STEPS for Kids
Sensory Therapies, Education and Play Skills


What is a Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a disruption in the complex neurological process of receiving, understanding and responding to sensory information. First identified by Dr. A. Jean Ayres, OTR, neurological sensory integration relies on accurate and efficient processing in the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, auditory, visual and other sensory systems which allows us to interpret our surroundings and engage effectively with the world around us. Difficulty with processing information from any one or more of these sensory systems can result in poor functional performance and difficulty completing daily activities.

Children with SPD can demonstrate any one or more of the following signs:

  • Overly sensitive or under responsive to touch, movement, sights or sounds
  • Unusually high or low activity level
  • Unusual clumsiness or apparent carelessness
  • Poor fine motor and perceptual skills
  • Delays in motor skill development
  • Difficulty learning new motor tasks
  • Low muscle tone or strength
  • Difficulty with transitions or changes in routines
  • Increased distractibility or limited attention
  • Poor ability to regulate behavior or calm self down
  • Impulsivity or lack of self control
  • Poor self concept or body awareness
  • Social and/or emotional problems
  • Difficulty with speech, language skills or social skills
  • Specific learning difficulties or delays in academic achievement

Is Sensory Processing Disorder a medical diagnosis?

At this time, Sensory Processing Disorder is not recognized as a medical diagnosis. Currently, the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is working to have Sensory Processing Disorder entered into the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. While Sensory Processing Disorders often occur along with another diagnosis, research is growing that supports the presence of SPD as a separate diagnosis. More information on the status of this effort can be found at the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation website.

Because Sensory Processing Disorder is not a medical diagnosis, many physicians are unfamiliar with the condition and it's impact on a child's life. You can provide your family doctor or pediatrician with information from this website, the SPD Foundation or other sources of information on SPD. STEPS for Kids provides educational programs for medical professionals to increase awareness of Sensory Processing Disorder. We would be happy to speak with staff at your doctor's office regarding issues related to SPD.

I'm not sure whether my child needs services. What is a screening?

STEPS for Kids offers free screenings to determine if your child needs further assessment or is appropriate for other services offered at the clinic. The screening is a brief appointment (approximately 20 minutes) that allows our staff to observe your child at play, perform limited screening tasks (such as motor skills or writing), answer your questions and recommend the next step. No physician's order is required for a screening.

You can schedule a screening by contacting us through this website or calling the clinic to set up an appointment.

Is a doctor's order or prescription needed for services?

Yes. Your doctor will typically write an order on a prescription pad or send it via fax to the clinic. The order should contain your child's name, date of birth, specific services requested (such as OT evaluate and treat) and a diagnosis. If your doctor's office faxes the order directly to us, it is helpful to have your name and contact information contained in the fax so that we can call you to schedule the evaluation once we have received the order. Our staff can also assist you in obtaining the order.

Does insurance cover OT?

Most insurance companies now offer OT as a covered service, however limitations, exclusions and parameters of coverage vary from company to company and from policy to policy. We will assist you with insurance benefit verification prior to your child beginning therapy at the clinic. We strongly recommend that you also contact your member services representative (usually a toll free number on the back of your card) to verify benefits for OT.

What insurance does STEPS for Kids accept?

STEPS for Kids currently accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Aetna. We are currently working to become a provider for United Health Care (UHC) through Optum Health Services. We would be happy to look into becoming a provider for your insurance if you are interested in STEPS for Kids billing directly to your plan.

We are not currently certified to accept the State of Illinois All Kids or Kid Care plans.

What if my insurance isn't accepted or OT isn't covered?

STEPS for Kids offers a discounted rate for self pay patients. We provide a statement of charges with codes that are accepted by insurance companies so that you can submit the bill for reimbursement. Some health plans will cover the charges as an out of network provider or do not require provider status for reimbursement. We are happy to assist you with filing claims.

Does insurance cover handwriting assessment, tutoring and camps?

No. These services are provided as educationally based services which are not covered under health care plans. These services are billed at a rate considerably lower than skilled therapy services. Please contact the clinic for information on current rates.

Does insurance cover play groups?

No. These services are not considered medically necessary and children do not need to have a medical diagnosis for participation. While some health plans do provide benefits for group therapy services, the play groups offered at STEPS for Kids do not meet the criteria for group therapy charges.

Is a doctor's order or prescription needed for educational services or play groups?

No. Because these services are educationally based and not considered skilled therapy, no physicians order or medical diagnosis is needed for a child to participate.

Does STEPS for Kids offer Physical or Speech Therapies?

We hope to have these services available by 2011, if not sooner. Please contact the clinic to see if we have these services in place.

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