Occupational therapists can assist with achieving improved body awareness, developing fine motor control, facilitating improved visual perceptual skills, and coordinating with families to improve self-regulation, sensory modulation, and organizational skills.
The work of a pediatric occupational therapist involves analyzing and treating skeletal, neuromuscular, and/or cognitive restrictions of their young patients. It also includes helping them in developing their interaction and communication skills, refinement of fine motor skills, and educating them in self-care.
Kids can benefit from occupational therapy if they have:
- poor coordination
- decreased balance (“clumsiness”)
- low muscle tone or strength
- difficulty with handwriting, awkward grasp of utensils or tools
- have been diagnosed with a learning disability
- difficulty completing tasks that seem easily attained by peers
- decreased attention or ability to participate in age appropriate activities
- decreased visual skills including visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills
- sensory processing difficulties
- difficulties with feeding including food aversions or a limited diet
Patience and persistence are important traits that all therapists at Milestone display. For example, many of our patients are too young to understand verbal instructions, so games and mirroring are often incorporated in the therapy. This will help to engage the child and increase cooperation. It is imperative to have the commitment and support of the family as well, which is why home programming is a staple of any successful outcome at Milestone Therapy. This home programming will educate and reinforce specific skills and behaviors, which will be used to improve and facilitate the child’s performance and long term functioning.
Sylvia graduated from South Suburban College as an occupational therapy assistant in 2018. During her time in school, she realized she enjoys working with kids. After hearing about how much Milestone values family and childhood development, she knew it was the right fit for her. Although new to the therapy world, she is excited and motivated to help kids reach their goals!GRACE
Grace graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her master’s degree in occupational therapy. She joined the Early Intervention team in the summer of 2019 after starting her career with adults in the rehabilitation setting. Grace enjoys staying active, being creative and exploring the outdoors!KIRSTEN
Kirsten graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with her master’s in occupational therapy in 2009. She always wanted to work with kids, so she moved to Virginia to work in the outpatient setting at the local children’s hospital. In 2015, she moved back to Indiana to work at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis and to be closer to family. She then decided to move back to her hometown in 2019 and started working in First Steps and outpatient in the Merrillville clinic with Milestone Therapy. Kirsten and her husband have two young daughters and an energetic German Shorthaired Pointer dog that keep her on her toes.CYNTHIA
Cindy graduated from Lake Michigan College in 2004 with an associate degree in allied health sciences/OTA. She began her career in pediatrics, with a focus on the Floortime DIR model of treatment, earning her Intermediate DIR Floortime Certificate. She co-founded Kidworks Developmental Intervention Center in Chesterton, Indiana, working with families there until changing direction and moving to the skilled nursing setting. She has experience in sensory feeding, social groups, Early Intervention and clinic. Cindy is the mother of three grown children and two Great Danes who are always keeping her busy.MELANIE
Melanie graduated from Governors State University in 2018 with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Before starting her occupational therapy program, she observed and volunteered in an inpatient rehabilitation department at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, IL, where she fell in love with the world of occupational therapy.
While in school, she had the opportunity to experience a variety of practice settings, falling in love with her pediatric classes. She is thrilled to be a part of the Milestone team! In her free time, she enjoys playing with her two dogs and can’t resist a good book.ELIZABETH
Beth started out in the field of education and child care, beginning with her first job at a daycare center while still in high school, then graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University in early childhood education. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she enjoyed positions as a teacher and director at early childhood centers. Beth was introduced to occupational therapy following the birth of her son. She became increasingly interested in the field of OT as she helped her child with his sensory needs. She returned to school, graduating in 2015 as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant from Lewis and Clark Community College. Beth has been passionate about using her education and experience from her life as a mom, plus her former and present careers, to work with children as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. Now with Milestone Therapy, she continues to strive to help children develop to their fullest potential.LORNA
Lorna graduated from Fox College in Bedford Park, IL in the spring of 2018. She received an Occupational Therapy Assistant Associates Degree. She has always had a passion for working with children and a drive to make a positive impact in other’s lives. In fall of 2018, she happily accepted her dream job at Milestone Therapy. She is ready to start as an occupational therapy assistant, to use both her passion and drive to make a difference in the lives of children and families around her.TRACY
