Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the area?
I am originally from Monmouth County and have moved around the state a bit including Jersey City and Cranford before finally settling in Morris Township in 2021.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I have 2 children: Mackenzie, 8 years old and Mason, 6 years old.
Are you involved in a business venture or corporate world? Please Share!
I started a pediatric occupational therapy practice, Alta Pediatrics, after working in the corporate therapy world for a few years. The Covid-19 pandemic made me realize how important making my own schedule was, to be there for my kids and my family, which was often not possible with typical occupational therapy schedules. I also knew that I wanted to provide more 1:1, personalized care than was possible in bigger, corporate owned, therapy practices. I have since added speech therapy to the practice as we continue to grow.
When did you decide you wanted to become a Pediatric Occupational Therapist?
I knew I wanted to work in healthcare since I was a young child. This was confirmed for me even more after my father was in a car accident, resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury. Throughout his few years in hospitals and inpatient rehabs, meeting with a variety of healthcare professionals, I found the field of occupational therapy. I also knew that I wanted to work with kiddos and this started with babysitting, being a camp counselor, and teaching. After a brief stint in the teaching world, I went back to school to pursue my passion of working in healthcare. The wonderful part of occupational therapy is we work with newborns to end of life. Originally when I graduated, I worked primarily with adults and about 4 years ago, I changed my area of focus to children. Being a Mom has helped me realize that pediatric OT was where my heart belonged.
Has helping children always been a part of your life?
I have always worked with children from babysitting, to becoming a camp counselor, an EMT in a day camp, and in the education world as a teacher of elementary and students with disabilities.
What do you recommend for someone looking to get their child started with speech or occupational therapy?
Do not hesitate! I am a firm believer to trust your parent instinct. It is better to get evaluated to understand what may be going on with your child or get the confirmation that there are no noticeable areas of concern or delays. The earlier the intervention, whether it be for sensory, motor skills, visual perceptual, or emotional regulation, the better. Neuroplasticity is stronger the younger we are, so the opportunity for change improves when children are younger. Typically, you need a prescription for occupational therapy or speech therapy services if you are seeking reimbursement from your insurance. This can be provided by a pediatrician, neurologist, developmental pediatrician, etc. To begin OT and SLP services, the provider will start with a comprehensive initial evaluation including standardized assessments and a write-up. From there, the practitioner will then recommend the frequency and duration of follow up visits.
If you could give one tip to fellow Mom Entrepreneurs what would it be?
Take the leap. It is one of the hardest, but the best decisions I have ever made. I no longer have to turn down attending school events, after school activities, school drop off or pick up, and staying home for a sick day with my kids. You have so many strengths and talents. There are so many supports out there for small business owners and so many potential members of the community that will be there to support you and cheer you on.
Ok 10 Fun LOCAL favorites – ready, go!
1 – Favorite thing to do with your kids? Town pool, town events like outdoor movies and trunk or treat, hiking in Jockey Hollow
2 – Favorite coffee spot? Smart World Coffee
3 – Favorite lunch place? Millburn Deli
4 – Favorite farm to go fruit picking? Wightman Farms
5 – Favorite date night restaurant? South and Pine
6 – Favorite boutique? Just Jersey
7 – Favorite spot to grab a drink? The Homestead
8 – Who has the best bagels in town? Morristown Bagels and Deli
9 – Best slice of pizza in town? Millie’s for a whole pie and Pomodoro for slices
10 – Favorite spot for ice cream? Beenies
This interview was done in partnership with Alta Pediatrics. Be sure to follow them on social media below: