Posts made in January 2015

Understanding the difference between a developmental pediatrician’s evaluation, a psychological and an occupational therapy evaluation.

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Children’s Special Services, LLC

Developmental Pediatrician

…a developmental pediatrician plays a crucial role in the treatment of children with developmental and behavioral conditions.

The following is a short list of some common conditions which a developmental pediatrician may diagnose and treat.

▪    Learning Disorders – A wide range of conditions fall into this section of developmental conditions. Children who find writing, public speaking or math unusually difficult may benefit from a developmental pediatrician, as do children with dyslexia. In these cases, thedevelopmental pediatrician will diagnose the childand then provide further treatment, which often includes a referral to a specialist in a particular condition or an academic center which specializes in learning disorders.

▪    Developmental Delays – If a child has fallen behind his peers in basis skills, such as mobility, cognition, language or speech, a developmental pediatrician can be extremely helpful. They are trained to recognize these delays earlier than an MD with no specialized training, and therefore help children sooner. The earlier a child receives help with a developmental delay, the better the chances that he will quickly catch up to his peers. As with learning disorders, a developmental pediatrician has the option to treat the condition herself or to refer the child to another doctor or therapist who specializes in one particular delay, such as a speech therapist.

▪    Habit Disorders – Encompassing Tourette’s Syndrome as well as a variety of tic behaviors, habit disorders can be very disruptive. Not only are they confusing and frustrating for the child, but for the child’s family as well. When treated early in life, tic disorders can often be eliminated or minimized quite well.

▪    Regulatory Disorders – Feeding issues, disciplinary problems, bed-wetting and sleep disorders fall into this area of research. A developmental pediatrician is trained to spot the signs of these disorders as well as to treat them, although, as with many issues, a referral to a specialist may be the best solution. These issues are often only symptoms of underlying psychological conditions, such as excessive stress, and so a child psychologist may be recommended. In many instances, however, a developmental pediatrician has the skills to deliver effective therapy, especially in mild to moderate cases.

Psychological assessment is a process of testing that uses a combination of techniques to help arrive at some hypotheses about a person and their behavior, personality and capabilities. Psychological assessment is also referred to as psychological testing, or performing a psychological battery on a person.

4 Components of Psychological Assessment

Norm-Referenced Tests

A standardized psychologicaltest is a task or set of tasks given under standard, set conditions. It is designed to assess some aspect of a person’s knowledge, skill or personality. A psychological test provides a scale of measurement for consistent individual differences regarding some psychological concept and serves to line up people according to that concept.


A formal clinical interview is often conducted with the individual before the start of any psychological assessment or testing. This interview can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, and includes questions about the individual’s personal and childhood history, recent life experiences, work and school history, and family background.


Observations of the person being referred in their natural setting — especially if it’s a child — can provide additional valuable assessment information. In the case of a child, how do they behave in school settings, at home, and in the neighborhood? Does the teacher treat them differently than other children? How do their friends react to them?

Informal Assessment

“..a supplement to standardized norm-referenced tests… informal assessment procedures, as such as projective tests or even career-testing or teacher-made tests…. language samples from the child, test the child’s ability to profit from systematic cues, and evaluate the child’s reading skills under various conditions.

Definition of occupational therapy:

Occupational Therapy is the use of everyday tasks to assess the needs of the child inclusive but not limited to their physical, neurological/ (sensory), emotional, and developmental skills.

The occupational therapist uses both norn-referred standardized tests and informal clinical observations to ascertain the levels of both actual and potential functional capacities.

Testing components:

Standardized Tests:

 Visual Perceptual Skills-Testing:  Assesses the seven realms of perception with the motor component removed to look specifically and visual processing.*

This can include preliminary screening for Dyslexia and related visual issues.

Visual Motor Testing:

Evaluates the visual processing with the motor component to assess how what the child sees is translated into a specific motor response.**

This can include the testing for Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia as well as motor co-ordination.

Fine motor: in hand manipulative tests and dominance testing.

Sensory Assessments:

(gross motor abilities included)

Evaluates behavior inclusive of frustration and coping skills, Visual and auditory reactions and actions; Functional response patterns inclusive of tracking reaching, grasp and release motor patterns, diadokokinesia, range of motional strength, flexion and extension patterns, balance, muscle tone, equilibrium, stability and weight shift, reflex reactions, functional movement patterns inclusive of but limited to walking/running/etc., body image, activities of daily living/self cares, tactile processing, proprioception, stereonosis with vision occluded, position sense, and handwriting.

