Occupational Therapy (OT) at LEEP Forward, Inc. stresses the importance of play as a child’s main occupation. Our therapists are trained in creating activities that are crucial to childhood as a foundation for success and independence in play, socialization, learning, visual motor tasks, fine motor skills, & daily living skills.
OT at LEEP stresses the importance of following a child’s lead in a sensory motor framework to reach the individual clinical goals each child has. Parents, teachers, & all professionals on the child’s team are quickly included to create a comprehensive view of the child and support in the most collaborative way we can.
Our therapists are trained in the DIR® Floortime model, Sensory Integration Therapy, SIPT certification, Vital Links Therapeutic Listening, Astronaut Training and other modalities that incorporate sensory integration into their practice.
Developmental Therapy (DT) is geared for children from birth to eight years when children work on the foundational skills of their development. The therapy integrates conceptual, motor, language and emotional skills through a play-based, child-directed approach. Therefore, our developmental therapists look at each child globally and incorporate all the necessary components of development. Some children may see a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, and/or a social worker to work on specific skills, however Developmental Therapy works to integrate all those skills through play. Goals are often focused on engagement, improving play skills, socialization and playing with others while accepting new ideas and changes.
Utilizing the DIR® Floortime model, therapy is individualized for each child’s unique strengths, challenges and individual biological profile. The therapy meets the child at his/her developmental level while encouraging independence, creativity and natural, warm and positive relationships to help the child move up the developmental ladder. The therapist will work with you to create a home program that fits the needs of your family. Parents and caregivers of younger children are encouraged to be a part of therapy sessions to maximize each child’s ability to engage, relate and communicate.
A Developmental Therapist can come to your home for an initial, free consultation. It is at this time, that we will gather a developmental history of your child, hear your goals/concerns, and play with your child to determine the best way to move forward.
Goals are written for every child and assessed every 8 weeks. At the end of each session, the DT will write a narrative of their session as well as provide qualitative data which will be gathered to chart your child’s progress. Parents will receive a summary of this data every 6-8 weeks.
The speech-language pathology department boasts a team of ASHA certified therapists who are able to offer standardized and dynamic evaluations, develop treatment plans that align with the unique needs of children and families, and implement a range of evidence-based practices. SLPs at LEEP Forward provide therapies that focus on:
The building blocks of language—regulation, joint attention, engagement, reciprocal communication, and shared meaning.
Language Comprehension & Production
Cognition and Play
Literacy (reading and writing)
AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
Feeding and Swallowing concerns (including “picky eating”)
Social Language & Cognition
Voice and Fluency disorders
Articulation and Phonological Disorders
Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Executive Function challenges
At the core of the speech language pathology department is the DIR® Floortime model, guiding the way our therapists promote relating, thinking, and communicating in young children. Our therapists also rely heavily on the guiding principles of Developmental Language Models. These theoretical frameworks represent some of the most developed and highly-researched thoughts on the acquisition of communication and language. All of our therapists receive training in these areas.
Additionally, our therapists are trained in various other approaches including: PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Motor Phonetic Targets), LAMP (Language Acquisition through Motor Planning), SOS approach to feeding, food chaining, Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Curriculum, Interactive Metronome, Meaning-based Literacy Instruction, and Advanced levels of DIR training.
Mental Health Services
Mental Health at LEEP Forward, Inc. supports the social emotional well being of both children and their families by addressing life’s stressors in a caring and confidential environment. By focusing on the child’s strengths and following their lead, social work support allows children to build healthy foundations for social emotional growth. Supporting children and their families to build positive and enriching relationships increases understanding of behaviors and allows for more joyful and engaging moments. This may more specifically include addressing a variety of areas such as behavioral concerns, family dynamics, school environment and academic readiness, forming and sustaining positive peer relationships, dealing with crisis, and functional emotional development.
In addition to being a Basic DIR® Floortime Provider through ICDL, our social worker is a certified Rainbows Facilitator, providing services to children experiencing changes in the family structure such as divorce, separation, grief, deployment, or other trauma.
