#168 - Virtual Happy Hour with OT Entrepreneurs Alexi and Marlee from SENSE-ational Spaces

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC September 01, 2021

#168 - Virtual Happy Hour with OT Entrepreneurs Alexi and Marlee from SENSE-ational Spaces

Listen & Subscribe on Your Platform of Choice:

Virtual Happy Hour with OT Entrepreneurs Alexi and Marlee from SENSE-ational Spaces 

We are excited to offer 10% off of the base package fees for the first 10 people to book by September 30, 2021 using our special promotional code: ALLTHINGS10 - just got to the SENSE-ational Spaces website, linked below! 

Imagine your home, or the school you work in, has a dedicated space for children with sensory needs or a purposeful space for children without special needs. 

SENSE-ational Spaces is the company looking to meet this increasingly pressing need. The company’s founders, Alexi Le Claire and Marlee O. are Pediatric Occupational Therapists with a passion for family-centered care, and have channeled this enthusiasm into their incredible business. 

In today’s episode, Alexi and Marlee shed light on the services they provide and the collaborative approach that underpins what they do. So often, parents or teachers have so much equipment but they don’t know how to use it, which is where Alexi and Marlee come in; they can do it all! 

We also hear about how to pay for these services, the fulfillment Alexi and Marlee feel from this passion project, and the encouraging growth of OT entrepreneurs. 

We are so immensely excited about what SENSE-ational Spaces has to offer, and we have no doubt they will go from strength to strength as they head into the future. Tune in to hear it all!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Where Alexi and Marlee are from, their occupations, and how they came to start SENSE-ational Spaces. 
  • The extensive work Alexi and Marlee put in prior to their launch. 
  • A look at the services SENSE-ational Spaces offers. 
  • How long Alexi and Marlee typically spend on a project. 
  • The satisfaction Alexi and Marlee feel when they see the reactions of the children. 
  • Covering the costs of SENSE-ational's services. 
  • The encouraging developments in the OT-entrepreneurial space. 
  • Places, aside from homes, where Alexi and Marlee create sensory-friendly spaces. 
  • How Alexi and Marlee adapt their offerings for schools. 
  • The biggest challenges Alexi and Marlee face in their business. 
  • Where Alexi and Marlee see themselves in a year. 
  • How to connect with Alexi and Marlee online. 
  • Final advice from Alexi and Marlee. 

Highlights:

“SENSE-ational Spaces, essentially what we do is if someone is interested in having a room, a basement, or a closet, whatever it may be, modified and adjusted to help support the sensory needs of someone in their home or a group of people in their home, we’re able to work specifically with them to help meet that need.” — SENSE-ational Spaces[0:13:49]

“The biggest hurdle overall is really to individualize these different projects.” — SENSE-ational Spaces[0:37:31]

“For us, collaboration is huge. We want this to be a space that they want to have.” — SENSE-ational Spaces[0:40:07]

“Trust in your gut, go for it, believe in yourself.” — SENSE-ational Spaces[0:44:41]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

SENSE-ational Spaces

SENSE-ational Spaces Email —sense-ationalspaces@gmail.com

SENSE-ational Spaces on Instagram

Minnesota School-Based OT / PT Institute 

Alexi Le Claire

Marlee O 

Harkla

All Things Sensory on Instagram

All Things Sensory on Facebook

 

Full Show Transcript

[00:00:02] RH: Hey, there. I’m Rachel.

 

[00:00:03] JH: And I’m Jessica and this is All Things Sensory by Harkla. Together, we’re on a mission to help children, families, therapists, and educators live happy, healthy lives.

 

[00:00:13] RH: We dive in to all things sensory, special needs, occupational therapy, parenting, self-care and so much more. In each episode, we share raw, honest, fun ideas and strategies for everyone to implement into daily life.

 

[00:00:26] JH: Thank you so much for joining us.

 

[EPISODE]

 

[00:00:34] RH: What’s up, everyone? We are coming at you with Episode 168 today. This is All Thing Sensory by Harkla and we are thrilled to share this episode with you. 

 

[00:00:44] JH: So excited. We already had our conversation with these two amazing ladies and now we’re recording the intro beforehand. It’s backward, but whatever. But you are going to love everything about them, we love them so much. Super excited to meet them in person someday.

 

[00:01:01] RH: It was just a fun conversation, a collab session almost. 

 

[00:01:06] JH: It is so motivating to talk to them.

 

[00:01:08] RH: Yes, yeah. Especially if you’re an OT and you are interested in looking more into that OT entrepreneurial route. This episode is going to be a great one to just spark your interest and give you that boot, that motivation. 

 

[00:01:21] JH: But everyone else, don’t click out right now because this episode is so for you, because they are doing an amazing things for parents, therapist, educators, everyone.

 

[00:01:31] RH: Yeah, learn about all the things they do. Stick around and we will meet our friends, Alexi and Marlee right now. Hello, ladies. Welcome to All Things Sensory by Harkla. Thanks for joining us today.

 

[00:01:49] ALC: Thank you so much for having us.

 

[00:01:50] MO: We’re so excited to be here.

 

[00:01:51] JH: I know. Really, I am just stocked that you guys are in front of the Rockwell for this. It made me so happy.

 

[00:01:58] MO: We got a zipline on one side and Rockwell on the other.

 

[00:02:01] RH: Yes. Well, that just leads us into all the fun things that we’re going to talk about today. You guys are pro SENSE-ational Spaces makers. We’re going to fill everybody in on all the good stuff that you do. 

 

[00:02:14] JH: But first, we have five secret questions to ask you.

 

[00:02:17] MO: Love it.

 

[00:02:18] ALC: Okay.

 

[00:02:19] RH: Would you rather play basketball or soccer.

 

[00:02:22] MO: I would definitely play soccer. My husband played soccer and I think, I just admire them on their endurance, and their coordination and how they can be off field, especially in hot weather for so long and I would not want to be a goalie because I would be terrified to be —

 

[00:02:40] JH: That’s fair.

 

[00:02:43] RH: All right, Alexi. You have to answer this one too.

 

[00:02:44] ALC: Okay. I would be soccer as well, mainly because I know really nothing about basketball, other than dribbling and that kind of stuff. Like the very, very minimum. But I do think that the coordination and the endurance that goes into play either of the sports is really awesome. But I do like that with the soccer aspect, it also has that little bit of balance that is needed to do the one player kicks and everything that comes with that. I think soccer would have to be mine as well. 

 

[00:03:13] JH: [Inaudible 00:03:13] analyzing the —

 

[00:03:14] RH: Such an OT answer you guys, both of you.

 

[00:03:17] JH: It’s like analyzing the entire thing.

 

[00:03:20] RH: Clearly you know what you’re doing. 

 

[00:03:23] JH: Okay. Yeah. All these questions are for both of you. How do you self-regulate?

 

[00:03:29] ALC: I mean, it kind of depends on the day. I think for me, I really self-regulate by — like my favorite way is to take a book, go sit in the bathtub, have some candles going. It’s got a little bit of all of the sensory happening all at one time. But I think that’s my number one. Currently, I had a very small tub when we bought our house. Can’t really do that right now. I think right now, it’s more so — we actually have a weighted blanket at home, so I’ll go sit in the sunroom with the weighted blanket and read out there.

 

[00:04:02] RH: I love it.

 

[00:04:05] MO: One of mine that has always kind of been lifelong is working out, which can be a struggle to get there. But I have found, like last night, I finally got home and I was like, “My husband’s not home. Go on a run. Get it done, bring the dog, go. Even just a 20-minute interval run because I’m not the greatest runner and just release some of that stress, and anxiety and things that I was experiencing throughout the day and made a great evening.

