My Therapy House® is a South Australian owned and run multi-disciplinary practice specialising in working with children and adolescents who live with social- emotional and communication challenges. We integrate the creative arts with traditional therapies to support children and adolescents to develop and reach their potential. We are a registered NDIS, Medicare and Private Health Insurance provider who has supported and helped many parents navigate their way through different funding regulations to support their child’s development.
My Therapy House® was founded by Dana Baltutis, DIRFloortime® Certified Speech Pathologist and Craig Clarke, her husband and business partner. Both Dana and Craig wanted to grow the concept of working with children and families using a Social-Emotional Developmental Relationship-Based approach in Adelaide by expanding Dana’s already successful business, Dana Baltutis Speech Pathology into My Therapy House® at Mitchell Park. Dana has carefully assembled a wonderful multi-disciplinary Developmental Team which currently includes a Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Music Therapist, Early Childhood Development Educator and Family Support Worker. My Therapy House® also has a visiting Medical Consultant who specialises in working with children with special needs and their families. This way, families have access to a comprehensive developmental and medical team of dedicated, creative and passionate professionals, who work on the social-emotional development of children and their families in a safe, nurturing home-based environment.
DIRFloortime® CERTIFIED SPEECH PATHOLOGIST AND TRAINER
BAppSc(SpPath), MSc(CommDisStudies), GradDip(EdAdmin)
“I believe the foundation for all relationships is understanding and communicating.”
Dana has worked as a Speech Pathologist since 1989 and as a DIRFloortime® certified Speech Pathologist since 2007. Dana knows about communication and relationships. She is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with Speech Pathology Australia. Dana was the first Speech Pathologist to be DIRFloortime® Certified in Australia. She has worked as a DIRFloortime® practitioner in her own private practice since 2007. Dana believes language is a complex process which not only involves understanding spoken words, but more importantly understanding people’s intentions, nonverbal information, what their bodies are doing and what is happening in their space. Dana works with children’s language and social-emotional development in a sensory-motor and play environment, taking into consideration, the children’s individual differences in a relationship-based context with their parents, siblings, peers and other significant people in their life.
Dana is a certified Profectum Academy Trainer in the DIR Model and Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD). She is also a certified Hanen® Speech Pathologist in It Takes Two to Talk®, More than Words®, Learning Language and Loving It™ and Talkability™ training. She is also a certified Marte Meo® Therapist and has an ‘Expert DIRFloortime® Provider’ qualification through the Interdisciplinary Council of Development and Learning (ICDL) and Profectum. She has worked with Georgina Ahrens, DIRFloortime® Certified Occupational Therapist in Sydney providing DIRFloortime® family consults as well as professional and parent training locally, nationally and internationally.
FAMILY SUPPORT WORKER AND ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT
Dip.Mgt., Cert. IV Training & Assessment (TAE); Cert. IV Language, Literacy and Numeracy Assessment and Training;
Cert. IV in Front Line Mgt.
“I believe each family and child are unique and precious.”
Celeste knows about families, NDIS and other systems and how to help families navigate through these, sometimes daunting and exhausting systems. She comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience from working in a number of industries and locations including London, Hayman Island, Sydney, and Melbourne. Celeste has a family of her own and knows what it is like to juggle family, work and other pressures and commitments. Celeste has a Diploma of Management, Certificate IV in Frontline Management, Certificate IV in Language, Literacy & Numeracy Assessment and Training, Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. Celeste provides our families and staff with administration and emotional support including understanding and sourcing funding options, scheduling and assisting with creating client service plans. Celeste assists parents by researching and sourcing any resource a parent may need. Importantly Celeste will help make parents and children feel welcomed and nurtured when they visit My Therapy House®.
PhD (MUSIC THERAPY) Board Certified Music Therapist, MT-BC (USA) Registered Music Therapist, RMT (Australia) Certified in Neurologic Music Therapy, NMT (USA) Certified in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapy, NICU-MT(USA)
“I believe music speaks when other forms of communication fail.”
Patsy knows how emotions can be communicated through music. She uses music as a form of communication with clients who are not able to express themselves via words or gestures.
Patsy started classical music training at the age of 5 and attained the United Kingdom’s Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 certificate in piano at the age of 12 and flute at the of age 15. She then moved to the United States of America to receive further training to be a concert pianist until she had a hand injury that forced her to give up her career as a performer. It was during her rehabilitation period that she came to know about music therapy when she was invited by a music therapist to play for the elderly in a nursing home for a Christmas party. This experience changed her life and vocation. It allowed her to observe how the Music Therapist facilitated connection and relationship through music and highlighted to her how music can be used as a form of communication when people cannot express what they feel, want and need in words. This gave Patsy a new career pathway in her passion, music.
