Pediatric Therapy

Autism Spectrum Disorder Therapy and Pediatric Diagnosis

At Synergy Therapeutic Group in Carbondale, IL and Du Quoin, IL we empower parents and children to overcome sensory motor, developmental and social-emotional challenges. We specialize in Pediatric Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. Our Pediatric occupational therapists work with the family, child and physician to develop an appropriate course of treatment.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Therapist in Carbondale, IL

Our mission is to use appropriate, cutting age techniques including Sensory Integration techniques to achieve long term functional goals through normalization of his or her sensory perception and motor performance. Working to reach these goals will help improve a child's quality of life. As Sensory Integration treatment cannot be predetermined or fixed, but rather varies from one individual to another and changes in response to the individual's response to therapy. We provide individualized treatment plans. Parents and educators active participation is encouraged.

As every child is unique, often so are the challenges that hinder a child from developing properly. We take an integrative approach to therapy that fits the unique needs of each individual child to provide the optimal experience for growth in a kid-friendly, fun filled environment emphasizing on parent's goals.

Who will benefit from our services?

Commonly though we treat medical conditions which are enumerated below. Synergy Therapeutic Group specializes in therapy for Autism diagnosis. In addition, those who do not have a diagnosis of Autism may have sensory processing problems. We treat certain children who are otherwise perfectly normal. Parents think child is behind in his studies they look for help in expensive tutoring. Many time tutoring do not address underlying cause, hence unable to produce result. We not only treat children with diagnosis, we also can help children who only needs little boost.

Conditions we treat Developmental Delays

Developmental delays can occur in one or more of the following areas: physical, cognitive, adaptive, communicative or social-emotional development. The Occupational therapist will see young children with developmental delays often require occupational therapy to address fine motor skills or other delays that impact their ability to participate in age-appropriate play or self-help occupations.

Sensory Integration Disorder

Frequently Asked Questions

What signs do children with Sensory Integration Disorder exhibit?

A typical child with DSI will show one or more of the following signs:

  • Overly sensitive to touch, movement, sights 
  • Inability to habituate to sounds and fear with unexpected noises
  • Easily distracted 
  • Holding hands over ears in complex environment 
  • Avoids tastes, smells, or textures normally tolerated by children that age
  • Activity level that is unusually high or unusually low 
  • Impulsive, lacking in self-control 
  • Inability to unwind or calm self 
  • Poor self-concept
  • Social and/or emotional problems 
  • Physical clumsiness or apparent carelessness 
  • Hesitation going up or down stairs 
  • Difficulty making transitions from one situation to another
  • Holding on to walls, furniture, people or objects, even in familiar  settings
  • Delays in speech, language, or motor skills 
  • Delays in academic achievement 
  • Seeks out movement activities, but poor endurance and tires quickly

Are there certain children that are more prone to sensory integration disorders than others?

Sensory Integration Disorder is common among children who have not been diagnosed with Autism, despite there being red flags. Although sensory disorders can be present in any child, studies indicate that approximately 70% of children with learning disabilities have sensory issues. Children with pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, children born prematurely or who have had head trauma, ADHD, and children with anxiety disorders are also more prone to sensory issues.

What should I do if I suspect my child has SID symptoms?

Take note of the behaviors you are concerned about. We recommend keeping a journal in order to keep track of your thoughts and concerns. Speak to your child's teacher about your concerns. Advise the teacher to be on the lookout for certain behaviors, and to keep in touch with you about this. Make an appointment to speak with your child's physician. If your physician is also concerned he/she will often refer to a pediatric occupational therapist for an evaluation. You can also call us regarding any concern.

What should I do when the pediatrician makes a referral for an occupational therapy evaluation?

Call our office to schedule an appointment or see our general FAQ section.

Evaluation for Sensory Integration Disorder:

We specialize in sensory integration. We first gather information regarding:
• Reason for referral
• Parent interview/questionnaire
• Testing
• Standardized Peabody Developmental Motor Scales tests
• Visual perceptual and visual motor integration testing
• Clinical Observation
• Non-standardized response to different sensory stimuli
• Coordination and motor planning

We will do a structured examination of the child's responses to various sensory stimulation, checking for balance, fine and gross motor skills, coordination, and eye movements. Other tests may be done as well, such as developmental testing to be sure the child is developmentally standard. Based on the deficits found, activities will be done with the child to help the child react properly to sensory stimulation. Focus is on adaptive measures to help the child function more appropriately and feel more comfortable with the world around them. Most activities are fun to the children and they actually look forward to going to therapy!

Parent Resource for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder?

Most importantly, accept your child's deficiencies and try to learn as much as you can about Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Integration DIsorder. To obtain information about our resources, please email us at Your pediatrician and your OT can often supply you with information. Children tend to feel less stressed when parents are accepting and comforting when they are feeling 'out of control' or uncomfortable. Respecting your child's needs and preferences with regards to their sensory deprivation is often comforting to your child. In addition, the OT that is working with your child can provide you with an array of activities you can do with your child at home or as an after school activity.

Attention Deficit Disorders

Attention Deficit Disorders are believed to have a neurological base and include symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity, and poor safety awareness, difficulty completing tasks, poor interpersonal awareness, emotional liability and hyperactivity. The occupational therapist may observe issues including decreased motor precision, varying levels of arousal or alertness, impaired play development and motor planning issues. Many times sensory issues may be labeled as ADD. Treatment typically involves a sensory integrative approach.