 

[00:04:27] RH: Love those. Okay. For both of you, what song is on repeat right now?

 

[00:04:33] MO: Oh my gosh! Savage Love.

 

[Crosstalk 00:04:37]

 

[00:04:41] ALC: [Inaudible 00:04:42] I have like a whole album of repeat right now, because we’re currently planning our wedding. Me and my fiancé are. We are working on [inaudible 00:04:55] a whole lot of different type of songs. It’s just kind of cycling, the Wedding playlist on Spotify. But I think kind of the number one that we kind of keeping back to is, I can never know how to play on [inaudible 00:05:10]. It’s like John Splithoff or something like that. I never know the name of it. I just know the words of it. I can look it up later. 

 

[00:05:17] RH: You’re not going to sing it for us like Marlee did?

 

[00:05:19] JH: I know, like she’s going to bust it out.

 

[00:05:20] MO: [Inaudible 00:05:20]

 

[00:05:21] ALC: No, you don’t want that. 

 

[00:05:24] JH: [Inaudible 00:05:24] they’re just like —

 

[00:05:28] RH: It’s so fun. I wish you guys lived in Boise so we can go like hang out.

 

[00:05:33] MO: We’re up for a trip.

 

[00:05:35] RH: Great.

 

[00:05:35] JH: Okay.

 

[00:05:36] MO: We’ll meet you half way.

 

[00:05:36] RH: Yes.

 

[00:05:37] JH: I like that idea. Okay. We got two more. Would you rather live in a desert or a swamp?

 

[00:05:46] MO: Woops!

 

[00:05:48] RH: That was the reaction we were going for.

 

[00:05:51] MO: I —

 

[00:05:54] ACL: I would have to say desert because there’s less bugs.

 

[00:05:56] RH: That was I was saying.

 

[00:05:57] JH: Yeah. There’s like scorpions and stuff.

 

[00:05:59] MO: Yeah, I was going to say that. There’s scorpions and snakes though in the desert. I think, I mean, is there air conditioning?

 

[00:06:07] ACL: Oh! Don’t get so technical.

 

[00:06:08] MO: I know.

 

[00:06:09] RH: No, there’s no AC.

 

[00:06:11] MO: Okay. No AC, I mean, I guess maybe the swamp. I guess I don’t — God! Swamp. I’ll say swamp, only different. 

 

[00:06:19] RH: Okay. Gross!

 

[00:06:20] MO: I don’t think so. I think probably the desert. I don’t like either, so I’ll go swamp.

 

[00:06:24] JH: I love it. It’s so good.

 

[00:06:27] RH: I’m glad that was a good would you rather.

 

[00:06:28] JH: That was a good one.

 

[00:06:29] RH: Okay. Last question. What are your sensory quirks?

 

[00:06:35] MO: I drive my husband nuts because I like smooth touch, so I will rub his hands raw. I did it as a baby with like a tag, like stuff animals. I will just rub my fingers through it. That is my biggest [inaudible 00:06:47] and it drives everybody crazy.

 

[00:06:49] JH: I love it. But he still let’s you do it?

 

[00:06:52] MO: Some days. It depends on how stressed I am. If I’m really stressed, he’ll tolerate it for a little bit and then he’ll like brush me out.

 

[00:06:59] RH: That’s —

 

[00:07:00] JH: Oh! That’s so sweet.

 

[Crosstalk 00:07:01]

 

[00:07:02] MO: He gets like, “Stop.” He calls is petting. 

 

[00:07:04] JH: Stop petting me.

 

[00:07:07] RH: Oh! So good.

 

[00:07:08] ALC: What’s so funny is, I was just talking to a patient’s mom about this today. Because we were talking and she goes, “The more you talk, the more I realize all of my own sensory issues that I have.” I’m like, “Honestly, everybody has them.” It’s like, we’re just able to kind of cope with them and we figured out how to work through them earlier on. But I think that for me, my big thing is, I have a really hard time like auditory filtering. Like if there’s a TV on and then my fiancé, he always — Curtis is constantly on his phone. He used to be like a really YouTube duck, so he just like scroll through all the videos and have [inaudible 00:07:43] while I’m trying to watch something or I’m in a middle of the movie. Or like he’ll try to talk to me while something’s playing. I just can’t do it.

 

[00:07:49] JH: I can’t do it either. No, that’s a big one for me as well. But yeah, so good. 

 

[00:07:54] RH: Oh my God! Now, everyone knows your deepest darkest secrets. Tell us who you are, what you do, why you do it, all those beautiful things.

 

[00:08:05] ALC: I’m Alexi.

 

[00:08:07] MO: And I’m Marlee.

 

[00:08:08] ALC: We both grew up in Minnesota. I grew up more in the suburbs though. Whereas —

 

[00:08:12] MO: I grew up in Brainerd, Minnesota. I grew up in Brainers, which is about two and a half hours north of the Twin Cities, Lake Country, which I love now. I didn’t necessarily always growing up. But it is where I grew up, and then I transitioned down to the University in Minnesota, Twin Cities for my undergraduate. Then I entered Saint Paul, and that’s where Alexi and I met for our master’s. We’re there and then I have been treating an out patient in school settings every since. Alexi’s had a similar experience, but I’ll let her chat that on that a little bit too.

 

[00:08:45] ALC: Yeah. She grew up more in the rural area. I had a cabin up in the rural area, but I grew up in suburbs. A little bit different background in that way. I went to school down in Mankato, Minnesota for my undergraduate degree. That was psychology for my major and then developmental adapted physical education for my minor with a [inaudible 00:09:05] concentration. DAPE is typically just for like PE or health teachers. We’re able to kind of look at some that’s more OT focused, which is really nice then. As an OT, you’d be able to know what they’re actually doing. I did that and then I worked at an autism day program for a while, like while I was in OT school.

 

Like Marlee said, we actually met at St. Kates. That was back in 2016 that we met. Now, since then, our friendship has grown and we are coworkers and business partners. We live like four minutes from each other. Everything and anything. In the past seven months, we started our company called SENSE-ational Spaces.

 

[00:09:51] JH: Oh! It’s really new. Sorry. I totally interrupted you. I didn’t realize it was that new.

 

[00:09:57] MO: Yeah.

 

[00:09:58] ALC: November 2020.

 

[00:10:00] MO: The day we launched.

 

[Crosstalk 00:10:02]

 

[00:10:03] MO: But we’ve done obviously like any company, a lot of thinking beforehand, processes, that kind of stuff. But we launched in November. The idea really came during COVID. Everything started to kind of hint. We had all these families just saying like, “I don’t know what to do with my child. I’m done. I can’t keep on regulating in my house. I can’t get them to work on their academics.” A lot of those environmental factors were really being brought up to us within the clinics and school settings. 

 

Alexi also had transitioned jobs at that time and she had a friend, kind of [inaudible 00:10:35] and say like, “Hey! What do you like about your new place and what are you kind of thinking about the old one? What were the positives of both?” One of the facts that she really, really liked about the previous clinic was that they had a lot of autonomy to adapt to environment. He kind of started to [inaudible 00:10:51]. What could you do with that? He was just really getting into her thought process. She brought it up to me and I was like, I grew up in a family of entrepreneur, so I was like, “Let’s do it. I don’t know. Let me check with my family.” I just process through. 

 

When my dad was like, “That’s a cool idea”, I expected him to have the opposite reaction and like, “Okay. Let’s go for it.” So we launched then and have been serving families ever since, and it’s been a really cool roller coaster, just with the different opportunities out of our roles.

