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

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Pediatric Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy Centers
in San Diego
Kara Dodds & Associates

San Diego: (619) 692-0622

Santee: (619) 749-7059

We are here to help during COVID-19


Down Syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, intellectual impairment, and communication delays. Children with Down Syndrome (DS) are usually good communicators. However, clear speech is more difficult and therefore, speech can be a challenge. Children with Down Syndrome also typically also present with motor and muscle tone issues impacting their development.

Treatment Therapies at Kara Dodds and Associates

A variety of therapies can be used in early intervention programs and throughout a child’s life with Down syndrome to promote the greatest possible development, independence, and productivity. Some of these therapies we offer at Kara Dodds and Associates are listed below:

Speech-language therapy can help children with Down Syndrome improve their communication skills, oral motor, and feeding skills and teach children to use their language more effectively. Typically, children with Down Syndrome often learn to speak later than their peers. In many cases, children with Down Syndrome understand language and want to communicate before they can expressively speak.  To improve communication, our Speech therapists create goals targeting:

  • Imitation of sounds and words
  • Improved receptive language (e.g. understanding of vocabulary)
  • Teaching alternative means of communication (e.g. pictures or sign language) until child learns to speak
  • Improve oral motor movement and function in order to improve movement of lips, jaw, tongue (e.g. range of motion, reduce drooling)
  • Improve oral motor needed for improved feeding
  • Improve speech intelligibility skills and social language skills (e.g. social skills)

Physical therapy is important, especially early in a child’s life, because physical abilities lay the foundation for others.  Our physical therapy can help improve and build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance in order to improve:

  • Ability to turn over, crawl, and reach for objects, helping children learn about the world around them and how to interact with it through their environment
  • Help to build strategies to compensate for physical challenges, such as low muscle tone, in ways that avoid long-term problems (e.g. proper walking or sitting patterns to avoid pain later).

Occupational therapy is necessary also because of physical limitations can affect feeding, fine, gross motor and sensory regulation.  Our occupational therapists are working with children as they are learning to move, and teach them to be more independent by adjusting everyday tasks in order to improve:

  • Self-care skills (e.g. independent feeding, dressing, utensil use)
  • Improve fine motor skills and improve educational access by improving use of writing (e.g. implementing pencil grasps) or modified scissors in order for child to complete art activities.
  • Improve gross motor skills by addressing sensory integration issues so that a child can improve attention to tasks and self-regulate sensory needs better.

Our caring, encouraging, creative, Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapists are dedicated to making a child with Down Syndrome’s 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 ( 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 (
  • The SCERTS® Model -Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (
  • 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, 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?

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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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