Playworks Pediatric Therapy Services

Pediatric Occupational and Speech Therapy For more than 20 years, Playworks under the directions of Sandy Buttine, OTR, has been providing outcome-based pediatric therapy services in the Dallas metroplex.

Our goal is to be more innovative in our approach, staying rooted to strong evidence based practices, but also offering a personal, caring family-focused environment and individually designed assistance. Collectively, we have more than 50 years of experience working to improve and change the lives of children and their families. We believe in continual learning and our staff is supported through o

Operating as usual

[06/29/20]   PLAYWORKS is now hiring a full time Occupational Therapist. If interested, please contact Sandy Buttine at 972.387.1100 ext. 101 or [email protected] 06/14/2020

10 Lessons I Learned While Parenting Through Sensory Processing Disorder Many families who are just starting out on their journey with SPD feel the same hopelessness I felt after my son was diagnosed. Here's what I've learned.


Autism Discussion Page

Emotional Response to Sensory Overload

If the brain is too overwhelmed with sensory overload to shut down, then the result is often a meltdown. Figure 13.2 displays how poorly filtered sensory stimulation overwhelms the Limbic System (emotional centers). Also, the weak neuro-connections between the Frontal Cortex (thinking centers) and Limbic System makes it hard to inhibit emotional impulses. Consequently, strong, impulsive, emotional reactions occur.

Figure 13.2 Sensory stimulation overwhelms the Limbic System resulting in meltdowns

When the brain cannot adequately filter out stimulation, there are massive amounts of stimulation flooding the limbic system, where our raw emotions develop. This is a very primitive part of the brain, which generates our raw emotions. For most of us, our raw emotions are held in check, tapered down, and modulated by the thinking part of the brain in the frontal cortex. We might get an immediate impulse but check it long enough for our thinking part of the brain to appraise the situation and tell us how much threat the stimulation is.

For those on the spectrum, especially the children, the neurological pathways connecting the Frontal Cortex to the Limbic system are not well developed, rendering the thinking part of the brain weak in controlling the emotional centers. Consequently, the flood of emotion overwhelms the cortex before it has a chance to inhibit the reaction to the emotion. Hence you experience poor frustration tolerance, weak impulse control, and limited ability to control one’s emotional reactions. The tidal wave of emotions simply floods over the cortical control. To these individuals, their emotions can be very unpredictable and scary, which leaves them feeling insecure and vulnerable.

Figure 13.3 Behaviors associated with sensory overload

The negative effects of sensory overload can help explain many of the behavior challenges that we experience with autism. The constant anxiety and irritability can leave the nervous system defensive and on high alert. So, to summarize, sensory overload can result in meltdowns, shutdown where the child is withdrawn and unresponsive, self-stimulation to block out stimulation and calm the nervous system, ritualistic and compulsive behaviors to control the stimulation around them, oppositional and defiant behavior to minimize uncertainty and a host of disorganized, hyperactive behaviors.

The children often need to control everything around them to reduce uncertainty and obtain predictability. They can be highly resistant to follow the lead of others, very apprehensive in situations that they are not controlling and act out to avoid or escape any of these situations. Unfortunately, adults often read these children as oppositional, defiant, noncompliant, and manipulators, without understanding why they are driven to such resistance. We tend to command and demand respect and compliance, which only overwhelms the child even more. The adults often take it personally and try to use techniques (command and demand, pressure, scolding, punishment, etc.), which may work with typical children, but for those on the spectrum it only increases the fear and overload, sending the brain into further panic.

This article will be published in the upcoming book, “The Autism Discussion Page on stress, anxiety, shutdowns and meltdowns”


Under One Umbrella

I printed out a behavior chart for myself. 😂😂😂😂. I need to buy me some stickers for my chart.
#parenting #pandemicparenting #behaviorchart #underoneumbrella

Credit to Affinity Consulting Ontario.


Creative Ideas

Here are some ideas to do with the kids at home.


Sensory Integration Network

Meltdowns are *never* a choice...

#sensoryoverload #meltdowns #SensoryProcessing #SensoryIntegration #SPD #childdevelopment


Sensory Integration Network

New #research on the relationship between #screentime and hand function, play and #sensoryprocessing in children without disabilities aged 4–7 years.
"In a sample of typically developing children aged 4–7 years, an increase in screen‐time was associated with decreased VisualMotorIntegration, InHandManipulation, bilateral coordination, SensoryProcessing, enjoyment of play and engagement in more complex play (such as creating stories)"


ICDL - Home of DIRFloortime

"Now a new study scanned the brains of children 3 to 5 years old and found those who used screens more than the recommended one hour a day without parental involvement had lower levels of development in the brain's white matter -- an area key to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills."