 

[00:11:21] ALC: I’ll kind of little add on to that. I think one thing too is that like, even though we launched it only about seven months ago. We actually started like brainstorming in all of the business plan, the frontend. That’s been almost a year now. It was at least six months before actually launching that we sat down, and we came up with the plan and we started really talking to essentially people who would be our clients. Like family members of ours that had children with disabilities or people who [inaudible 00:11:52] insurance, like how do we — how does that work? Really just talking to all of those kinds of stakeholders and trying to figure out, “Is this a good idea? Is this something that feels logical and that people would actually want in their homes? We had really great kind of response from it. So far, it’s been awesome and it just kind of blossomed.

 

Now we do not only the sensory spaces, but we also continue education opportunities. We’re actually going to be presenting over at Minnesota OT/PT School-Based Institute for a continued ed appear in October. We did one per selected mutism help group as well. We did a CEU there. Like Marlee said, we’ve been doing some for schools. Then of course, the actually sensory room developments too. 

 

[00:12:39] RH: Wow!

 

[00:12:40] JH: That’s super cool.

 

[00:12:40] RH: Very cool you, guys.

 

[00:12:42] JH: Are you guys both working full-time in the clinic as well?

 

[00:12:47] ALC: Yeah.

 

[00:12:50] MO: Yeah, it’s a busy life.

 

[00:12:51] ALC: Yes.

 

[00:12:52] MO: Neither of us have kids yet and thanks to — and we’re both maybe go-getters. 

 

[00:12:57] ALC: We just love to be active. Well, we do enjoy being — having a rest time and things, we do thrive on just continuing and going and going. Might as well now.

 

[00:13:08] JH: Exactly.

 

[00:13:08] RH: I feel like that was us like a few years ago. You’re just hustling, right?

 

[00:13:13] JH: Even less than a year ago.

 

[00:13:15] RH: Yeah. You’re just making it work and it’s crazy to see what you can accomplish when you’re excited about what you do. When you can really make a difference and you’re like, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing. We’re able to help so many people”, it doesn’t feel like work and that’s why you can thrive.

 

[00:13:31] MO: That’s why we are so excited to do it, it’s like this is our passion project. We’re so excited about it and we’ll just continue to care about our families [inaudible 00:13:39].

 

[00:13:41] JH: Can you tell everyone who’s listening exactly what your business is and how it works.

 

[00:13:46] ALC: Yeah. SENSE-ational Spaces kind of the overarching one. Other than [inaudible 00:13:53] and stuff. SENSE-ational, essentially what we do is, if somebody’s interested in having a room, or a closet or basement, whatever it may be modified and adjusted to help support the sensory needs of somebody in their home or group of people in their home, we’re able to work specifically with them to help meet that need. I guess I said home, but it could also be a school or a clinic, specifically focusing in on [inaudible 00:13:53] or a family. 

 

Essentially, what it would be is, we have a series of intake paperwork that’s kind of like an initial evaluation that we would do in a clinic. We’re going all the way back to in utero basically to really hone in and figure out the sensory systems and how it’s playing a role in the life of the person who’ll be using the space. Everything is super, super customed and uniquely tailored and individualized for their needs across all the sensory systems, going as far back as we possibly can.

 

Essentially, they fill out the sensory motor history, they fill out the intake paperwork that goes over space and size and what they already have. We’re not going to recommend a trampoline if you already have a bouncy ball, like it can serve the same purpose. We’re going to try to incorporate as much as we can that they already have to help save money and to really get the most [inaudible 00:15:11]. We go through that piece of it.

 

Then there’s three different package options. Essentially, package one is more so for the DIYer. This is for the family that they have all of these different kind of thoughts in their head, they maybe have talked to bunch of people. But they need ideas and they need support of how they really implement it, but they can do it on their own. That’s going to be us giving verbal recommendations. Then they take notes on it and we kind of rub with it from there. We can support them on the backend if they need more help.

 

The second package is our package is our package two. That one, you still get that verbal consultation, but then you’re also getting a full proposal packet. With that, we go through in it. Here’s essentially an occupational profile and we go through all the sensory systems and your family’s needs. Then we have photos and recommendations of specific equipment why we recommended that, how specifically that will help your family. So they get that, and then they still do it on their own. But now they have this whole big proposal packet, and that’s great if families have waivers, or grants that they just need more ideas and they need to know where to put it. We also do CAD drawing, where it’s basically like a little 2D drawn out. This is what we put and this is why. Then the package three is we do all the ordering and installing on top of all of that.

 

[00:16:34] RH: Wow! That’s amazing.

 

[00:16:37] ALC: Sorry. That was like a lot.

 

[00:16:38] RH: No.

 

[00:16:39] JH: That’s perfect.

 

[00:16:40] RH: I love it. I think it helps like lay everything out on the line. I just think, when you said CAD drawing, I think that’s so helpful for families to see like, “Oh! You’d put the monkey bars here, and the crash pad here.” That’s interesting why you do that or X, Y and Z. I guess my question is, you serve people package three, you would do that probably locally.

 

[00:17:02] ALC: There are options to do it more like not locally. We could do it where if they wanted to do travel expenses, that kind of stuff. We can go that route. Otherwise, we can do it where we can do all the ordering for them and then just — instead of us physically coming and installing, we could do like a virtual call where we support them while they’re setting it up. That could be an option.

 

[00:17:23] RH: Okay. Yeah. Because I think that’s my question is, who can you serve? But really everyone. Yeah. That’s cool.

 

[00:17:30] MO: That’s the beauty of it too, like there’s really no limits and we can work with each and every family and their basic needs and what that may look like. Like we said earlier, small spaces, large spaces. Literally, we’ve done a corner of a closet and that’s all they had. That’s like, “Hey! This is what we’ve got and this is what we can do.” They were over [inaudible 00:17:50]. There’s also avenues that we have with like language barriers and stuff too that we can always explore and like figure out and have figured out in a few circumstances so we can serve anyone and everyone.

 

[00:18:05] ALC: Yeah. The biggest point to it though is its super collaborative. It’s like, we send over this proposal, but we send over the first edit version. Then the families are able to say, “You know. I don’t know if I love that” or “Can you explain to me more why you did that?” Or they realized when they see it, “Oh! I think we have something that might be able to work with that.” We’re able to work with them to custom together even further. We go through and we’ll read back if they’re not super [inaudible 00:18:32] or they have other ideas, we shift it. 

 

[00:18:35] MO: We also do primary and secondary recommendation. I think like overall, our service is very thorough, we give the families the autonomy and authority within their environment to kind of select. These are our recommendations, this is what we would do, but that doesn’t mean that’s exactly what you want or that’s what we’re going to implement.

 

[00:18:55] RH: I think it’s so cool that these parents can have experts in their house and they can have experts come in and say, “Oh! This is what you need. This is why you need it.”

 

[00:19:04] JH: This is what will fit your space.

 

[00:19:05] RH: Yeah, because it is so overwhelming to look online and say, “Oh! There’s this sensory thing and there’s this sensory thing.”

 

[00:19:11] JH: But where do I put it, how do I know what I need or why?

 

[00:19:15] ALC: And this is too much. We have families that are like, “I literally bought everything my OT tells me to buy, but I don’t know how to do it, where to do it.” I think the cool thing too that we love is on our intake paperwork. It talks about, “Do you have an OT that you work with and would you like us to coordinate with any of that?” Yeah, it can be speech, it could be anybody. Would you like us to coordinate with them? Because they do know your child better than we would from just intake paperwork. So it’s a really collaborative process to be like, “Hey! You seen this child, what are they recommending?” Then how can that be carried out like their OT at home, especially with teletherapy happening all the time this year and families, kind of some of them really jumping onto that. I mean like, “Wait! We don’t have to [inaudible 00:19:57].”

