San Diego: (619) 692-0622
Santee: (619) 749-7059

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San Diego Centers for Pediatric Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy

San Diego: (619) 692-0622

Santee: (619) 749-7059


What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that affects movement typically diagnosed in infancy or around the preschool age.  There are three types of Cerebral Palsy: spastic, athetoid, and ataxic. Although there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, with therapy, child’s abilities can improve vastly to improve independence and quality of life. Signs and symptoms vary between but often include: poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, trouble swallowing or speaking that are affected by motor movements. Children with Cerebral Palsy may also have problems with sensory sensations, vision and often hearing. Impacted muscle and /or muscle control can affect an infant or toddler’s ability to roll over, sit properly, crawl on time as well as affect walking.  Communication delays affect receptive and expressive language while motor delays can affect speech intelligibility and feeding skills. 

Treatment Therapies at Kara Dodds and Associates

A child with Cerebral Palsy may need one or several different types of treatment depending on how severe the symptoms are and what parts of the body are affected. The treatment differs depending on the child’s specific needs but earlier therapies and treatments may help to improve function as the young nervous system and musculoskeletal system grow.

Speech Therapy:  Speech delays are common as children may have difficulty producing sounds and/or talking due to poor muscle control of the mouth.  Many children with Cerebral Palsy present with Dysarthria affecting articulation.  Speech therapy targets improved oral motor skills as our therapists design programs to strengthen and improve motor coordination of the oral motor mechanism.  These might include: lip rounding (e.g. blowing), range of motion tasks (e.g. cheek puffing, tongue curling), and lingual movements (e.g. lateral, vertical) to support placement and production of speech articulators for improved intelligibility.  For some children, implementing an AAC (augmentative device) to support communication desires while expressive language emerges is used.

Physical Therapy:  Physical therapy is one of the most important parts of treatment as it involves exercises and activities that can maintain or improve muscle strength, balance, and movement. Our therapists create programs to help a child learn skills such as sitting, walking, or using a wheelchair. For some children, implementing Orthotic devices (e.g. braces/splints) can help improve movement and balance. Other devices that can help with movement and posture include wheelchairs or rolling walkers in which our therapists support fit and function of these adaptions.

Occupational therapy:  Occupational therapy is necessary because of the physical limitations affecting feeding, fine, gross motor and sensory regulation.  Our therapist help support and teach children to do everyday activities such as dressing, feeding, utensil use and more. They target fine motor skills and improved educational access by improving use of writing (e.g. pencil grasps / slant boards). Gross motor skills are addressed with sensory integration issues so a child can improve attention to task and self-regulate better.   Our team of pediatric therapist also work collaboratively together when implementing AAC devices when needed making a child’s life easier and supporting their independence.

Our caring, encouraging, creative, Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapists are dedicated to making a child with Cerebral Palsy therapy fun, innovative, and most of all functional as they reach their goals.

Call us today to speak to a therapist at 619-692-0622 to find out more about our programs.

Therapy Methods

At Kara Dodds and Associates, we realize that children benefit from a variety of therapy methods and approaches. As such, our team of multi-disciplinary pediatric therapists obtain advanced courses and trainings and specialize in neurological and developmental delays. Therapy is delivered in a one-to-one setting but also in small groups in a systemic, structured, but play-based teaching approach. Our specialized therapy methods include -

  • Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) is using a series of visuals to teach a child to initiate by giving a picture to a communicative partner.
  • Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) is a tactile-kinesthetic approach that uses touch cues to clients articulators to help guide them through a targeted word or phrase.
  • Kaufman Speech & Language Protocol: is a way to teach children with apraxia of speech the easiest ways to say words until they have increased motor –speech coordination.
  • Hanen Center: (More Than Words) teaches techniques on how to use visual systems for transitioning, requesting, understanding the schedule or “what’s” next, how to shape echolalia speech patterns and more in everyday activities.
  • TalkTools: is a muscle-based oral motor programs designed to promote speech and improve oral motor (lip, jaw) by utilizing oral placement tooks (chewy tubes, z-vibes, horns, whistles) to improve verbal output, feeding, and speech production skills
  • DIR/ Floortime: is a developmental, individuated relationship based (www.circlestretch.com) programs that are used to improve social connects between children and communicative partners.
  • Social Thinking: Developed by Michelle Garcia Winners her programs target social skills programs with techniques used based on "ILAUGH" model (www.socialthinking.com)
  • The SCERTS® Model -Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (www.scerts.com)
  • Social Stories: developed by Carol Gray, these method uses visuals and individual stories to teach social skills or appropriate expectations of behaviors through visual models www.thegraycenter.org), and Video Play Modeling.

Funding / Insurance Options

We accept a variety of plans to cover your child’s therapy needs. We bill and work with insurances directly taking the hassle out of it for families. We accept:

  • Tricare (Health Net Federal Services)
  • Kaiser
  • Easter Seals of Southern California
  • San Diego Regional Center (in home or center based)
  • PPO plans including: Anthem Blue Cross, UHC, Blue Shield, Coventry, and more.

We will take the lead on determining coverage and finding the best options available with your plan. Call today at 619-692-0622 for more information.

Ready for a fun therapy environment, that truly cares about your child and your family?

Come experience the difference!

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Mission Valley Center

Kara Dodds & Associates - San Diego
7840 Mission Center Court, Ste. 200
San Diego CA 92108

(619) 692-0622

Monday through Friday: 7:45am6:30pm
Saturday: By Appointment Only

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Santee Location

Kara Dodds & Associates - Santee
8840 N. Magnolia Ave Ste 220
Santee CA 92071

(619) 749-7059

Monday through Friday: 7:45am6:30pm
Saturday: By Appointment Only

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