I have had a passion for working with “kiddos” for most of my life! I started babysitting neighbor children when I was 13, began working in a daycare every day after school when I was 16, and continued this work as I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Indianapolis. After graduation, I earned my clinical doctorate in occupational therapy from the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. While at WUSTL, I continued to pursue opportunities to work with children including assisting in adaptive dance classes and nannying. My doctoral project conceptualized a program to empower parents to take on more of a parenting role while their infants were still in the neonatal intensive care unit and it included social, societal, and cultural considerations and a transdisciplinary approach.
After earning my doctorate, I returned to Indianapolis and spent a bit of time working in the brain injury unit at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. There I gained clinical experience while being surrounded by amazing, supportive mentors and learned to work closely with all disciplines, but I knew my calling would always return me to children at some point. In 2012 I felt ready to venture into the much more complicated realm of pediatric therapy. I worked as a home-based therapist through First Steps, the Indiana Early Intervention program, and saw children in their homes, in the clinic, and in preschool programs.
In 2014 I was offered a position as the first and only outpatient pediatric OT at Eskenazi Health joining a “team” of only one other pediatric therapist, a Speech Language Pathologist. She and I worked together to increase awareness of our program and the need for therapies at Eskenazi Health and the program grew rapidly! During my 8 year journey at Eskenazi Health, I joined another SLP to develop and run a NICU follow-up and infant feeding and development clinic, developed and ran a robust feeding program based on the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding, earned a scholarship to attend the STAR Center Mentorship in Sensory Processing Disorder, helped to establish a working relationship with a pediatric developmental optometrist, assisted in the creation of a transdisciplinary team for communication device evaluation, developed a training on cultural awareness for providers, and saw our program grow to 11 therapists across 3 disciplines treating over 150 children per week.
I have always believed in the power of ANY parent to foster growth and development in their child, but in working closely with families from many different psychological, cultural, educational, and societal backgrounds, I began to appreciate the importance of considering how these larger constructs impact a parent’s ability to support their child. I knew that I needed to “zoom out” in my thinking and my approach to children and families, so in 2022, I returned to the books and earned my graduate certificate in Infant and Toddler Mental Health from Portland State University and am currently pursuing my endorsement in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health here in the state of Indiana.
During my spare time I still love playing with children including my 16 nieces and nephews (or a game of peek a boo with a curious toddler in the Target line), but I love to go home and spend time with my family and pets! I enjoy being outside in the sunshine (but not the cold!), watching football (GO COLTS!), lounging with streaming television, and spending time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!
I believe in every child’s potential. I believe that all parents want what is best for their child and that THEY are the absolute best and most effective teachers in a child’s life. I believe parents can learn and grow to help their children learn and grow, too. I believe that dedicated professionals, committed to growth and learning, collaborating with parents, change children’s lives. I am eager to foster this journey at Mini Minds! You in?