 

[00:19:59] RH: Some families loved it. Yeah.

 

[00:20:03] ALC: You’d have the space in which that you can really utilize too and have some input into that. 

 

[00:20:08] RH: And teach them how to use it therapeutically. It’s not just —

 

[00:20:11] JH: A toy.

 

[00:20:12] RH: Yeah, exactly.

 

[00:20:14] MO: That’s huge. It’s not a toy, it’s a tool.

 

[00:20:16] RH: You know what you guys should do is you should add an additional package on there where you teach them like strategies on how to use the products and ways.

 

[Crosstalk 00:20:25]

 

[00:20:30] MO: Okay. We need a little bit more —

 

[00:20:31] RH: Yeah, no kidding.

 

[00:20:32] JH: And I was going to ask, do you guys do like another call after they have everything set up and in their house?

 

[00:20:40] ALC: Yes.

 

[00:20:41] MO: Yep. That’s a piece of things too. They get it all set up and then there’s a 30-minute consultation piece in which they can ask questions, kind of just explore the environment with us and we can get some recommendations in that way too,

 

[00:20:55] ALC: Sometimes that happens over the phone after the fact, but usually, that happens like, we set up the space and when we [inaudible 00:21:01] we just don’t like, “Okay. Bye.” We literally walk them through every piece of their space and we show them what it is. We teach them the safety, like we walk them through it all. Because otherwise, it’s like, “Okay! I have all this stuff. What would I do with it?”

 

[00:21:13] JH: Yeah, exactly.

 

[00:21:14] RH: I love it.

 

[00:21:16] JH: You need to like create like a little book or something of like, “Hey! You have this swing so here’s 10 things you can do with the swing and here’s when. “

 

[00:21:23] MO: Exactly.

 

[00:21:25] RH: So cool!

 

[00:21:25] JH: I mean, it’s not a lot of work or anything, so in your spare time.

 

[00:21:28] ALC: Even a little bit. Do you want to do that for us?

 

[00:21:31] RH: Yeah.

 

[00:21:33] JH: Send it to our Instagram.

 

[00:21:36] RH: Yeah.

 

[00:21:36] ALC: That I think is a concern that some parents have, is like, “Hey! If I spend this much money” or like, “The schools I go, we’re going to spend this much, we really need to us it and we need to use it therapeutically.” Otherwise, it’s kind of — the parent may say, “Oh! They’re going to burn out of it.” Just saying they don’t know what else to do with it and [inaudible 00:21:54].

 

[00:21:55] RH: It’s so true though.

 

[00:21:56] ALC: [Inaudible 00:21:56] a couple — what was it like? A month in a family reached out and they’re like, “Well, they don’t use it anymore.” We’re like, “Well, you have all these things. Here’s a ton of different ideas.” I mean, it was a really long email. We nailed like each piece of equipment and what they could do with them. Then of course, [inaudible 00:22:13] just tell me what to do.

 

[00:22:14] RH: Exactly. That’s so helpful. Okay. I want to —

 

[00:22:18] ALC: I think the other thing about it — can I say one more thing?

 

[00:22:20] JH: Please. Yes.

 

[00:22:21] ALC:Sorry. Totally cut you.

 

[00:22:22] JH: No.

 

[00:22:24] ALC: Is that it doesn’t have to be for kids with disabilities. We have found, we did one huge project and the family was like, once they started to fill out our intake paperwork and had our consultation, I’m like, “Oh! I didn’t realize that’s my child’s sensory system and that’s maybe why they do that. But the child is completely functional. They were just creating a space that the kids could get that therapeutic input even though the kids do need specific things or have to have certain space. Like a playroom with a purpose.

 

[00:22:54] JH: That’s good. Playroom with a purpose. Trademark that.

 

[00:22:58] RH: Yes.

 

[00:22:59] ALC: On it.

 

[00:23:01] MO: [Inaudible 00:23:01] 

 

[00:23:03] RH: But I mean, it’s all the rage right now, it’s purposeful play. Kiddos need to be engaged in that purposeful play. Typical kids, neurodiverse kiddos, everyone needs that. Facilitating them and setting up that environment, we just recorded an episode about freeplay and how beneficial it is. I’m like, “Every kid needs this stuff.” Love that. 

 

[00:23:24] MO: Yeah, for sure.

 

[00:23:25] RH: My question is, like from start to finish, how long does a project usually take?

 

[00:23:32] MO: Yeah, I love that question, because it really varies.

 

[00:23:36] RH: Yeah, I figured.

 

[00:23:36] MO: The beauty of it though is we can go as faster or slow as the family needs to. It’s kind of like that OT piece too of meeting the family where they’re at. If you’re ready to kind of start talking about this, but the implementation piece is, you’re not ready or you’re waiting from a grant money for the next cycle, things like that. It can be done in a couple of weeks. It can be done in months. We go at the pace of the family and what they really are seeking. Sometimes we have families that are like, “Hey! It’s Christmas, I want this to be able to reveal to my child at Christmas time.” So then there’s a little bit of a rush there if they reach out. You know, things like that. But we really go at the pace [inaudible 00:24:13]. It kind of just depends. And it depends on availability, information, logistics and that kind of stuff too.

 

As far as like our timeline, we try to respond back to people within 24 hours. It’s always our goal. We’re pretty quick with it, because otherwise, it’s just — I mean, it’s there, we might as well just get to it real quick. Essentially, what you do, you reach out. We send you the first set of intake paperwork, and then they reach back out and they’re like, “Yep. This is the package we want.” So once they said what package they want, we sign a contract and then it’s like, we start talking, “Hey! What is your timeline?” That’s actually in the package. It’s like, “What’s your timeline? When do you want this space done by?” Because then, we can kind of fill that out and let them know like, “That’s a really realistic expectation” or like, “We can’t have this done next week.”

 

[00:25:02] RH: Yeah, for sure.

 

[00:25:02] MO: Kind of thing and explain that to them too.

 

[00:25:05] ALC I think too, it depends on the package they want. Like the third package is going to take a little bit longer than package one where you meet for an hour. It would [inaudible 00:25:13] in person. 

 

[00:25:15] RH: Got you.

 

[00:25:17] JH: Do you guys love going into people’s homes and like putting a space together. I just imagine that would be so fun.

 

[00:25:23] RH: So fun.

 

[00:25:24] JH: So rewarding.

 

[00:25:26] ALC: It’s super satisfying. 

 

[00:25:27] MO:It really is. And the kids’ faces like when it —

 

[Crosstalk 00:25:31] 

 

[00:25:34] RH: It’s like extreme home makeover sensory edition.

 

[00:25:39] MO: Yeah. [Inaudible 00:25:39].

 

[00:25:40] RH: Yes.

 

[00:25:42] JH: Oh! Another idea right at the eye.

 

[00:25:48] MO: Yeah. Really that reaction and that enthusiasm is super duper exciting. I think the other piece of it too is the creativity, like I think sometimes, we can get lost in the logistics of things nowadays. It’s so much paperwork and stuff that it really just lets us explore. It’s also been a learning curve of like, “I’m not a construction worker.” We’ve had to learn some of those skills and take some course. We also partnered with local contractors and —

 

[00:26:13] RH: That’s cool.

 

[00:26:16] MO: Because of different liability and things.

 

[00:26:19] JH: Oh for sure.

 

[00:26:20] RH: Yeah, it makes sense.

 

[00:26:20] MO: The home stuff.

 

[00:26:21] JH: Yes. 

 

[00:26:22] RH: That’s the stuff that probably stops most people from doing this, but you guys have figured it out.

 

[00:26:29] ALC: We try.

 

[00:26:29] MO: And we did it.

 

[00:26:30] ALC: Yeah.

