"I reached out to Sam after searching for almost a year for the right program for my daughter. We live in Calvert County and our resources are limited and the ones we have tried over the last 4 years had not been very successful so as you can imagine I was quite discouraged and frustrated. That one call I made to Sam changed everything, I am so thankful that Sam took the time to talk with me, help me understand my concerns, and was able to accommodate my daughter so quickly. The hour drive is well worth it as my daughter absolutely adores Ms. Sam and asks everyday If she is going to her house to play. I listen from the waiting room as my daughter plays and talks with Sam. After only three sessions I am amazed at how wonderful she is doing. I can hear her laughing, talking up a storm, and enjoying every minute of her time there. I highly recommend Sam and I know you wouldn't regret taking your child to "play" (learn) with Ms. Sam."
The Gendell Family
"We've been working with Sam (and now Emily) for 4 months. During the spring parent teacher conference, the school our son was going to identified his behavior as outside what normal was. After 8 weeks of assessment (both public and private), the recommendation to have him attend Occupational Therapy was made. We quickly started working with Sam (literally the next day) and have been twice a week ever since. What I'll say about Sam is she makes no assumptions, she's incredibly focused on the needs of the child and ensuring that the appropriate plan is put in place for that child. She teaches the parent how to sense what to implement more of (or less of) at home by understanding the daily routine. After 4 months, the progress we've seen in our son to maintain a more calm, focused position throughout the week has been tremendous. Sam has given him the ability to be at school with other children without being disruptive or anxious in his seat. She's provided information to the teachers and staff at the school to educate them on the clinical observations she's made and how it translates in his behavior (and how to curb it). If I could recommend every child that potentially has a need to have Occupational Therapy- I'd suggest without an ounce of hesitation, take the time to meet with Sam and see the progress your child will have with her. Even more heart-warming, our son looks forward to going to his class with her because she transforms the therapy into play. Thank you Sam and Emily- we're very grateful!"
5-YEAR-OLD WITH MULTIPLE DISABILITIES
"We love Sam she is wonderful with our daughter. She takes her time with her and knows exactly what her needs are. She is flexible and always willing to accommodate. She has helped our daughter build up her core and strength that she never had before. The environment is also quiet and perfect for our daughter. Our daughter has made so many improvements since she has been seeing her for OT. I would strongly recommend her if your looking for an OT"
THE VANNOY FAMILY
"Children at Play and Samantha are AMAZING!! We have been working with Sam for several months now and the progress in our son is tremendous. He has progressed more in these last months than in an entire year of OT with a different provider. Sam is dedicated and cares about the children with whom she works. And, most important for my son, he has FUN! He loves to go to Sam and often asks to go to her house on days we are not scheduled for OT. He runs out of the car and is so proud when he returns. I cannot recommend her highly enough!"
4-YEAR-OLD WITH AUTISM
"Sam has helped our son across the board - he is more engaged now as a student and willing to try new things. He also loves his time with her, which makes all the difference. Highly recommend!"
MOTHER OF A DAUGHTER WITH SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER
"Miss Sam has helped our daughter in countless ways. We've been in and out of OT since she was an infant. After infants and toddlers, we struggled to find an OT therapy center that she would benefit from, and besides the distractions of other kids, there were often other issues. Miss Sam has totally changed that for us. Our daughter LOVES her. Sam is calm, loving, playful and can meet the kids where they are to achieve their goals. It's also comforting to us as parents that she's open to suggestions and always open to communication. I'd recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone...and I have!!"
"Miss Sam has been working with my son since he was 3 yrs old (he has autism and is now 7) and he has grown by leaps and bounds both from a sensory perspective and in terms of gross and fine motor strength. The social groups available through children at play have been wonderful for him in terms of turn taking, friendships, sensory play, and just plain fun. I cannot recommend Miss Sam enough!"
7-YEAR-OLD WITH ADHD
"Rebecca was diagnosed with ADHD and treated with medication for one entire school year. We fought many side effects with the medication but the number one issue for us was the increasing anxiety. We did some research, decided that Occupational Therapy was the direction to head and found Sam and Children at Play. I think that both Sam and our Pediatrician thought I was a bit crazy at first, but I was determined to figure out whatever I could for my daughter and Sam said only time would tell, so we jumped in with both feet.
Sam partnered with us, puzzling out each piece as we went, always able to provide a couple of suggestions for whatever issue we were seeing. She has a great selection of books that I read through and Rebecca loved going to her. As I started seeing progress, I became more and more determined to make this a solution so that we would not have to go back to the medication. In three months’ time we have reached our goals and I still watch Rebecca sometimes and shake my head in amazement at the difference.
Today, I filled out another ADHD questionnaire and it was so gratifying to see the words “your child does not appear to have symptoms of ADHD”. We went from top of the chart extreme ADHD diagnosis to no symptoms of ADHD.
I have also learned how to observe all of my children and recognize why they are acting certain ways, and am able to direct their play in a way to fulfill whatever need they have at that moment. With Sam’s guidance and suggestions, I learned so much through this experience and the results have been invaluable!"
A FAMILY AFFAIR
"Around the time our older son turned three years old, we began to see a pattern of disruptive behavior at school and at home, as well as aggressive play with friends and his younger brother. We implemented some at-home suggestions but weren’t having much luck and frankly, the behavior was getting worse. I spoke with my pediatrician and she suggested we consider occupational therapy as one course of action. At that time my family was lucky enough to meet Samantha Offutt, who diagnosed our older son with sensory imbalances related to proprioceptive and vestibular disorders. I’ll be honest: I felt like I had to bend my brain in a completely new direction to understand what this diagnosis meant and how to handle it. But Sam was there every step of the way to help guide us and help our older son understand his body.
That was four years ago and I now look at our outgoing, calmer, happier son and my heart bursts with pride. The time and work, resources, and patience that Sam has given him have been tremendous and completely turned around our experiences at school, playing with friends and at home. Sam worked with him and with us to understand his sensory cues and where he needed help learning how to self-regulate, how to understand his body and actions within his own personal space, and how to get through a long school day without spending it in trouble.
Roughly 18 months ago, our younger son began having significant issues as well: very disruptive behavior at school, constant temper tantrums, just the full gamut of problems. The first person we turned to when this happened was Sam, who was by then running her own pediatric occupational therapy shop, Children at Play. At the time, even though our younger son was nearly four, he couldn’t dress himself at all, couldn’t pedal a tricycle or bike, was very clumsy, tactiley defensive, and generally massively frustrated at everything.
Sam went into our younger son’s classroom to observe how a normal day with him looked and then worked with his teachers and resource specialists to put together a plan of action to make the classroom experience more balanced for him. She was willing to make herself available whenever the teachers needed guidance on how to handle situations with our younger son, and frequently checked in to see how things were improving.
At the same time, Sam put a plan of action together where our son would receive private occupational therapy sessions twice a week, plus one group therapy session, where both of our sons would interact with other boys their age that were also struggling with similar challenges. I am delighted to report that a year later, our younger son can now get himself dressed and pedal a big wheeler, and is no longer showing the same defensiveness around certain textures that he was previously. His gross motor planning has improved significantly and Sam is also working weekly with him to improve his fine-motor skills. School started five weeks ago and recently the director of the school stopped me to say that our younger son seems like a completely different child this year: happier, better in control of his body and not disruptive in the classroom at all.
I am so grateful to Sam and Children at Play for everything they’ve done for our family, and for the work we will continue to do together for our kids in the years to come. Thank you!"