sensory Integration Therapy flyer

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Samonas, Therapeutic Listening, and The Listening Program

Samonas,  Therapeutic Listening, and The Listening Program

Listening is a function of our entire brain. When we listen, we listen with our whole body!

Auditory-based listening programs are an expansion of Sensory Integration that uses sound patterns, gating and filtering, and varying levels of complexity through music and nature sounds to impact all levels of the nervous system.

The individualized music programs stimulate the vestibular/cochlear system—the attending and organizing mechanisms of the middle ear. The vestibular system orients us to our place on earth, whereas the auditory system orients us to the space that surrounds us. When these evidence-based protocols are coupled with Sensory Integrative activities, the results are outstanding and research has shown improvements in:

  • Attention Span and Organization of Behavior
  • Speech and Social Interactions
  • Central Auditory Processing and Understanding Spoken Language
  • Reading, Spelling, and Handwriting
  • Motor Planning and Praxis
  • Balance and Coordination
  • Self Esteem, Motivation, and Energy
  • Sound Sensitivity and Social Interactions
  • Sleep Patterns, Toilet Training, and Respiratory Functions

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Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE) & Attention, Memory and Processing Skills (AMPS)


PACE and AMPS are revolutionary programs that focus on whole-brain learning. Children make an astounding average of 3.6-year gains in 12-20 short weeks, while participating in fun and motivating activities to improve underlying processing skills—the foundation for learning. Addressing these deficits is essential, since tutors do not address them!

Not only do PACE and AMPS benefit children with diagnoses, but these programs benefit ALL children, especially those who:

  • struggle with reading, spelling, writing, math, reading comprehension or other academic areas
  • seem smart, but perform poorly in school or on tests
  • have difficulty attending and staying focused
  • earn good grades, but work "too hard" and "too long"
  • have difficulty processing auditory or visual information
  • are gifted, or have ADD / ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorders, Non-Verbal Learning Disorders, etc.

Download an AMPS flyer

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Bal-A-Vis-X is a series of approximately 300 exercises that combines the use of racquetballs, sand-filled beanbags and a balance board. Bal-A-Vis-X requires the child to integrate the vestibular, auditory, and visual systems, in conjunction with their proprioceptive system, simultaneously. Bal-A-Vis-X improves focused and joint attention, balance, crossing midline, visual scanning, bilateral integration, timing and sequencing, sequential memory, modulation of force, strength, endurance, gross, fine and visual motor coordination, impulse control, communication and social skills. Academic skills have been shown to improve by two grade levels within a short period of time while integrating Bal-A-Vis-X into one's daily routine.

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Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting  Without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) is the only developmentally-based handwriting program on the market. HWT incorporates fun and engaging hands-on materials to inspire learning through the use of visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic strategies.

This multimodal approach, developed by an occupational therapist, is a motivating and exciting way to assure learning the fundamentals of handwriting with ease and encouragement. HWT is incorporated throughout occupational therapy sessions at The Children’s TLC.

Handwriting Program flyer

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Primitive Reflex Therapy

Primitive Reflex Therapy

Primitive Reflexes develop in utero and are essential for muscle tone, postural control, sensory integration and overall development. During the first year of life, as the infant matures and higher level brain sophistication supersedes, the primitive reflexes should become inhibited and postural reflexes develop in their place, allowing the infant to move within a gravity-based environment with good balance, posture, and voluntary movement. When children present with primitive reflexes beyond the time they were to be inhibited, or if postural reflexes remain under-developed, examples of areas that may be impacted include, but are not limited to:

  • Attention / concentration (ADD / ADHD)
  • Sensory Integration (deficits)
  • Academic abilities (reading, spelling, math, writing)
  • Ocular motor skills (copying from the blackboard, difficulties reading, etc.)
  • Balance and coordination
  • Endurance
  • Cognitive processing skills (auditory processing deficits, poor short term memory, etc.)
  • Temperament (anxiety and mood swings)
  • Bedwetting
  • Social/emotional (poor eye contact, communication skills, shyness, etc.)
  • Allergies, asthma, and poor digestion or immune system
  • Development (delays)

In addition, strong evidence shows that retention of primitive reflexes is the underlying cause of many common learning problems and difficulties with coordination needed for success in sports performance. Once the primitive reflexes are identified, appropriate treatment integrates the primitive reflexes and allows for appropriate postural reflexes to emerge, which further progresses the maturation of the child's central nervous system.