 

[00:26:32] MO: That’s a lot of questions along the way, but —

 

[00:26:34] RH: Okay. Here in Idaho, we have this thing called family direct funds. People have a budget if what they can spend on therapy equipment, therapy. I’m curious if those funds would cover something like this.

 

[00:26:54] ALC: It’s unique. At least in Minnesota and what we’ve kind of come across so far, Colorado, Minnesota where we’ve done waiver-based projects and grant-based project so similar to that. It really depends and our biggest recommendation is talk to whoever the person is who is kind of your case worker or the social worker who’s kind of running that. We always make sure that whoever is kind of handling that for them, they’re in the loop with it. So that way, a family is not expecting something to be covered, and then all of a sudden, they pay the base fee and they start ordering all this equipment. Then they come to find out it’s not. We have had really good luck so far with things being covered. I think the biggest thing is, keeping that open line of communication, so that way, everybody who’s on the team is in the same loop.

 

[00:27:45] JH: Oh, for sure.

 

[00:27:46] RH: Perfect. Okay. That makes sense. That’s kind of what I figured.

 

[00:27:48] ALC: No funds in Idaho be used for anything or is it technically allocated to different pieces. Do you guys know?

 

[00:27:55] JH: It has to be therapeutic. It has to meet some criteria.

 

[00:27:59] RH: I bet that this would be —

 

[00:28:02] JH: I do. I mean — equipment can get covered.

 

[00:28:05] RH: I don’t see why. I mean, if I was a therapist and I was writing a recommendation —

 

[00:28:08] JH: You could probably write it in a way that would get it covered, because it’s that’s how you word when you write it.

 

[00:28:16] MO: So too, that’s the [inaudible 00:28:18] huge, because it really goes through and you can give that to them and say, “This is what we need. This is why we need it. This is occupational therapist making these recommendations to have that background, that mileage. Here it is. Then you can have whoever your primary OT is or your physician sign off on the bottom saying, “Yeah, I agree with it.” I mean, if they do it obviously. If we can get it covered, let’s do it.

 

[00:28:47] RH: Absolutely.

 

[00:28:47] JH: For sure.

 

[ADVERTISEMENT]

 

[00:28:50] RH: We just want to take a minute and talk to you about our company, Harkla. Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs special needs live happy healthy lives. Not only do we accomplish this through the podcast, but we also have therapy products, easy to follow digital courses and the Harkla Sensory Club to try to bring holistic care to you and your family.

 

[00:29:08] JH:Listeners of the All Things Sensory podcast get 10% off their first purchase at Harkla with a discount code, “Sensory.” We’d recommend checking out some of our best-sellers, like the compression sensory swing, weighted blankets or our course on sensory diets. 

 

[00:29:23] RH: Here’s the best part, 1% of each sale gets donated to the University of Washington Autism Center to support autism research and fund scholarships to families in need to receive in-clinic therapy for their child.

 

[00:29:35] JH: Learn more about Harkla and all we have to offer at harkla.co. Don’t forget to use the discount code “sensory” to get 10% off your first purchase. That’s S-E-N-S-O-R-Y for 10% off.

 

[00:29:57] RH: The best part is, all Harkla orders come with a lifetime guarantee and free shipping.

 

[00:30:04] JH: You really can’t beat that.

 

[00:30:05] RH: No.

 

[00:30:06] JH: No, you can’t. Okay. Let’s go back to the show.

 

[EPISODE CONTINUES]

 

[00:30:09] JH: This goes back to the beginning, but I want to know whose idea was it to start the business?

 

[00:30:19] ALC: Originally it was mine as Marlee is pointing over here. It kind of going back to Marlee said. She kind of recapped it for the most part. But the company I was at before, they really provide us a lot of autonomy in recreating spaces, painting, and decorating and turning things to like — going under a platform and turning it into a small space retreat. That kind of suck. Like we really love to take the reins on it. That was something that I really loved about working for that company. 

 

When I did decide to make a job transition, that friend had me really start like kind of prodding. That’s kind of where the first idea [inaudible 00:30:59] and then I brought it to Marlee during COVID and everything. She was really like, “No, this is a great idea and we’re going to do it.”

 

[00:31:05] MO: I think the funny thing is that, the entrepreneurial piece of me, like my grandparents started our family business up in Brainerd 47 or something years ago. Then my dad and mom took over. That piece of like knowing what hard work and reward could bring and having that passion really motivated me too and that it was just a cool unique idea that Alexi had. Matching those two minds together I think is what really blossomed the company and makes it work.

 

[00:31:36] ALC: It’s one of those things where it’s like, I would have probably never started without Marlee. She probably never started it without me. We made a commitment when we started it, when we signed all of our contracts, and business agreements, all that kind of stuff. We made the decision from the get go that if ever for some reason the business came between out friendship, we would end the business and maintain that. I mean, she’s the matron of honor on my wedding. We’re very good friends, coworkers, business partners. To us, that was more important than our business. Like she said, it’s our passion project and we love it. But it’s at the end of the day, it’s also a business.

 

[00:32:16] RH: Yeah, makes sense. That’s cool. It’s so fun talking to other people who are doing OT entrepreneurial things, because I feel like that’s the route that OT is going these days and in the future potentially.

 

[00:32:31] JH: For sure. I don’t know, probably.

 

[00:32:32] MO: Yeah. We just met with another group that was asking these questions about the entrepreneurial piece of things in OT. I was like, if we don’t start looking at that thing, we’re just not benefitting our careers and our [inaudible 00:32:45]. We’re just not really using it to the full fact that we could. It’s actually a clinical field work rotation. I had a couple of school in Minnesota now apparently to connect students off of OT entrepreneurs and have been learning from there.

 

[00:33:00] JH: That’s cool.

 

[00:33:00] MO: [Inaudible 00:33:00] is we connected with a bunch of students about it. 

 

[00:33:04] RH: I love that.

 

[00:33:05] JH: We had a student in the clinic at one point and she got to kind of see both sides of us.

 

[00:33:11] RH: Yeah. She was interested in the business side of it. I was like, “Yeah. Way to go!” That’s super cool.

 

[00:33:18] MO: Do it.

 

[00:33:19] RH: Yes.

 

[00:33:20] JH: Yeah. Start all the things.

 

[00:33:22] RH: Yes. Okay. Next question I have is, we talked about homes. We talked about environments that these kiddos thrive. Do you help set up these sensory spaces in classrooms, in other clinics? I mean, I guess the possibilities are endless, right? 

 

[00:33:43] ALC: Right.

 

[00:33:44] MO: Yeah, it can be any environment to be honest. We coordinated with a couple of schools. And even just like a clinic, like saying like, “Hey! Your clinic just opened. Let’s give you some ideas.” Because sometimes, there are OTs and they’re like, “Yeah. I know what equipment and why it does it, but I don’t understand how — I don’t see that space. How can we do that.” We’ve done a few of those too, where you just give me recommendations and ideas and collaborating and providing them kind of the expertise and vision. 

 

[00:34:14] ALC: Two we’ve worked with a company, who they wanted to be able to bring sensory friendly spaces to all of the events. They do hundreds of events a year. We developed portable sensory space proposal for them.

 

[00:34:28] JH: That’s so cool.

 

[00:34:29] RH: Oh my goodness!

 

[00:34:29] ALC: It’s something that could be put up and taken down. We’ve talked about doing it where like, if a company wants like an actual, like essentially an ice house, where like it’s like an ice house, but it’s full of sensory equipment. A traveling sensory space. We’ve talked about those with a couple of people too.

 

[00:34:47] JH: I love that idea.

 

[00:34:48] RH: You guys, that’s so cool.

