In 1989, Janet Lachowsky, OTR/L MIS, an occupational therapist, wanted to provide a unique type of therapy for Central Virginia's children with sensory and learning disorders. She founded Richmond Therapy Consultants, Virginia's first freestanding clinic for Sensory Integration Therapy. This treatment approach uses neurodevelopmental methods to help challenged children perceive and respond to sensory experiences in a more typical and consistent fashion.
In 1998, the clinic moved from its small original location to the current site in Midlothian. The new building was much larger. In fact, it wasn't even an office--it had originally been built as a private residence. With over twenty-three hundred square feet of indoor space and five acres of land, Janet could now provide a much wider variety of movement therapies than had previously been possible in the old setting. Janet wanted the new facility--which today includes both Richmond Therapy and Spiritos School--to be as homelike as possible. Happily, most of the children who have come for treatment refer to the clinic as "Janet's House". Today, we continue to take pride in and foster this comfortable atmosphere.
A special child sparked Janet's interest in the educational needs of children with autism. In 1999, a youngster named Matthew began coming to Richmond therapy. Although his extreme hypersensitivity to touch and sound rapidly improved with treatment, problems with language and social interaction continued. Matthew was subsequently diagnosed with autism. Via the Internet, Matthew's mother discovered that educational programs based upon Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) have been quite successful with children with autism. Together, she and Janet investigated the ABA approach and incorporated it into Matthew's therapeutic program. (Janet later received extensive training in ABA methods, and she will soon be fully credentialed as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.) Matthew made impressive gains. Before moving to another state, his mother wrote to Janet,
"I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the excellent work you have done with Matthew. The commitment, caring and positive reinforcement given by all has made a difference for my son." Vivian D.