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Oral Motor, Feeding, and Swallowing

Handwriting  Without Tears

Feeding issues in children are often secondary to early medical issues, unidentified muscle weakness or motor planning, or underlying sensory processing deficits. The longer a child’s feeding deficits persist without intervention, the more likely that behaviors and habits will set in, causing further complications.

A variety of developmental and muscle-based oral motor, feeding, and swallowing techniques are used at The Children’s TLC to allow the child opportunities to build strength and coordination of their oral motor structures, while interacting with food in a playful manner. This approach not only increases their comfort and willingness to explore and manage more foods, but also increases their sensory tolerance.

Possible signs a child may benefit from Occupational Therapy in oral motor, feeding or swallowing:

  • Overly picky or messy eater
  • Difficulty transitioning to solid foods
  • Inability to tolerate a variety of textures and gagging
  • Does not eat a variety of table-based foods
  • Does not seem to feel food in their mouth and / or forgets to chew
  • Spits out food or turns away when food is presented; avoids the nipple
  • Shows signs of stress and becomes upset at meal times
  • Does not maintain consistent weight gain
  • Overstuffs their mouth
  • Pockets or holds their food
  • Tongue protrusion, open mouth posture, and drooling
  • Struggles with using utensils and bringing food to mouth
  • Difficulty tolerating teeth-brushing
  • Aspiration
  • Reflux and vomiting
  • Difficulty latching on and breastfeeding

Download an Oral Motor and Feeding Therapy flyer

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Zoo-Phonics is a FUN, kinesthetic, multi-sensory program that was developed to promote strong readers and spellers through the use of phono (hearing), oral (speaking), visual (seeing), kinesthetic (moving) and tactile (touching) experiences. Zoo-Phonics promotes whole-brain learning for later success in reading and spelling.

Zoo-Phonics incorporates the use of entertaining and colorful animals, where each animal is given a related hand/body action along with the sound of the letter to improve the child’s memory and further his or her phonemic awareness skills, sound blending, spelling and writing skills. Zoo-Phonics is taught in a developmentally sequential manner, meaning lower case letters are taught prior to upper case (since 95% of all text is lower case), and is appropriate for toddler through first grade children. Young children love this interactive program, because they are immediately successful and learn their entire alphabet in as few as two weeks!

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Buddy Bunch Social Skills, Social Thinking, & PEERS Group Training

4 Kids Borad Game

At Buddy Bunch, a variety of approaches are utilized to assure every child’s success in a wide array of social situations. At Buddy Bunch, the focus is not only on teaching and reinforcing a specific skill, but on helping children become more aware of their bodies, their environment, and those around them while incorporating play and socialization. These essential skills build the foundation to be successful with their peers.

Each week of training includes brief lessons and activities (i.e. role playing, skits, structured and unstructured sensory-based activities, arts and crafts, reading, social skills videos, cooperative games, etc.) designed to meet the overall monthly goal of a specific socially appropriate behavior.

Each week’s lesson builds toward the final goal of improving your child’s social success with peers. Topics addressed and incorporated at Buddy Bunch include, but are not limited to:

  • Body Talk, Body Awareness, Emotions & Personal Space
  • Conflicts: Bullying, Problem Solving Circle, Hard Words, & Sharing
  • Conversations / Listening: Greetings, Initiating Conversations, Topic Circle & Space Shuttle, Thought Bubbles and Talk Balloons, Body Talk, Nice Talk, & Brave Talk
  • Emotions: Understanding and Reading Social Cues & Feelings
  • Being a Good Sport, Self-Control, Team Work, Playing Fair
  • Getting and Staying in the Game / Taking Part in Peer Expected Activities
  • Thinking of Others, Compliments, Respect, Responsibility, Doing Your Part, Manners
  • Imaginative Play, Social Play, Play Dates, & Community Outings

Social Thinking refers to the ability to think about and understand another’s feelings and thoughts. Teaching social thinking is a developmental, behavioral approach that utilizes cognitive behavioral strategies to teach core social thinking concepts. These skills are crucial to one’s participation in any group activity, and for anticipated social behaviors to occur. In other words, one must use “social thinking” in order to exhibit appropriate “social skills.” Often, children with social learning challenges—such as those with Autism, Asperger’s, or ADHD—experience difficulty with learning and demonstrating social thinking skills. At The Children’s TLC, our Social Thinking program helps teach children to understand these skills, while providing them with opportunities to practice social awareness and social decision-making in a fun and nurturing social setting.