Keywords- "without parent involvement". So if your little one is enjoying some screen time, enjoy it with them! Laugh together, point things out, react to what is happening on the screen, use your affect to add to the fun!!


Happy Halloween to all of our Playworks Families🍬👻🎃! We had a fun and spooky week at the clinic with our kiddos that ended with our staff volunteering at the North Texas Food Bank!


The Miracle League of Frisco

Sharing! Pease be patient and help keep Halloween fun for all kids: 10/15/2019

Is It Sensory Processing Disorder or ADHD? There’s a good chance you have met a child who matches the following description: impulsive, inappropriate touching of others, inappropriate and frequent movement, distractible, unaware when spoken to, difficulty following multi-step directions. When you met this child, you may have been quick to ...


Sensory Integration Network

What is balance and what does it enable us to do?
#balance #amazingbodies #sensoryinput #motoroutput 08/23/2019

35 Children's Books That Teach Empathy And Kindness These stories feature messages of compassion, acceptance and inclusion. 05/22/2019

How-to: 5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return - Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University This how-to video breaks down serve and return into 5 simple steps and features adults and young children doing each step together.


ICDL - Home of DIRFloortime

Leading to the Big R- the Relationship!


The Sleep Lady

All of us parents needs to remember this sometimes! They're growing, you're molding!


Sensory Integration Network

Every baby is different. Here are 3 simple tips for getting to know a baby’s preferences and supporting them through their first year:
#childdevelopment #selfregulation 04/15/2019

The Paradox of Sitting Still in Preschool Sometimes, when people picture what learning looks like, they imagine perfectly quiet children in perfectly arranged rows, sitting perfectly still. Sounds perfect. But research tells us that’s not …


Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library

Don’t ever forget it. 💛


ICDL - Home of DIRFloortime

Because we all know that saying "calm down" just does not work for all kiddos! Here are some ideas to help older children calm, let the child be part of the decision for what works for them!! 01/09/2019

Science Proves You Can't Hold Your Baby Too Much | Parents A new study shows that cuddling your baby (early and often!) has huge benefits when it comes to brain development, especially for preemies.


Were you ever asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” You can help your little one be what they want by developing their life skills! Watch for some activities to help in our about Executive Function!

01/07/2019 12/21/2018

The Right Brain Develops First ~ Why Play is the Foundation for Academic Learning Photo credit: Allan Ajifo/flickr (CC BY 2.0) Did you know that the right brain develops first? It does so by the time children are 3-4 years of age. The left brain, on the other hand, doesn't fully come online until children are approximately seven years old; hence the first seven years being recogn...


The Pocket Occupational Therapist

I love this 👏🏼 12/14/2018

Our earliest experiences — good and bad — can be our most important, experts say New Mexico's infant mental heath pioneers aim to eradicate 'the myth' that babies cannot remember what they see or hear.


Playworks is getting into the Holiday Spirit! 🎄🎁🕯


We hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween! Thank you to all of our friends who dressed up with us this week 🎃🎃


ICDL - Home of DIRFloortime

Pass this along! So important for all!!


ICDL - Home of DIRFloortime

And Floortimers are the best players! Please join us at our conference in Washington DC in November to learn more!!


Growing Play

Choosing the best toy when you play with your children


Sensory Integration Network

This is a fantastic resource for developing a sensory routine for sleep. We hope it helps, especially if your child is struggling with the added pressure of the new school year.


Children's Mental Health Rocks

What can you do when your child has challenging behaviors and you feel at your wits end?

How do you use the right responses to the right behaviors in the moment?

What you need is a guide to help you understand your child’s specific and unique behaviors, AND how you can respond in the moment. But don’t worry, this won’t cost you a dime.

Since your children can struggle with so many behaviors, it is vital to have a stockpile of effective behavior responses and tools to use in the moment.

But the key, here, is finding out what specific behaviors your child is doing, understanding those behaviors, and knowing some in-the-moment strategies that work specifically with your child.

Get all this and more from my friend Dayna's free behavior workshop💪!

Sign up here⭐ >>


Videos (show all)

And our second Visa gift card winner is...Randi Cohen!!
Our first Visa gift card winner is...Annie Stahr!!!




12880 Hillcrest Rd
Dallas, TX

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 6pm
Tuesday 8am - 6pm
Wednesday 8am - 6pm
Thursday 8am - 6pm
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