Patsy then embarked on a new journey to be trained as a music therapist. Today, Patsy is a United States of America Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) as well as Australian Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Registered Music Therapist who is also certified in Neurologic Music Therapy and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapy.
For the past 20 years, Patsy worked in the United States, Taiwan and Singapore as a Music Therapist. Music is the key to connection, communication, relationships across all cultures and regions. Patsy has worked across different cultures, and she understands that in some cultures in order for connection and communication to happen with the child, she needs to work with extended family members, such as the grandparents. Music is the bridge that brings everybody together to facilitate the child’s development.
Patsy moved to Adelaide in December 2016 and joined the My Therapy HouseⓇ team where she contributes her skills and knowledge together with the team in providing each child with individualized holistic intervention. Patsy believes that Adelaide is an ideal place for her to help educate her own teenage daughter and further develop and expand her knowledge and skills in working with children with special needs and their families.
Being a newcomer to the city and country, she strongly believes My Therapy HouseⓇ is a loving place that is able to assist her in understanding special needs in Australia and she receives valuable guidance from all her colleagues. She works closely with Dana and the team. Patsy is proud to be part of the My Therapy HouseⓇ family and looking forward to working together with all the children and families.
Patsy is one of the founders of the International Association for Music and Medicine and will be continuing her research and teaching in this area in Adelaide through My Therapy HouseⓇ.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST – BAppSc(OccTh)
“I believe understanding our own and other’s individual profiles is the foundation for connection and relationships.”
Alyssa knows about people’s bodies, the way they move and process information. She is an Occupational Therapist who is passionate about DIR Floortime®. Alyssa has completed the Profectum Basic Course in DIR and the Functional Capacities for Development Certificate. She currently receives supervision by Georgina Ahrens BAppSc (OT), a DIR Floortime® Certified Occupational Therapist from Kids World Paediatric Therapy in Sydney, who works closely with Dana. Alyssa’s passion is helping parents understand their own sensory and motor profile and individual differences, as well as their child’s profile, and how these interact together to facilitate the child’s social-emotional, play, behaviour and daily living capacities and development.
Alyssa’s experience is helping the child to become more aware of and understand their body, the way they move and process information, sensory integration, social-emotional development, community health, groups and family interventions.
DEVELOPMENTAL EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR/PLAY THERAPIST TRAINEE – Dip. T. (Early Childhood Education)
“I believe that each child learns through play in their own way, and it is up to us to discover and embrace their way.”
Kerry knows about play and learning. She is an experienced, energetic, understanding qualified teacher, passionate about working with children and families in a playful social-emotional context. Kerry has extensive experience in working with children and young people who require assistance in their formative learning years. Kerry has always included music, movement, dance and drama in her play and education sessions and programs. When planning and implementing a session for the child, Kerry considers each child’s and young person’s development, home background, interests, skills and abilities and provides experiences that encompass the whole child as they learn through play. Her sessions engage the children and young people in play experiences that stimulate and extend their natural curiosity and creativity and involve songs, music, drama, stories and play. Kerry is being supervised by Kaja Weeks who is a DIRFloortime® certified Music Educator in the USA. Kerry works therapeutically within a DIRFloortime® framework with the child’s family and My Therapy House® Team to help children meet their developmental milestones including social-emotional development, play, communication, gross and fine motor skills, learning and self-help skills. Kerry is currently a trainee in Therapeutic Play Skills.
B.Com (Accounting and Finance);
Level 1 and 2 Occupational Health and Safety Course
“A good relationship starts with good communication”
Rebecca comes to us with knowledge from a professional and personal perspective. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree (majoring in Finance and Accounting) and worked in the Superannuation industry for many years. Since starting her own family she has enjoyed volunteering with several community organisations that support children and families living with disability. Her passion is researching and exploring the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She believes that all children are extraordinary in their own unique way and should be given the opportunity to achieve their goals and experience life to the fullest. Rebecca provides staff with administration support and works with Celeste to make sure that all our families feel welcomed and receive the assistance they need.
OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGER
Cert. IV in Assessment & Workplace Training;
Bachelor of Business (Marketing and International Business)
“I believe all families deserve a high quality service.”
Craig Clarke works tirelessly behind the scenes organising employees and ensuring they feel happy and secure working at My Therapy House® to meet the needs of our clients and families.
Craig has a marketing and business degree and understands what is needed to get a business up and running and maintaining it’s flow and function. Craig is the handyman, the negotiator, the tradesperson, and the person who listens to our needs and concerns as staff members. Without Craig, we would not be able to deliver a great service to our clients and families.
