Health—General & Rehabilitative

THE STAR CENTER FOUNDATION

Tranforming health and wellness through sensory processing.

aka STAR Institute for Sensory Processing   |   Centennial, CO   |  https://www.spdstar.org

Mission

STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) provides premier treatment, education, and research for children, adolescents, and adults with SPD. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for children, adolescents and adults with SPD, and their families by providing:
- Comprehensive assessment and effective intervention for Sensory Processing Disorder
- Rigorous research with our collaborating university-based research partners
- Education for caregivers, pediatric professionals, and educators; and
- Advocacy for official recognition of SPD worldwide.

Ruling year info

2011

Executive Director

Virginia Spielmann

Main address

6911 South Yosemite Street

Centennial, CO 80112 USA

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Formerly known as

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

STAR Center

STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder

EIN

27-4386097

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (E05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every event that takes place in our lives has a sensory component. We process and integrate sensation at a neurological level all the time, every day, from birth and throughout the lifespan. When sensory processing is disordered or dysfunctional it can cause/contribute to developmental delay, challenges with social communication, difficulties at home and at school, disrupted attachment , mental illness and other challenges. Sensory processing is poorly understand and often represented incorrectly. A better understanding of the development and mechanisms of sensory processing will improve outcomes in healthcare, education and rehabilitation throughout the lifespan.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Occupational Therapy for Children

The goal of occupational therapy for children with disordered sensory processing is to support development of healthy sensory processing, educate the child and the family and build healthy coping strategies for wellness and success. Occupational Therapy can help children develop capacity to accurately detect, regulate, and interpret sensations, and execute appropriate motor and behavioral responses to sensations. This builds psychological well-being, facilitates participation and enables children to perform everyday activities in a functional manner. For children, the focus is on play: playing with parents, playing with siblings and playing with friends, enjoying success in school and completing daily routines such as eating, dressing, sleeping with satisfaction, and enjoying a healthy fulfilling family life. Parents are coached to work through the natural ups and downs of life with their child so they can live more joyfully together.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Families

Feeding Therapy at SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute is referred to as coming to “Food School.” The Feeding Therapists are Food School Teachers and our job is to help infants and children learn how to eat better. But it is not just children who are in Food School. Parents in our program are an active part of every Food School Meal/Session.

The SOS Approach to Feeding is a Play-Based program that teaches children to eat at a pace that respects their readiness to progress through learning the 32 different steps involved in the task of eating. We teach the children the skills they need in order to eat a wide variety of food types and textures using the natural, social reinforcement of playing with the food and interacting with adults.

For infants and toddlers, the SOS Approach to Feeding also uses developmental strategies and social engagement with parents to help the baby eat and grow better. The Food School offers Individual, Group, and Infant Therapies.

Our Clinic Director, Dr. Kay Toomey, is recognized around the world as one of the leading experts in understanding and treating infants and children with feeding and eating difficulties.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Families

The speech and language pathologists at STAR Institute provide services to help children communicate. We offer consultations, comprehensive evaluations and individual therapy services. Our speech pathologists believe in using play-based, natural interactions to address a variety of issues.

They are trained to integrate a sensory-based approach to help children with SPD build the foundations needed to develop engagement and attention on which to build and expand communication skills.

Developing communication skills is one of the most important elements to socializing and creating valuable relationships. Our goal is to help children to become successful communicators and independent language learners by tailoring our programs specific to each child's needs.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Using short-term, solution-focused methods, we help family members identify and alleviate problems as needed and desired. Clients leave with enhanced skills and strategies to independently address current and future family challenges. One focus and expertise of our social worker is advocacy related to school issues.

Our Parent Coaching program offers individual coaching for parents, grandparents, nannies or whoever is responsible for the child’s care. We find that parents often benefit from short-term coaching around specific behavioral issues.

Other domains for family coaching and counseling include:
- Managing positive and negative behaviors in individuals with sensory challenges
- Balancing positive interactions between children with sensory issues and their caregivers
- Promoting well-being when “difficult” behaviors are exhibited

Coaching and/or counseling services are usually short term (1 to 20 sessions) and may be provided to children, couples, individual adults or families as a whole.

Population(s) Served
Adults

A growing body of scientific research suggests that the human brain remains capable of change and adaptation at any age. What this means for adults and older children with SPD is that they, too, can benefit from intervention for their sensory challenges.

Effective services for adults and older adolescents include direct therapy, home programs, education, and/or accommodations. Many adults do well with evaluation and consultation for treatment. We do not put adults into the same equipment we use with children, but we provide the consultation they need to treat themselves. Often we can prepare a home program using some equipment such as Interactive Metronome at home, Integrated Listening Systems at home, proprioceptive activities (resistive weight bearing) and other activities designed to raise the adult’s threshold to sensation and normalize his/her reactions.

