The Cost of Early Intervention

The Cost Of Early Intervention



The Illinois Department of Human Services can help to get you in contact with a Child and Family Connections (CFC) office to begin the Early Intervention process for your child.  What some families may not be aware of is there is a cost associated with ongoing Early Intervention services.

The initial evaluation and parent meeting, referred to as an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), are freeThe Cost of Early Intervention services to help determine if your child is eligible to receive Early Intervention services.  If eligibility is met and the family wishes to move forward with treatment sessions, a monthly payment called a Family Participation fee ranging from $0-$200 may be billed to the family.  The monthly payment will depend on household income and the size of your family.  The service coordinator at your CFC office can help to determine what your monthly expense may be.

To determine which CFC you should contact for your area, visit the DHS website.

If a family has a private insurance policy, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Health Care, or any others, you may be able to bill your treatment sessions to your private insurance.  Then you may be able to forward your out of pocket expense to the Early Intervention program so that your out of pocket cost is less than just using your private insurance.

Please note that the situations mentioned may not be typical for all families, and consulting with a service coordinator at you local CFC office is the best option to determine your costs for Early Intervention services.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Early Intervention

Early Intervention: How to Get Started

Many families may be familiar with the services provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), one being Early Intervention (EI).  This service is available to children in Illinois, ages 0-3 years old who may have a disability and/or delay.  Special qualifying criteria must be met in order to receive services from an EI credentialed provider.  Services provided can include occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition, social work/counseling services, speech therapy, and many more.

There are two most common methods of starting the investigation process to determine if your child is eligible for EI services:

  1. Use the DHS Office Locator link to locate and EI office within your area.  Contact the Child andEarly Intervention: How To Get Started Family Connections office that results in the search, and speak with a service coordinator to complete an intake about your child and why you are seeking an evaluation. Families may also call the DHS office locator at 800-323-4769 to inquire about an EI evaluation for their child.
  2. Talk to your child’s pediatrician.  They are the best person to speak to about child development and milestones.  They are very familiar with EI services, and can recommend which Child and Family Connections office to call to request an evaluation.  The pediatrician may even recommend a provider to specifically request when you call about an evaluation.

In order to begin an EI evaluation, an intake with your local Child and Family Connections office must take place so that they may then help find an EI credentialed provider to complete your child’s evaluation.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Stay Motivated in Therapy

How to Keep a Child Motivated in Therapy

Motivation is a state that energizes, directs and sustains behavior and a key component to success in therapy.

The following are some strategies to help motivate clients in therapy:

Make learning fun. Making learning fun for a child increases his or her drive to participate in treatment tasks and, ultimately, to reach treatment goals. You can bring the fun factor in a variety of ways, including: make learning into a game, create hands on activities to target goals, and incorporate technology. Knowing a child’s individual interests and needs is crucial when determining how to makeHow to Keep Your Child Motivated In Therapy learning fun. High interest activities are more likely to increase engagement and effort; however, the activities you use must be driven toward a particular goal and meet the level of support required by the child to learn whatever skill you are targeting.

Use cooperation. Cooperation is working together to accomplish a shared goal. Research on learning shows that cooperation promotes student motivation, problem solving skills, higher-processing skills, self-esteem, and positive teacher-student relationships. Therefore, activities completed in small groups of children – or as a client-therapist team – most effectively foster motivation. So, engage in the same activity as your client and brainstorm, create, and collaborate on projects as an equal contributor.

Give praise. Praising hard work and perseverance, even if the child’s goal has not been met, increases his or her motivation to continue putting in work and effort to achieve goals. For more tips on how to praise effectively, see 5 Tips to Praise Your Child the Right Way.

Give feedback. Feedback is necessary to learning and has been shown to motivate learning. While positive feedback helps increase learner effort, as it draws attention to what the learner is doing correctly and fosters a positive association with the learning process. Therefore, initial feedback should draw attention to what your client is doing right or well – point out effective learning behaviors. After that, corrective feedback should focus on ineffective strategies that a student is using and error patterns (rather than specific errors). Choose one type of error to correct rather than all errors and be sure to provide examples and models.

