Play provides an insight into a child’s internal world. Through play, children reenact personal experiences and test their ideas about the world. They generate questions, solve problems, and strengthen their understanding of concepts. Children’s language develops simultaneously with play, empowering expression of thoughts and viewpoints. As the basis for group interactions, play fosters self-advocacy, empathy, and peer negotiation. Play also aids with regulation as children learn to exert self-control, accept social rules, and adapt to changes. A deficit in foundational play development impedes upon a child’s overall linguistic abilities, hindering relationships and acquisition of age-expected social-emotional skills. Individualized or dyadic (sibling groups) therapy supports children by bridging the gap in their learning.
Social skills is the ability to participate in social situations, while adhering to unspoken societal rules. One is required to simultaneously think about their own thoughts and feelings as well as another person’s. Social skills encompass an array of developmental domains, including understanding emotions, reading nonverbal cues, conversing effectively with others, and managing environmental expectations. Children with social skills deficits are unable to mindfully acknowledge others’ intentions and are unaware of the effect of their behavior. These challenges lead to significant difficulty forming and maintaining friendships, as well as familial relationships. Therapy provides children the opportunity to learn, analyze, and practice specific components of social skills in a safe and supportive setting. Families are guided in transforming the home setting to further facilitate core areas.
Language therapy strengthens the development of comprehension and expression. Comprehension, or receptive language, refers to a person’s understanding of spoken language that increases in length and complexity, including concepts, questions, and directions. Expressive language pertains to effectively sharing ideas by choosing the exact words we’re thinking of to convey those ideas. Strong communication skills allow us to engage in conversations, receiving and giving information while using relevant vocabulary and grammatically well formed sentences. Language therapy thus evaluates underlying areas of deficit and employs a multimodal approach to ensure that each child thrives in the process.
Competent readers are able to proficiently comprehend and examine text, determine the meanings of unfamiliar words, and understand an author’s intent. Strong writers have learned the art of gathering ideas, organizing material, and revising effectively and efficiently. Students experiencing challenges with reading comprehension and written expression also struggle with executive function skills. They may read a story yet be unable to retell any part of the narrative, or they may find writing a paragraph grueling and impossible. Therapeutic intervention addresses components of literacy, teaches strategies, and provides students with foundational knowledge through techniques that simultaneously boost self-confidence.
Behaviors are too often viewed as something that needs to be stopped or controlled. Actually, a behavior is a natural response to what the brain and body are experiencing. Children with autism, ADHD or sensory processing disorder encounter daily obstacles that push the nervous system beyond its means. When they run out of fundamental resources, frustration tolerance decreases and outbursts occur because of difficulties with self-regulation. The ability to regulate your emotions is part of a larger group of skills referred to as executive function. Executive function skills are interwoven and interrelated as they allow your child to analyze incoming information, problem-solve in challenging situations, rationalize creatively, and communicate their thought processes. These facets begin in critical developmental periods of early childhood, continuing into school-age, adolescence and adulthood.
When seamlessly at work, executive function skills simply facilitate the ease of listening, learning and applying strategies in social and academic situations. Children can adhere to unspoken rules while thinking about their own thoughts and feelings, as well as another person's. Social skills encompass an array of domains, including understanding emotions, reading nonverbal cues, conversing effectively with others, and managing environmental expectations. Children with social skills deficits are unable to mindfully acknowledge others’ intentions and are unaware of the effect of their behavior. They struggle managing daily stimuli and breakdowns occur leading to lack of impulse control and a state of dysregulation. These challenges lead to significant difficulty forming and maintaining friendships, as well as familial relationships. Therapy provides children the opportunity to learn, analyze, and practice specific components of social skills in a safe and supportive setting.
Therapy conducted in the clinical setting is most effective when parents and caregivers form collaborative partnerships with the clinician. In my practice, parent coaching is imperative to the child’s progress. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the therapy session as the clinician offers guidance and explains the rationale behind a certain technique. Supplemental “check-ins” on a monthly basis involve a meeting with the parent who shares how strategies are being implemented in the home environment, discusses challenges, and partakes in determining solutions best suited for the family. From discovering how simple language shifts impact a child’s responses to enhancing their own understanding of parenting styles, parents gain awareness and empowerment. Exclusive parent coaching packages are also available.
Mealtime is an intricate experience involving the family as a unit. Multiple factors can contribute to a young child being cautious and restrictive in their eating patterns, including food aversions, texture sensitivity, and oral motor delays. These food preferences can transform into habits that infringe upon mealtime routines causing stress for the entire family. Children lose the joy that accompanies food exploration, sometimes dropping previously preferred items. My feeding therapy program considers the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional development, along with their nutritional deficits. Over the course of therapy, we lessen the feeling of overwhelm by engaging the child in the entire mealtime process. In a supportive environment, we decrease food aversions, improve tolerance and expand upon each child’s food repertoire.
