To make an appointment
Dr. Laurie sees children in her private office on weekdays until 8:00pm. To begin the process, a Parent Consultation appointment is made, preferably with both parents if there are two. These appointments are generally arranged at 8:00 pm Monday through Thursdays, last about 60-75 minutes, and children DO NOT come to this. The appointment focuses on the child’s developmental history as well as the reason for referral, and it gives Dr. Zelinger and the parents a chance to get acquainted with one another. Once the Parent Consultation appointment has been completed and both parties decide to move forward, an appointment is made for the child. The first appointment usually runs close to one hour (to build rapport) while all subsequent sessions run 45 minutes. Although sessions are often held weekly for the first two months, they become less frequent as the child’s symptoms improve. Children progress at their own rates and the length of therapy often cannot be predicted at the outset.
Often parents do not know what to tell their child about the first visit. Since you will have already met Dr. Zelinger at your Parent Consultation, try saying something like this: “I met a lady whose job it is to play with children who (insert your child’s symptom; i.e. worry a lot, get in trouble in school, whose moms and dads don’t live together, who are afraid of thunder storms, etc.) and she was so nice. She has a cool playroom with all kinds of toys that I think you’ll like. She’s a mommy also and she knows all about the things that bother kids. I want to go back so you can meet her too. Her name is Dr. Laurie but she’s not the kind of doctor that examines you or gives shots or throat cultures. She only has toys because she is a playing doctor. Let’s look at pictures of her office together on the computer, so you can think of questions you want to ask her when we go together.”
Not counting the first session, Dr. Zelinger uses the first ten minutes of most other sessions to meet with the parent while the child waits in the waiting room (with the door open so that the child does not feel left alone). Adult discussion at that time is intended to update each other and provide opportunities for communication, payment and establishment of the next appointment. The child is brought in shortly thereafter, and often, will be part of a conversation along with the parent, regarding progress since the last session. Following that discussion, the parent is asked to return to the waiting room while Dr. Zelinger and the child have their therapy session together. Parents are permitted to stay in the playroom room if the child is unable to separate.
In advance of the Consultation, parents are asked to download, fill out and bring with them, the three sets of forms available on this website. They are: Notice of Privacy Practices (HIPAA), Childhood Developmental History Intake, and Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Protected Health Information. If the child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the parents are asked to furnish Dr. Laurie with a copy. In addition, in cases of divorce, parents are asked to show legal documentation regarding shared or custodial responsibility for the child.
Payment practices are discussed on the phone or in person. Other than emergencies, parents are asked to give 24-hour notice when canceling appointments to avoid being responsible for session fees.