Educate parents and keep them involved. Tell parents how to reinforce skills at home through practice and praise. Consistency across environments, paired with encouragement during the learning process, motivates the child to practice and apply skills outside of treatment.

Make learning applicable to everyday life. Choosing activities that are applicable to the child helps not only provides them with more opportunities to practice a particular skill, it helps him/her understand why he/she is learning it. This increases motivation by making a direct connection between treatment and real life. If a child does not understand why he/she is learning something, he/she will not be motivated to pursue the intended lesson.

Communicate specific treatment goals. Communicate one or two goals that the child is working toward so he/she understand what he is working toward. Create a visual representation of the child’s progress (e.g., check off short term goals leading to the end goal, make a graph to show accuracy of responses across sessions to track progress over time). It is motivating for a child to understand what she is working toward, the steps needed to get there, and to see the progress that results from practice.

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

5 Benefits of In-Clinic and In-School Therapy

The new school year is underway, and children are adjusting to new routines, parents are meeting new teachers, and backpacks are filling with homework. Children are also starting in-school therapies again, often as stipulated through either an individualized education plan (IEP) or a 504 plan. Some children took the summer off from therapy, and others supplemented by participating in clinic-based therapies. With so many extracurricular activities, parents may wonder if their children need both school and clinic therapies. It is a decision based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, severity of disorder, insurance coverage, scheduling, and therapeutic minutes received at school. There are numerous benefits for children attending both in-school and clinic-based therapies. See below for the top five reasons.

5 benefits to doing both in-clinic and in-school therapy:

  1. Increased frequency: Children attending multiple therapies per week benefit from havingThe Benefits of Therapy In-Clinic and In-School increased frequency of services. They are being exposed to more direct therapy, as provided in both school and clinic. Children are able to target goals more often, and they tend to make greater gains in a shorter period of time.
  2. More personalized, individual approach: Children receiving clinic-based therapy are often in a one-on-one session, targeting a child’s specific needs. Children in school often participate in groups, targeting both their own goals as well as the goals of peers. Both types have benefits, as an individual session is tailored specifically to a child’s needs, while an in-school group session often targets goals as well as crucial peer interaction.
  3. Generalization across environments: As children make gains toward goals, clinicians often look to see how well skills translate, or generalize, across environments. For example, if children have mastered a skill in the clinic, the question will be how well they are able to reproduce the skill at home. Having children attend therapy in two environments can aid in their generalization.
  4. Collaborating therapists: Oftentimes, clinic-based therapists will reach out to their client’s in-school therapist to collaborate. This allows both therapists to be aware of a child’s goals, while keeping apprised of progress, as well as ongoing areas of need. Collaborating between professionals can ensure best practice and that a child is receiving the best possible care.
  5. Targeting variety of goals: Therapists in schools are often limited to goals that can be tied to specific academic needs. School therapists are bound by goals that may be impacting a child academically, and they are not always able to look at the entire scope of a child’s need. Clinic-based therapists are able to target on more functional goals, ensuring that all areas of need are addressed. Working on all areas of need together can help children reach their goals and maximize progress.

If parents have specific questions about how their child could benefit from both in-school and clinic-based therapies, their child’s therapists can help highlight advantages. Therapists often welcome collaboration, and in doing so, children receive the best care.

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

sensory strategies angry child

Sensory Strategies to Calm the Angry Child

When children are upset, adults are usually able to tell by their behaviors. Some children scream, others cry, throw things or hit someone or something nearby. Below are some therapeutic solutions that can help to calm an angry child safely and effectively.