As a trauma-informed speech-language pathologist and nutrition counselor, I offer a dynamic approach through awareness and education fostering the 3Es of Mealtime™: engagement, exposure and shared experiences. The overarching goal of the program is to transform the home environment, facilitating positive, meaningful meals for the entire family.
The role of a nutrition educator spans from counseling on an individual basis to teaching school-based lessons and altering mealtime settings on a corporate level. Goals include the design of strategies that seamlessly transfer into daily activities and enhancement of self-efficacy skills. Given my fervor and passion in establishing foundational skills at a young age, my expertise in feeding therapy has melded with knowledge of nutritional necessities through the lifecycle. I use aspects of motivational interviewing and models of learning, behavior, and health beliefs to explore how prior experiences influence your present perceptions. We identify links among current ideals and the effects they’ve had on your relationship with food. Through weekly virtual meetings, families are supported as a unit, learning the importance of a well-balanced lifestyle through novel habits.
Play to Learn operates as a private practice accepting payment via cash, check, or credit card. Payment is expected at each session unless otherwise agreed upon. A complimentary, 15-minute phone consultation is offered to discuss rates during a scheduled time. Sessions are either 45 or 60 minutes in length based on individual needs and professional recommendations. Session times include all contact with parents and discussion of session outcomes. Individual parent coaching appointments may be advised during our work together.
It is recommended that you allocate 60-90 minutes for a screening, including explanation of findings. Screenings simply focus on a single area of concern whether it is play and language or feeding. Timing and cost for full, comprehensive evaluations will vary depending on testing protocols.
Play to Learn is considered an out-of-network provider. If you will be seeking reimbursement for services, please contact your insurance carrier prior to our first session. Pre-authorization may be required, which would necessitate a screening and written explanation of findings to be submitted. Kindly inquire about the number of visits allotted per calendar year. As you are in the process of being on boarded as a client, I will email you a comprehensive list of questions to ask your insurance company so that you have all the information needed to proceed.
HSA, FSA and HRA allow you to pay for healthcare expenses and are an acceptable form of payment. At the end of the month, you are provided with an invoice containing all necessary information and billable codes for reimbursement.
Our daughter Rosie is almost 7 and was diagnosed with autism spectrum when she was 3. We started with Polina at the height of the pandemic, and even though she was remote, Rosie connected with her. Polina has helped Rosie with frustration tolerance, problem solving, sensory issues and coping skills in ways we as parents would never have thought of or schools would not be capable of providing. As Rosie's parents we have had to relearn how we talk to Rosie. It is also incredibly helpful that Polina allows you to join her sessions...not only do you get to talk about what went on in the session, you get to see it unfold, which helps tremendously when trying to incorporate new skills at home. We are very fortunate to have been directed to Polina and that Rosie loves going every week!
We have been working with Polina for almost 2 years. She sees both of my 6 year old twins every week. We originally came to Polina for speech services but it has evolved into so much more! Polina works with us on behavior management, impulse control, executive functioning…just to name a few things. In addition to working directly with our sons, we also do parent sessions as often as possible. Polina is amazing. She has helped us through so many challenges. She has a way of helping children in such a way that they only think they come to play with her. Her insights are invaluable and she is always spot on! I would highly recommend her to anyone who needs a lot or even a little help in any of her areas of expertise. You won’t be sorry!
Polina was able to build a strong connection with my child immediately and provided me with tools to be a better parent. She is knowledgeable, compassionate, and dedicated. I am very grateful that Polina was part of our lives and highly recommend her to families looking for individualized care. I loved that she saw all the positives in my child and genuinely cared about my child thriving.
Polina is a wonderful and warm therapist with a unique approach to children’s therapy via play. Her office is warm, fun and a comfortable space for children and adults. Polina has helped with language and behavior and has provided us with tools to make sure our child is successful in all settings. She genuinely cares about children and has an amazing understanding of child development. Appointments are prompt and efficient every time.
Polina was a godsend for my family. My 2 year old daughter was an extremely picky eater and it was really stressing us out - we had tried recipe books, different types of feeding, iPad, TV, nothing worked, and she was underweight. The doctor recommended Pediasure but I did not feel great about that being her main source of calories. As soon as I made an appointment with Polina, I felt more at ease. Polina made the experience fun and effectively eliminated the negativity and stress that we all came to associate with mealtime. She encouraged my daughter to get into the process of making the food which was so helpful. My daughter started trying everything from brussel sprouts to cauliflower. Polina is fantastic with children and very knowledgeable in her field. I would not hesitate to recommend Polina to anyone!