Green Business Feature: Creative Therapy for Kids: A Creative Approach to Pediatric Therapy

Submitted by Creative Therapy for Kids –

The last year has been about transition, change, and opportunity, according to paediatric therapist and women’s health practitioner, Melissa LaPointe.

The team at Creative Therapy for Kids includes office manager, Raylene Dieck (left), paediatric occupational therapist, Danelle Fuller (middle), and team leader, Melissa LaPointe (right).
Photo: Marc LaPointe

For four years, she operated a part-time therapy practice called Strong Beginnings, where she provided occupational therapy services to children and families in Williams Lake.

In the last two years, she’s also been growing a virtual business. Using primarily a laptop, iPhone, and online technology, LaPointe offers consulting and coaching services to other occupational therapists and business owners with an interest in family wellness.

It was through online work she was able to successfully pivot her business when the wildfires hit last summer. “When the evacuation order hit, I was already out of town for a family vacation,” she said. “We ended up being away for 63 days altogether, which really impacted my brick and mortar business and my day-to-day operations. During this time, I turned a lot of my attention to my online business.

“So many therapists are moving towards a cash-based therapy practice in women’s health, especially in the US. I’m now working with many clients online, coaching them through mindset challenges, teaching about online technology in healthcare, and providing guidance with professional development.”

But as much as LaPointe loves her online work, she’s also very attached to being a pediatric OT in the Cariboo. “It’s been almost 13 years that I’ve worked in Williams Lake,” she explains.“There are kids on my caseload that I’ve known for years that hold a very special place in my heart. I’m not ready to give that up, but in September 2017, I had to admit I was spreading myself way too thin. I had tried to recruit a part-time OT from another community but managing the overhead on my own was still a challenge. I needed more support.”

And that’s when the magic happened.

Creative Therapy Consultants (CTC) is an established private practice based out of Penticton, providing adult-focused rehabilitation services throughout the Interior Region. LaPointe heard through the grapevine that CTC was interested in expanding into pediatrics. She reached out to the owner, Dave McInerney, and expressed interest in a collaborative partnership where together they could build a stronger pediatric team.

“I’ve actually done contract work for CTC in the past, as have two of my friends,” said LaPointe. “They’re leaders in the private sector and they have a great reputation for being team-oriented with a focus on professional development and client satisfaction. After doing more research, it was definitely a company I wanted to collaborate with.”

In October, LaPointe and McInerney came to an agreement and Creative Therapy for Kids was born. LaPointe is now in the position of team leader and Raylene Dieck will continue as office manager. They’ve welcomed a new full-time paediatric occupational therapist to the team, Danelle Fuller.

Fuller has been with Creative Therapy Consultants for over 18 months. Originally from Kelowna, she was interested in relocating to Williams Lake to practice in pediatrics. Her husband, Reilly Fuller, has connections to the Williams Lake community as well, as he attended middle and high school at Williams Lake Secondary and played hockey and baseball in the area for many years. LaPointe mentors Fuller in addition to working with her to develop programs and client resources. “She’s the perfect addition to our team,” said LaPointe. “Our strengths really complement one another and it’s been so great having another therapist to collaborate with.”

Creative Therapy for Kids is located downtown on Oliver Street, above Woodland Jewellers. The group works with children and families in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, including Quesnel, Williams Lake, and 100 Mile House.

“Some of our clients have a diagnosis of autism; some have a diagnosis of a learning disability, anxiety or AD(H)D,” said LaPointe. “We try not to focus too much on a child’s diagnosis and instead we take a very individualized approach to our families.

“During our initial consultation, we spend some time on getting a better snapshot of what’s going well and where there are some challenges. Our focus might be on things related to school, like attention, time-management, organization, and handwriting. Maybe the focus will be on social-emotional development, making friends, and getting more involved in the community. Or sometimes we focus on stress management, where we’re working with the family on setting health goals around more movement-based activity, more outdoor time, and less screen time. After our initial consultation, we then work together to build a roadmap for our families to not only survive but thrive.

“Our services are considered cash-based and are meant to complement what’s being offered through the publicly funded healthcare system,” LaPointe explains. “There are options: some families pay out of pocket, several of our clients have access to provincial autism funding, and some families access our services through their homeschooling organizations, especially if their children have designated special needs.

“We place a high value on education and caregiver coaching for the parents and grandparents that take part in our programs, she explains.“It’s our goal to give them the resources, tools, education, and support to help themselves and their families.”

If you think your family would benefit from working with Creative Therapy for Kids, the group is currently offering new families a free 20-minute phone consultation. Please phone the office at (778) 412-9661 or email kids@creativerehab.ca.

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