By Interactive Metronome - May 27, 2015
Name: Mary Pat Bragers, OTR
Type of Professional: Occupational Therapist
Years using IM: 4
Facility Name: Plano Therapeutic Services
Location: Plano, TX
Population(s) Served: Primarily children and adolescents (ages 2-11) with Sensory Processing Disorders and/or developmental delays.
What made you look into IM? I had known about IM for years, but we were unsure if it was just hype. It seemed to promise to “fix everything,” and the equipment seemed expensive for our small clinic; however, I am happy that we purchased and I use IM regularly.
Tell us about your business (patients served, size of practice, services offered, how often you use IM and IM-Home® in daily practice): We are a small, private pediatric clinic that specializes in the treatment of Sensory Processing Disorders. We are an “out of network” facility, meaning that we do not file insurance, and our patients pay us directly. My associate, Pat Matzke, started Plano Therapeutic Services over 25 years ago and I joined her 21 years ago. Essentially we each have our own private practice, but share some business expenses. We also have a part time speech therapist on staff. We provide clinic-based therapy, primarily using a sensory integration treatment framework. We are very much hands on, and avoid “cookbook” style therapy and/or rigid protocols. Honestly, that was part of our initial hesitation about IM training, but we have been able to incorporate IM training into many of our programs. We each use IM Pro with a number of our clinic-based clients, as well as several IM home clients.
Almost all of our IM-Home® clients began IM in our clinic. Some of our clients use IM-Home® in addition to their clinic based therapy and others use IM-Home® as part of their post discharge home program. Occasionally, we will get a request for IM-Home® only. After performing a phone intake, we will determine if the referral and request is appropriate.
What is your favorite thing about Interactive Metronome®? It can be used with a wide range of diagnoses and ages, and training with clients is relatively easy once they understand what we are asking them to do.
It can be modified and/or customized, which is something we were initially unsure about. There is also very little paperwork because the info is stored and tabulated in the IM software.
Also, it is backed up by research.
What other modalities do you use in your practice that you like to combine with IM? Our hands on, clinic-based therapeutic activities, which include the use of suspended equipment, motor planning activities, sensory-based treatment, etc.
In addition to direct therapy, we also are trained in and use a variety of other treatments-both clinic and home based. These include Therapeutic Listening, Astronaut Training, Handwriting Without Tears, Wilbarger Tactile Deep Pressure Program, The Alert Program for Self-Regulation and Floor Time.
What marketing methods have you found successful, what ones have failed: Honestly, we have not specifically targeted IM as a selling feature for our practice until recently. We state on our website that we are IM Providers, and when I recently purchased advertising in the Dallas Child and Thrive magazines, we also highlighted that we are IM Providers. However, while we really value IM, we absolutely must do hands on therapy with many of our clients. We are not an IM-only clinic, we are an OT clinic; we use what works, and IM works for some of our clients.
For the most part, we market our clinic and our practice for what we feel are the characteristics that make us different-not just specifically because we offer IM.
We do feel (and we are biased) that OT’s may be the best professionals to be administering IM-at least to pediatric clients. Our training in neuroanatomy, psychology and sensory-motor development is valuable, but our cornerstone of using therapeutic activities and functional outcomes is key. We are able to problem solve, modify and customize the exercises in countless ways to better achieve our goals. (Hey, I did say we were biased!)
Tips for other IM Providers: If you are going to be working with individuals who have challenges, I think you should have some experience in your field before using IM, especially if you are working independently. That will help you utilize the program more effectively. I think that it is important to NOT just follow protocols; you need to know how to modify, or at least “tweak” the program to fit your clients’ needs. Do not make grandiose promises. If you are an OT, remember that you are an OT first. IM is a tool to help you be an even better therapist, but only if used in accordance with the basic tenets of occupational therapy…or speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.
Anything else: Of course! But I’m too tired to think right now.
Mary Pat Bragers has been an Occupational Therapist for over 25 years. She received her bachelor of science in Occupational Therapy from Boston University’s Sargent College of Allied Health Professions. She joined Pat Matzke in private practice at Plano Therapeutic Services in 1994. In addition to providing direct therapy services, Mary Pat provides consultation to several preschools in the area, and enjoys providing inservices to both professionals and parents.