Please see the following resource for additional information:
Physical Therapy (PT) is geared for all children to work on the foundational skills of their gross motor development. The therapy integrates balance, coordination, gait, strength (core, legs, arms), motor planning, postural control and alignment, range of motion, mobility and safety. Therefore, our physical therapist looks at how each child moves to incorporate all the necessary components of gross motor development. Goals are often focused on increasing independent movement, improving safe and efficient mobility, and overall large movement play skills.
Employing the principles of the DIR® Floortime model, physical therapy is individualized for each child’s unique strengths and challenges. The therapist meets the child at their developmental level, while supporting independent movement and positive relationships to help the child move safely and efficiently in their world. The therapist will work with you to create a home exercise program that fits the needs of your family and child.
Early Intervention (EI) of Illinois is a government-based program that provides resources and support to families who have children from birth to age three with diagnosed disabilities, developmental delays, and/or children who are considered at-risk. The purpose of EI is to provide services such as therapy, counseling, and education to the young children and their families to prevent further delays and to enhance overall growth and development.
Under Illinois and federal law, children under 36 months who have developmental deficiencies or have a condition or disorder that has a high probability for developmental delay, are eligible for an evaluation and treatment, if necessary, through Illinois Child and Family Connections Program. This program works with families to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) outlining the particular needs of the child and family. To locate the Child and Family Connections office in your area, go to the Illinois Department of Human Services.
LEEP Forward, Inc. provides early intervention services for children from birth to age three through the Illinois Child and Family Connections Program. Our services include evaluations, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, developmental therapy services, and social work services.
Applied Behavior Analysis
LEEP Forward has ABA Services both in-home and in our clinic. With this service a LEEP Forward Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) will work directly with your child under supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. All services working within an multidisciplinary model.
Classroom aides are wonderful ideas for children who are in a typical preschool classroom, but may need extra assistance to take the best advantage of their experience. Our aides can assist your child in following classroom routines and transitions and help teachers modify the curriculum to best fit your child’s individual strengths and differences. One of the best ways to utilize classroom aide services is during times of unstructured play. Many children find establishing meaningful friendships and interactions challenging when dealing with the demands of a preschool classroom. An aide can help facilitate interactions by supporting your child’s ideas, assisting in problem solving and negotiating and helping with social language and non-verbal gestures.
Our aides are firm believers in open and direct communication with both teachers and parents. Teachers are encouraged to have an open dialogue with the aide to discuss strategies and brainstorm on challenges. Children will be sent home with a daily note describing their progress each and every day, and aides are always available to talk with parents, as well.
Have training in the DIR® Floortime model and social facilitation
Have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a related field and experience working with children
Have undergone a background check
Love to play
All classroom aides must be supervised at least once monthly in their work environment. This supervision will last for one hour in the classroom. It may involve direct coaching of the aide in the moment or an observation with discussion afterwards. Each aide’s supervisor will also check in with the classroom teacher at this time. The frequency of this supervision will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Transitional Planning Services
Transitioning into the school system can be overwhelming, and we have services at LEEP Forward to help!
We have a transitional planning coordinator who can assist families as they are deciding the next steps for their child. Transitional planning services can include; consultation services to talk through the process, individualized potential school matching, advocacy for services, interpretation of IEP process, results, and recommendations, explanation of parents rights and school/district responsibilities, review and feedback of current IEP, and more.
LEEP Forward truly loves coming into a classroom to help a teacher or paraprofessional strategize to help a struggling student. We have extensive training in classroom supports and have worked with children of varying abilities in a range of classroom environments. Our fees are flexible, as we know school budgets are tight! Please do not hesitate to give us a call with your questions.
In-service Training and Presentations
Many schools in the Chicagoland area utilize the knowledge and experience we have at LEEP Forward, Inc. We have presented to the teachers at a number of preschools in the area, including Winnetka Public School Nursery, the UIC Child Development Center in Chicago and Warren G. Cherry Preschool in Evanston. We have a number of presentations available and are always willing to create an in-service training or presentation to your needs and specifications.
Parent Support Group Presentations
Many area preschools are often searching for new ideas to present to their parent support groups. We can offer ideas on how to play with your children, what toys are developmentally appropriate, how to host the perfect playdate and what to do if you suspect your child has a developmental delay. Larson Learning and Play is also happy to customize a presentation specifically for your parent group.