Battle of The Boxes

Lowcountry Therapy will be hosting a canned food drive this March. About one in six people in the United States struggles with hunger, and issues related to hunger affect people in every community. In the fight against hunger food banks play a key role by securing billions of pounds of food each year and distributing it to millions of people in need. You can help fight hunger in your local community by contributing to our Bluffton or Port Royal clinic. Each clinic will have three boxes: one for Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. Towards the end of March we will tally up each box and determine which discipline won the battle! Please donate to support your community and your favorite disciple, no pressure;)

What to Donate:

Any non perishable food is really helpful. Some specific foods that are always needed are protein items such as peanut butter, canned tuna and canned chicken and any sort of cold or warm cereal. They are also looking for canned fruits and veggies, or whole grains and canned soup. Take pride in donating items you would feed your family with.

New Team Member Melissa Engel

My name is Melissa Engel. I am originally from the west coast, recently, Phoenix, Arizona where I went to high school and college. I moved to Savannah, Ga almost 3 years ago, and more recently now soon to be Bluffton, SC! :) I have a bachelors of science in Healthcare Administration and realized I'm more of a mover so I went back to school for Occupational Therapy at Pima Medical Institute to obtain my Associate of Occupational Science degree. I have been practicing Occupational Therapy for 6 years now. Initially starting in a Pediatric clinic specializing in sensory processing. When I moved to Savannah, I transitioned to adults for the past 3 years working in a Long-term Acute care hospital and finally transitioning back to pediatrics which I have a lot of passion for. I have worked in almost all areas of OT except home health care and behavioral health facilities. I love children. I do not have any myself yet, but maybe someday, but I do have a niece and a nephew who I love greatly and spend a lot of time with as well as with my fur-baby Penny. I love being around people and love to laugh.

Lowcountry Therapy Physical Wellness Month

Our team is practicing Physical Wellness this month with a 29 Day Challenge! They receive points for 7 hours of sleep, drinking 64 oz of water, working out 45 minutes a day, breaking one bad habit, stretching 10 minutes a day and encouraging their accountability partner. It?s not as easy at it looks.

So far this team of two is in the lead!

Check out these links for helpful tips on practicing Physical Wellness.

Welcome to the team- Laura Morley- Speech Language Pathologists

I am a Speech Language Pathologist with 30 years of experience. I graduated with my undergrad from Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois. I earned my M.S. from Southern Illinois University in Speech Language Pathology. Yankee by birth, southern at heart. I moved to Georgia in 1987. I have been married 34 years, have two awesome kids, and 2 grandkids. Family is priority, next to having fun and being silly. I love being a speech language pathologist. Communication is at the heart of who we are as a person. My clinical background includes years of hospital experience with clinical and management. My most recent experience was as the Director of Quality and Risk. I am a certified professional healthcare quality specialist. I enjoy painting, drawing and sailing. I am a Mac and Cheese, Atlanta Falcons, Jimmy Buffet Fan. I am most looking forward to coming on to the LTC team so that I can make a difference in the lives of our patients and families. I have been out of peds for a few years, so I am looking forward to a new adventure and brushing up on all my Disney and Pixar knowledge.

Welcome to the team- Michelle Pena Barrientos

My name is Michelle. I grew up in Hilton Head, attended Hilton Head High School and attended Technical College of the Lowcountry. I am a Certified Nursing Assistant. My passion is helping anyone in need and working with kids! In my free time I enjoy hiking, camping, cooking, painting and spending time with my family. I am excited to be working with an amazing team at Lowcountry Therapy!

New Team Member Kelly Eckert

My name is Kelly, originally from New Jersey and loving living down south so far! My friends call me Kel, and some have recently taken to calling me "Jersey" for short. I graduated from Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ after coming from Penn State University for my undergraduate degree in Rehabilitation and Humor Services. I've been in South Carolina for a few months now. I've vacationed here for over 15 years with family and friends, and have always known I would eventually move here (No more snow, please!). In my free time, I enjoy being on the water, going to concerts, cooking, painting, being active, finding the best sushi spots in town, or just spending time with family and friends. I have always known that I would eventually be working with children, and I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the team at Lowcountry Therapy Center.

New Team Member Claire Tillman

Hi! My name is Claire. I grew up in Michigan and love everything outdoors including swimming in Lake Michigan, kayaking, hiking and camping. I went to Emory & Henry College of Health Sciences for OT school and absolutely fell in love with the mountain landscape. I now live in Bluffton, SC with my very best friends turned "family" and love the ocean, beach and riding my bike. My hobbies include riding my horse Nacho, bike riding, making beaded bracelets, knitting, going new places and hanging out with my friends. I am super excited to be living in sunny South Carolina, and be working with an amazing team at Lowcountry Therapy!

