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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.

Buddy Walk

What is the Buddy Walk?

The Buddy Walk has become the premier advocacy event for Down syndrome in the United States. It is also the world’s most widely recognized public awareness program for the Down syndrome community.

The Buddy Walk program was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The name Buddy Walk promotes inclusion between friends of every ability.  The National Buddy Walk Program has grown from 17 Walks in 1995 to over 250 this year!  This global event now has over 295,000 participants raising more than $12.1 million last year.

When you support the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association (TVDSA) Buddy Walk, you help create awareness and acceptance for people who have Down syndrome in the Treasure Valley.  And by supporting the TVDSA, you help us provide programs and education to families and advocate for those with disabilities.  Support a friend who has Down syndrome or come meet one that day!
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Boise, Idaho

Online registration is open NOW!

Treasure Valley Resource Fair and Meridian Community Block Party

Treasure Valley Resource Fair and Meridian Community Block Party
Saturday, September 06, 2014,
10:00am – 04:00pm
Come join us for the Treasure Valley Resource Fair and, 10 year anniversary celebration of the Adventure Island Playground. Idaho’s First Universally Accessible Playground in conjunction with the City of Meridian’s Annual Community Block Party at Meridian’s Settler’s Park at the corner of Ustick and Meridian Roads.

Small Business Can Change Lives

Award-winning independent director and producer, Trish Dalton and editor and cinematographer, John Sears,spotlighted Children’s Therapy Place while visiting Boise during their 10-week journey across the country to explore the true fabric of America’s economy – small businesses. The filmmakers are sharing real stories about small businesses in America.
 

 
Speech Pathologist and Owner, Sondra McMindes was featured discussing how she has seen her company grow, while helping children grow. Children’s Therapy Place is a full service pediatric therapy company, providing Physical, Occupational and Speech-Language Therapy.  In addition, the company has on site developmental disability services, including Habilitative Intervention, Habilitative Support and Mental Health Counseling services.

 

Sponsored by Spark Business from Capital One, the “I Am Small Business Proud” campaign shines a spotlight on the backbone of this country’s economy.

Speech and Occupational Therapy in Nampa

Did you know that Children’s Therapy Place has a location in Nampa, as well as our main location in Boise?

It’s true!

Speech and Occupational Therapy in Nampa

We offer Speech and Occupational Therapy in Nampa and we are taking new clients now.

We have a new therapist on staff with openings in Nampa….no waiting list!

Find out more about our Speech and Occupational Therapy by contacting us today.

Call us at 208.323.8888 or contact us here.

New Services!

Children’s Therapy Place is pleased to announce the arrival of

2 NEW SERVICES!

• Mental Health Counseling-

Children, Adults & Families

AND…

• Community Based Rehabilitative Services

(Formerly known as PSR)

Mental Health Counseling- Children, Adults & Families

Please contact Brittany Whitman for additional information.

bwhitman@childrenstherapyplace.com

PH: (208)323-888 Fax: (208) 323-8889

Summer Camps for Special Needs

Summer Camps for Special Needs

Summer Camps for Special Needs

  • Sports Clinics
  • Social Skills for Teens
  • Communication
  • Handwriting and more

Speech / Language, Occupational, Physical, Developmental Disabilities and Redesign

Call or contact us for more information on our Summer Camps.

2013 Run/Walk for Autism Awareness

autismsociety

Join the CTP staff for the 2013 Run/Walk for Autism Awareness
5K Run/Walk and Family Stroll routes begin in Veteran’s Park continues onto the greenbelt and finish back in Veteran’s Park. The 5K Run/Walk will be the only timed race. Kids’ course will follow walk path around the amphitheatre at Veteran’s Park and will take place before the 5K and Family stroll.

img1Saturday, April 2013 – Date TBA
9:00 a.m. Kid’s Course
9:15 a.m. 5k Run/Walk (Timed)
9:30 a.m. 2.5 Mile Family Stroll
Veteran’s Memorial Park, Boise, ID
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Latest News

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

MENTAL CRISIS LINE
208-761-2310


info@childrenstherapyplace.com

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

 

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