Caring for children—and their illnesses and special needs—is the goal of the Family Achievement Center in Woodbury. The staff focuses on treating pediatric patients in occupational, physical and speech therapy. And instead of just focusing on the one “problem area,” they look at the whole child to provide services that will improve overall wellbeing.
“We strongly believe that we are a piece of a larger puzzle and work closely with synergistic partners in the community so we can treat the whole child, which results in increased health and wellbeing,” says Veronica Arens, president of Family Achievement Center.
The center is a privately owned business that was opened in 2001 by Tom and Susan Hoel. Their son Anthony had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and after receiving his diagnosis and going through treatments alongside him, they felt the need to open a center that would bring hope and peace of mind to families, as well as specialize in the needs of the child.
“Our therapists have a vast ‘tool bag’ of cutting-edge treatment techniques and programs they utilize and individualize for each client,” Arens says.
Along with their therapy services, they offer specialty programs like auditory interventions. They also offer social-skills programs to help children with social disorders. These programs include social thinking curriculums, summer camps and social skills groups, as well as educational programs and groups for parents.
Therapists at the center work with clients with a wide range of issues, from torticollis, tongue thrust and feeding issues (often young children), to concussions, fine and gross motor issues, and behavior issues, Arens says.
The occupational therapists can compile a schedule of services for clients, which is especially useful for children with multiple challenges. Activities and therapies often include learning how to eat and groom properly, academic-focused activities like handwriting, as well as social and self-regulation skills.
“Occupational therapists utilize a holistic approach (biopsychosocial-emotional, and sometimes spiritual) and help with improving the individual's ability to function independently in all aspects of their life,” Arens says.
Along with providing services at the clinic, they often partner with other organizations like Woodbury’s recreation department to put together sports games for children with special needs. They also offer developmental screenings at preschools and daycares in the area to help identify and start treating issues as early as possible.
Families are welcome—and encouraged—to participate as part of the child’s therapy team and be involved during therapy sessions. The center also offers realistic hours for families, including early-morning and afternoon appointments to work around school schedules.
“Because we are privately owned, it allows us to think outside the box. We not only prioritize the needs of our clients, but invest in our therapy team, providing opportunities to train in areas of interest and passion,” Arens says.
Family Achievement Center
2101 Wooddale Drive, Suite A