Tracy received her master’s degree from St. Louis University in Occupational Therapy in 2012. She understands the importance and incredible benefits that therapy offers in caring for her own son, Jordan, who was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome in 2001. She was so inspired by the therapists who have helped Jordan throughout his life, helping him learn to walk, feed himself and grow as a human being, that she decided to become a therapist herself. Seeing the kids grow and overcome obstacles that otherwise were thought impossible is the most rewarding gift of being a therapist. She is excited to continue her career with Milestone in the early intervention program. She hopes to inspire the kids and parents that she works with every day the way the therapists in her life have inspired her throughout her son’s life.SARAH
This was not my first time working in the therapy world. I was in a medical program at Percy Julian High School of Chicago, IL, when my teacher Mrs. McClellan, strongly encouraged me to go into Occupational therapy. Mrs. McClellan saw something in me that I did not see myself. A passion for helping others in more ways than one. I was placed in a 6 week summer job at Stroger Hospital shadowing both PTs and OTs. Needless to say, I thought it was nice, but was strongly influenced by family to go into Pharmacy instead, which is where my path lead me before removing myself from the healthcare field all together and venturing into the cold harsh realities of the Marketing world (not my passion). While pursuing a Bachelor’s in Marketing, I thought I would be on top of the world as a huge Marketing researcher in the corporate world. That dream seemed more of only just a dream as each position pointed me more and more into sales. I knew that I never wanted to end up doing sales the rest of my life. So a huge life evaluation was unfolding as I weighed my career options. I knew helping others in healthcare has always been a passion, so I became a CNA. Shortly after working, a coworker in a nursing home saw my passion to help others theraputically and convinced me to go to school for PT or OT. Somehow Mrs. McClellan was right all along I thought. Now going back to school, this time for OTA, and many years later, has been the greatest decision of my life. I am now at my dream company, doing my dream career helping children in more ways than one. I am Blessed beyond belief and I thank my Heavenly Father for paving the way for my continued success.HEATHER
Heather graduated from Governors State University, Illinois in 2017 with her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. She began working with Milestone Therapy in 2018 and will be working in the school setting, Early Intervention, and in the Olympia Fields outpatient clinic.TIFFANI
Tiffani Grant received her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Governor State University in 2014. She began her career as a therapist in a community hospital before transitioning to pediatrics, her desired specialty area. She began working at a pediatric clinic and expanded into the school system with children from age four up to age 21.
For Tiffani, it’s a great day when a kiddo shows progress towards their goals. She believes that helping children at their earliest stages of development can be very impactful and understands that a good outcome includes the improved overall health of the family. Before becoming an occupational therapist, Tiffani raised her three children, who now range in age from 16 to 22. Off hours, Tiffani enjoys spending time with her family, going for long walks with her dog and couponing.TAYLOR
Taylor received her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in 2013. After much debate on which career path to take after her undergraduate program, she observed an early intervention occupational therapist and immediately knew this was the the route she was meant to take. She graduated from St. Louis College of Health Careers in Fenton, MO in 2016 and is now excited to begin her career with Milestone Therapy in the Illinois Early Intervention System as a certified occupational therapy assistant. She has always had a passion for working with children and now gets to put forth her passion and efforts to the families and children she serves through early intervention.JACKLYN
Jacklyn went to school in Tucson, Arizona where she received her associates to be an occupational therapy assistant. After having a daughter of her own she realized pediatrics was the demographics she wanted to work with. Her love, patience, and creativity has helped drive her into being the therapist she is today.ASHLEY
Ashley is thrilled to be part of the Milestone Therapy Family. Ashley has been a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant since 2008, spending many of those years with the pediatric population. She has experience with autism, sensory integration, developmental delay, Down syndrome, Rett syndrome, Cri-du-Chat syndrome, cerebral palsy, blindness, and many more. She has compassion to see children reach their highest potential including educating and training the child’s caregiver(s) with what they need to know to help get their little one to their highest potential as well. Ashley loves working as a team with everyone involved.
Quote from autism spectrum disorder, through my eyes:
Sometimes, real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles.