Clients and families receiving services at My Therapy House® often provide us with positive feedback about our services, family support and progress clients make. We are humbled and honoured to receive such feedback. Due to Speech Pathology Australia’s strict guidelines and rules around publications of testimonials, we are not able to publish these on our website.
We respect Speech Pathology Australia’s guidelines, and although we do not publish testimonials, we enjoy receiving any type of feedback to help us better meet client and family needs as well as help us know what is working well and why it is working. Please feel free to use our suggestion box at My Therapy House®, tell us verbally or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We use a collaborative team approach. This is where the family and professionals work together as a collaborative and integrated team around the child, communicating and sharing information, knowledge and skills, with one team member nominated as a key worker and main person working with the family. For further information please refer to the following link
“Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”
– Hannah Green
A child’s health and wellbeing is the foundation for a child’s development. Healthy eating, sleeping, waking and toileting patterns are crucial for the child to feel regulated and ready for learning and development. Our visiting medical health practitioners work with our therapeutic team to support and foster the child’s health and wellbeing, as well as the family’s health and wellbeing to enable your child’s healthy development and learning.
“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.”
– Dalai Lama
Emotional regulation is the basis for all development. Children learn best when they feel calm and alert. If children feel stressed, over-excited, angry, anxious, they may become dysregulated. This leads to ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reactions, which can cause their brains and bodies to shut down to development and learning. Children might experience these feelings because they are overwhelmed by too much stimulation, unable to understand what is happening to them or around them, or unable to make themselves understood by others. At My Therapy House® we work on supporting children to feel “just right” in their emotional wellbeing (i.e. calm and alert) which is essential for learning and development. We help the child and parents understand behaviour and how to manage it. We support children by facilitating a safe, calm, fun and stimulating environment to suit children’s individual profiles, as well as educating their parents and others in their life how to best support their children’s nervous systems to optimise development and learning. We work closely with the Music Therapist to work on the child’s rhythms and body organisation.
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
– William James
The My Therapy House® team uses the latest approaches and best practices to support children’s understanding of social situations and how they can best communicate with people they love and who create meaning for them in their life. We help children to learn to be aware of their own social cues and communication attempts as well as read other’s social cues and intentions. Communication is a reciprocal two-way social interaction that requires the listener to able to understand what the child is communicating and what the child’s behaviours may mean in terms of their communication attempts.
The My Therapy House® team provides children and their parents supported therapeutic opportunities to practise communicating with each other, which includes practicing different ways of interacting with each other, experiencing ruptures and breakdowns in their communication, and how to best repair them to keep their interactions going. We also provide different ways of working on the child’s individual profile to help them learn the foundations for communication and language development. This includes being able to generate, plan, sequence, execute and adapt an idea. It also helps them find ways to express their intentions around their ideas. Social communication is the basis for interaction, problem-solving and conversing with others, as well as being able to participate in meaningful relationships and play.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
– Tony Robbins
Comprehension is the foundation for all communication. It is a complex process and does not occur in a vacuum. In order to be able to understand non-verbal cues (i.e. facial expressions, gestures, tone) and verbal information (spoken word) children need to be able to register, discriminate and interpret what they are seeing and hearing as meaningful messages. Children find it easier to understand language within well-established routines with people they are familiar with. At My Therapy House®, we assist families to understand their child’s language profile (i.e. what they understand and what they do not, what modes of communication are easiest for them to understand and how to support their child’s development in verbal and non-verbal language and comprehension). Comprehension is the essence of all communication and play. The child’s individual profile – body awareness, ability to come up with ideas, sensory challenges, visual processing, auditory processing, understanding their space and how objects and people fit into their space – can all influence the child’s language comprehension development. The My Therapy House® team works with parents and caregivers to assist them in assisting their child to develop comprehension and help them understand why it is a cornerstone in child development.
“Children need freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”
– Redfield Jamison
Play is the work of a child. Children learn so much through play. They learn about themselves and other people. They learn how things work, understand about routines and distinguish right from wrong. They practise ways of communicating and behaving. At My Therapy House® we use play as the primary means of working with children and their families. We support different stages of play development, including exploratory, sensory-motor, pretend, symbolic, role and peer play. We help parents learn about the importance of play and play development, as well as providing a safe and nurturing environment to practise and develop play skills for the whole family.
“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy.”
Children learn by doing and experiencing. They learn about themselves, other people, objects and their world through their bodies. At My Therapy House® we believe that children need to move, explore and experience their world to learn about emotions and concepts, generate ideas about their world, understand themselves and others, and communicate better through meaningful interactions. The My Therapy House® environment is designed to support children’s gross and fine motor development in conjunction with their social, emotional, communication and play development. Environments are designed to encourage children to use their bodies and learn more about themselves and others in fun and playful ways.
“The path of development is a journey of discovery that is clear only in retrospect, and it’s rarely a straight line.”
