Two businesses have recently partnered in Wilton, collaborating to open a child development center: Southfield-Sensory Kids (SFSK). Both the Southfield Center and Sensory Kids have been established child-centered practices in Fairfield County for over a decade, and have collaborated to open this new multidisciplinary Wilton office focused on child and adolescent development.
We asked their owners to answer our Business Q&A.
Address: 396 Danbury Rd., 2nd Floor
Business owner: Christopher Bogart, Executive Director
Business owner: Melissa Kahn, Executive Director
Q: Tell us about your business–what you make/sell/do, what you want people to know about who you are and what your business is?
Southfield Center: The Southfield Center for Development is a family-centered, interdisciplinary practice dedicated to providing comprehensive evaluations and integrated interventions addressing a wide range of ages and challenges. Our collaborative specialists are able to provide: individual, marriage and family therapies; social skills groups; medication management; speech and language therapy; comprehensive diagnostic assessments; academic tutoring; life skills coaching and vocational guidance; executive functions coaching; motor therapies; parent guidance and in-home coaching; and nutritional counseling. The Southfield Center brings all of these services under one roof to solve behavioral, emotional and learning challenges. We have been successfully treating children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety, Depression and a variety of learning and processing disorders.
Sensory Kids: Sensory Kids provide occupational therapy services in cutting-edge sensory-based facilities. We treat all ages offering a wide range of services including but not limited to comprehensive evaluations, treatment sessions, intensives, groups, camps, extensive parent training, teacher consultations and sensory gym design. Sensory Kids is well known for its development of individualized listening programs and sensory processing work. Our brand new facility in Wilton is in a shared office with The Southfield Center for Development. This is a truly unique facility and collaboration providing families the ability to receive services they need in one location.
Q: How long have you had your business?
Southfield Center: The Southfield Center in Darien is in its 10th year and our new office in Wilton has recently opened.
Sensory Kids: Sensory Kids was established in 2003 with our first office in Greenwich. We are incredibly excited about our new space that recently opened in Wilton. We have a facility in Stamford and are very excited to be a part of the Wilton and surrounding community.
Q: How did you get into this field?
Southfield Center: Our providers are passionate about helping others. They have developed expertise in various areas to accomplish this goal. We have used our training and experience to create long-lasting, positive changes in the lives of others.
Sensory Kids: Each one of our staff has a story to tell regarding what lead them into the field of occupational therapy. The common thread among them is the desire to help our clientele to achieve their goals and to bring out the very best in them. Additionally our staff is passionate about educating caregivers, other professionals, and teachers, in sensory processing to support the goals of our clients and families.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Southfield Center: We have the privilege of seeing how our services can drastically improve a person’s quality of life. Whether it is emotionally, behaviorally, academically, or physically, their growth is what continues to inspire us daily.
Sensory Kids: Day to day we are grateful for the opportunity to help our clients of all ages with sensory needs. Whether we are in a session with a client, having a conversation with a caregiver, discussing classroom strategies with a teacher, or reaching out to other health care providers, the ability to assist with improving our client’s quality of life is beyond rewarding. We love staying apart of our client’s lives and seeing the wonderful young adults they become.
Q: What sets your business apart from any other?
Southfield Center: We offer a warm, inviting environment, and a team of highly skilled practitioners who are trained to provide an integrated approach to learning, emotional, communication and behavioral issues. By having access to all of our specialists under one roof, all of our clients can receive the specific help they need, as well as benefit from collaboration between every specialist on their team or within the Center. Whether it is in a group therapy setting or in individual sessions with a psychotherapist or language pathologist, in a tutoring session, through testing, occupational therapy, or sensory processing interventions, our staff will find an integrated solution best suited to the presented need.
Sensory Kids: Our passionate and energetic staff is committed to creating dynamic individualized treatment programs for each and every, client we work with. The new Wilton location is dedicated to being a truly integrated center – providing families with truly integrated care with all disciplines working as one team for your family. Our spaces in Stamford and Wilton are incredibly unique, even in comparison to each other. Melissa, the owner has incredible vision integrating her knowledge and expertise in sensory processing into her gym designs. Each and every aspect of the spaces was designed with therapeutic intention to allow the most advance and comprehensive sensory processing therapy available. In addition, we have enlisted the great minds of experts in the fields of rock wall design, engineering and architecture to create spaces that are unlike any others and are considered the best in sensory gym design throughout the country. This is not only to engage our clients in the space itself, it is to provide them with sensory experiences that cannot be found in any other facilities. We have what it takes to create treatment programs to meet our client’s needs.
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you and your business?
Southfield Center: The Southfield Center first opened in 2009 with a group of five clinicians and one administrator. In 10 years, we have grown to a collaborative team of over 40 people working together to support children and families in two locations: in our original location in Darien, and now in our new location at 396 Danbury Road in Wilton. In our new child development center, we have partnered with Sensory Kids, the premier pediatric occupational therapy practice in Fairfield County, to add sensory integration and motor therapies to our long list of offerings.
Sensory Kids: People are most often surprised that we work with people of all ages. We work with infants; school aged children, adolescents and adults. It is never too early or late to address underlying sensory needs!
Q: What was the most memorable work experience you’ve had?
