Paula Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Speech-Language Pathologist, CFY Supervisor

Paula has been a speech-language pathologist since 2010, receiving her M.S. in speech-language pathology from Nova Southeastern University. She is a credentialed evaluator and provider for the Illinois Early Intervention system & holds a school service personnel certificate from the Illinois State Board of Education. Paula is certified by The Hanen Centre in “It Takes Two to Talk” and “More Than Words.” She is passionate about empowering parents to help their children by providing relationship-based, play-based, and routines-based strategies to help their children progress. Her areas of interest & expertise include autism spectrum disorder, language delays/disorders, and speech sound disorders. Paula lives in Washington, IL with her husband and children, one with autism and one with both autism and cerebral palsy. Parenting kids with disabilities has given her a perspective that helps her meet families where they are and understand some of the unique challenges of raising kids with extra needs. Paula provides clinic-based services as well as home-based services to maximize the progress of young children by working with their families in their natural environment.

An 8-week program for children age 4-5 with sensory processing differences

Children with sensory processing differences have difficulty with regulation, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to interact with the world around them. Our Sensory Explorers group targets regulation in order to build engagement! This group is led by pediatric occupational therapist Mackenzie Baldock and developmental therapist/PLAY Project Consultant Brenna Thompson, both of whom specialize in using developmentally appropriate strategies to support children so they can learn new skills. Group meets once/week for 60 minutes.

Wondering if this class is appropriate for your child? Some characteristics of kids who benefit: easily frustrated with play, repetitive play, difficulty sitting/keeping still to engage in play, refuses to allow others to engage in play, unable to be messy, overly busy, quickly overwhelmed in a busy environment, picky eater, difficulty tolerating grooming/dressing/diapering routines, struggles with transitions/following a group plan/routine. 

Goals of the group include:

  • Child participating in a variety of sensory play activities
  • Engaging socially with others in the group
  • Providing a non threatening environment where children can experience new sensations with the support of a pediatric Occupational Therapist and PLAY Project consultant
  • Providing personalized resources to caregivers, so they better understand the sensory system and learn strategies to assist their child with regulation outside of group
  • Opportunity to meet with other local families

GROUP MEETS for 8 weeks:  Caregivers must stay on the premises to support their child and learn helpful strategies. Children will separate from caregivers for the session; caregivers can socialize at our coffee bar in the lobby (we will also provide a few toys for siblings to play). Caregiver education is a key component of this program. 


OPTIONAL Summary Report available at close of session. This 2 page report will summarize your child’s participation in the class and provide helpful sensory strategies to increase their participation in activities. This report could be given to teachers in classrooms & daycares or utilized to help educate other caregivers about ways to help your child participate. This option includes a 30 minute Zoom meeting with Brenna and MacKenzie to review the report and discuss your child’s progress in Sensory Explorers. COST: $100 due at sign up