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Keeping it Real for the Holidays

It is important to me that I live my life by “keeping it real”…My social media world and immediate circle have known much in the past and continues to get updates regarding the madness that comes from rehabbing a kid who is developmentally delayed. There is a lot that goes into everything. But….ultimately….if you can’t find the comedy out of the crazy….you will go crazy…..

This is our family Santa picture this year. It is dysfunctional. I truly love it. We went to a Santa photo shoot which lasted for fifteen minutes. It was private. There was no Sensory Santa but I felt like we would at least have time to attempt a decent series of pics with the man in red.

Our photographer took shots that look very authentic in terms of traditional Santa pictures. I don’t want to show you those samples. Those shots don’t represent the real experience. Those photos show lies. I felt very alive when I realized what picture trumped all others taken that day. The pictures that remain unseen show a fake sense of beauty. That isn’t me. That definitely is not my family. One shot shows a little boy being read to by Santa in a peaceful way. In reality, that little boy, who goes by Ethan, wanted to stick that book where the sun doesn’t shine for Santa.

I only want to show you the real picture. E struggled. You know what? That is ok. He also succeeded. If I was entering our Santa picture in a contest, I might entitle it “The Godfather” because of Ethan’s expression. Somehow I feel that he wants Santa to go home to a dead reindeer head in his bed (Godfather reference if you can’t keep up with me).

Ethan struggled on a day when my hair looked like absolute shit. Yeah, that’s right. To make matters worse, I gave the camera a beaver face smile. But, I laughed very hard at the picture and have decided that the true title of our Santa family shot should be “Merry Chaos-mess.” Big sister and dad represent normal… least as normal as a family can smile under such strain. Again, this a memory that I have come to embrace and the picture just cements that for me. I could choose to think of it as negative but that too would be as tainted as the book reading shot between Santa and E.

I want to tell you how to make moments that may seem unbearable awesome instead. Perception is reality. If you are worried about Santa, about sensory, about fluorescent lights….about ho ho hos and no no nos….let me tell you what I got from my own experience.

1.)        Big E high fived Santa goodbye right before he babbled a swear word at him.
2.)        Big E was able to tolerate the man in red for a full 15 minutes with a few yells but no meltdowns.
3.)        Big Sis got to be funny with the man in red and told him not only what she wanted for Christmas but served as E’s spokesperson as well.
4.)        My whole family, including nana, enjoyed laughs at breakfast after the shoot was complete.
Some families may fear Santa time with their kids with Sensory Processing Disorder or other diagnosis. Don’t fear the experience. The memories and successes will run deeper than what happens for the average family around the globe.
Wishing you happiness and good memories always, Merry Christmas and All that Jazz! –Beth

*Beth Lattime, M. Ed. is a developmental specialist and intervention specialist. Her professional experiences span over classroom, clinical, home-based, and recreational environments. She can now proudly add her own natural environments to her list of experiences. Ethan was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms in 2012 which is a rare type of epilepsy and had a former diagnosis of dysphasia. He is currently undergoing intensive therapies at LLA for apraxia and deficits in the arenas of physical and occupational therapy as well. For more on Beth’s story, visit
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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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