Q: What kinds of disabilities do you treat?
A: We specialize in treating children with autism, brain injury and cerebral palsy; however, we see patients of all ages with a variety of disabilities and disorders.
Q: What kinds of therapies do you offer?
A: We provide outpatient speech, occupational and physical therapies five days weekly from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our approach to therapy combines commonly used methods with innovative rehabilitative tools such as hippotherapy (therapy with the help of a horse), horticulture therapy and animal-assisted therapy. This integrative approach enables our patients to become more independent and communicative and to see results much more quickly, than through traditional therapy methods alone. Our therapy is also family-centered, giving family members and caregivers the knowledge they need to continue therapy in a productive home regimen. We also offer an intensive, inpatient program for autism and other disorders, where the family stays and works on-premises at Diane’s House for extended treatment.
Q: How often do your patients receive therapy? How long is each session?
A: Patients and their families decide on the frequency of therapy depending on the evaluation and the need. Some of our patients have therapy daily; however, most see us two to three times weekly. Our evaluations average two hours and each therapy session averages one hour.
Q: Do your services require a physician’s order?
A: Yes, our services must be prescribed by a physician. We help each patient accomplish his or her individual rehabilitation goals, as determined by doctors, therapists, and the patient’s family.
Q: How much do you charge for your services?
A: Effective January 1, 2017, Nature’s Edge charges $300 for an evaluation (whether for speech, physical or occupational therapy) and $150 per treatment session (whether for speech, physical or occupational therapy).
Q: What insurance providers do you work with?
A: Effective June 30, 2014, we discontinued our provider status under Wisconsin Medicaid. However, we continue to accept most private insurance and will work directly with the patient’s insurer(s) to make sure all claims are processed in a timely manner. Co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance are due at the time of service.
Q: What if I don’t have insurance or can’t afford your therapy?
We know that the cost of a comprehensive therapy package is a concern for families. We are committed to working with our patients and their families to make our services affordable.
We stay informed of the many individual granting or scholarship opportunities that are available and are happy to work with families who are interested in pursuing private funding to help with their therapy costs. Additionally, we may have scholarship funding available for patients. Please see our scholarship application.
We also encourage personal fundraising. Click here for a list of current Family Grant Opportunities and Fundraising Ideas. Here is also a list of free things and grants.
Q: Where are you located?
A: We are located in beautiful northwest Wisconsin, near the city of Rice Lake. We are approximately 100 miles from St. Paul, MN, 56 miles from Eau Claire, WI and 233 miles from Madison, WI.
Q: Your facility sounds interesting. What is it like?
A: Nature’s Edge is a 65-acre ranch that includes nature trails, a trout stream, duck pond, garden and forest land.
Most of our conventional therapy sessions take place either on the treatment side of Diane’s House or in our director’s home, located on the property. These sessions may be held in the dining room, living room, kitchen or bathroom, depending on the session’s goal. There is also a large toy room in the basement where we have many therapy games and resources and space for one-on-one instruction. Our main office is also located in the house.
A second major facility on the property is the barn. This includes horse stalls, a tack room, an indoor riding arena, a wash stall, storage space for hay and therapy tools and various animal pens. Hippotherapy and animal-assisted therapy take place in and around the barn.
Additional facilities at Nature’s Edge include our garden sites used in horticulture therapy, forest trails with “outdoor classroom” sites, an outdoor riding arena for hippotherapy and a mobile cabin with additional therapy rooms.
Opened in 2012, Diane’s House is our “home away from home” for intensive, family-oriented therapy. A patient and his or her family may stay onsite for visits of up to one week for intensive therapy through the Diane’s House program.
Q: Is Nature’s Edge a therapeutic riding center?
A: No. Therapeutic riding centers teach people with disabilities riding skills and promote horseback riding as a recreational activity. Therapeutic riding is not the same as hippotherapy. If our patients who have reached their therapeutic goals wish to continue to ride, we refer them to a therapeutic riding center.
Q: Do you have on-site lodging?
A: Unfortunately at present we do not have the facilities to provide for lodging on-site. The community of Rice Lake offers convenient accommodations, shopping, and cultural events. NOTE: Our intensive autism treatment program does include lodging for the patient and his/her family in our fully furnished and accessible facility, Diane’s House.
Q: Is there any public transportation to and from Nature’s Edge?
A: Yes, there is. A traditional taxi service is available from Rice Lake. Please contact the Rice Lake City Cab http://www.runninginc.net/rice-lake.html for more information.
Q: We will need to travel a long distance to get to Nature’s Edge. May we eat our picnic lunch on your grounds?
A: You are welcome to eat at the center but if you plan to do so, please let our staff know in advance so we can ensure the privacy of our patients and their families (and that you are able to enjoy your meal without the help of our dogs, sheep or pigs!).
Q: I am interested in your services. How do I begin?
A: First, download and print the New Patient Intake Forms and fill them out as completely as possible.
Second, obtain a prescription from your doctor. It is helpful to us if it contains:
- The patient’s name and date of birth
- A statement that reads “(Speech/Occupational/Physical) Therapy to Evaluate and Treat as indicated”
- The current diagnosis(es) of the patient
- Contact information for the physician including address, phone, and fax number
- Physician’s signature and date
Third, gather all the forms, the prescription and an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or other care plan and prior therapy reports or physician reports, if available, and mail (or fax) the information to our center.
