A Theraplay Clinic will be opening in Weyburn this September.

Theraplay is a sensory gym aimed at helping people with special needs work on their regulation and developmental skills through play.

Occupational Therapist, Kaylyn Witzaney, was born and raised in Weyburn and is moving back soon. Having worked at Theraplay in Saskatoon for six years, she will be bringing with her a specialty that's truly needed here in our community. 

"We just finalize the space, and we'll be opening September 1st," she shared, noting she'll be located in the same building as Centered Physiotherapy (Susan Fleck) on 3rd Street.

"The OT clinic is dedicated to helping children and adults with developmental needs to help them build skills, for their daily living," she explained. "We see kids and individuals with autism spectrum disorder, Down's Syndrome, prenatal exposure, sensory processing disorder, mental health disorders, and developmental delays. So, we help them build skills in areas such as self-regulation, social skills, attention, focus, fine motor, gross motor skills, feeding, toileting, and dressing. All of those kinds of things. So it's very broad."

Witzaney said the clinic is equipped for sensory integration treatment. 

"There will be lots of different tools and equipment for swinging, and heavy work, deep pressure, those sort of sensory experiences helped to calm and regulate the body." 

She said the Theraplay Clinic in Saskatoon began in 2005 and has grown ever since. 

"There's such a need for it, so I'm really excited to be able to offer it in Weyburn," she commented.

While being labeled as a pediatric clinic, over the past couple of years Witzaney said they have seen a number of adults come with sensory processing disorders, and they've been able to help them as well. 

"The swings are available for them as well," she noted. "It is by appointment, and the families can self-refer, we do an assessment, and then make a treatment plan going forward for those individuals. They don't need a doctor referral or anything like that."

Witzaney pointed out that a lot of the kids they see in the Theraplay clinic have autism spectrum disorders.

"They are entitled to a grant from the government if they have that diagnosis," she said. "We have seen an increase in kids and individuals with autism spectrum disorders since the individualized funding program started within Saskatchewan, so that's an awesome way to access these services. Those kids are now able to come and get the treatment they need because the government is supporting them."

She said the play-based treatments are really motivating for the individuals.

"We use play in incorporation with the sensory experiences that help to calm and regulate the body, like swinging, jumping, crashing, lots of heavy work, lots of deep pressure. Because if, say, a child's goal is to sit and be able to improve their printing, if they're not regulated, then they won't be able to build that skill. So, we help regulate their body and help teach them how to learn what their body needs to feel in control. We do a lot of work around that, so they're able to build those skills in other areas." 

Witzaney said parents are welcome to come along for the appointments, "even if kids are in group homes or anything like, we encourage the parents to come. We teach parents a lot about co-regulating, and different communication styles, to help if their child has frequent meltdowns, and we do a lot of parent training and coaching as well."

She said one area they've seen an increase in, who they can also help, are people who have experienced trauma.

"The self-regulation, learning how to feel safe in our bodies, is a big part of the treatment. We do work a lot with kids with trauma. [Theraplay] is very broad. I do lots of feeding therapy, for kids that are picky eaters, kids that have difficulties with balance or coordination, to self-regulation. It's kind of a big broad spectrum of skills that we work on." 

Anyone interested in learning more can email Witzaney at kaylyn@theraplaypeds.com.