Employee Spotlight: Jan Feiner

Tell me a little about yourself:

I moved to the Lowcountry from Wisconsin 36 years ago with my husband, Gene. We started out on the Island and moved to beautiful Bluffton in 1993. We have to sons: Dan (27) and Thomas (22). My journey with Lowcountry Therapy started from the beginning – July 2010. I have worn many hats over the years and am currently Clinic Coordinator.

3 Ice Breakers

  1. If you were stranded on an island what 3 items would you take with you?
    1) a lighter (I enjoy a fire even when not stranded) 2) a machete 3) HUGE can of bug spray
  2. If you could instantly become an expert at one thing, what would it be?
    Cooking. I enjoy cooking but would really enjoy being able to add spices, sauces, unusual ingredients without ruining the dish. Not for a job – just for enjoyment of family and friends
  3. If you were Snow White's 8th dwarf, what would your name be?
    Chilly – I would be the one wearing a cardigan!

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A typical day is that there is no typical day! I start with a quick review of the schedule. (Actually, I start the day with COFFEE before I review the schedule!), then make a to do list for the day. The list might include calling families referred to LT and scheduling the initial evaluations, charge and insurance review, phone calls – from families, therapists, physician’s offices, billing department – with the daily goal of helping LT run smoothly.

What is your favorite part about your role at Lowcountry Therapy? What do you like most about your job?

Most of my workday is spreadsheets, insurance, billing, scheduling – all necessary and I enjoy digging into the details. It is rewarding helping families navigate the insurance maze, which can be so confusing. While my role is Admin, my favorite part of my job is interacting with our wonderful families. Seeing the LT Team interact with the kiddos is a highlight! Smiles and giggles, all while working on their goals. I also enjoy being able to answer questions from therapists or parents as needed.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

Number one is maintaining awareness of all billing requirements for each individual insurance company. Fortunately, I have a great administration team to help. Having a complete understanding is so important to allow our kiddos to be able to get the therapy they need. Number two would be time – the days fly by and I don’t always get everything done on my to do list!

New Team Member Alexa Royer

My name is Alexa Royer, and I am from Brunswick, GA. I am the oldest of four siblings with one brother and two sisters adopted from China. My interests are spending time with friends and family, going to the beach, exercising, and watching the Bachelor. I became a pediatric Occupational Therapist because I have always wanted to do something helping others and I love kids. During my clinical fieldwork, I had the opportunity and experience working with children with Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, and Dyspraxia. I am very excited to be a part of Lowcountry Therapy because there are so many other therapists to learn from. I’m excited to help make a difference in my clients’ lives.

Barbara Interview

What is OG?

Orton Gillingham (OG) is a teaching approach designed to help children who struggle with reading, like those with dyslexia. It's multi-sensory, meaning the student can “see,” “hear” & “feel” what the instructor is teaching. OG is also language based, it teaches the connections between sounds and letters along with rules and patterns of language.

What does it take to become an OG instructor?

There are different levels of training and certification through the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) including: Classroom Educator, Associate, Certified and Fellow. I chose the Associate level training which requires a bachelors degree and begins with a 60 hour, in-person course followed by 100 teaching hours with observation and feedback sessions provided by a qualified mentor/training fellow. The training is intense and requires the instructor to commit several hours weekly in order to prepare lesson plans for each student.

What are signs that a child could benefit from OG services?

Some common signs include:

  • difficulty remembering letters/sounds
  • has a hard time with rhyming
  • struggles to recognize common sight words
  • has trouble hearing individual sounds in words and blending sounds to make a word
  • confuses or skips small words when reading (of, for)
  • poor spelling
  • has an easier time answering questions about a page of text if it’s read aloud
  • takes a very long time to complete reading assignments
  • avoidance and resistance to reading/low self-esteem

What is your favorite thing about OG treatment?

My absolute favorite part is seeing the look of confidence in a child who reads or spells a word independently for the first time. My goal is to work with parents to help each child become a competent reader, writer and independent learner.

For more information check out Orton-Gillingham: What You Need to Know

Orton Gillingham Instructional Approach

Orton–Gillingham: What You Need to Know

Examining the Effectiveness of the Orton-Gillingham Reading Approach for Poor Readers in Elementary School

© Lowcountry Therapy/Website by Hazel Digital Media