About Us

Thank you for your interest in the Communication Development Center!

We are a small, non-profit clinic on the west side of Madison, WI specializing in communication services for children who benefit from play and physical activity to support their interactions. Our clinic is set up to provide fun, physical challenge, and engagement. We "follow a child's lead" in play, using parent recommendations for activities, toys, and topics. We work hand in hand with parents, observe children closely, and attempt to provide the best support we can to allow children to meet their full potential.

We are a team of Speech-Language Pathologists and Speech-Language Pathology Aides, with decades of combined experience joyfully working and playing with children of all ages. We have experience with the full range of communication challenges, but specialize in services to children with labels on the autism spectrum. By this, we mean that we love working with children with visual strengths, visual-spatial learning styles, sensory-motor challenges, dyspraxia, and "hard to read" ways of showing preference, attempting communication, and engaging.

We have attended or conducted specialized workshops in sensory integration, motor planning, sensory defensiveness, oral-motor development, verbal dyspraxia, learning disabilities, giftedness, hyperlexia, listening therapy, augmentative communication (including PECS), PROMPT, and others. We see each of these approaches as valuable to certain children at certain times, and draw from them when "the time is right."

We approach children as children first: as members of a family, as unique individuals with (sometimes hidden) interests, desires, and senses of fun and play. As you can see, we love children and love discovering who they are and ways of supporting who they wish to be.

Because our approach is child-centered and family focused, we love continuous and open communication with parents, the ones who know their children best. We rely on news from home, feedback on our ideas, and, as often as possible, the participation of parents directly in our therapy sessions.

And because we have seen how rewarded children are when they are "heard," "seen," and acknowledged, we have not felt the need to use "extrinsic" rewards, such as would be found in applied behavioral analysis (ABA) programs.

When we begin to see a child, we like to learn as much as we can about the child before our actual "assessment." We usually ask parents to provide a video or DVD from home, a detailed description of their child (including strengths, challenges, and interests) and other relevant reports. Our assessment itself may be as brief as a single visit, but more commonly extends over a few months. The reason for this extended assessment period is our desire to learn not only the child's strengths and challenges under one set of conditions, but how a child engages, communicates, and learns under a variety of conditions. From this, we hope to determine the most supportive conditions for optimal learning.

By the time the assessment is completed, we know how to set up an environment in which a child is comfortable, and happy to engage. We often see children twice a week, once in the clinic, and once at home, but this pattern can vary depending on what is best for a child or family.

We have several options for billing and can provide that information upon request.

We hope this information has been helpful to you an we would welcome your further inquiry.

Sincerely, The Communication Development Center Staff