In direct treatment, therapy improves sensory processing and decreases sensory symptoms. Specific sensory inputs such as tactile stimulation, movement, auditory input, and/or other sensory experiences are utilized to normalize the client’s specific symptoms.

Adults who have never before experienced heights, touch, or movement with comfort can become much more successful and happy during those activities.

Since we opened the STAR Institute’s Adolescent and Adult Program, we have seen a number of adults with subtle autism spectrum disorders, who were never appropriately diagnosed or treated as children. These individuals have lived life as best they could, but never felt “normal.” They have done their best and in some ways have been able to achieve success professionally.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents (13-19 years)

STAR Institute provides clinicians with a unique opportunity to receive training in assessment and intervention for Sensory Processing Disorder during intensive, one-week programs at the STAR Institute in Denver, Colorado. Level 1 Intensive Mentorships include a combination of didactic lecture sessions by researchers at STAR Institute and mentored clinical experiences.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

STAR Institute provides clinicians with a unique opportunity to receive training in assessment and intervention for Sensory Processing Disorder during intensive, one-week programs at the STAR Institute in Denver, Colorado.

STAR Institute provides clinicians with a unique opportunity to receive training in assessment and intervention for Sensory Processing Disorder during intensive, one-week programs at the STAR Institute in Denver, Colorado. Level 2 Intensive Mentorships provide participants with the opportunity to apply knowledge from the Level 1 Intensive Mentorship by treating STAR Institute clients and participate in active mentoring from the STAR Institute faculty.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

SPD University has the latest online courses on Sensory Processing Disorder. SPDU offers a rich set of e-learning courses for professionals and parents that is accessible 24/7. Over 70 online courses are currently available.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

This is a 2-3 day symposium featuring the most recent SPD information, research and strategies in a different U.S. location each year. In 2017, the symposium will be held in Denver on October 6 & 7, highlighting the research accomplishments of the SPD Scientific Workgroup and strategy presentations by clinical experts in the field.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

The STAR Institute Research Center is committed to enhancing the quality of life for children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and their families by conducting and collaborating in rigorous research into the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of SPD.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

Where we work

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

To improve quality of life across the lifespan by promoting sensory health and wellness. • Generating research that helps us understand sensory processing and attributes of effective, evidence-based intervention, • treatment that pioneers and provides best-practice interventions throughout the lifespan, and • education that shares what we know with practitioners, educators, advocates and parents.

Education: Developing and delivering the most up to date information on research and treatment to professionals, families and individuals on healthy and disordered sensory processing. Research: Conducting, and collaborating in, rigorous research into sensory processing function and dysfunction, with the overarching goal of enhancing health wellness and quality of life for children and adults and their families. • Uniquely positioned to fulfil this mission because the clinical education and research programs are all housed under the same umbrella organization. Treatment: Recognized as the epicenter in the field of sensory processing. Areas of focus include: early intervention / early childhood development, feeding, attention deficit disorder, autism, neurodevelopmental disorders, trauma, mental health, anxiety, and more. At STAR Institute, treatment reflects the core philosophy: sensory processing, relationships and regulation are inextricably linked and underpin health and wellness, participation and function.

In 2019 we secured our own permanent building and our staff of 35 moved into this new space which will become a state of the art treatment, research and advocacy center by January 2021. See below for achievements in 2019. With the addition of our building we can treat more children, hire more staff, gain greater financial stability, do more research and educate more parents and professionals around the world.

Number of direct treatment services provided to individuals across the lifespan from all socio-economic and diagnostic groups. Number of parents trained from all socio-economic and diagnostic groups. Number of professional trainings delivered and number of professionals who have pursued certification in the STAR Frame of Reference. Number of research papers published, text books contributed to, research project consultations etc. Influencing policy making at state and federal level.

In 2019 STAR served more than 600 clients, and supported more than 400 parents, we launched a new school readiness program and worked with more local and national charities than ever before. We have already participated in more than 60 articles, and 25 books and book chapters. We continue to research treatment effectiveness and the mechanisms of sensory processing. In 2019 more than 150,000 people access our free online resources and more than 800 people attended web based trainings. Our annual symposium exhibited 12 posters, had 300 live attendees and 265 online views.

Financials

THE STAR CENTER FOUNDATION
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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THE STAR CENTER FOUNDATION

Board of directors
as of 7/27/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Leigh Kahn

Ron Blair

Pam Savage Sims

Ed Goldson, MD

Tameeka Smith

Ki'i Powell, PhD

Kris Tower

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/22/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Keywords

Sensory, SPD, Sensory Integration, Occupational Therapy, Pediatrics