Southfield Center: There have been many success stories over the 10 years that each provide a fantastic memory. Probably the most memorable was assembling a team of 5 clinicians (psychologist, psychiatrist, learning specialist, occupational therapist and language therapist) to work with a 16-year-old boy from Europe that no other practice could figure out what was holding this person back. This team of dedicated clinicians tested him thoroughly and developed a treatment plan that altered this young man’s trajectory in life. He has now graduated from college and returned to Europe to work.
Sensory Kids: Most parents find joy in watching their children engage in every day childhood experience such as a playing with peers or equipment on a playground, riding a ride at an amusement park or performing a song/skit in a school play. The typical clients we see are struggling with deriving pleasure from these experiences. After working with a child for weeks in the sensory gym environment challenging their movement, body and posture in a controlled therapeutic setting–it is an unbelievable moment when we receive that video from the parent watching their child in tears of joy as they ascend the slide for the very first time on their own with a huge smile of pride across their face. As important as it is to see changes in the gym environment, it is more important to see them happen in every day life impacting the family in the most important ways. We really try to focus on the small moments in life, as it is these small moments that lead to the huge successes.
Q: Any funny anecdotes/recollections/story from your work here?
Southfield Center: We recently completed two professional development workshops for teachers and psychologists in two local school districts. We were brought in to provide current research and guidance on helping teachers work with disruptive kids in their class. After 6 hours of training in both districts, we had several folks comment that they anticipated that this would be another waste of their time; but they came out of the trainings not only engaged and entertained but feeling energized about their work. They worried we’d be another outsider telling them how to do their job. But they walked away feeling understood and guided without being lectured.
Sensory Kids: Our sensory gym is filled with laughter daily.
Q: What do you love about doing business?
Southfield Center: We love the ability to be an objective and positive force in the lives of so many children and families. We also love the relationship we have developed with all of the local private and public schools who see us as a source of guidance, education and support.
Sensory Kids: The ability to impact people’s lives in a way that is most meaningful. We have a unique model of service here at Sensory Kids. After the initial evaluation, our families are provided with the opportunity to participate in a customized goal setting meeting. We all collaborate together–parent and therapists as a team in order to create a customized care plan specific to their child. What we love about these meetings are that we become a part of the family and get great insight into the role the child has within the family whether it be as a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter or a peer. We are so lucky to interact with such special and incredible families.
Q: Why did you pick Wilton as the place to open your business?
Southfield Center: This is a wonderful town with so many caring and motivated parents who want the best for their children. Yet, with all of this positive energy and resources, there is not an integrated practice that can provide psychotherapeutic, educational, medical, motor and language testing and intervention in one spot. With recent findings regarding the stress levels of our children, we felt that this type of program in this community might be one factor to help strengthen the outcomes for our children.
Sensory Kids: Wilton is an incredible family centered community with so much to offer. Sensory Kids is excited to provide Wilton with a unique facility to address the sensory needs within the community that does not currently exist.
Q: What do you love about Wilton?
Southfield Center: The excellent schools, the central location, the vibrant commercial zone.
Sensory Kids: Wilton is a warm and inviting New England town with an outstanding school district with a small town feel. We are truly grateful to be part of this community.
Q: What do you hope to give your customers?
Southfield Center: I think our mission and core values say it best: The Southfield Center team collaborates on finding the right solutions to the behavioral, emotional, communication and learning challenges of our clients, while delivering exceptional care to our clients and community. Our core values are Commitment to Excellent Customer Service; Commitment to Serving our Community; Commitment to Integrity in each interaction; and Commitment to our Southfield Team.
Sensory Kids: Exceptional sensory based occupational therapy services.
Q: What kind of awards/accolades/brags would you like to share?
Southfield Center: In 2016, the Southfield Center was chosen by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities to receive the Community Service Award. Since then, Dr. Chris Bogart was named the President of the Board of Smart Kids and chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees for New Canaan Country School. Dr. Frank Bartolomeo serves on the Thriving Youth Task Force in Darien. All of our team members provide numerous community lectures free to the public at local schools and community organizations.
Sensory Kids: Sensory Kids consults to many private, public and preschools in the area as well as trained professional staff. Melissa has also been guest speaker at NYU and has spoken as an expert at international conferences regarding her knowledge of listening programs and sensory processing. Melissa was one of the professionals that helped create the protocol for listening programs with children with sensory processing difficulties. Sensory Kids facility is sought after to help assist and develop new clinical assessments to be used in the field of occupational therapy.
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell us and GOOD Morning Wilton readers?
Southfield Center: We would like to invite you and your readers to come meet our team at our Happy New Year Open House. We will have two open houses to meet the needs of parents and professionals with different schedules. On Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 9-11 a.m., and on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 6-8:30 p.m., we invite you to come have a bite to eat or a beverage and take a tour of our new facilities.
Sensory Kids: We invite your readers to our Open House party in the New Year! On Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 9-11 a.m., we will host a coffee and danish Open House. On the following evening, Thursday, Jan. 17 from 6-8:30 p.m., we will host an Open House reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Please come to meet the Sensory Kids and Southfield teams.
Q: What Wilton business do you like and would recommend to GMW readers?
Southfield Center: Coffee Barn and Dynamic Edge Physiotherapy
Sensory Kids: Coffee Barn and Dynamic Edge Physiotherapy