Finally, you should check with your insurance company to determine whether our services will be covered.
Q: We’ve sent in all the paperwork (application, releases, prescription and IEP). How do we set up our first appointment?
A: Once the paperwork is received, the prescribed therapist(s) will review the information. Within two weeks, our office manager will contact you to set up an appointment for an evaluation of each type of therapy prescribed. Each evaluation will take approximately two hours.
It is also very helpful to come to the evaluation with a typical daily or weekly schedule for the patient, as well as a list of “likes” and “dislikes” pertaining to foods, sensitivities, etc.
Q: What should my child wear when he comes for therapy? Does he need special shoes or boots?
A: For the initial evaluation it is recommended that your child wear the clothes he or she typically wears. When attending therapy sessions (after the evaluation), it may be wise to wear comfortable clothing suitable for working with horses, gardening, and animals as well as supportive shoes or boots (remember that we may be in a barn; rubber boots are fine). Please have your child dress appropriately for the weather; our center is open year round and we like to do treatments outdoors if at all possible.
Our occupational therapist may work with your child on oral care, dressing, bathing or toileting if that goal pertains to them. The therapist will coordinate in advance with the family if toiletries, towels or additional clothing is recommended for the treatment session.
Q: As a parent, what should I do during the treatment session? Is there a waiting room?
A: We do not have a waiting room at Nature’s Edge. It is our policy that a parent, caregiver or guardian be present with the patient at all times. We encourage parents or caregivers to participate in our treatment sessions. This helps to ensure that skills learned in therapy sessions will be carried over to the home and maximum progress will be made. The therapist will provide a written report and/or a home program (recommendations) for the family to use at home.
Q: Can my whole family come out to watch our child during therapy?
A: Of course, but we ask that all siblings (especially younger siblings) be carefully supervised. The therapists and staff are quite focused on providing therapeutic care to the patient. If the sibling is distracting to the therapy session, he or she can be occupied elsewhere, but it is the parents’ responsibility to observe the highest possible level of safety for all family members.
Q: Can we bring our pet?
A: At Nature’s Edge we love all animals; however, we ask that you leave your pets at home so that our animals can devote their full attention to providing therapy for our patients.
Q: Can we feed or pet the animals while we are there?
A: We realize that feeding animals is an act of kindness and generosity by our visitors and patients; however, we ask that you do not feed our animals. Many of them are on a strict wellness diet to maintain their quality of service to our patients. After a therapy session has been completed, a specific “treat” (provided by our center) may be offered by the patient (with supervision by the handler or therapist) to the animal for a job well done.
As for petting or interacting with our animals, here are our suggestions. Should our dogs or cats come over to greet you, feel free to offer them a greeting in return. However, we ask you to refrain from interacting with all the other animals until we educate you on their specific traits. This is for the safety of both you and the animals.
Q: Are there public restrooms at the center?
A: There is a portable toilet by the barn for use by patients and their families. There are bathrooms located inside our director’s home and in Diane’s House when treatment sessions are indoors.
Q: Where should I park?
A: Parking is available at the barn, the house (our main office is located in the house), or Diane’s House, depending on the treatment session. On your first visit, please park at the house.
Q: I’d like to make a donation. What’s the best way to do that?
A: Our nonprofit organization is funded solely through grants, donations, and patient fees. In order to continue with our mission, we must rely on the generosity and support of our community and friends. Donations of services, new or used equipment, supplies, and money are always needed and welcome. Click here for more information.
Q: I’d like to volunteer at Nature’s Edge. How do I get started?
A: Volunteers perform many integral roles at our center. Whether your interests lie in gardening and landscaping, small or large animals, nature and the environment or organizational office tasks, we have a place for you! Click here for more information.
Q: Can I drop by anytime to visit or volunteer?
A: Although we welcome visitors and appreciate our volunteers, appointments are needed for all visitors, guests, and tours. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please call our office at (715) 859-6670 to schedule a volunteer time or visit.
We respect our patients’ privacy and confidentiality and DO NOT ALLOW those without an appointment on our property. Nature’s Edge is a private property; a security system and camera are in use.
Q: Can you recommend some good resources regarding therapy that I could find online or at my local library?
A: Here are some of our favorite resources:
- The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction by Carol Stock Kranowitz and Larry B. Silver, 1998.
- The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, Revised Edition by Carol Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller, 2006.
- Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days by Kevin Leman, 2008.
- Introduction to How Does Your Engine Run?: The Alert Program for Self-Regulation by Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger, 1996.
- Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism – Updated, Expanded Edition by Temple Grandin and Kate Duffy, 2008.
- And They Said It Wasn’t Possible: True Stories Of People Who Were Healed From the Impossible by Karen R. Hurd, 2006. Also various videos by Karen R. Hurd, Nutritionist, www.karenhurd.com
- Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges by David Sanford, Renee S. Sanford, and Focus on the Family, 2008.
- Abilitations, for special needs https://store.schoolspecialty.com
- Patterson Medical www.pattersonmedical.com
- North Coast Medical http://www.ncmedical.com
- S&S Worldwide http://www.ssww.com/therapy-and-rehab/
- American Hippotherapy Association http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org
- Pet Partners www.petpartners.org/
- The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International) http://www.pathintl.org
- American Occupational Therapy Association www.aota.org/
- Spina Bifida Wisconsin https://www.sbwis.org/