Download a Buddy Bunch flyer

PEERS (Program for the Evaluation and Enrichment of Relational Skills) Social Skills Training Program is a research-based behavioral and social intervention program created for teens between 12 and 18 years of age. The program helps teens that are having difficulty making or keeping friends by improving their social skills and friendship-making abilities.

The program is adapted to meet the needs of each client and provides ample opportunities for parent / caregiver involvement. Topics include using various conversational skills; using electronic forms of communication; choosing appropriate friends; handling bullying and other forms of social rejection; and learning how to be a considerate host and a good sport. By the end of the intervention, teens will learn an array of critical social skills, and the parent / caregiver will have received information and guidance to help support his or her teen.

Visit our Social Skills page for more information and related skill-building programs.

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Ready, Set, Go! Kindergarten Readiness Program

Felt Alphabet

Transitioning to Kindergarten is a huge milestone for children! Do you ever wonder if your child will be ready for Kindergarten?

Studies show that children who have attended kindergarten readiness programs and quality preschools benefit greatly and demonstrate greater confidence and success in reading, writing, and math throughout their school years.

Upon entering kindergarten, children should be confident in their skills and ready to learn. A child's readiness to start school is paramount for their success in school and in life. They do not need to know how to read and write; however, they should be "ready" to read and write. Our Ready, Set, Go Program is designed to do just this—to enhance learning through body-mind integration, since children learn best through hands-on learning and integration of play!

Through our Ready, Set, Go! Program, we tap into each child's unique learning style and utilize multi-sensory modalities to help them learn through their visual, tactile, auditory, and kinesthetic systems. Through this positive and holistic approach, children develop:

  • self-confidence and independence
  • attention to task and ability to sit for longer periods of time
  • visual perceptual skills for putting together puzzles, recognizing letters and shapes
  • visual motor skills for handwriting, drawing shapes, coloring, and cutting
  • an ability to follow directions and execute them, listen to others, and follow rules
  • intrinsic hand strength for fine motor skills to complete class work / arts and crafts with ease
  • gross motor skills and body awareness for playground play
  • self-help skills to put on coats and shoes, fasten buttons, snaps, and zippers
  • problem solving and logical thinking skills
  • social skills to initiate and sustain play with their peers, share, and take turns
  • basic language skills and concepts
  • ocular motor and acuity skills for seeing the teacher and the board, as well as visual tracking
  • early literacy and math skills

The Ready, Set, Go! Program is designed for children 3-6 years of age.

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Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)


iLs is an evidence-based sound therapy program that employs the use of music (through an iPod), movement, and bone conduction headphones and amplification to effectively integrate and / or “re-train” parts of the brain involved in learning, communication, and moving. iLs’s auditory programs improve the processing of auditory information from sub-cortical to cortical levels and back again.

The movements combined into the program are similar to aspects of the Neuro-Net, Bal-A-Vis-X, and Brain Gym programs. By combining an auditory program with specific visual and balance activities, iLs strengthens and creates neurological pathways more quickly than by implementing a listening program only.


iLs Improves:

  • Learning challenges in reading, writing, spelling, math, etc. (Research showed reading improved by an average of two years after three months of iLs.)
  • Visual and auditory processing
  • Concentration and memory
  • Balance and coordination
  • Overall behavior

The Children’s TLC offers 5 “Focus Programs” as part of iLs:

  • Sensory Motor Program
  • Concentration and Attention Program
  • Reading & Auditory Processing Program
  • Teen/Adult Optimal Performance Program
  • Language Integration Program.

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Infant Massage

Infant Massage

Infant massage promotes a nurturing touch to further early attachments and bonding between the infant and their primary caregivers.

Infant massage has benefits for both the baby and the parents. For infants, benefits include:

  • faster weight gain (Research shows premature infants gained weight twice as fast.)
  • improved cardiac and respiratory output
  • decreased gas, colic, and reflux
  • better sleep patterns
  • release of hormones for food absorption and digestion
  • improved muscle tone
  • enhanced neurological development and sensory processing
  • improved communication and bonding with others

Infant massage has also been proven to increase the production and release of the hormones of prolactin (the “cuddle hormone”) in both men and women and oxytocin in women for breast milk production.