Handwriting problems

One of the most common occupations of school-aged children is completing written tasks. Handwriting difficulties may be fine motor, visual-motor, visual perceptual, sensory, cognitive or muscular. For preschool and kindergarten-age children, occupational therapists often work on prewriting and handwriting readiness skills.

Perceptual Difficulties

Visual perception is the total process of extracting and organizing information from the environment and then interpreting and using what is seen. It is an important factor in contributing to a child's ability to complete fine motor, academic, self-care and play activities. Visual perceptual skills include the identification of shapes, colors, and other qualities, the orientation of objects or shapes in space, and the relationship of objects or shapes to one another and to the environment. Occupational therapy with children with visual perceptual problems typically involves teaching the use of compensatory strategies along with improving visual perceptual skills.

• Visual motor - the ability of the hand and eyes to smoothly work together to guide hand movements
• Visual figure ground - being able to find "hidden" figures among a busy background
• Visual memory - measuring the child's ability to remember previously shown shapes
• Visual discrimination - finding similarities and differences among similar figures
• Visual sequential memory - remembering a series of forms and choosing the series from among similar series
• Visual constancy - the ability of the child to recognize a symbol as being the same in spite of being resized or rotated
• Eye movements/Visual pursuits - the ability of the child to smoothly track with his eyes the movement of objects or symbols
• Copying from far and near
• Visual spatial relationships - being able to identify reversals of objects or shapes
• Body awareness - familiarity with body parts and relation of self to environment

What to look out for in your child:

• Difficulty in recognizing letters and with letter production
• Reversals of letters or numbers, (such as b for d and p for q)
• Inattention or distractibility to writing or reading tasks
• Difficulty copying from a blackboard or white board
• Poor at following instructions
• Directionality confusion moving around environments
• Difficulties understanding the layout of math problems and math worksheets which can interfere with learning of math concepts
• When compared his or her peers, pictures drawn are immature and unrefined
• Immature drawings of people compared to peers
• Poor eye contact
• Loses his place frequently or skips words while reading

Fine Motor Delays

Fine motor skills refer to the small muscle movements of the hands. Hand skills are necessary to complete most pre-academic/academic, self-care, and play activities. Effective use of the hands depends on the child's posture, cognitive, visual-perceptual, and sensory skills.

• Pencil grip
• Handwriting adaptations
• Pencil/crayon control in writing and drawing
• Space & letter formation/orientation to lines
• Hand/finger strength/stability
• Wrist &/or forearm control
• Postural/shoulder stability
• Hand/finger speed & dexterity
• Finger isolated movements
• Tweezers, scissors, tool usage
• Determination of hand dominance

What to look out for in your child:

• No interest in or avoidance of fine motor skills • Awkward or poor pencil grasp • When writing or coloring, lines are wavy • Poor scissors skills such difficulties staying on the line or jagged work. • Clumsy grasp & release skills, frequently dropping items • Difficulty holding small objects • Difficulties manipulating tools, pencils or scissors • Agonizing over completing mazes, dot-to-dots, etc. • Difficulty copying text from white board or blackboard • Difficulties with shoe tying, buttoning • Frequent switching of the hand used

Self care skills

As children grow, they are able to complete daily activities with a greater degree of independence. Basic self-care tasks include grooming, bathing, and toileting, dressing and feeding. When young children have difficulty with these tasks, occupational therapy may be indicated.

Muscle Weakness/Strengthening

When a child is unable to participate in age-appropriate play, self-care, or academic/pre-academic activities due to muscle weakness, occupational therapy may be beneficial. Occupational therapists often incorporate muscles strengthening into treatment for children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, or other musculoskeletal disorders.

Coordination Difficulties\ Motor planning

Coordination difficulties may be caused by neuromuscular conditions or sensory processing problems. Dyspraxia is a sensory processing disorder characterized by difficulty conceptualizing, planning, and executing a novel motor act. Children with dyspraxia often appear clumsy and awkward and have difficulty with skills that most children easily develop such as dressing, completing puzzles, playing on playground equipment, or even navigating around the physical objects in their environment.

• Ball skills - throwing & catching, hitting ball
• Balance: Balancing on one leg, hopping, walking on a balance beam
• Coordination of body sides: difficulty skipping or dancing
• Postural reactions to maintain balance on a moving surface
• Laterality/Directionality

What to look out for in your child:

• Flinching when catching a ball or avoidance of playing catch
• Clumsiness
• Fearful of gross motor activities
• Fearful of having their feet leave the ground
• Difficulty coordinating body sides, moves awkwardly
• Poor endurance Social skills
• Cooperative play/sharing skills
• Development of leisure activities
• Development of self-esteem
• Attention
• Listening skills
• Following directions
• Poor body language
• Withdrawal from social situations
• Lack of group interaction (or avoidance of)
• Lack of confidence in oneself
• Poor eye contact

If you have any question please give us a call, we will be happy to answer your question.

My son has made tremendous progress with his letter, sound, and mathematic comprehension with Mrs. Chandana in the past couple of months. He is now able to write his name and associate the sounds of the alphabet with confidence. However, He still requires hard work to continue moving forward in a positive direction. Mrs. Chandana has also provided me with guidelines to aide in my son's learning processes.

(Anna, Marion, IL)

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