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Answers to Your Questions about Running Cedar Therapies

Helping Kids and Teens to Play, Problem-Solve, and Participate

How should I prepare my child or teen before their outdoor therapy session?

Getting prepared is easy, just a few simple items make a big difference. It’s helpful if you send your child with a backpack for their outdoor adventure. To prepare for a range of situations, in the backpack put a rain jacket, extra set of clothing, and a water bottle. 


Since we’re outdoors, make sure your child has on sunscreen and insect repellent before they come. We’ll have some extra in case you forget, but it’s best if you eliminate this step using your preferred products before you come.  


Finally, select the right clothing. See next question for specifics on that.

What should my child wear for their outdoor therapy sessions with Running Cedar?

Since we meet in a variety of weather conditions, having the right clothing makes a big difference. 


From years of outdoor experience, here are our top tips:

  • Consider getting your clothing treated with insect shield. There is a company that will do this for you. You mail in your bag of clothing and it returns ready to keep those annoying mosquitos and ticks away. Find out more information here. 


  • Wear closed-toe shoes to protect the feet during wooded adventures. For water days at the creek or pond, simply add sandals to your child’s backpack. 


  • When it’s wet and chilly, avoid cotton clothing because this type of fabric draws heat out of the body. For instance, when it’s cold, it’s better to wear fleece or polyester track pants instead of jeans. 

Wear socks made of synthetic materials such as athletic or wool hiking socks to prevent blisters. Here is a link to one of our favorite options.

What do parents do during sessions?

For safety reasons, we ask parents to stay on the property during individual sessions. However, this is going to be your favorite time of the week!  If your child is not using it for therapy, you’re free to enjoy the trails or the tent. Or, catch some R&R on the special parent-only hammock. Help yourself to tea in the kitchenette and find a cozy spot to refresh yourself in the beauty of our location. 


If your child or teen is participating in a group session, we’ll already have multiple adults onsite. This means you're free to take advantage of the amenities on our property or take the 5-minute drive to downtown Hillsborough for the 2 hours of your child’s group.

Is a physician's order needed for the PT or OT services with Running Cedar?

No, in NC we are able to provide therapy without a doctor’s order. However, please note that if you are going to seek reimbursement through out-of-network benefits, some insurances require a physician’s order before they will cover any services. Please note, we are a cash-only therapy practice meaning you’ll need to pay upfront for your therapy services via check, credit card, or cash. Upon request, we’re happy to provide a superbill receipt, but we can offer no additional help with insurance reimbursement at this time.

What happens when the weather is bad?

Building resilience and adapting to changing conditions is a powerful aspect of offering therapy in nature. 


We limit our services during the summer due to heat being such a challenge. So, during the summer months, we offer individual sessions but not groups. When days do end up being a little warmer, we spend more time in the cool woods, pond, and creek. When it’s chilly, we have the opportunity to use the sunnier areas in our location.  


And we have a tent for rainy days. So unless there is lightning, our work through play will continue!

My child uses adaptive equipment for mobility, how accessible is your property?

One of our core beliefs is that all children should have the opportunity to play with others and engage in nature. We’ve gone to great lengths to keep the nature-feel of our properly while making it as accessible as possible. 


Our drop-off area, wooded home base, and small outdoor bathroom are accessible for wheeled mobility.

Figuring out what is possible in this outdoor space for a broad range of children with disabilities is our goal. We are continually working to create more accessible paths and nature experiences for our children and families. 


If your child uses a wheelchair or other mobility device, please give us a call. We would be happy to meet with you on location to determine if our outdoor location meets your child’s mobility needs.

My child uses augmentative and alternative communication for expressive communication, can you accommodate his/her communication needs in your individual sessions or groups?

Running Cedar Therapies has a close relationship with Jacquelyn Vorndran of Brave Roots Speech Therapy, a nature-based SLP with expertise in working with children who use AAC devices. She is available for consultation when we need her expertise to meet a specific child’s needs.  In addition, all of our therapists have experience working with children who use AAC methods for communication, both 1:1 and in groups.  


We can work with your family and your child’s SLP to make sure that your child has the needed vocabulary terms in his or her AAC device(s) to communicate with peers and therapists in our outdoor setting.  We are also collaborating with a nature-based SLP who has significant expertise working with children who use AAC devices.  

There is even research that supports the idea that children’s language use is improved by being in a natural environment, as opposed to a more constructed indoor or outdoor classroom setting. 

Is it possible to just pay for the sessions?

