For Appointments Call

Latest News

For Living Life To Its Fullest- The Morning Routine

For Living Life To Its Fullest- The Morning Routine



Establishing Morning Routines post


THE MORNING ROUTINE is sometimes the most dreaded part of the day. Parents have to get themselves and the kids up, dressed, fed, prepared for the day, and out the door in a timely fashion. How can you stay on schedule while supporting your children and helping them become more independent?

The following tips are from pediatric occupational therapy practitioners who have experience in establishing healthy and efficient morning routines.

If you want to: 

Help children get up on time.

Consider these activity tips:
•Identify a wake up time for children starting at around 1 year, and be consistent. Allowing children to get up at different times every day makes it difficult for them to know what to expect.
•After about 4 years of age, children who are early risers can be told that it is okay to get out of bed, but they must play quietly in their room until an established time or until you enter their room.

•For families with multiple children, staggering wake up times can help ensure an efficient morning routine by helping one child at a time, beginning with the youngest child first.

•Sleep patterns can be influenced by temperature, lighting, natural rhythms, and diet. An occupational therapy practitioner can help review the family routines and environment and make recommendations as needed.

If you want to:

Promote positive mood and behavior.

Consider these activity tips:

•Even if parents are not morning people, a positive morning attitude can help make children happier during the morning routine. Greetings of “good morning” and “have a wonderful day” help set the tone and prepare a child to socialize well in school.

•Affection is also an important way to start the day, so begin with some cuddle time or a hug. This can be a quick way to start the morning routine with care.

•Consider how your child’s sensory experiences may impact mood or behavior. During breakfast, is the kitchen crowded with people or objects? Are new foods being prepared, accompanied by new smells? Watch your child for signs of enjoyment or distress.

If you want to:

Establish organized and timely morning routines.

Consider these activity tips:

•Plan ahead. Things like choosing clothes, determining breakfast, and putting homework in backpacks should be done the night before.

•Remove unnecessary clutter, and review calendars and weather projections to avoid the unexpected.

•Including children in decisions about clothing and food is important, and doing it the night before can avoid long discussions in the morning. Also, be sure to limit younger children to two choices (e.g., “you may wear the polka dot or striped outfit”) so the decision is quicker and easier.

If you want to:

Prepare children for morning time demands.

Consider these activity tips:

•Talk to your children the night before about what will happen each morning. Ask them to name the steps of the morning routine.

•Reviewing the morning routine helps to reinforce it. In the morning as they complete a task, ask them what is next.

If you want to:

Keep on task.

Consider these activity tips:

•Creating a visual checklist can help a child participate in the morning routine. Spend a weekend afternoon creating a checklist with your child so he or she gets excited about using it. Ask for suggestions on what to include and ask him or her to draw pictures for each step. As the child ages, you may update the checklist to avoid boredom.

•Help avoid distractions by leaving the television off in the morning.

If you want to:

Promote participation and independence.

Consider these activity tips:

•It may be faster and easier to dress children or do their hair, but it is important for them to practice and learn to engage in the morning routine independently.

•Allow children to dress independently on weekends and then progress to weekdays as they become more skilled. Start with a certain aspect of dressing, like putting on socks, then add more complicated clothing, like shirts with buttons. It is okay to let them go to school with a unique outfit or hairdo!

If you want to:

Promote flexibility as well as structure.

Consider these activity tips:

•Despite the importance of structure and routine, there are some days, like weekends and holidays, where the routine can be relaxed.

•Plan pajama days or fun breakfast times on weekends and holidays to let your children know that sometimes the routine can be changed.

•Remember, fun and play are important ways to promote a child’s healthy development.

If you want to:

Make morning routines fun.

Consider these activity tips:

•If routines are fun, children will be more engaged. Think about being creative with dressing and grooming activities. Play upbeat music while children are getting dressed. If they get dressed early, allow them to play with a special toy. Reward them for a job well done.

Download a PDF version of this article here.

Need More Information?
Pediatric occupational therapy practitioners promote participation of all children and their families in everyday activities or occupations, including morning routines. When there is a particular area of concern, the occupational therapy practitioner can create an individualized strategy based on the specific needs of the child and family.
Occupational therapy practitioners work with children in their homes, at school, in private practice, at children’s hospitals, and in other community locations, providing interventions that are individualized, appropriate, and effective. Ask your pediatrician or school administrator for a recommendation, or look online to find an occupational therapist in your area.
You can find additional information through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) at
AOTA thanks Joy Doll, OTD, OTR/L, for her assistance with this Tip Sheet.

