Keep Your Kid’s OT Going Through Summer With This Unique Summer Program

Comprehensive Therapy Center’s “Therapy and Fun” Program This Summer is a Blast for Kids

Families that are receiving school-year therapy have a fun opportunity to keep their kids progressing during the summertime.  And while it’s touted as therapy, it’s actually more like a super fun summer program for kids that sneaks in therapy lessons.

The Comprehensive Therapy Center in Grand Rapids holds a seven-week summer program for kids aged 18 months – 14 years that is the perfect combo of therapy and play.

The “Therapy and Fun” summer program continues a child’s special education services such as speech, gross motor, fine motor, and sensory therapies. It helps prevent setbacks in progress and adds structure during the summer months.

teacher and kid at comprehensive therapy center summer camp

Ellen Sawyer, associate director at CTC said the main goal of the program is to get children ready for the upcoming school year. Whether it be learning the fine motor skills of writing their name or working on social or speech skills, the summer program helps kids to keep progressing while having a good time.

“Our therapy doesn’t look like therapy. It looks like fun,” Sawyer says.

With exciting themes and lots of active play, kids are engaged both in groups and individually throughout the day.

Each year there is a theme to get kids excited. 2021’s summer activities centered around an “outer space” theme complete with an alien-filled “moon landing” obstacle course. This year kids can get excited for a jungle theme.

Register for Therapy & Fun Program here. ►

Therapy Goals Build an Individual Experience

Therapy and Fun runs from 9 AM – 12:15 PM, Tuesdays – Thursdays.

Each child’s therapies depend on goals which are set up ahead of time with input from parents and the child’s regular therapist or pediatrician.

“We really factor in what the parents want us to work on, ” shares Sawyer.

Individual activities last about 30 minutes each and can include making their way through the obstacle course for gross motor skills development and making clay models to work on fine motor skills. 

Kids practice communication skills at group snack time. Learning to take turns in conversation and using manners to request things helps with speech therapy while working on social skills at same time. 

Teen Helpers Bring Energy to the Program and Act As Peer Models

Teen volunteers are recruited from local schools and various educational programs, and Ellen said these helpers bring a lot of energy to the program. 

“The teens really do a number of things for us. They are often peer models and do examples of what the therapist wants the kids to do. They demonstrate hopscotch or play catch with the kids. They’re there to give a visual on how to do something.” 

Ellen said the teens are encouraged to brainstorm with the therapist to find ways to keep the kids progressing. 

“We lean on the teen volunteers to get to know the kids and come up with new ways to keep them engaged.”

comprehensive therapy center therapist working with child

Parents Receive Support Through the Program, Too

The Therapy and Fun program is a drop-off program, but parents are encouraged to attend a weekly parent group meeting facilitated by a social worker.

Experts from the community are brought in to talk about various issues such as legal planning, navigating the special education system, and to also offer support, tips and resources for continuing therapy work at home. 

Therapy and Fun Runs June 21 – August 4, 2022

Sawyer encourages families to sign up for the program soon, as it will fill up quickly. She said the fun the kids have makes the therapy part seem secondary.

“They don’t realize that it’s therapy that they’re getting,” she says. 

Registration for Therapy and Fun opens February 15, 2022.

“We’re very excited about 2022. We had a great year in 2021, and I do want to encourage people to enroll early.”

Comprehensive Therapy Center

2505 Ardmore St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

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