Pediatric Therapy Services at Milestone Therapy and Riverside Healthcare

“Unlock life’s potential.” That is a mission statement from Milestone Therapy, a therapy facility that has partnered with Riverside Healthcare to provide pediatric therapy services to the Riverside community—everything from physical and occupational therapy to speech therapy.

Drew Haverstock, Physical Therapist and Founder/Owner of Milestone Therapy, and Katie Doph, a Physical Therapy Assistant and Director of Clinical Services at Milestone Therapy, offer important information surrounding the services the clinic provides.

Early Therapy Intervention Is Key

Therapy services can begin at a very young age, which sets children up for success. Haverstock and Doph know there are proven ways to help kids achieve their greatest functional independence. Yet, they are often met with parents who have been told all the things their child won’t be able to do. The key is early intervention.

“We’re the first ones who walk in and say, here’s what your child could possibly do. We know, statistically, if we don’t start now, the chances of that functional ability occurring drop immensely,” notes Haverstock. “With our input, you can almost see the parents’ shoulders kind of lift and their chins come up. I swear once I felt like one was going to open their shirt and have the big red ‘S’ for Superman on their chest. They found a new purpose because their job now was to help their kiddo in any and every way they could.”

In some cases, upon evaluation, the child is actually doing fine—they might just be a bit behind, but they don’t require therapeutic intervention. Other instances do require some expert help. “That’s where Katie and her crew step in and do a fabulous job,” adds Haverstock.

What Happens at a Typical Therapy Session?

In the first therapy session, children undergo a thorough evaluation, including medical history and concerns; what brought the child to therapy. Therapists also explain the difference between pediatric therapy and adult therapy. The latter is “rehabilitative,” meaning something occurred that requires therapy to get back to baseline. With pediatric therapy, it’s “habilitative,” meaning kids are learning to do things for the first time.

“There’s an entirely different underpinning for how we go about helping these children advance in their functional independence,” notes Haverstock. He also explains that everything therapists do with their pediatric patients is play-based—but that this approach provides key clues about a child’s development.

For example, when Haverstock rolls a ball to a child, he’s seeing if their eyes are tracking the ball, if they’re anticipating the ball, and if they’re corralling it when it gets to them or if their anticipatory reflexes are good enough for them to grab the ball before it gets to them.

Towards the end of every session parents or caregivers get to see therapy in progress so they can learn what they can do in the home environment. “Families and caregivers are the most important part of the process. We support them, guide them, help them. They are doing so much hard work every single day and they have their kids all of the time. They’re a very active team member in what we’re trying to accomplish. So, as long as they understand where we’re headed, what we’re trying to do for their child, the most important part is them,” shares Doph.

Importance of Evidence-Based Treatment Methodologies

Haverstock and Doph both firmly believe in putting power into the hands of parents and caregivers. They urge them to ask questions; no question is off limits. They also discourage turning to “Dr. Google” too much to look for answers. There are trusted online resources, but it’s important to be discerning about the information available.

“It’s really easy to get bad info,” cautions Haverstock. “So, at Milestone and at Riverside, everyone starts with the evidence. And if you start with the evidence and know the peer reviewed medical journals, this is where we get the basis and the underpinnings of all of our treatment methodologies. That’s where we start. That’s where we end. We always make sure we can justify and explain to you why we’re going about things in a specific fashion. Because the evidence points to it being best practice.”

For more information about Riverside’s Pediatric Therapy services call 815-928-6815 or click here.