Bernadette graduated with her Occupational Therapy Assistant degree in 2012 and knew without a doubt that pediatrics was her special interest. She had dabbled in the outpatient rehabilitation world for seven years as a human resource specialist, often hiring new therapists. Through personal experiences of family members requiring therapy for a variety of disabilities, illnesses, and post-surgical rehabilitation, Bernadette found her path to becoming a pediatric therapist. She has experience working with children from birth to adulthood with a variety of diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, Down syndrome, development delay, cerebral palsy, and several genetic syndromes within the school, home, and clinic settings. Bernadette works each and every day as a mom of a child with ADHD, anxiety, and dysthymic disorder; therefore, practicing what she preaches. She believes that families are the strongest key to effective therapy and through therapist-family collaboration, every child can reach and exceed their potential. Bernadette looks forward to continue working with the families of Milestone Therapy.LAUREN
Since graduating from South Suburban College in 2014, Lauren has worked with children in the clinic, schools, and in homes as an OTA. She has always known that she wanted to work with children, and has a soft spot for those with special needs. Lauren loves having such a variety of ways to help kids and their families. She believes the most important part of the process is building a relationship. The most rewarding part of the job is watching kids reaching their milestones and achieving goals. She finds great joy in working with children and loves that they do not set limits on themselves!KELLY
Kelly always had an interest in working with children. After attending school to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant, Kelly found that she had chosen a rewarding career. Having the opportunity to work in a school setting, EI (early intervention), and clinical base, she has worked with children of varying abilities since 2012 including those diagnosed with autism, sensory processing disorder, Down syndrome, and developmental delays. The most rewarding aspects of being a therapist are watching the children achieve milestones and working with the families. By maintaining a close relationship with caregivers, Kelly is able to teach them strategies to improve their child’s functional skills. It gives her great satisfaction to be a part of their early development.LESLI
Lesli has a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy and began her rewarding career at Milestone Therapy in 2008. She is currently the Lead OT at Milestone Therapy. She is truly passionate about her job and loves what she does. She believes that building a therapeutic relationship with families is critical to the work she performs on a daily basis. Lesli has worked with a variety of children with a wide array of diagnoses including sensory processing disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and developmental delays, as well as many more. Lesli has had experience in the school system and the clinic setting, as well as early intervention. She also has acquired training in the Handwriting without Tears Program and enjoys providing assistance to children with handwriting difficulties.KRISTEN
Kristen loves working with children and becoming an Occupational Therapist was one of the best decisions she has ever made. Kristen graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Education. This is where she was introduced to adapted physical education, which led her to occupational therapy. Kristen graduated from Governor’s State University and has enjoyed her time working with Milestone Therapy. Kristen has been working with children in various settings since 2003, with various diagnoses such as sensory processing disorder, autism, Down syndrome, and children with severe and profound disabilities.VIKI
Since graduating as an occupational therapist in 1989, Viki has worked with both children and adults in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, schools, and in homes. She has always had a soft spot for working with children and their families, and has been primarily working within the Illinois Early Intervention Program for the last several years. She believes therapy activities should be fun for the child and the interventions purposeful to address the family concerns for the greatest success. She is experienced in treating children with developmental delays, physical disabilities, and sensory processing disorders.CORIN
After completing her occupational therapy education from Utica College in upstate New York in 2001, Corin began her career in California working with children. A series of fortunate events brought her to Chicago with her husband in. Shortly after in 2008 she found herself across a table interviewing with Drew Haverstock and Milestone Therapy. Since then, Milestone has helped Corin continue her passion of working with children but has also allowed her to start and build a family of her own. She feels that working with children is not work but often an extension of motherhood. She feels privileged that families allow providers into their homes to support them and their children. She feels blessed every day that she can be excited about working and often learns just as much from the families as they learn from her. In 2010, she relocated to southern Illinois with her husband to start a family of her own. She now supports these families through Illinois Early Intervention and is hoping to grow the company in this area with assistance from Drew and the rest of the staff and providers at Milestone.COLLEEN
In 2009, Colleen decided to make a career change and pursue a degree as an occupational therapy assistant. She graduated from Lewis and Clark Community College in 2012 and it was definitely worth the sacrifice. Colleen is a military wife and spent several years overseas in 3 different countries, always reinventing herself to become productive in the workforce. In 1999, her family moved to Illinois where they were stationed at Scott AFB where her husband has retired and is currently still working. In the years living here, Colleen accepted a position in the school system working with children who have autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. She enjoyed this and stayed for 5 years before deciding to go back to school. Her love has always been to work with children and this life decision was later reinforced when she accepted a position with Milestone Therapy. She is very grateful to have this opportunity and to be working with families who have the confidence in her and let her work with their children. Someone once said that if you wake up every day and feel like you are not going to work than you have chosen the right path. Everyday day she feels like she is making a difference and it is a pleasure to do what she does!LORRIE
Lorrie is very excited to be part of the Milestone therapy team as she embarks on her second career. Lorrie worked as a pediatric nurse for many years, caring for children with developmental delays and diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, and many more. As an occupational therapy assistant, Lorrie is passionate about helping children overcome obstacles and develop to their full potential. She has been working in the schools and clinic since 2012 with children and young adults ages three to 22. It has been rewarding for her to see the students grow and succeed through the use of sensory strategies, adaptations, and assistive technology. She feels fortunate to be able to go to work every day and love what she does!