April is Occupational Therapy Month, so we wanted to recognize our very own MCRC Occupational Therapists.
Jessica is an Occupational Therapist and the director of MCRC’s Unlimited Dance Company program. Jessica has been a therapist for six years and received her Masters of Occupational Therapy from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in December of 2010.
Jessica’s passion in the OT field is in dance and neurological rehabilitation. Jessica became interested in OT when she took a hippotherapy class as an undergraduate student at Texas Tech. Her passion for OT was confirmed when she took a dance class and learned about how the “father of Jazz dance” had a stroke and was able to rehabilitate through therapeutic dance. This was when she learned how OT could incorporate a person’s passion and their rehabilitation to make them succeed.
Jessica loves seeing the children she treats succeed and become more independent, and she loves seeing how proud they are of themselves. Every day Jessica is so surprised by the amazing things the children can do. She thinks about the children she treats at home—she is constantly seeing things that she thinks they would enjoy and gets really excited to try them out. She truly hurts when they struggle, and she gets more excited than you will ever know whenever they succeed.
One of Jessica’s clients Sophia and her mom think the world of Jessica: “Thank you for seeing the potential and awesomeness of my daughter Sophia. You understand her need to move and be silly. You are amazing!”
Emilie is an Occupational Therapist at MCRC and received her Masters of Occupational Therapy from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in May of 2012.
Emilie always knew she wanted to have a career in the medical field, but assisting others to become as independent and self-reliant as possible was what led her to occupational therapy. She is so very passionate about helping her patients become as independent as possible in their everyday lives, and she loves seeing the smiles on the faces of the children and their families when they accomplish something new or difficult for the first time.
Emilie loves watching and being part of the progress that is made by every child, every day. Each day brings challenges that she gets to help solve and find new and innovative ways to accomplish the goals set in place through collaboration with the child, parents, and other staff members. Emilie looks forward to coming to work each day because of the children, their families, and the facility that allows her to work with and treat the children in the best way she sees fit.
A parent of Emilie’s client named Cannon says, “Because of you, Cannon is having to many more good days than bad. He is actually playing with his peers and making friends. He is learning to control his emotions, and I was able to take him to church with me again. You have worked miracles in our lives and only God knows how many others!”
Leigha is the Director of Occupational Therapy at MCRC. She graduated from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in December of 2007 with a Masters of Occupational Therapy.
Leigha has always had a passion to help people and she had the desire to follow that passion into the medical field. She grew up surrounded by other children in her family, church, and with friends, and from a young age she knew she wanted to serve the pediatric population. Occupational therapy appealed to her because of the level of creativity she has within the field: an occupational therapist can use what is fun, meaningful, and motivating toward improvement and independence.
Leigha says, “It is an honor to serve our MCRC children and pour into their precious lives.” She loves seeing their little faces light up when they are laughing, learning, and having fun in a therapy session. She LOVES MCRC kids and the opportunity to help improve their quality of life through increasing their independence. Her help provides the potential for a child to grow up and have the ability to do amazing things. When given the chance to make life-changing strides alongside a child and their parents, she grabs the chance and gives it all she has.
Once Leigha begins work with a child, they begin a work in her and hold a special place in her life. She loves to see her clients as the years go by. It makes her very happy when she sees a high-schooler that she treated for occupational therapy when they were in the first or second grade. It truly means the world to Leigha when she sees a kid that was such a big part of her life through therapy as a young child, and who is now successful and thriving in life.
A message to the parents of the children she treats: Remember, you are a good parent. Giving and devoting to your child’s life is always a worthwhile investment. You are the perfect parent for your kid, and he or she is lucky to have you. The work that you carry over from therapy into the home will help your child grow significantly in their independence.
A parent of Leigha’s client named Corban says, “Not only has Ms. Leigha given us quite an array of tools to use with Corban at home and out in the real world, but she has also given us much hope for his future. Corban has come leaps and bounds from where he started, and though we still face challenges, I cannot imagine facing life on a daily basis with the frustrations of where we once were. Coming to MCRC is the best thing we have ever done for our son!”
Susan is an Occupational Therapist at MCRC and received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in 1988. She has been an occupational therapist for 28 years.
Susan became interested in occupational therapy in a roundabout way. She always loved being with children and animals and loved the healthcare field. She thought she might want to be a nurse, but she hated needles! So Susan decided to apply to physical therapy school, and while she was applying, she found out about the field of occupational therapy. After hearing what occupational therapy was, she decided that it was exactly what she wanted to do!
Susan always comments that MCRC has the CUTEST children. She absolutely loves her job, and says that the kids do as much (or more!) for her as she does for them. To Susan, they have such sweet and beautiful spirits and their victories are so much more joyous than those who don’t have such challenges.
Susan feels that there is nothing more rewarding than to see a child who is struggling overcome their barriers or fears, or to watch them celebrate their successes. Susan says, “To see a child who is terrified of movement finally get to giggle and enjoy a swing, or to see a child who struggles with handwriting be successful at typing, or to see a child who is terrified of transitions and the unknown be able to confidently change between activities and enjoy being just a kid… that is absolutely priceless. Because our children’s hills are much steeper, their victories and celebrations are so much richer. I am so thankful to be a part of their lives.”