Occupational therapy is a skilled health, rehabilitation, and educational service that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).
Copyright © 2013 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. This material may be copied and distributed for personal or educational uses without written consent. For all other uses, contact

Special Education Trends

special education boy

Special Education Trends

With the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), many aspects of rights were looked into.  The primary focus of this article will look at inclusion and the placement of students with disabilities, the discipline and manifestation review process, and the right to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  With rights for disabilities comes laws and regulations that ensure that each student is receiving a free and appropriate education as laid out by IDEA.

Inclusion involves deciding whether or not a student should be included in the general education classroom or whether or not he/she should be in a different setting, to include a resource room, a one-on-one area, or in a different school.  Unfortunately, many schools don’t want to have to deal with students who have violent or aggressive behaviors or disabilities that could cause a distraction to the rest of the classroom.  Fortunately, those students are covered under national and state standards.

“It has been estimated that 54% of students with disabilities are receiving their instruction in the regular classroom 80% or more of the day” (Grant, 2015, para. 1).

The first case that addressed inclusion was Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Children (PARC) v. Pennsylvania in 1972, which started the movement with several other cases leading to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Blankenship, Boon, & Fore, 2007).

One of the hardest parts of inclusion is ensuring that the student with a disability is able to participate and socialize in an inclusive environment while allowing other students the opportunity to learn as well.  With inclusion comes the decision of discipline and what can be done according to the law and for what is best for the student. 

Discipline can be a very tricky part of educating a student with a disability, because it needs to be looked into further before a decision can be made.  According to the webpage created by Thomas S. Nelson, a special education attorney,    in the past, “schools were twice as likely to suspend a special needs student because of behavioral problems” (“Discipline,” n.d., para. 2).     Congress finally recognized this as a problem and created the Manifestation Determination Hearing, which ensures that each student is looked at personally and determinations are made based off of the unique traits of that student.

Many factors go into determining whether or not a student should be suspended or expelled, to include a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), a determination by the parent and school that there should be an alternate placement, or if drugs, weapons, or serious injury occur (“Discipline,” n.d.).

special education pictureLast, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is an important current, and hopefully permanent trend, which allows for a team to meet, to include teachers, speech therapists, parents, interventionists, and other relevant members to meet and discuss the individual needs of students.  There are several steps in the IEP process to include evaluation, curriculum, placement, and behavioral goals (Hyatt-Foley, 2011).

The IEP was initiated in 1975 and allows for modifications to curriculum, schedule, and various other factors to ensure that the student is allowed the most appropriate education possible (“IEP,” 2015).    The IEP allows team members to decide on what will benefit the child’s education and learning environment and is a legally binding document that must be followed and reported on.

Effects of the trends

How do the above listed trends affect the students, educators, and the families?  Inclusion has allowed all students, regardless of disability to be involved in the general education environment and has allowed the students the same opportunities as their peers.  Parents should feel that the child is receiving the most appropriate education possible, and educators have a clear understanding through training and law of what each student should be included in.   Unlike in the past, discipline for students with disabilities has a legal process that ensures that all factors are looked at and that the student isn’t expelled or suspended without first finding out the underlying cause of the behavior.  Last, but not least, the IEP is a guideline for how the student should be taught, based on curriculum, educational and behavioral goals,  and environment.  The IEP team is allowed to discuss the student in great detail and decide what the best course of action will be for that unique student.


Blankenship, T., Boon, R. T., & Fore, C. (2007). Inclusion and placement decisions for students with special needs: A historical analysis of relevant statutory and case law. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 2(1), 1-10. Retrieved from

Defending expulsions: The general and special education setting. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Grant, M. (2015). Current trends in special education. Retrieved from

Hyatt-Foley, D. (2011). IEP basics: What the school forgot to tell you. Retrieved from

Special education manual 2015. (2015). Retrieved from

The history of the IEP. (2015). Retrieved from

Mother’s Day at Children’s Therapy Place

Mother’s Day at Children’s Therapy Place

Thank Social Workers!

thank social workers In recognition of the invaluable services provided by our social workers, Children’s Therapy Place is celebrating National Professional Social Work Month this March. The staff at CTP would like to express how very grateful we are for the work that our social workers do to help enhance the lives of children and families in Boise and Meridian.

Thank Social Workers!

The month of March has been proclaimed by the Idaho legislature as Social Work Recognition Month. This year’s theme is “Social Work Paves the Way for Change” and it was selected to convey what the social work profession has done to bring about positive changes in society and for individuals.

CTP thanks the almost 4,000 licensed social workers in Idaho for their dedication to making a difference in the day-to-day lives of Idahoan’s by helping to build, support and empower positive family and community relationships.

