For the past 20 years, pediatric speech therapist Christina Morrissey, CCC-SLP, has been building a well-respected business relatively under the radar through word of mouth from patient families at Hummingbird Pediatric Therapies. The therapy and enrichment center, where Morrissey is founder and owner, provides broad and evidenced-based comprehensive therapy options under one roof, including speech, feeding, occupational, physical, child and family therapies, and neuropsychological testing.
Hummingbird implements leading evidenced-based therapy approaches including Sensory Integration, Handwriting Without Tears™, Sensory Oral Sequential (SOS) Feeding Therapy, Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The center sees kids of all ages starting as early as birth.
“Early intervention is so important. The earlier we get them, the greater impact we have,” Morrisey says. “I have always let the families’ needs drive the growth of my practice.”
Over time, it became apparent that families needed a place where children feel supported, but so do their parents and siblings. That’s when Morrissey knew she needed a larger space, so she called upon two of her trusted colleagues: Nichole Dawson, Ph.D., pediatric neuropsychologist and Sarah Ahlm, LCSW child and family therapist.
“I have worked with and trusted these women through the years. It made sense to me and for the families we serve to have us all under one roof,” adds Morrisey. Together, the three pediatric specialists have more than 70 years of experience.
Last August, Morrissey opened a new 5,500-square-foot facility for current and future families, allowing her and her staff to offer even more treatment options, as well as enrichment classes and therapeutic programs.
“Having a child with a delay affects the entire family,” she says. “Parents love that while their child is receiving therapy, they have the option to talk to Sarah about parenting or coping skills and even have the option to do sibling groups. And it is such an incredible service to have Dr. Dawson, a pediatric neuropsychologist who specializes in dyslexia, learning differences, and developmental delays, on board the Hummingbird team. Her expertise is invaluable and the collaboration with her not only makes us better therapists but is a huge benefit for the families we all work with as well.”
The new center is modern but kid friendly, and fully wheelchair accessible. It has a first-class sensory gym with fun equipment, large observation rooms for parents, a kitchen for feeding therapy, a full-size classroom, and an experienced and nurturing team of masters- and doctoral-trained therapists.
“This is our happy place,” Morrissey says. “Kids love coming here, and that’s important. Children learn through play, and our job is to engage them in play. The beauty of it is that they don’t even realize they’re working.”
What success looks like is different for every family, of course. “That’s where the relationship with the family is key,” Morrissey says. “We set our goals, but when a child is done with therapy is truly a joint decision between our entire team, which includes the parents. We talk to our families at every session so that they know what’s happening in the treatment plan, session by session.”
The Hummingbird Team is known to reach out to the child’s school as well as accompany the parents to IEP meetings. Continuity of care and sharing goals with their educational team helps set the child up for success.
Exciting things are on the horizon for Hummingbird. With the center’s new full-size STEAM classroom, Hummingbird will soon be expanding its enrichment class offerings and implementing an alternative to summer school program. In the fall of 2018, the center will offer half-day therapeutic programs for children ages 4-6 led by speech, physical, and occupational therapists in a classroom setting.
“It’s a program where kids can go to their other preschool and come to us for the second half of the day, or it can be an alternative to preschool,” she says.
Morrissey has a very positive approach to pediatric therapy, which is part of what makes Hummingbird so special. “It is a privilege to work with children and their families,” she adds. “That trust that is given to us is something that we take very seriously.”
Hummingbird Therapy & Enrichment Center is located at 750 Pasquinelli Drive, Suite 204, in Westmont, 630-560-0136, hummingbirdtherapycenter.com.