What is Developmental Therapy?

Developmental Therapy at Blue Bird Day plays a very unique role in the intensive therapeutic day. Our Developmental Therapists are part of our Therapy Case Manager team, leading our therapeutic preschool and kindergarten programs in collaboration with our Social Work/Counseling team. Developmental Therapists bring a unique lens to our multi-disciplinary team at Blue Bird; Instead of honing in on one specific domain of development, they are experts in child development as a whole. They look at how each area of development supports or challenges one another, and specifically look at how relationships can scaffold a child’s progress globally. Developmental Therapists look at cognition, language and communication, fine and gross motor, social-emotional functioning, adaptive behavior, and self-help skills holistically, to assess and support global development through the early years. Our Developmental Therapist team consists of both Master’s and Bachelor’s level Child Development Specialist’s, with additional training in evidence-based approaches, including Sensory Integration, Intentional Relationship Model, DIR/Floortime, Play Therapy, Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN), and much more.

How Does Developmental Therapy Work?

Developmental Therapists develop play activities designed to help a child overcome challenges and improve the quality of their interactions. Thus, allowing them to gain confidence in their own ability to learn and to acquire novel skills. DTs provide children with their own tools to navigate their way through their world with a sense of wonder and enjoyment. They focus on the benefit of play on all learning and utilize the natural environment to support growth in all areas of development. Blue Bird Day uses a holistic approach to see how each developmental domain for a specific child blend together and how one area may be affecting another. The Intentional Relationship Model (IRM) approach and DIR Floortime are used to follow a child’s lead, as well as to develop trusting relationships. All learning stems from interactions within a relationship built between the child and therapist.

How is Developmental Therapy Incorporated into the Day?

Developmental Therapists at Blue Bird Day are part of our Blue Bird Day Therapy Case Manager Department, and act as the symbolic teacher of the program. The “whole-child” lens gives them a unique perspective to act as therapy case managers, as they collaborate with the child’s entire team. DTs have a working knowledge of all areas of development, allowing them to artfully and strategically weave the expertise of all disciplines into a cohesive program individualized to the child.

What are the Goals of Developmental Therapy?

The mission of a Blue Bird Day Developmental Therapist is largely that of the “family advocate.” Therapists identify where a child’s functional performance is most meaningfully impacting a family’s life and utilize family-centered goals into the creation of long-term program goals. DTs take into account the child’s ability to participate in daily routines and interactions, while supporting global developmental growth through play. Our DTs round out our multi-disciplinary team at Blue Bird by bringing their expertise on cognition, social-emotional, and play development. It is their priority to make sure each client’s goals encourage relationship building, social skills, and independence in routines and activities within the child’s natural environment.

Who Makes Up the Developmental Therapy Team?

Each team member at Blue Bird Day has a unique specialty of focus that allows for treatment plans to be tailored to each child.

Developmental Therapy Heads and Leads

Molly R

Specializes in infancy & early child development for birth-3 years, Developmental Therapy, Facilitating Attuned Interactions Approach (FAN), and Floortime/DIR model.

Catie B

Specializes in Therapeutic Use of Self and the Intentional Relationship Model, Sensory Integration, and DIR/Floortime.

Katie M

Specializes in Developmental Therapy.