Please join me in recognizing our CTP social workers for their tireless dedication to helping make profound differences in the lives of children and their families.

Miss Amazing – Reach for the Stars

Miss AmazingIt’s been an AMAZING year for 13 year old Ani Besteder, the reigning 2014 Idaho Miss Amazing Preteen Queen.   After winning the crown in Idaho, Ani went on to the national competition in Omaha and placed 3rd in her age group. “It feels amazing,” said Ani at the 2014 pageant. “It’s great to make new friends here and see some familiar faces.”

Miss AmazingMiss Amazing is not just a beauty contest, it’s a program that encourages participants to dream big and reach their goals. It celebrates the abilities of girls and women with disabilities and supports learning of social and communication skills throughout the process.

Children’s Therapy Place (CTP) therapist, Stephanie Schoenfeld (COTA) co-leads a weekly occupational therapy group and has witnessed Ani’s extraordinary growth in self-confidence and social skills. Miss Stephanie commented, “It has been exciting to see Ani gain independence with activities of daily living. This independence has provided her with improved social skills, including the ability to initiate conversation and improved interactions with her peers.” Ani now has a new personal goal in the area of public speaking…. she’s looking forward to working in the community with Miss Stephanie to educate children about autism.

Miss AmazingWhen asked how therapy has helped Ani, her mother, Amy commented, “Ani’s skills are always changing and improving and I think that’s just the coolest thing. Her life has been changed for the better with the support of the amazing therapists at CTP.”

Miss Amazing Pageants prove that the world is a much better place when the talents and ambitions of all people are celebrated and valued. CTP celebrates Miss Amazing 2014, Ani Besteder, and all children with disabilities who inspire us all to reach for the stars!

The 2015 Idaho Miss Amazing Pageant will be held March 27-28, 2015 in Nampa, Idaho.

It’s time to sign up for Speech/Language Winter Groups!

Social Skills Group

Starting January 14th:

Let’s Get Social! Social Skills Group for preschool and kindergarten.

Description: The ILAUGH Model of Social Thinking will be utilized to facilitate skills needed in establishing and maintaining friendships among peers. Using the ILAUGH Model, therapists will target Initiation of communication, Listening with eyes and brain, Abstract language, Understanding perspective, Getting the big picture, and Humor. Therapists will utilize games, crafts, and technology to engage participants in therapy activities. This is a fun way for kids to gain a better understanding of social skills as well as practice real life social scenarios with peers under the guidance of a professional.

Let’s Get Talking! Articulation or Phonological improvement for elementary students.

Description: Using the Cycles Approach as well as articulation drills, participants will practice sounds and sound patterns in words to improve their speech sound production abilities. Therapists will utilize games, crafts, and technology to engage children in therapy activities. This is a fun way for kids to practice their speech with a professional as well as enjoy time with peers.

Children’s Therapy Place: Doing good and doing well

View the entire Yahoo Article here

People in the helping professions are far better known for their kindness and compassion than their business savvy. We were delighted to come across a most unusual speech-language pathologist, Sondra McMindes, M.S., who not only embodies all three of these qualities but has managed to leverage them into a highly successful small business.

“I think it’s always been my nature to try to help people,” says the empathic CEO and president of Children’s Therapy Place (CTP), a consortium of over 75 child-centric helping professionals based in Boise, Idaho. With annual revenues that have exceeded $2 million, CTP provides evaluation and therapy services for children who have a wide range of physical, emotional and developmental disabilities—children whose needs were largely unmet before CTP came on the scene.

Sondra McMindes started Children’s Therapy Place out of her home, as a newcomer to Idaho, in 2000. In 2012, she was named “Idaho Small Business Person of the Year.”

Doing good and also doing well were both ambitions manifested early on in Sondra’s journey. As a young child, she befriended her cognitively disabled next-door neighbor, a contemporary, casting herself in the role of his teacher, using blackboard and chalk to help him learn the alphabet. Her nascent altruism went hand-in-hand with a keen sense of personal ambition. “I was always very motivated to be a top seller in the school fundraising drives,” she admitted, when pressed. “I loved going door to door, selling the school candles, candy and so on, driven to win the big prize.”

After earning a master’s degree in speech pathology in her native Florida, Sondra started marketing her services as an independent contractor in the public schools. “As a new graduate, young and single, I was a workaholic. I put 100 percent of my time into work!” Capitalizing on the opportunities she saw to grow a business, she ended up with a few employees and several contracts. She built up her caseload, adding new therapists to her team as needed.

