Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. This month, we have gotten to know Zaida Medina from the Therapy Tree. Today, we are going to learn more about The Therapy Tree and the services that they offer at their wellness center in Lake Villa.
As a mom of four, juggling healthy children’s medical appointments can be difficult. Special needs parents struggle even more coordinating with multiple specialists, therapies, and activities to give their children the best possible outcomes. Zaida Medina and fellow therapists Laura Houston (speech), Carol Bettendorf (PT), and Rebecca Cain (OT) saw this when they were working together in schools and early invention. They saw how their individual therapies overlapped and complemented each other and dreamed of creating a center where parents could get all the services they required under one roof, perhaps even at the same time. From this seed The Therapy Tree grew.
Starting with that seed of an idea in 2003, The Therapy Tree has grown into 18,000 square feet of integrative treatment spaces in Lake Villa. It has evolved from a birth to three therapy center to a total family wellness center. Housing almost 24 different therapists, The Therapy Tree combines services and modalities together to reach and treat the entire family unit. The Therapy Tree is truly patient focused and has grown the services and therapies they offer based on the current needs of their clients and families. As they treat patients and see a need, they grow and evolve and change to fill that need and serve that family. That’s how their Wellness Center came to be; after seeing caregivers sometimes sitting for hours in the waiting room, they developed programs that would allow them to take care of themselves while their children were in therapy. The Wellness Center features Skin Care/Esthetician Services, Massage, and Kimundo Martial Arts adapted for special needs children.
The Therapy Tree strives to not only treat the child but to treat and support the whole family. Through their time in early intervention, the founders saw that many times the whole family would be affected by a diagnosis. Siblings, parents, and extended family needed support, and in some cases, treatment themselves to be able to handle their new normal. By having all the specialists under one roof, The Therapy Tree is able to offer that social and emotional support to families, even if it’s just in talking to other parents in the waiting area.
What makes The Therapy Tree unique from other therapy treatment centers in the area is the multi-disciplinary approach and how closely all the therapists work together. This approach allows families and patients who may not have a solid diagnosis or any diagnosis catch them before they fall through the cracks. A patient may be seeing a counselor for suspected ADHD and be referred over and seen by a speech or OT therapist as well because they think it will help. Cohesive and continuity of care is something you will see mentioned a lot for children with special needs and you see it in practice at The Therapy Tree. Their services are not just multi-disciplinary because they all happen under the same roof, they are truly integrative as the therapists will work together on treatment plans and therapies. In fact, being under one roof allows them to be collaborative and offer co-treatment options where a child could receive collaborative therapies in, for example, speech and OT at the same time because they will achieve more working together.
In addition to the multi-disciplinary care, being an independent facility means that The Therapy Tree can see all children, regardless of a diagnosis. The Therapy Tree often sees children who were not found eligible for Early Intervention, school therapy services, or other programs, yet continue to struggle since they are not bound by any programmatic boundaries for receiving services.
The Therapy Tree offers services for the whole family from infant to adult which includes:
- Developmental Screenings
- Pediatric and Adult Counseling Services
- Teen Counseling Services
- Pediatric Occupational Therapy
- Pediatric Physical Therapy
- Speech Language Pathology
- Oral-Motor Feed Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Individual, Couples and Family Counseling
- Parent Coaching
- Feldenkrais Method
- Lymph Drainage
- NeuroDevelopmental Treatment
- Therapeutic Listening
- Sensory Processing Treatment
Their team of therapists are master level or higher educated and are not only specialists in their field, but many have overlapping skills based on years of research and practice working together in a multidisciplinary environment. They see a wide range of abilities from mild speech and handwriting issues to multiple service special needs patients and have the ability to treat everything and all abilities at the level they need to see results. Their focused therapy (patients are all seen one-on-one unless in a co-treatment situation) allows patients and parents to get very focused care and see results sooner than in a traditional group setting.
The Therapy Tree will work with the family, and the schools, to make an assessment and treat the patient based on where they need help. They frequently receive referrals from local high schools and work with teens on managing ADHD, anxiety, and self-harm, and offer counseling as well as other services as needed. While they tend to look at a holistic mind-body approach offering Reiki, Craniosacral Therapy, Myofacial Release, Essential Oils, EMDR, EFT, Raindrop Therapy, Pediatric Massage, Infant Massage Instruction, Interactive Metronome and others, they also work with clinicians and are supportive of traditional therapies and medication.
One thing I learned in my morning at Therapy Tree is that almost everyone can find benefits from some therapy, even without a diagnosis (and they never said that in the interview!). I was surprised to learn that speech therapists could help children with executive functioning skills beyond handwriting and speech therapy. They talked about students that “hold it together at school” and then collapse at home and have difficulty getting school work done or leaving the house. What parent hasn’t gone through that phase with a child? Sometimes it’s more than moodiness and teen rebellion, and a few sessions with someone who’s not their parent can help them learn how to plan, organize their responsibilities, and execute what’s expected of them. Zaida put it all together nicely saying this:
“Many of our kids don’t fit the mold of traditional therapy. But parents intuitively know and understand when their child is struggling and when they need more help.”
As a parent, I’ve seen that as my daughter graduated from speech therapy but still struggled with spelling and reading for years. I knew, in my gut, that it was connected, but she was a good student so we just struggled with fighting and tears for years as we worked through it. I wish I had meet the Therapy Tree back then when I could have seen the connection and gotten the support. I think the big take away is that families don’t need to struggle and they don’t need a special needs diagnosis to benefit from an evaluation and therapy. The Therapy Tree is really there to help all their patients, and all of us, live our best lives.
You can read stories of success and treatment at The Therapy Tree’s Lives Changed Page.
Disclosure: The Therapy Tree is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer of the story. If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.