 

[00:34:50] JH: I’m just thinking of all the events that we have around this area.

 

[00:34:53] ALC: The ideas are friendly.

 

[00:34:55] RH: I know.

 

[00:34:55] JH: And like if you can just have like sensory pods.

 

[00:34:58] RH: Yes. I love it. Oh my gosh!

 

[00:35:01] ALC: Then too, a kid becomes dysregulated at an event and the parents often like, “Hey! We got to leave.” They have an alternative and don’t have to change the whole plan of the family for one child.

 

[00:35:13] JH: Yeah. They just go take a break.

 

[00:35:15] RH: Okay. I hate to break it to you guys that you’re going to get so busy. You’re just going to ran out all the time. I hate to break it to you because this is awesome.

 

[00:35:23] JH: You’re going to have to make a choice.

 

[00:35:25] MO: Yeah, exactly. Which we’ll deal with.

 

[00:35:30] ALC: We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

 

[00:35:32] RH: Absolutely yes.

 

[00:35:33] JH: As for schools, is it too create like a whole classroom, that sensory friendly or to create a separate room that’s a sensory room for kids to go to?

 

[00:35:47] ALC: Whichever the school needs. I know some school don’t have the luxury of having an OT on site. For those schools being able to do that kind of, you know, I mean, tiers where you’ve got tier one, tier two, tier three. Being able to provide those different services at different rates for the school, if they don’t have an OT on site, you can absolutely provide global school recommendations. But if they do have an OT on site, and they want like a space for that OT to do their work and then they don’t have the time for that OT to really set it up. Well then, we could come in and we can do that for them. Or even a special education classroom.

 

[00:36:25] RH: That’s awesome.

 

[00:36:27] JH: Cool. Sweet.

 

[00:36:28] RH: Yeah. Because I was thinking of like, we have couple of clinics here in Boise that are just speech therapy focus and there is no OTs. I’m like, we all know that these kids thrive with movement and not just sitting in a little white room with a chair. If those clinics could hop on board too and have that collaboration to set up something like this, that would be —

 

[00:36:47] JH: Or doctor’s offices to have like a sensory room.

 

[00:36:51] RH: Yes, everywhere. Chiropractic’s offices. 

 

[00:36:52] MO: Even on waiting rooms.

 

[00:36:54] RH: Yes.

 

[00:36:55] ALC: Yeah, a waiting room, dentist, doctors, all the places kids get dysregulated.

 

[00:37:01] RH: Oh, yeah. Every hospital probably needs this. 

 

[00:37:03] JH: Oh, yeah. I told you guys. 

 

[00:37:07] ALC: Sign us up.

 

[00:37:08] MO: Bring it on. Let’s do it.

 

[00:37:11] JH: Oh, yeah. So many different places for you guys.

 

[00:37:13] RH: Okay. Let’s talk about what is the biggest challenge with like business model with you guys, like what’s the biggest hurdle for you?

 

[00:37:22] MO: Yeah, I think the biggest hurdle — I’ve been thinking about this one for a little bit. I would say, the biggest hurdle overall is to really individualize these different projects. Like yes, that is our thought, but it’s not just a, “Hey! You did one, you’ve done all of them.” It’s a really specialized process. It does require a lot of energy, a lot of time coordination and for the family to trust us too. That piece of thing as well. I think that has been something that’s been alarming for me. What do you think, Alexi?

 

[00:37:56] ALC: I mean, I definitely agree with that. I think, making these spaces individualized as possible. We’re both people who — we want things to sell and we want to make sure we’re providing the best possible options for these families. With like I said, the most bang for your buck. Like we want to be able to give you everything, whatever your budget is. So like, how can we do that? We spend probably too long sitting there and researching and finding the absolute best fit for each of these families that were making these faces for. As much as like we love that, because that obviously, it fills our cup. We love doing it. It takes so much more time out of our personal lives. It’s something that we’re learning to find the balance and give ourselves allocated work hours, instead of —

 

[00:38:46] MO: Time management.

 

[00:38:48] JH: Yep.

 

[00:38:48] ALC: Time management for sure.

 

[00:38:50] RH: Which is hard because you’re working full time and doing this on the side. It’s tough. It is.

 

[00:38:56] ALC: What’s nice about our full-time role though too is we have Fridays off. We’re able to have that be more allocated work day for us.

 

[00:39:03] MO: We’re [inaudible 00:39:03] contractors in our full-time role, so you really like do set your own schedule and coordination and that kind of stuff. If you need a day off, you take the day off and you have that autonomy and authority as well. I think that’s why it also works for us in the role that we’re in now.

 

[00:39:17] JH: For sure.

 

[00:39:18] RH: Absolutely. That’s good.

 

[00:39:19] JH: That’s cool. This question just popped into my head. Have you had any customers that were unhappy with the outcome.

 

[00:39:27] ALC: Yeah. I think with any business, there are families who have different expectations than maybe what they were anticipating getting. Honestly, at the end of the day, for those families, it’s more of a miscommunication than anything, where we had one family who thought that our edited proposal was the final draft. They thought they had no say to each other, kind of maneuver it. In that kind of situation, it’s more so just explain to them like, “Oh no! When you look back at it, [inaudible 00:39:58] suggestion.” Like, “What about it don’t you like?” We just go back through and we try to problem solve with them. Because for us, like we said, collaboration is huge. We want this to be a space that they want to have. Like you’re putting your money, and your time and your energy into this area for your family. We want it to be something you’re actually — what don’t you like about it? Because [inaudible 00:40:21] they get work.

 

[00:40:22] MO: It’s a very team-based effort too.

 

[00:40:24] ALC: Yeah.

 

[00:40:25] MO:  From the start to the finish, like when you do [inaudible 00:40:27] taking it in, consulting with us. But also too, when you we come into your home, like there is expectation of like this space being cleared out, and coordinating and that kind of stuff too. Which we feel it’s pretty laid out directly on our website and it’s pretty openly communicated. Like you know, miscommunications, they happen amongst everybody and every business and stuff like that. So you work through them, you problem solve.

 

[00:40:48] RH: Absolutely! You got to be flexible.

 

[00:40:52] JH: That’s good. 

 

[00:40:54] RH: Exactly.

 

[00:40:54] MO: Flexible thinkers.

 

[00:40:54] ALC: Yeah.

 

[00:40:55] JH: Yep. That’s part of the job.

 

[00:40:57] RH: [Inaudible 00:40:57] question. Okay. This is new, this is seven months in. Like where do you guys see yourself in like a year? 

 

[00:41:06] MO: We’re big dreamers.

 

[00:41:07] ALC: We literally have — we have a list, we have a shared goal. In our list, we have like, dream big tab. It’s like all the things that we’d love to do. I think in the near future, some of those activities and task of like creating that fourth package, right? So being able to provide that whole programming piece and really effectively using the therapeutic tools that are integrated are huge dream of our system. Time to do a mission trip and to integrate what we wanted in foreign country or third-world country at an orphanage or something like that, where we could really — where we could really — where we would donate it and we would go head it up for them. We would really drive it home and like teach them how to use it and why it’s important. 

 

That would be like our biggest dream big thing is [inaudible 00:41:52]. In the meantime, I think just serving as many families as we can. Really giving the name out there, our services and what we can do for those families and meeting them on that individualistic realm of whether that’s a family, a school or clinics within the communities. 

 

Super short-term, we’re looking at developing — we’re starting to develop our resource packet for families, where we would go through and essentially have different people that we’ve done lives with, and that we’ve consulted with. It’s group of companies that we’ve had worked with and have ordered through. Where if they need additional services or they need other products in the future, or activity recommendations for their families, they can look back at this list that we provided them, this packet. They can go through and they have it. It’s all right there and it takes the [inaudible 00:42:41]

 

[00:42:42] JH: That’s perfect.