Marriage brought about a major change of venue when Sondra’s husband decided to accept an offer from Boise State University to enter their PhD program in geology. “I had lived in Florida all my life,” said Sondra, “and thought it would be fun to go someplace different.”

Her willingness to embrace change—as such willingness so often does—yielded unexpected dividends.

Find a need and then fill it

Idaho, Sondra quickly discovered, was suffering from a shortage of qualified professionals willing to provide pediatric therapy services in its far-flung rural communities. No one individual therapist, however energetic and committed, could possibly fill the void. What was needed was precisely the set of skills that Sondra McMindes had already begun to acquire while living in Florida: detailed expertise in the field, paired with the know-how to build and manage a diverse team of like-minded helping professionals.

This is the formula, validated again and again, by so many successful entrepreneurs: Find a need—then fill it!

With good business instincts but lacking a business degree, Sondra wisely sought the advice of mentors at the Small Business Development Center at Boise State University. Counselors there provided her with access to professors, as well as university students assigned to work on CTP projects.

Expanding her business to a full-service therapy agency entailed a dizzying array of challenges. Sondra had to figure out what federal or state reimbursement programs she could harness to help subsidize CTP’s services for low-income clients. She knew she had to pay her employees a competitive wage, if she hoped to retain them—even though government reimbursement rates for helping professionals are typically (some would say ridiculously) low. She needed to stay on top of ever-evolving regulatory requirements and somehow keep her business solvent on the road to profitability. “I made plenty of mistakes along the way,” she told Yahoo, “some of them very costly!”

Sondra may have made a lot of mistakes—but she has also been doing something very right. Since its founding in 2000, CTP has grown from its humble beginnings in the McMindes house in Boise to a beautiful 3,500 sq ft office building plus two satellite offices in Nampa and Meridian.

No magic, just hard work

There was nothing magic about this trajectory: it took a huge amount of labor and dedication. For several years, Sondra had to give up working personally with clients because of the demands on her time levied by the business. “I became a mom in 2002 and needed to cover my own maternity leave.” She helped her clients make the transition to new therapists. “It gave me the opportunity to put more effort into working on the business instead of in the business.”

An office assistant was Sondra’s first hire in Boise. She now employs a full-time staff to take care of the day-to-day details of running CTP.

But being a bit of a micro-manager—and thinking about one’s business 24/7—seem to be part of the small business success formula. “It’s really important to hire competent administrative staff,” Sondra advises aspiring entrepreneurs. “Important aspects of the job should be double-checked, because even the best employees make errors.”

As was the case for Sondra McMindes, there may be a less-than-obvious connection between the skills you already have and the business you want to create. Sondra told us, “My training as a speech therapist has been extremely valuable in the business environment. The profession of speech pathology is all about communication. My training helped me develop communication skills that are valuable for working both with employees and clients. The profession requires research, assessment, planning—and it’s also goal directed. I use all of these same strategies in business.

Sondra offered these four nuggets of advice for others who are trying to build a service-based business from scratch:

  • Set goals and continually monitor your progress toward achieving them
  • Stay flexible as you learn more about your business: make new plans, revising your goals if it makes sense to do so
  • Always have a Plan B (and maybe a Plan C, too!)
  • Keep up to date on market trends, researching and assessing on a regular basis

We asked Sondra how she went about assembling her mostly female professional team in Boise.

“CTP grew slowly over the years. Initially, I found other professional therapists through word of mouth. Agencies would tell me about someone looking for work or vice versa.”

There weren’t many therapy companies in Idaho when she started in 2000. “Pediatric therapists were limited to working for the schools or hospitals, or as independent contractors. CTP offered something different, with a very flexible schedule. I was fortunate to have professional therapists who weren’t necessarily looking for full-time employment. Often they were moms who just wanted to have a few hours or a couple days of work per week.” Sondra says she still employs one of the first therapists to come onboard at CTP. “She only works with one client, one time per week—and we love having her on our team!”

Flexibility has characterized the organization’s mission as well as the work environment promoted by Sondra. “As I identified more community needs related to pediatric therapy, I added new services. Sometimes, a professional in another service area would come to me, suggesting that we add a new service. I often ended up recruiting her to head up the new program.”

While Sondra oversees the larger business—and attends to her own clients personally—she respects and encourages the individual therapy styles of all the professionals who work for CTP. “The physical, occupational and speech therapy professions all have their own professional Code of Ethics,” she explained. “We expect therapists to review and follow the one specific to their discipline.”

CTP’s speech/language therapists do a nine-month clinical fellowship. “During that time, they have a supervisor who oversees their work and provides additional therapeutic instruction. This is a national standard in the speech therapy industry, not specific to my company.” Sondra and her administrative staff help new hires review the many rules related to Idaho’s State Medicaid program, train them to use the office computer system and deal with all the relevant paperwork.

