How One Person Is Changing Children’s Therapy: The Play Clinic

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  • How One Person Is Changing Children’s Therapy: The Play Clinic

Customer Profile: The Play Clinic, Kids Gym & Therapy, Lutz, FL.

Sirena Simon, owner

Sirena Simon thinks differently. As with many of our Gym Insight customers, she founded her business out of a passion for her calling. A board-certified speech language pathologist, Simon MS, CCC-SLP, started The Play Clinic to solve a problem within the children’s therapy world: parents were not learning how to apply their kids’ newly discovered skills at home. For her, that single concept — translating learned behaviors into real-world actions that can strengthen and help families with challenged children — was a critical component of what she does.

Simon discovered through her ten years within the private therapy sector that hands-on training and direct parent involvement is the exception, not the rule.

Her clinic would do it another way.

Parents, aunts, grandparents, loved ones, whoever participated in their child’s life were invited to attend therapy. Then, through the open-access Kids Gym component of her clinic, parents would learn how to apply these skills — one play date at a time, on the floor, interacting with their children. 

“We provide education on the importance of play. Parents are not allowed to drop their kids off at the clinic. We have research supporting what we do, and it is an evidence-based practice,” she says.

The Kids Gym Lets Parents Be Parents

In our hypersocial world, she knows parents can feel immobilized when faced with developmental hurdles or when raising a child with specific physical or mental challenges. “I have to tell parents, it’s ok to be a parent,” and the relief is palpable, Simon explains. Parents are often working two jobs, don’t have any support, and are afraid to mess up for fear of a social media backlash. “They are exhausted,” she says. 

Her Kids Gym becomes their safe spot. Not just for the children who enjoy crawling, playing, touching, and jumping in an environment attuned to their sensory needs, but also the parents who find a community of individuals facing similar issues. 

Simultaneously, as the children use skills developed through therapy, and practice them while at play, their caregivers grow to understand how structured training translates into functional home-based skills, such as taking laundry out of a machine or smoother bedtimes. What are their goals for their child? Let’s work on that, she tells parents, through this hands-on, absolutely engaged learning process. 

The Play Clinic’s Founder’s Background

Her background is as unusual as her business model.  A fine arts major in college, Simon was a scenic artist for summer stock theatre before moving to Florida, where she volunteered at the Emerald Coast Autism Center. There she taught art at the camp for autistic children, and met speech and language specialists who inspired her professional interest. To finance her masters in Speech-Language Pathology, she joined the U.S. Air Force and worked as an air traffic controller for four years. No wonder she sees solutions differently. To found The Play Clinic, she used the  her and her husband’s combined savings from their previous 15 years of professional life. 

Blending two businesses into one. 

As Simon’s business grows, she hopes to merge the two different companies currently lodged under one roof. As a medical service provider, she uses an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system for scheduling and the complex billing associated with a healthcare company. Gym Insight launches her subscription-based services offered at the Kids Gym.Parents can buy either a day or monthly pass for unlimited access to the Kids Gym, and ages are restricted from birth to up to eight years of age. The 1,700-square-foot facility contains two treatment rooms, additional spaces for quiet and emotional recovery, as well as the Kids Gym. She is assisted by a physical therapist, a speech language pathologist assistant, an administrator and a Kids Gym floor associate. With the team approach harbored within her creative complex, Simon believes her unusual concept will gain hold and grow in popularity as parents recognize the value and strength of learning through play. 

Gym Insight

Thank you, Sirena, for allowing us to profile your business this month. Innovative thinkers like yourself are why we strive to keep building and improving our gym management software. By creating easy-to-use, highly functional gym software and providing it at a great monthly price, businesses like The Play Clinic can afford to go on and change the world – one person at a time. For more information on Gym Insight software, visit our website or our social media pages. When you call, ask for Anthony or Natalia. They know how to get you started with the best gym management software system on the planet.