Summer Program Series: Leaps and Bounds Occupational, Speech, and Feeding Therapy Programs

Spotlighting great programs in St. Louis:

This summer, Compassionate Counseling St. Louis is spotlighting summer programs that provide awesome services for anxious, angry kids and teens. This week we’re looking at Leaps and Bounds, located in St. Charles.

I’ve toured the Leaps and Bounds campus, and I love how they integrate OT to help kids managing their emotions. Read below for some great, interesting answers about their summer camp programs.

What’s the story behind the program, and why do you like the work?

Sensory play at Leaps and Bounds

Sensory play at Leaps and Bounds

We opened Leaps and Bounds 14 years ago. Our goal was to be a resource to families and to help them to figure out what skills their child needs to be successful. It has been such a blessing to be able to sit across from families and be able to share with them that we see the strengths in their child and can help them reach their goals. We recognize that every child is different and needs an individualized treatment plan. It is exciting to be a part of the journey to help them recognize their own strengths.

What supports do you provide for parents?

We offer occupational therapy, speech/ language therapy and feeding therapy. Our programming includes both individual and group options.  Therapy can focus on a variety of skills, but some of the areas that we address include: sensory processing, feeding, communication, literacy, attention, behaviors, motor skills, emotional regulation, executive function and social skills. We also provide home programs for parents to help facilitate progress during the course of therapy. 

We also offer summer camp options.

Our camp is much smaller in size than a typical summer camp and we can offer more supports to help kids be successful. We get excited each year to see kids create friendships and increase confidence in our summer camps.

What transformation do you see over the course of the summer camp?

Kids engaging in sensory sand play at Leaps and Bounds.

Kids engaging in sensory sand play at Leaps and Bounds.

The changes we see vary, depending on the child and their needs, but we often see significant improvements. Focusing on therapy and skill building during the summer months when a child is typically under less stress can be crucial to their learning process. It is much easier to learn, when your brain is under less stress.  

What’s something that a parent can do to make summer more fun for their kid? How can they help their child really enjoy the camp?

Summer can feel scary for some kids because their is less structure and predictability. Finding a camp that can provide the right amount of structure and support for your child can help make it a successful one. Some other ideas to help your child might include: creating a social story around what to expect at the camp, finding a buddy for your child to do the camp with them, making sure their is a camp leader that can support your child if needed and setting up an acceptable spot within the camp that your child can go if camp becomes to stressful.

What staff training do you provide for your on the ground counselors?

We provide extensive training to all of our camp counselors. Some of the training includes skill building in emotional regulation, social skills, sensory processing, behavior management, conflict resolution, executive function and group dynamics. We also have a licensed OT on staff that develops that plan for each camp day and provides supervision. 

How do you help kids who have behavioral issues?

As licensed occupational therapists, it is our job to look at why the behavior is happening and figure out the best plan to manage it. Sometimes, the behavior is a result of poor sensory processing. In those situations, we would determine if we need to alter something in the environment to help the child or remove the stimulus.  We address behaviors differently depending on the reason they are occurring. Our goal is to help each child feel confident, comfortable and successful within the group.

How do you work with kids who experience anxiety, including separation anxiety?

We treat each child individually. We utilize a play based approach and carefully grade activities to make sure they are at a "just right" fit for the child. We utilize different strategies to help the child learn to recognize when they are beginning to get stressed and what works for them to adjust their arousal level. Our goal is to help each child gain awareness and control over regulating their arousal level and emotional responses. 

How does the camp help when the kid starts to melt down?

Our goal is to carefully plan the day to minimize meltdowns, but when they happen our staff is trained in de-escalation. We put a lot of energy into working on calming during states of high arousal. If we need to allow the child some time away from the group for movement or a calming sensory experience, we have additional staff to be able to provide that as needed. 

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How should parents contact you?

Parents can call our office at 636-928-LEAP(5327) or email for questions or to set up an evaluation.

Facebook - Leaps and Bounds

Curious to hear more about anxiety and anger management options for kids, teens, and college students in St. Louis, Missouri? Compassionate Counseling St. Louis specializes in anxiety, trauma, and anger management - and we often work hand in hand with Occupational Therapists and Speech/Language Pathologists. Compassionate Counseling St. Louis works with families throughout St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Webster Groves, Brentwood, Town and Country, Ballwin and Creve Couer. If you’re interested in hearing more about counseling options, set up your free phone consultation at