What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?
Montclair Speech Therapy now offers Occupational Therapy evaluations, consultations, and individual treatments sessions. We offer a specially designed Occupational Therapy Center located within our Caldwell Office and we are currently enrolling new patients into this unique program. Schedule today (973) 364-0804!
Occupational Therapy (OT) focuses on helping people of all ages with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities be as independent as possible in their activities of daily living. Occupational Therapy can help kids and adults improve their cognitive, sensory, gross motor and fine motor skills to enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled and organized manner. Coordinating both sides of the body is an indication that both sides of the brain are communicating and sharing information with each other.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing and walking, running and jumping, and sitting upright at the table.
Self Care Skills
Activities of Daily Living or ADLs is a term used by occupational therapists to refer to the basic self-care tasks an individual does on a day-to-day basis. These activities are fundamental in caring for oneself and maintaining independence. Self-care includes activities that complete one’s daily routine such as dressing, self-feeding, grooming, and hygiene, as well as functional mobility at home and in the community.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller muscle of the hands, such as when doing up buttons, opening lunch boxes, or using pencils or scissors. Fine motor skill efficiency significantly influences the quality of the task outcome as well as the speed of task performance.
Sensory Processing is the effective registration of sensory input in the environment. It is the way the brain receives, organizes, and responds to sensory input in order to behave in a meaningful & consistent manner.
Visual-Motor Skills enable an individual to process information around them. The ability to observe, recognize, and use visual information about forms, shapes, figures, and objects makes up our visual-motor abilities.
Meet our Therapists
Gloria Norton, OTR/L
Gloria Norton is a Licensed and Registered Occupational Therapist in the state of New Jersey. She graduated from New York University in 2016 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a minor in child & adolescent mental health. She went on to obtain her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from East Carolina University in May 2021.
Gloria developed her passion for working in pediatrics at the NYU Infant Action Lab, where she conducted an independent research project on early childhood development. In graduate school and beyond, she has gained occupational therapy experience in school-based therapy, outpatient pediatrics, and early intervention. She has worked with a variety of diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, sensory processing disorders, feeding disorders, and overall developmental delays. She is also a fluent Spanish-speaker.
Kelly Shimabukuro, OTR/L
Kelly Shimabukuro is a licensed and registered occupational therapist in New Jersey and New York. She is certified by the NJ and NY Department of Education as a school-based occupational therapist. She graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with an Education minor. She then attended Seton Hall University where she received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2021.
Kelly has had the opportunity to work with children of varying ages and diagnoses across all their environments – home, school, and community. She has worked in early intervention, an outpatient clinic, and as a school-based occupational therapist. Kelly is also fluent in Spanish. During her graduate studies, Kelly has also had the opportunity to work with the adult population in a cognitive rehabilitation program. Within the cognitive rehabilitation program, Kelly focused on closing the gap on language barriers affecting progress in therapy by providing the program with a library of translated activities/resources for Spanish speaking clients to ensure carry over of strategies/exercises.
She has a passion for making therapy fun while still achieving goals. She believes that in order to be successful in therapy, it is important to listen to the child’s wants/needs and incorporate them as much as possible when planning activities. A strong relationship with each child helps build confidence and increase their motivation to improve the skills needed to be more independent in their everyday routines.
Nikki Perez, MOTR/L Clinical Supervisor of OT
Nikki Perez is a Licensed and Registered Occupational Therapist in the state of New Jersey. She attended Quinnipiac University in Connecticut where she received her Bachelors of Science degree in 2007 and went on to achieve her Masters of Occupational Therapy.
Nikki has worked in pediatrics for 13 years, employed primarily in outpatient hospital and private practice where she has collaborated with disciplines such as speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and behaviorists. She also has experience working in early intervention and in a school setting specifically designed for children with disabilities.
She has been trained in the Alert Program and certified in The Listening Program as well as a Fieldwork Educator collaborating with various universities. Nikki has attended continuing education courses to further her knowledge in relation to sensory-based modalities, Torticollis, physical agent modalities, and feeding difficulties. Nikki has experience with a variety of diagnoses and conditions including, but not limited to Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Down Syndrome, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, prematurity, visual impairments, neurological impairments, mental health disorders, and feeding difficulties.
Nikki’s fun, compassionate, and loving approach with children earned her the recognition of New Jersey’s Favorite Kids’ Doc in 2017 and 2018.
Rachael Tucker, M.S., OTR/L
Rachael Tucker is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist in the state of New Jersey.
She is also certified by the NJ Department of Education as a school-based Occupational Therapist. She attended Seton Hall University where she received her bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral sciences in 2018 and her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2020 as part of a 3+3 graduate program.
During her graduate studies, Rachael gained experience working with older adults in a long-term care setting, students grades Pre-K through 6th in a school-based setting and in a sensory integration clinic. Since graduating, Rachael has been working in both a school setting, treating students grades Pre-k through 6th, and Early Intervention, treating young children ages 0 to 3 years.
Rachael also has prior non-clinical experience working one-on-one with many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder both in the home and at summer camps.
In her free time, Rachael enjoys yoga, hiking, gardening, reading, and watching Disney movies (her favorite is Moana!).
Samantha Bross, COTA
Samantha “Sammie” Bross is a Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist assistant in the state of New Jersey. She attended Rutgers University where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health in 2017 and Occupational Therapy Degree from Eastwick College in 2019.
Sammie has had several years of experience working with children in a variety of settings. Her knowledge spans from, neurological, physical and developmental delays including ADHD, Sensory Processing Differences, Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Global Developmental Delay, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Dyslexia/ Dysgraphia, and Orthopedic Rehabilitation. Sammie has also led group therapy sessions in Handwriting, Kindergarten Readiness, and social skills classes.
Her favorite part of being an OT is the opportunity to get to know a kiddos unique interests and strengths, and then use that insight to help them grow towards their full potential.
In her free time she enjoys reading, days at the beach, exercising and spending time with her little dog named Beatrice.
Samantha Krych, OTD, OTR/L
Samantha Krych is a Licensed and Registered Occupational Therapist in the state of New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science at the University of Delaware in 2018 and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from Kean University in 2021.
Throughout her graduate studies, Sam has worked with populations of all ages in a variety of settings including inpatient rehabilitation facilities, community based settings, and public schools. She has experience working with a variety of diagnoses including CVA, cardiovascular diseases, traumatic brain injury, attention deficits, autism, sensory processing disorder, and cerebral palsy.
As part of her doctoral capstone, Sam created custom programming for the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases and delivered it in a low income housing building. She presented her findings at the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association annual conference.
Sam emphasizes an evidence-based, client-centered approach to treatment and seeks to help every individual reach their personal goals!
The Listening Program
Therapeutic Listening is a specific sound-based intervention that is embedded in a developmental and sensory integration perspective.
The Alert Program®, with its user-friendly approach, helps anyone articulate their inner experience of self-regulation (how alert they feel). The program emphasizes how to change alert levels throughout the day, making it easy to get out of bed, work, play, learn, relax, socialize, and go to bed.
Physical Agent Modalities
One class of treatments are called Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs). The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) describes PAMs as equipment including superficial and thermal agents, electrotherapeutic agents, and mechanical devices.