 

[00:42:44] RH: I think we need to kind of partner with Harkla.

 

[00:42:46] JH: I know. I already wrote that down that you guys need some Harkla equipment.

 

[00:42:50] RH: We need to send you some compression swings and hugs and stuff you guys should try out. 

 

[00:42:54] JH: You’re going to get an email about that.

 

[Crosstalk 00:42:58] 

 

[00:42:59] MO: Yeah, we would love that. 

 

[00:43:01] ALC: We actually have ordered from Harkla for some of our spaces.

 

[00:43:04] RH: Awesome.

 

[00:43:07] MO: The compression swing is like my favorite.

 

[00:43:08] RH: Oh, me too.

 

[00:43:09] JH: Yes.

 

[00:43:10] MO: I could get it for myself.

 

[00:43:11] RH: I really literally on our sensory break between podcast and I’m like swinging it off the wall and, oh, it’s the best.

 

[00:43:19] MO: Yep.

 

[00:43:19] JH: Oh! It’s so good.

 

[00:43:20] MO: All for it. 

 

[00:43:20] JH: Perfect. Okay.

 

[00:43:25] RH: How can people connect with you, reach out to you, work with you, just soak up all of the goodness that you have to offer.

 

[00:43:33] ALC: We’re on all of the social medias. We have a SENSE-ational Spaces Facebook page, an Instagram. Within both of those, we actually are constantly posting Tip Tuesdays, Different Fact Fridays. We go through and we try to make reels. We’re working on doing more of those to help show families what they can do, how they can use the equipment. Even if they don’t want to use our service, but they just want more ideas, they can go use our pages as a resource, which is a great option. Otherwise, thesenseationalspaces@gmail.com is our email. Then our website is senseationalspaces.com. We try to make everything super easy, super straightforward. But it’s sense, as in your senses -ational. It’s not just the word sensational.

 

[00:44:22] JH: Perfect, good. Good clarification. Okay. Do you guys have a piece of advice that you can give to our listeners. It’s a mixture of therapist, educators, parents.

 

[00:44:34] MO: I would say, my biggest piece of advice for everyone and this can kind of go to like any profession, any parent. Trusting your gut, go for it, believe in yourself. I think that’s something we often are second guessing ourselves and thinking we can’t do things that we can. Or just down on ourselves and thinking that we’re failing. I know a lot of parents have said that to us this year. You’re not. You’re doing the best you can and just keep going. Start that company if you want to start that company. Bring that kid too on OT for an eval or even questioning little things. Just go for it. Your gut is very strong and it knows more than [inaudible 00:45:11] does. 

 

[00:45:13] RH: I love that. Yeah. 

 

[00:45:14] ALC: Trusting your gut is huge. I think one thing too is, as parents, like you know your child the best, but the child also knows themselves pretty darn well. If they’re doing something, they’re probably doing it for a reason. Taking that and kind of seeing, what are they doing and why my baby do that. If they constantly chewing on their pen caps or putting random things in their mouth, they’re probably seeking of some sort of that oral [inaudible 00:45:42]. Come to them in a different way. If they’re hitting, and they’re punching, and they’re kicking and doing all that kind of stuff, they’re probably seeking some type of input that [inaudible 00:45:52]. How can we give it to them in a health way?

 

Kind of take what they’re doing and try to learn from it. If you can’t figure it out, go to somebody who you think might be able to support you in that, whether it be OT, PT, speech, whoever and try to get that input. Because like Marlee said, trust your gut. If you’re seeing something and you’re thinking something’s going on, there probably something going on and [inaudible 00:46:17] things out. No kid is a bad kid. They don’t want to be bad. Just really believing that within our society too, especially with everything going on. Trusting in our kids and knowing that they’re doing the best they can to and nobody is trying to be bad. Let’s try to meet them where they’re at and give them the skillset that they need.

 

[00:46:35] RH: I love it.

 

[00:46:36] JH: We’re like all the same.

 

[00:46:37] RH: I know. It’s so cool. You can have this conversation, you’re like, “Yes!”

 

[00:46:43] JH: They get it.

 

[00:46:44] RH: Yes. Like right on.

 

[00:46:47] ALC: We have forever been like listening to your guys’ podcast and following your content and we’ll like text each other and I’m about to send it over but, “Did you see this one? Did you see this? Oh my gosh! You got to listen to this. Oh! Did you know this? Oh! I learned this.” It’s just been such a cool environment and learning from you guys. It’s just been such a blessing to be on today with this.

 

[00:47:09] JH: Yes. Super soaked.

 

[00:47:10] RH: Okay. Well, on that note, do you guys have any questions for us or anything?

 

[00:47:14] MO: Okay. We have [inaudible 00:47:14]. I guess, one of the question that we had kind of just like — first things first, do you guys still treat at all or are you now just with Harkla? What kind of is your primary role? Your occupation? What’s your role?

 

[00:47:30] RH: Oh my gosh! You go first.

 

[00:47:32] JH: I stopped treating at the end of February, just because I felt a little burned out and I wanted to focus on the role within Harkla and continue working on the podcast, and courses, stuff like that. I’m not treating anymore. I think I have a vision of treating some day in the future, but it’s going to look differently than what I was doing before.

 

[00:48:01] RH: Yeah. I went on maternity leave in September, thinking I was going to go back in a couple of months. A lot happened on maternity leave. I bought a new business, we sold the business, we are now with Harkla. I’m loving being home with my kiddo and working from home and like treating him. 

 

[00:48:24] MO:So you are kind of.

 

[00:48:25] RH: Yeah. I think it would be a lot harder to not be in the clinic right now if I didn’t have a kiddo. But I definitely miss it. I miss my kiddos. But so much of the stuff that we do like we have consults with family members inside of the club and we still get to like tap into that creative side that we love so much and we’re so good at. We’re not treating one-on-one, but we are still helping a ton of families.

 

[00:48:51] JH: In a different way.

 

[00:48:53] RH: Therapist who do help families. In kind of around that way, yeah, we’re not treating right now.

 

[00:49:01] ALC: What you’re doing though is so important. That’s one of the things that we’re so huge on. Just both of us in our practice and in our business is that parent education piece. That’s a huge part of how SENSE-ational Spaces started was, we want the parents to be able to take it and carry it over at home.

 

[00:49:18] RH: They have too.

 

[00:49:19] ALC: [Inaudible 00:49:19] tools.

 

[Crosstalk 00:49:20]

 

[00:49:22] RH: That was really lacking in the clinic setting. That’s why we started the podcast to begin with. But so many families and so many people, they don’t necessarily — they will come to us if they really want the help. They will implement the strategies that we suggest if they really want it.

 

[00:49:43] JH: If they’re ready.

 

[00:49:44] RH: When they’re ready, yeah. But often times, in the clinic, we wouldn’t see that follow through and that carry over. But when people search us and they find us, and they listen like they’re actually ready to do the work. Sometimes it jus takes time for them to realize that, like when they’re ready. Yeah, it’s been kind of interesting. It’s an interesting dynamic.

 

[00:50:05] ALC: What would be your guys’ biggest piece of advice. I’m just brainstorming here, because you guys said, “Oh! You’re going to take off” and we’re like, “Yeah! That’s great.” But also that, like logistical piece of that, I’m an [inaudible 00:50:15] so we’re like — there’s like some pieces that are brave the way we function. It’s like, what would be your biggest piece of advice when juggling multiple roles with the OT community? How do you do it?