Sensory Solutions to Help Your Angry Child Calm Down:

  • Provide your child a safe, therapeutic way to release any excessive energy they haveSensory Strategies to Calm the Angry Child from becoming angry. For some children, this may look like hitting their pillow, running, jumping rope, or playing on the swing set. Other children prefer crawling into a safe, but compact space (such as in between a mountain of pillows) or inside of a self-made fort full of cushions, pillows, stuffed animals, and small fidgets. Providing proprioceptive activities, including back rubs, massages, or bear hugs can be helpful tools to use when trying to manage emotional regulation.
  • Teach your child self-calming breathing strategies. When your child is visibly upset or angry, instruct them to breathe in like they are smelling flowers for 5 seconds, and exhale like they are blowing out birthday candles for 5 seconds, for up to one minute at a time. This helps to trigger the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for calming the body down and reducing stress  (click here for 5 yoga activities to help your child calm down).
  • Be proactive. Use a visual chart to help children remember safe ways to manage their anger. Using language such as, “When I feel upset or angry, I can…” combined with visuals of previously learned strategies (deep breathing, back rubs, fidgets, bear hugs, etc.) can help your child learn how to independently manage anger appropriately.
  • When your child is angry, it is important to avoid immediate punishment. Identify a safe, quiet place for the child to go to so that they can implement self-calming strategies to help better their mood. For younger children, set a visual timer for 5-10 minutes. Let the child know they have until the time runs out to calm their body down, and give them a choice of 2 strategies to help them feel better. For older children, encourage them to set a visual timer to decide on the length of the time-out before they are expected to return to the activity.

Is it Bad Behavior or SPD?

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!


sensory strategies for school

Sensory Strategies for School

Preparing your child to go back to school can be both exciting and challenging. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 6 children experience sensory symptoms that are significant enough to interfere with everyday life functions occurring at home and in the school.[1] Targeting the body’s sensory systems of oral, vestibular (movement), proprioceptive (body position), tactile (touch), visual, and auditory will help them to stay motivated and engaged in the classroom. Check out these 5 tips that describe various sensory strategies for school.

Sensory Strategies for School:

  1. Send your child to school with a healthy, crunchy snack in their lunch such as carrots,Sensory Strategies for School celery, granola bars, licorice, or gummy worms. Research suggests children with sensory processing difficulties, specifically those who are underresponsive to sensory input, benefit from crunchy snacks to improve their attention and arousal levels.
  2. Offer a move-n-sit cushion, wiggle seat, or theraband seat modification– Children who seek out movement often have difficulty sitting still in class. These children may benefit from some added movement opportunities to assist their body in focusing and attending to tasks. Often, move-n-sit cushions, wiggle seats, or tying a theraband around the two front legs of the chair offers the child just enough opportunity to stay aroused and attended without becoming too distracting.
  3. Assign classroom chores– for those children who are underresponsive to proprioceptive input, activities such as watering flowers, carrying books to and from the library, sweeping or mopping the floors, and cleaning the chalkboard are all effective ways to target the body’s proprioceptive system, which gives the body’s muscles and joints the resistant heavy work they crave. Often, these children require an adult to help them identify when their body needs to take a break and move around[2]. They may not register that their body is in an awkward, uncomfortable position when seated at their desk. Heavy work activities are often helpful in allowing their body to become more regulated and aware of their surroundings.
  4. Reduce visual clutter and auditory noise– For those children who are overresponsive to visual and/or auditory input, try and use natural light versus fluorescent lighting and reduce classroom background chatter whenever possible. Reducing visual and auditory external stimuli may help with overall attention and focus.  For grade school children, decreasing the amount of math problems on a page, and leaving plenty space between each problem may assist with better performance when working.
  5. Give children their own space– For children who are overresponsive to tactile stimuli or who have difficulties with tactile discrimination, it is important to decrease instances of accidental touch from classroom peers. For younger children, having separate carpet squares for them to sit on will reduce the amount of unexpected distracting touch from other classmates. For grade school children, it may be helpful to place their desk at the front of the class to avoid any unnecessary touch from others, or let the student walk at the end of the line to avoid anyone bumping into them[3].

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanston, Deerfield, Lake Bluff, LincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!


[1] Sensory Over-Responsivity in Elementary School: Prevalence and Social-Emotional Correlates By: Ben-Sasson, A., A. S. Carter, and M. J. Briggs-Gowan. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology J Abnorm Child Psychology 2009-01-20

[2] Kranowitz, C. (2005). How to Tell if Your Child Has a Problem with the Proprioceptive Sense. In The out-of-sync child: Recognizing and coping with sensory processing disorder (Rev. and updated ed.). New York: A Skylight Press Book/A Perigee Book.

