Therapy center for kids

(First published in the September 20, 2018 issue of City Pages)

Amanda Houdek runs eight children’s therapy clinics in the state, the most recent opening in her hometown of Wausau


CI Pediatric Therapy speech therapist Lauren Blume and owner Amanda Houdek, at the center’s new office in downtown Wausau.

CI Pediatric Therapy Centers opened in downtown Wausau last week, making Wausau the eighth location for the Madison-based company. For owner and speech pathologist Amanda Houdek, it’s a return to the city she grew up in before moving to Madison.

Houdek previously had worked in various schools as a speech pathologist. “I loved the job but never felt like I was quite making the impact that I could,” she says. “I love the tough kids—the kids that have been told they’ve hit a plateau, that they can’t make progress anymore.”

She left the school setting to work in private practice, but again, felt she wasn’t able to spend enough time with the kids she really wanted to help. So in 2016, Houdek opened her own clinic in a rented room in Madison. The clinic took off as families coming to see Houdek saw their children thrive, she says.

“My philosophy and the whole clinic philosophy has been built around thinking outside the box and continue supporting children so they can continue to flourish,” she says.

While her Madison speech therapy office was getting busy, parents were finding it tricky to go to Houdek for speech therapy, then another location for physical therapy and yet another for occupational therapy, she says. “So we decided to bring it all under one roof,” she says. “That’s when we saw the amazing results. Instead of looking at a child under one lens we are able to look at the child as a whole.”

Her business branched out from there. CI Pediatric Therapy Centers handles a large array of diverse needs including kids with autism, Down Syndrome, and cerebral palsy, for example, and less common genetic conditions.

“We have children who are nonverbal or non-ambulatory… We have children who are in the gifted and talented program that are working on simple articulation sounds. We strive to be a place for all,” Houdek says.

Children can be referred by physicians, the Birth to Three program and word of mouth, she says. For insurance coverage, they work with some state HMOs and are trying to expand that in the Wausau area.

Houdek describes her staff as “kind, forward-thinking people.” Lauren Blume, a speech therapist also from Wausau, moved back here from working in their Madison office and will manage the Wausau clinic for Houdek.

The Wausau branch employs speech, occupational and physical therapists who serve children ages birth to 21 years old. CI Pediatric Therapy Centers serves roughly 700 families in the Madison area alone. They have satellite offices around Madison, Janesville, Waunakee and now Wausau. “This is the place that raised me, that made me. It feels so good and rewarding to be able to come back here and be surrounded by the people that taught me and led me,” Houdek says.

CI Pediatric Therapy Centers is located at Suite 305 in Washington Square, at 300 Third St. in downtown Wausau, and is open Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. For more information call 608-819-6394 ext. 1006 or email [email protected].