- Parent group and individual classes are available.
- Professional training is available and offered for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

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Interactive Language Program (ILP)

Interactive Language Program

The Interactive Language Program (ILP) is both a bottom-up and top-down approach to functionally integrate specific auditory and language processing skills. The Interactive Language Program incorporates both listening and speaking components and has been shown to improve attention to tasks, the processing and following of multi-step verbal directions, pace of information processing, social skills, articulation, voice quality, fluency of speech, and engagement.

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Facilitated Playdates

Facilitated  Playdates

Does your child have difficulty playing with their peers?

Is your child able to have successful playdates?

Play is universal and ALL children can play; however, some children maymerely play differently, while others need help to make the right choices during play!

At The Children’s TLC, we facilitate playdates to help children learn to play more appropriately with their peers. Playdates are scheduled by the child's parent and can be facilitated at the child's home, in the community, or at our therapeutic center.

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NeuroNet is a research-based learning readiness program that incorporates the use of kinesthetic gross, fine, and visual motor exercises to help develop stronger core academic skills for children to become successful independent learners. Rhythmic-based NeuroNet exercises originated from years of clinical practice and extensive neuroscience research. During the exercises, children can watch a program DVD (for a visual, if needed) as they count along to a metronome while performing actions requiring timing and sequencing, divided and joint attention, impulse control, modulation of force relating to proprioception, and bilateral coordination.

Children who may benefit from NeuroNet include, but are not limited to those with:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • Auditory processing disorders
  • Speech Delay
  • Dyspraxia or Apraxia of Speech
  • Developmental Delays
  • Vestibular / Balance Disorders (history of frequent ear infections)

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Wiggles & Words Summer Camp & Handwriting Intensives


The Children’s TLC offers a fabulous opportunity for all children to build skills for next year. Wiggles & Words is a quality, therapeutic summer camp that runs three hours per day for six weeks and focuses on skill-building in the areas of receptive and expressive language skills, articulation skills, social skills, sensory-motor integration, gross and fine motor skills, and play. Wiggles & Words is ideal for all children. The curriculum is designed by licensed therapeutic professionals and incorporates brain-based learning throughout!

At The Children’s TLC, our goal is to make handwriting fun and engaging for all children from ages 3 through 15 years, starting with pre-writing strokes. Our developmentally appropriate instruction uses hands-on materials to inspire learning through visual, auditory and tactile-kinesthetic strategies—ways that children learn best! We focus not only on handwriting, but also on addressing each child's underlying deficit(s) that may cause handwriting to be a challenge. Intensives run three days per week.

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Interactive Metronome

Interactive Metronome

The Interactive Metronome (IM) is a brain-based computer program developed to improve the processing abilities that affect attention, motor planning, timing and sequencing. The systematic program utilizes special headphones and hand/foot sensors to measure how closely a child responds through motor movements to the computer-generated beat. Audio and visual feedback signals the child to either speed up or slow down their motor movements smoothly. The IM program typically consists of 15 one-hour treatment sessions (three to five times per week).

Through the use of IM, research shows improvement in:

  • Concentration (ADD/ADHD)
  • Speech and Language Skills and Language Processing
  • Behavior (aggression and impulse control)
  • Motor Control and Coordination (Sensory Processing Disorders)
  • Academic Performance

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Sensational Sensory Spaces

The Children’s TLC owner, Kari, has incorporated her expertise in Interior Decorating, Child Development, and Sensory Integration into another service for families, schools and businesses. Kari is the founder and owner of Sensational Sensory Spaces, an integrative developmental design service that creates children's bedrooms, playrooms, and sensory gyms to promote a child's development.

Color and design play such a significant role in a child's development, mood, and imagination, making it essential to consider all components when designing a space for your child to grow and learn in everyday!

Sensational Sensory Spaces Media Coverage:

  • Kari shared her knowledge and one of her 'Sensory Playrooms' on a DVD titled "OT in the Home,” released in November 2008.
  • Kari's expertise in this area was also highlighted in a section of 'Feathering the Nest,' a book published in April 2009 and written by interior designer Tracy Hutson, of HGTV’s “Extreme Home Makeover.”

To inquire about any of these programs for your child, please contact Kari Thompson, Owner and Director of The Children’s Therapy & Learning Center, at (208) 957-6301. We welcome your email inquiries at kari@childrenstlc.com.

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Kari Thompson, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, CAS, SWC, CLE, CIMI, CID

449 S Fitness Place, Eagle, ID 83616

www.childrenstlc.com • Phone: (208) 957-6301 Fax: 1+(208) 228-0585