[3] Kranowitz, C. (2005). How to Tell if Your Child Has a Problem with the Tactile Sense. In The out-of-sync child: Recognizing and coping with sensory processing disorder (Rev. and updated ed.). New York: A Skylight Press Book/A Perigee Book.

What to Expect at Your First Speech Therapy Session

What To Expect In Your Child’s First Speech Therapy Session

If you are a parent who has not had any experience with speech therapy services for your child, the process can seem quite overwhelming. From the moment you begin having concerns about your child to finding a site for services to having an evaluation completed, there are many questions to answer. After you have navigated through the above steps, the next part of the journey is the speech therapy sessions themselves. You may be wondering, “What do therapy sessions look like?” and “What should I expect during the first session?” Below you will find information to help answer these questions and more.

Before the Speech Therapy Session:

While in the waiting room, you may wonder if you should accompany your child to the treatment roomWhat To Expect At Your First Speech Therapy Session or have your child exert independence and go on his own. This is a question that is best directed to the child’s specific clinician. There are many factors that affect the answer to this question including the child’s age, level of attachment, and ability to actively participate in treatment tasks.

During the Speech Therapy Session:

If you have never seen treatment in action, you may be wondering how the clinician targets your child’s goals. In pediatric speech therapy, goals are commonly woven into play and targeted by utilizing motivating activities and objects to the child. This is especially common during the first few therapy sessions because building a trusting relationship between the child and therapist is one of the most important goals. Not to mention getting to show the child that therapy is fun!

After the Speech Therapy Session:

The session is over and the clinician has reviewed the content of the session with you, or you were present in the room to experience it firsthand and you are receiving feedback from the clinician. Now what? Ask questions, such as “How can I support my child’s speech goals at home?” The clinician should provide practice tips and activities for you to complete at home with your child.

Speech therapy sessions are not meant to be a mysterious or overwhelming event, but rather a supportive and inclusive experience for your child and your family. If you think your child may have speech and/or language difficulties, consult a speech language pathologist today.

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

5 fun ice breakers for therapy sessions

5 Incredible Ice Breakers for Therapy Sessions

Rapport between therapist and client can be built by finding common ground and engaging in a positive joint experience. Rapport reduces tension and helps foster trust and communication within the therapeutic environment. Ice breakers are an excellent way to lay a strong foundation for rapport, as they provide an early opportunity for joint participation in an activity, communication, and bonding. The following is a list of ice breakers that will help you start out on the right foot with your clients during therapy sessions.

5 Incredible Ice Breakers for Therapy Sessions:5 Fun Ice Breakers for Therapy Sessions

  1. Get-To-Know-You Jenga: Tape different topics of conversation on Jenga pieces (e.g., food, game, birthday, sports, superheroes, etc.) on different Jenga blocks. While playing the game, each player takes a block from the Jenga tower and has to ask another person a question related to the topic written on the block before adding it to the top of the tower. For example, if the block says, “sports,” the player can ask, “What is your favorite sport?”
  2. Family Picture: The therapist and the child draw pictures of their families and then take turns describing each family member.
  3. All About Me Charades: Therapist and child secretly draw pictures of favorite activities or items (e.g., favorite sport, food, subject in school, animal, etc.). Once the pictures are complete, they take turns acting out each drawing without any words while the other guesses.
  4. Fact or Fib: Tell the child that you are going to share three pieces of information about you: two things you say will be facts and one will be a fib. The child has to guess which two are facts and which one is the fib. Once the student understands the game, he or she can take a turn.
  5. Talent Show: Therapist and child draw pictures of three things that they are good at. Once the pictures are complete, they take turns demonstrating or acting out each of their talents.