 

[00:50:29] RH: I would say, well, you’re independent contractors, so I would say, communicate with any jobs that you take on clinic-setting wise or patient-based and tell them what you do. That way, they know that you also do this and you treat their kiddo. That communication is helpful. But as far as balance, I struggle with that to be honest.

 

[00:50:51] JH: I know.

 

[00:50:52] RH: I take on a lot. That’s just my personality and I love it, but being a mom has really opened my eyes to be like, “I need to be able to say no.” I would say, learn to say no and say no graciously. 

 

[00:51:08] JH: Know what your like top three priorities are, so you can say no to the things that don’t fit in there, for sure.

 

[00:51:14] RH: What would you say?

 

[00:51:15] JH: Well, I would just say from like a business standpoint, one of the things that we’re really shitty about was like finances of like managing our books for taxes and stuff. That was like a whole new world for us, because we’re always W-2 employees, so I don’t know how that is on your end. But I just remember being like, “Oh! That sucks.”

 

[00:51:34] RH: Yes. That’s not our area of expertise, so we should have hired it out, but we didn’t know. We were new. We didn’t know that.

 

[00:51:41] JH: I also think as you guys are growing, if you can hire someone to help like an assistant.

 

[00:51:48] RH: Definitely.

 

[00:51:49] JH: That is worth investing in for sure.

 

[00:51:51] RH: That’s great. Listen to her. Don’t listen to me.

 

[00:51:54] JH: You hired an assistant though for sensational [inaudible 00:51:56].

 

[00:51:57] RH: I know, but still —

 

[00:51:58] JH: You need another one.

 

[00:51:58] RH: I know. I’m glad that you brought that up because that’s huge. 

 

[00:52:04] ALC: The three things that you mentioned, having those three top priorities really could help you focus and prioritize what’s going on within your life and to only bring things to the table that are really going to provide and bring positive to those three aspects I think really helps me at least. I’m not, “Oh! It’s great. I’m prioritizing.” So that would be beneficial. Said we have a list.

 

[00:52:25] JH: I mean, I think — we have a list as well, so it’s just a matter of like when can we fit that in, because we do all of the things.

 

[00:52:31] RH: We do. We have so many things. It’s crazy. It’s good that you were in a business, you’re in a field that you’re motivated by, that you wanted to do all these things. I mean, if I was sitting in a desk job all day not doing anything that meant anything to me, I’d be, “What’s my purpose in life?”

 

[00:52:48] JH: Be miserable.

 

[00:52:49] ALC: We could talk all day about this stuff.

 

[00:52:50] RH: We could. I know.

 

[00:52:52] JH: I know. You guys are amazing. I’m so glad we connected, we met. Oh! I’m so glad we did this.

 

[00:52:58] RH: Yes, me too. This was great. Thank you, ladies so much.

 

[00:53:00] JH: Thank you. 

 

[00:53:01] ALC: Thank you.

 

[00:53:03] MO: Thank you.

 

[00:53:03] ALC: Have a good night.

 

[00:53:04] JH: You guys have a good night too.

 

[00:53:05] RH: Bye.

 

[00:53:05] JH: Bye.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[00:53:07] JH: Oh my gosh! I love them so much.

 

[00:53:08] RH: I feel like we are talking to ourselves.

 

[00:53:10] JH: I know.

 

[00:53:10] RH: It was awesome.

 

[00:53:11] JH:They’re so cool.

 

[00:53:13] RH: So fun changing the world.

 

[00:53:15] JH: I love what — they are going to get big and they’re going to be like virtual and they’re going to just be talking to people all over the world.

 

[00:53:21] RH: Oh my gosh! Amazing. They’re doing amazing things. We hope that if you are in need of services like theirs —

 

[00:53:27] JH: Which you are.

 

[00:53:28] RH: Everybody is. Just take advantage, chat with them, meet with them. I’m a therapist and I even want to be like, “Hey! What would you recommend?”

 

[00:53:37] JH: I know. That’s what I was just thinking. I was like, “Do you guys can tell me what to do in my house?”

 

[00:53:41] RH: It’s so collaborative and just to have an outsider’s perspective. I can’t do a CAD drawing of the space. I can visualize that. Like that’s not my area of expertise.

 

[00:53:50] JH: Ah! They’re amazing. Make sure you go follow them on Instagram, SENSE-ational Spaces. 

 

[00:54:02] RH: So good, follow them, tag us on Instagram, take a screenshot, let us know that you listened, tag SENSE-ational Spaces. These gals are fantastic. I don’t know about you, but I could just feel their excitement and their energy radiating.

 

[00:54:16] JH: I know. They were great. They just got done with like a whole day of treatment, they’re still at their clinic, the Rockwell behind them. They are killing it.

 

[00:54:23] RH: It’s so cool. Hope you enjoyed this. Leave a review on iTunes and we will be back next week.

 

[00:54:31] JH: Okay. Bye.

 

 

[00:54:32] RH: Thank you so much for listening to All Thing Sensory by Harka. If you want more information on anything we mentioned in the show, head over to harkla.co/podcast to get all of the show notes. 

 

[00:54:44] JH:We always have the show notes and links, plus full transcripts to make following along as easy as possible for everyone. If you have followed up questions, the best place to ask those is in the comments on the show notes or message us on our Instagram account, which is at @harkla_family. If you just search Harkla, you’ll find us.

 

[00:55:04] RH:Like we mentioned before, our podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla, whether it’s for one of our digital courses, one of our sensory swings, the discount code SENSORY will save you 10%. That code is S-E-N-S-O-R-Y. Head over to harkla.co/sensory to use that code right now so you don’t forget.

 

[00:55:26] JH:We’re so excited to work together to help create confident kids all over the world and work towards a happier healthier life.

 

[00:55:33] RH: All right. We’ll talk to you guys next week.

 

Just a friendly reminder, this is general information related to occupational therapy, pediatrics and sensory integration. We do not know you or your child, therefore, we do not know any specific needs. Therefore, you should always refer back to your pediatrician and occupational therapist for mor information.

 

BORING, BUT NECESSARY LEGAL DISCLAIMERS

While we make every effort to share correct information, we are still learning. We will double check all of our facts but realize that medicine is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor / therapist may have a different way of doing things from another. We are simply presenting our views and opinions on how to address common sensory challenges, health related difficulties and what we have found to be beneficial that will be as evidenced based as possible. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or your children. Consult your child’s pediatrician/ therapist for any medical issues that he or she may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Rachel Harrington, Harkla, Jessica Hill, or any guests or contributors to the podcast, as well as any employees, associates, or affiliates of Harkla, be responsible for damages arising from use of the podcast.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.


This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing “standard of care” in a legal sense or as a basis for expert witness testimony. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of any statements or opinions made on the podcast.

Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC
Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC

Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC and Jessica Hill, COTA/L both Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA). They have been working with children for over 6 years in outpatient settings. Rachel and Jessica specialize in creating easy-to-digest, actionable content that families can use to help their child's progress at home. Rachel and Jessica are the in-house experts, content creators, and podcast hosts at Harkla! To learn more about Rachel and Jessica, visit the Harkla About Us Page. Make sure to listen to their weekly podcast, All Things Sensory by Harkla for actionable, fun advice on child development.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in All Things Sensory by Harkla

Tactile Processing and Tolerating Clothing Textures
#171 - Tactile Processing and Tolerating Clothing Textures

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC September 22, 2021

Read More
#170 - A Conversation Around Parenting & Neurodiversity with Megan from On The Hard Days
#170 - A Conversation Around Parenting & Neurodiversity with Megan from On The Hard Days

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC September 15, 2021

Read More
#169 - Sensory Strategies for Kids Who Struggle With Haircuts
#169 - Sensory Strategies for Kids Who Struggle With Haircuts

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC September 08, 2021

Read More