The best thing for Sondra about having a system that works well is getting back to the work she’s loved since childhood. “Last year, I started seeing a handful of clients on a regular basis—and rediscovered my passion for the field of speech pathology.”

That passion is evident as Sondra McMindes talks about her business: you can see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice. If you look and listen closely, you can see the girl who wanted to win the prize for selling the most candles, perfectly melded with the pint-size therapist who helped the little boy next door master his ABCs. “Although I’m not directly providing services for all of the families we serve,” Sondra told Yahoo, “I love the fact that I can make a difference for so many families indirectly through Children’s Therapy Place.”

Play Therapy

play therapy
Play therapy is an effective tool useful especially working with younger clients.  Although it may be used for people of all ages, here at Children’s Therapy Place we focus on children’s needs and offer cutting edge tools and strategies to help children deal with their life issues.

Play therapy has been around a long time.

A famous saying from Plato says, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”  The origins of counseling demonstrate examples of play therapy starting with Sigmund Freud.  

More recently, the American Play Therapy Association, established in 1982, and various State chapters (including the State of Idaho) are involved in play therapy.  Many organizations and associations incorporate play therapy into their intervention models.  Some examples include the American Red Cross, World Vision, and the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.  There are also many countries investing in play therapy research including Great Britain, Iran, South Africa, and Taiwan.

Play therapy is best conducted by trained mental health professionals.

Much study is involved for a counselor to become a registered play therapist.  To do so, a State license in Counseling or Social Work including Master’s degree or PhD, two years and two thousand hours of experience in counseling, two hundred supervision hours, yearly renewal and continuing education units, must first be obtained.  After this, a licensed counselor must have an additional one hundred and fifty play therapy class hours, five hundred hours of direct play therapy experience and fifty hours of concurrent play therapy supervision, yearly renewal and continued education units in play therapy modalities to become a registered play therapist.

Just as adults use words to communicate, children use play. Children who do not speak may be able to do play therapy.

Play therapy is another method in helping children work through difficult issues.  We are happy to offer play therapy here at Children’s Therapy Place.  We have a clinician who is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and another who if in process of becoming a Registered Play Therapist.   They conduct different methods including the Dimensions model, a Psychodynamic approach, Sandplay and various other modalities in the play therapy offered at Children’s Therapy Place.  We are always looking for new ways in which to work with children.

If your child is in need of high quality therapy, please consider Children’s Therapy Place in your research.  We accept Medicaid and all insurance carriers and offer counseling five days per week with our three locations (Boise, Meridian and Nampa).

Physical, occupational and speech therapy in Nampa!

Did you know we offer Physical, occupational and speech therapy in Nampa?

Physical, occupational and speech therapy in NampaPhysical, occupational and speech therapy appointments are now available in the Nampa office of Children’s Therapy Place. 

Our full service agency recently added counseling and behavioral services to our Nampa location to better serve our clients.  In addition, CTP has increased the availability of our therapy staff for Nampa and Caldwell families.  

We are conveniently located off I-84 at the Garrity exit in the Premier Building on Franklin Road.  

Physical, occupational and speech therapy in Nampa

Children’s Therapy Place, Inc. provides speech/language, occupational, physical, and developmental evaluation and therapy services for children of all ages.

Based in Boise, Idaho, with locations throughout the Treasure Valley CTP’s programs are designed to meet the individual and varied needs of every child and family. Therapy is offered in both private and group sessions, in a child-friendly atmosphere. Therapy sessions can also be conducted at off-clinic sites, including homes, childcare centers, and schools.

The therapists at Children’s Therapy Place seek to help clients regain and maintain their physical performance, enabling them to live healthier, fulfilled lives. It is the goal of Children’s Therapy Place to help our clients achieve their highest functional potential and physical performance, allowing them to enjoy safe and independent lifestyles.

Call today to schedule an appointment and for more information: 208.323.8888 

Current Openings Available in Nampa: Mental Health Counseling, Behavioral Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy.

Page 4 of 512345

Contact Us

6855 W. Fairview Ave.
Boise, ID 83704

6429 W Interchange Lane
Boise, ID 83709

5640 E. Franklin Rd, Suite 180
Nampa, ID 83687

P.O. Box 27906
Panama City, FL 32411

Phone 208.323.8888
Fax 208.323.8889


Offices in Boise, Nampa, Emmett, Statewide Online and Now serving the Florida Panhandle


Sign up for our Newsletter

* = required field

powered by MailChimp!