A place where children with special needs can receive therapy to help them develop now has a new and bigger location with room for all kinds of activities and programs.

Play Again Therapy Inc. provides occupational and speech therapy services to children from birth to their teen years. Started in Morganton in 1990, the therapy company seeks to address the challenges faced by special needs children. Owned by Monika Lesch, Play Again Therapy works with children who have autism and autism spectrum disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorders, learning disabilities, non-verbal learning disorders, Rhett's Syndrome, bipolar disorder, cerebral palsy and others, according to its Web site.

The therapists work with clients “to develop speed and efficiency in thinking skills, coordination and motor planning so they may participate more effectively in meaningful life activities.”

“Our goal is to provide high quality, individualized therapeutic programs based on the unique needs of our clients and their families,” reads the Web site. “We offer education, motivation and support for clients, their families, and their communities to optimize the well being of each individual.”

Play Again Therapy’s original clinic in Morganton first served children from throughout western North Carolina including the cities of Boone, Asheville, Charlotte, Hickory, Lenoir, Marion, Rutherfordton, Shelby, Statesville, Taylorsville, Tryon and Winston-Salem. A second clinic opened in Boone in 2003. The third clinic has operated in Marion since 2009.

For almost 10 years, the Marion clinic was housed in an office at the McDowell Medical Court near the hospital. It is now at a much bigger location at 551 West Burma Road, Suite 1. The Marion clinic for Play Again Therapy is next to the Open Door to Health and Wellness, which offers holistic health care and counseling services.

Anna Starr, an occupational therapy assistant, is one of 10 therapists who work at the Marion clinic.

“We work on fine motor skills, social skills,” she said. “We work on expressive and receptive language. We have one therapist who works with hearing impaired children.”

Starr said her own daughter has made much progress in speech and language.

The therapy can be done at the clinic or in the home. “A plan of care typically lasts six months but it depends on the child and their needs,” said Starr. “We also work with the parents.”

Children can be referred to Play Again Therapy by their parents. It doesn’t necessarily require a referral from a physician, said Starr.

As part of the clinic’s services, Play Again Therapy hosts parental support groups. The therapists help families make connections with helpful resources that can be found in their communities. Information is available to families through the clinic in the form of books, audiotapes and videotapes on many subjects, including child development (social, emotional, and physical), nutrition, behavior management and parenting, according to the Web site.

The costs for these services are billed to Medicaid or the family’s insurance.

Starr said she and the other therapists, as well as the child they serve, are more than happy with their new location. Much of the therapy offered is based on play and children’s activities.

The new location has two big rooms with lots of equipment so children can play.

“This is the fun place to be,” said Starr of the big new playroom.

There is another room set aside for their development of fine motor skills. Other rooms are devoted to developing their speech skills. Another area is devoted to working with infants.

The Marion clinic for Play Again Therapy moved into Suite 1 at West 551 Burma Road just a couple of weeks ago and the staff are still getting settled in. There are plans for an outdoor area with a sensory garden.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Starr. “We have a lot of space and it’s wonderful.”

For more information, visit www.playagaintherapy.com or check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Play-Again-Therapy-501409006537159/

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