Click here for tips on how to be your therapy client’s best advocate.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

How To Be Your Therapy Client’s Best Advocate

As a speech-language pathologist working in an outpatient clinic you are offered a unique and wonderful opportunity to become a major influence in a child’s life. Attending therapy on a weekly basis can be challenging for families, as schedules quickly get filled with work responsibilities or extracurricular activities. The time that any therapist gets with their clients is precious and important, and you want to cram in as much work and practice as possible. Within a busy work day, full of children and therapy sessions, it is important to remember that your responsibility to your clients goes far beyond your 45 minute session. As a speech-language pathologist you are not only a child’s therapist and hopefully new friend, but you are also your therapy client’s best advocate in helping them to succeed.

How to Advocate for Your Therapy Client:how to be your therapy client's best advocate

  • Understand your client. The first step to helping your client succeed is to gain a thorough understanding of that child’s development and his or her background – How does this child learn best? What is your family’s goal with therapy?, etc. A child is much more than a single diagnosis. By getting to know your client as an individual you will have a better understanding of how to help them reach their goals.
  • Understand the treatment plan. Just as it is important for you to understand your client’s background, it is equally important for you to help parents in fully understanding your treatment plan. In the health care field there is an alphabet soup of acronyms and vocabulary. By educating your client’s family, they can be better involved in treatment and will also be more equip to advocate for their child’s needs in other environments.
  • Get familiar with a child’s Individual’s Education Program (IEP) Document. This is a document required for children who are deemed eligible for special services within the school system, and will outline a child’s current level of performance, as well as direct the services and supports that are necessary for that student to succeed. Evaluate the IEP to see if it accurately reflects the needs of your client. You can act as a second pair of eyes for your families to help them ensure that their child is receiving the services and support that is necessary.

When being an advocate for your client, focus on his or her strengths. Often health care professionals rely too heavily on diagnoses that outline deficits rather than abilities. When writing reports or giving feedback, let parents know what their child is doing well at. Create a therapy plan that will build upon a child’s strengths, rather than simple focus on his or her weaknesses. Imagine how draining it would be to hear week to week what you are doing poorly at. By adding positivity into a treatment plan you are recognizing that your client has the potential to succeed and that he or she will reach their goals.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

motivational interviewing

Motivational Interviewing: How to Determine if Your Teenager is Ready for Change

The notion of therapy can conjure up ideas hope, support, and the development of skills necessary to instill longstanding changes. As a parent, you may have identified certain challenges or problematic behaviors that involvement in therapy can resolve, but what if your teenager does not share the same sentiments? Although there may be concrete goals and clear areas for improvement, if the client involved does not see the need to modify their behavior, change may be slow to occur. To determine if your teenager is ready to commit to change, motivational interviewing can assess if your child is willing to address the need for adjustment.

Here are the stages of motivational interviewing:

  1. Pre-contemplation: Here the client is not even aware of the presented problem and therefore is not motivational interviewingcommitted to change due to the lack of incite.
  2. Contemplation: The client is aware of problematic behavior but is cautious or uncertain about wanting to change the presented concern.
  3. Determination: The client has identified that change is something they want but are not sure how to achieve desired change.
  4. Action: The client is working towards making changes but is not stable in the change process (i.e. some changes have been made and the client is learning how to eliminate relapse to previous problematic behaviors).
  5. Maintenance: The client has achieved the changes they desired to make and work towards maintaining changed behaviors.
  6. Recurrence: The client has experienced a recurrence of the problem and works towards implementing newly acquired strategies to resolve the problem.

To evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic intervention, it is helpful to understand where the client is in the process of identification, acceptance, and desire for change of the presented problem. For example, if you determine there to be a problem with excess video gaming behavior, fearing that your child is addicted and anti-social in the process, if your child does not see this behavior as problematic, it may be hard for him to invest in change. If the child is in the pre-contemplation phase of change, sit down with him and identify the concerns inherent in the behavior (benefits and consequences of perceived changes) to help motivate the desire for change. It is important for the concerns of the child and the concerns of the parent to be transparent and in alignment to incite change.

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker can help you with talking to your teen as well.

Click here to read how you can support your teen into the transition to adulthood.