Evidence based practice:

Utilizing the results of the testing and current research the occupational therapist then designs a treatment plan specific to that child’s individual needs.


What to do when school gets out…4 short months from NOW!!

Think summer and you start thinking about keeping your child busy.  And you want the moments to count for something not just “time fillers”.

That is where Children’s Special Services, LLC can really be THE place to turn to . Learning coping skills, cooperation, social skills, organization, frustration tolerance, information processing, etc. while increasing sensory motor skills is WHAT WE DO!!

And we have been doing it for over 20 years.  Check out our website and go the calendar for May, June and July programs.

Our US Trademarked Handwriting WIN™ Write Incredibly Now™ Program is being implemented in over 15 states nationwide and our PLAY Your WAY sensory based Social Skills Program incorporates sensory and emotional regulatory skills in an interactive and fun environment.

All services are billed as therapy for possible insurance reimbursement.  All services are CPT and ICD coded so that services are within the reasonable and customary rates and regulations for occupational therapy within the state of GA.

Come check us out!!

Our Camps are:
Play YOUR WAY to Sensory Motor and Social:  A program of guided play to help the young child  ages 3-7 with fine and gross motor and sensory motor skills inclusive of but not limited to:

  • Sensory Modulation
  • Frustration tolerance
  • Following directions
  • Transitions
  • Noise tolerance
  • Tactile experiences
  • Memory
  • Sequencing
  • Body self awarenss
  • Drawing and Construction
  • Sharing
  • Group skills

WIN™ Program Write Incredibly NOW™  

Handwriting organization and sensory awareness rolled into 12 moving and exciting hours of increased competency—US Trademarked Write Incredibly Now ™ Program uses creative play to increase motor fluency.

Both manuscript and cursive taught.

**All camps billed as therapy for possible reimbursement for out of network expenses.

More information


Phone 770-394-9791

Twitter OTRLovesKids

Using Toys Creatively

Special Needs essentials blog/Deborah Gauzman

Written by: Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L, FAOTA

When thinking of playful engaging activities for “special needs” children it is important that know that everything can be adapted to meet the needs of any child within a play environment.

It is more important to think how than what.  A simple game of checkers can be made easier by putting string in the directions the player is allowed to move, pick up sticks can be arranged to follow a pattern on an underlying mat so that the game includes color and positional matching not to mention pincer grasp, dominoes can be color coded on their dots so that the game turns into multiple matching tasks not just one; and so forth.

Parents do not have to spend a lot of money in special needs catalogues looking for just the “right” toy or game when all games can be “right” if used creatively and with necessary adaptations.

When selecting special toys or equipment think about versatility and how many ways you can use the item.  Special Needs  “essentials” is just that, the “essentials” so think about the BEST pieces to buy that cover a range of opportunities for multiple functions.

For example a “chewy tube” can also be an in-hand manipulation toy; neon bracelets can be adapted pick-up sticks; hand held massagers can be part of a relay race game; and puppets designed for increasing hand skills can be used for imaginative play to increase social skills.

There is also the Old Fashioned concept of making a game or craft together.  Before all the left over Christmas wrapping paper is gone, make a sculpture with the paper, watered down school glue and some ModgePodge. Think about making toy storage boxes that the child will be invested in using by covering them with the left over wrapping paper and making it shiny with the ModgePodge. Parent and child will get a lot more out of this activity than the end product—they will be talking to each other and this is an excellent time to use and build vocabulary and social skills.

The most important thing to think about is ‘how can this activity enhance my child’s total developmental abilities: physical (hand skills and/or gross motor), neurological (thinking, reasoning and sensory) and perceptual (seeing and processing) skills.

Your options are endless and they are most likely to be already in your home rather than a fancy (and expensive) catalogue, or in a store near-by.

Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L is the author of the book. “Learning RE-Enabled” a guide for parents, teachers and therapists,(a National Education Association featured book) as well as the CEO/Exec. Director of Children’s Special Services, LLC an occupational therapy service for children with developmental and learning delays in Atlanta, GA.  She can be reached through her website at or at  On Twitter at OTRLovesKids, or her blog, or Facebook Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L, FAOTA Children’s Special Services, LLC page.