– Eileen Kennedy-Moore
The My Therapy House® team works through play and parenting support to help children develop their routines around toileting, bathing, eating, sleeping and dressing. Parents are informed about the readiness skills needed for these areas of development. We also work with children and their families around transition into adolescence and puberty.
“The language of Friendship is not thoughts but meanings.”
– Henry David Thoreau
The My Therapy House® team offers children with individual and small group support in naturalistic settings. Our homelike environment and beautiful child and family friendly garden setting supports impromptu play and interaction experiences between siblings and peers. We can also support the people who work with the child in other environments (e.g. childcare centres, preschools and schools) to help foster peer relationships. This often involves visiting the children’s environments and facilitating meetings (with the help of parents) to discuss development and individual profiles. We support the child to understand another’s intentions, ideas and feelings, and to communicate clearly their own intentions, ideas and feelings. My Therapy House® team members work on the child’s social and play capacities in their natural environments.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
– Albert Camus
The My Therapy House® team provide peer dyads (two children with two staff) and small group sessions with peers. Children are often expected to integrate into larger groups without knowing how to regulate themselves, understand the social cues of others or how to communicate their intentions and feelings. In these overwhelming and confusing environments, our staff act as interpreters and support workers for the children, helping them make meaning around what peers are doing, communicating, thinking and feeling. Staff also help children communicate their ideas, intentions and feelings more clearly to others.
“I sustain myself with the love of my family.”
– Maya Angelou
Siblings are encouraged to attend sessions, as they are a significant part of the child’s life. Siblings often cannot read their brother’s or sister’s intentions and may feel overwhelmed, fearful or jealous by the attention generated by the sibling with special needs. We offer individual or small group sessions for siblings to help them express their feelings, understand who their brother or sister is, and learn how to interact successfully with them.
“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him. If, however, we are careful not to push a child beyond the limit of his courage, he is almost sure to get braver.”
– John Holt
The My Therapy House® team provides family support, information and education. All the My Therapy House® Team members work in partnership and collaboration with parents and families to support, inform and educate them about the child’s individual differences and how these may be affecting the child’s social emotional, communication, play, sensory-motor and learning development and behaviour. We work to help parents with parenting and living with a child with special needs, and being able to understand and coordinate the services available to them, as well as funding options and supports. We work on helping families understand their child’s behaviours, relationship with each other, attachment styles and how they could best support their child’s development. We do this individually and through parent information sessions.
The My Therapy House® team also provides information about accessing funding options, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Medicare.
No referral is required to for My Therapy House® services when using private insurance, National Disability Services Scheme or self-funding.
However, if you want to use a Medicare Rebate Scheme such as the Enhanced Primary Health Care Plan or the Better Access to Mental Health Initiative (Mental Health Care Plan),you will need to have an Enhanced Primary Health Care Plan or Better Access to Mental Health Initiative (Mental Health Care Plan)referral letter from a General Practitioner (GP) for the specific staff member(s) of My Therapy House® you would like your child or yourself to see.
You will need your paediatrician to write you a referral letter for the Helping with Children Autism Package.
“We now understand that the lines of early development are interrelated. Rather than assessing language skills, motor skills, and social-emotional skills separately, we should look at how well these abilities are integrated, how they work together as a whole.”
-Greenspan, Stanley I, and Serena Wieder. Engaging Autism. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2006. Print.
My Therapy House® is an ICDL and Profectum verified DIRFloortime® provider.
Building healthy relationships and social interactions is the cornerstone of My Therapy House® programs. Each client and family have individualised therapeutic programs that integrates their own natural interests, developmental level, and therapeutic goals. Developmental experiences support sensory-motor, auditory and visual spatial skill development in addition to social-emotional, comprehension and communication development and learning.
The Developmental Relationship-Based Approach, DIRFloortime® was developed over 20 years ago by Doctor Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Doctor Serena Wieder, PhD and is best understood as this:
Developmental refers to a sequence of social-emotional developmental milestones that a person moves through as they develop the ability to remain calm, attentive, focused and engaged for relating, communicating, problem solving, thinking and learning.
Individual differences describe how each person understands, takes in, processes and relays information in their environment, through their body, actions, thought processes and interactions as they move through their day and life.
Relationship with self, family members, loved ones, peers and adults is the foundation for creating self-esteem, confidence, purpose, interaction, development and lifelong learning.
At My Therapy House®:
The child learns to communicate, play and relate through various stages of social-emotional development from being able to share attention with another, to being able to understand their emotions, other’s emotions and to know that although people may think differently, they are still able to relate to each other by means of reciprocated respectful and caring interactions and relationships.
For more detailed information, please go to Profectum or The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning.