Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists help children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults. They help children participate as fully as is possible in what Bruno Bettelheim called ‘children’s work,’ which is self-care, school, and play. Occupational therapy improves children’s body awareness and coordination, fine motor control, visual motor skills, and the elements of organization that support learning skills.

Parents who seek out Occupational Therapy for their children often list one or more of the following concerns:

  • Child is clumsy or falls down frequently
  • Child has trouble feeding themselves with spoon or cup
  • Child is an extremely picky eater
  • There are problems with brushing teeth and combing hair
  • Child is slow at getting dressed or needs a lot of help
  • Child is bothered by tags, clothing, loud noises
  • Child is hyperactive or all over the place

Quality Occupational Therapy can help children who struggle with organization get better at completing tasks by giving them strategies for getting started, figuring out the steps to finish, and staying on track until they are done. An organized child can be more successful in school and later in life. Occupational therapy can children increase the awareness of their own sensory needs to increase focus and self-regulation, as well as increasing safety awareness and impulse control.

Meet Our Pediatric Occupational Therapists

Mary Gallagher

Mary has been with Lifetrack since 1998. She completed her Masters of Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine University, and a Masters of Fine Arts from CUNY at Brooklyn College. Mary’s specialties are fine motor skills, visual motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory motor and sensory processing skills, self-regulation, social skills, FASD, SPD, art, and movement. When not at work, Mary spends her time as a muralist, portraitist, children’s book illustrator and artist-activist.

Mary says “I love play, laughter, movement, and creative, child-centered partnering to progress to new levels of mastery and independence. Even children with the greatest internal and external challenges can experience joyful and rewarding advances in their ability to relate to others, their world, and especially themselves. Working in tandem with parents to gradually improve young lives at home, at school, and with friends is powerful and hopeful for all.”

Jeri Mullan

Jeri has been with Lifetrack since 2009. She completed her degree at University of Illinois Medical Center. She has a special interest in neurodevelopmental treatment and sensory integration. She believes it is crucial to work within the framework of the family with a view toward the impact of one child’s difficulties on the experience of the family system as a whole. She considers it her job to create spaces that free children up to realize their full capacity to grow and change, and to reconnect the family to the pleasure of understanding and watching those changes unfold.

Jeri says “In any aspect of this work, I feel lucky. To be allowed into people’s lives at some of the most difficult, vulnerable moments. To stand with patients and families as they struggle to change. To be useful in that struggle. And to be fully engaged as a participant in those changes.”