Nope! We offer therapy packages because we know it’s the best way to get results. Our work is about really helping your family, and that extends beyond just the minutes of a therapy session. 


We’re intentionally embracing a model of therapy that goes beyond just the child and wraps the whole family in support, community, and resources. We’ve found that using this approach from the beginning gets better results because it provides the right amount of support and resources to really make a difference!

Where is Running Cedar Therapies located?

Running Cedar is located on a charming piece of property just outside of downtown Hillsborough, called Forage Farm. This location is easily accessible within the Triangle area including Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Mebane, NC.

What’s the bathroom situation since you’re meeting outdoors?

Good question! There are some important details here. 


First off, we’re all about nature-based experiences and skills, which sometimes involve learning to pee in the woods. Since we have multiple adults on-site during our group sessions, we will always have someone available to help your child find a more private place to pee in the woods, or to walk with your child to our rustic, accessible bathroom.  And here’s the kicker, kids kinda love peeing outside.

In addition to the woods, we have access to a private, accessible, rustic bathroom for emergencies but recommend everyone tries to use the bathroom before arriving.

Does Running Cedar accept insurance?

Not at this time. We are a private pay therapy practice. Meaning you’ll need to self-pay upfront for your child’s therapy services. You can use your HSA card to pay through our billing system, or pay with check or credit card.  Don’t let this scare you, you’re investing in the wellbeing of yourself and your child. 


Transparency regarding cost is a reason we offer our services as packaged programs so you know your investment upfront and can plan for the cost of therapy. To break up the cost for you, we allow you to pay in monthly installments. 


Upon request, we’re able to provide a superbill receipt to help you try this. Keep in mind, portions of our program beyond the treatment sessions are NOT covered by insurance so you’ll definitely be responsible for those costs.

Why did you decide to provide therapy in nature?

We offer outdoor therapy because we believe it offers so many benefits for addressing physical, emotional, and behavioral challenges. We’ve seen nature impact the well-being of our own families and the families we work with.

And it’s not just a personal conviction. We became even more convinced by ongoing research. One of our favorite resources, Nature-Based Therapy by Harper, Rose, and Segal forever changed our beliefs and practice:


Some of our favorite snippets: 

  • Nature seems to absorb immense amounts of behavior and emotional energy - as well as give energy and wellbeing back.

  • Nature provides health benefits beyond just physical activity. Exercise in nature specifically is related to emotional and social well-being.

  • The benefits of nature are lasting. Those who exercised in nature retained improvements in cognitive performance and relaxed state well after the exercise session. 

  • Natural play spaces which promote active and dynamic play produce physical, social, and emotional benefits through imaginative play and creativity along with increased levels of physical activity.


In the midst of all these benefits, Americans are spending more time indoors and missing these valuable opportunities. So at Running Cedar Therapies, we’re taking action to help children experience the benefits of playing and building skills in natural spaces. 

Should I be concerned about the safety risks that come with being in an outdoor environment?

We love this question because it highlights one of the very reasons we believe so strongly in providing therapy in the outdoors. Learning to navigate risk-taking is key for lifelong emotional and physical health. It’s such an important life skill that frequently gets missed when kids are not given enough outdoor play opportunities. 


There is a big difference between risk and danger. Our job is to keep children from taking dangerous risks, while allowing them to learn to use their environmental and bodily awareness, combined with thinking through consequences, to learn to take risks safely.


We take common-sense precautions and teach your child how to stay safe in the less-predictable environment of nature. For this reason, one criterion for participation in nature groups is for your child must be able to follow directions with support.


In truth, one of the biggest risks facing today’s youth comes from NOT spending enough time outdoors: sedentary lifestyles, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, feelings of disconnectedness.

What protocols are in place to keep everyone safe during COVID?

One of the benefits of outdoor therapy is that it reduces the transmission risk significantly. Even if COVID numbers rise again, we expect to be able to provide in-person, effective therapy services since our interventions take place outdoors or in a well-ventilated tent.


Additionally, here’s what we’re doing: 


  • Vaccinated Staff: All of our therapists and their age-eligible family members are fully vaccinated 

  • Group sessions: We ask children to wear masks until further notice

  • Individual sessions: We’re encouraging open communication between parents and therapists regarding comfort levels with ongoing masking.  


Protocols for masking will evolve based on community spread, up-to-date information, and CDC and APA guidelines.

Does this sound good? Have more questions?

We would love to chat to share more about Running Cedar Therapies.

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