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 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!

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.

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

Welcome to the Team!

Calvin Detwiler, Physical Therapy Assistant

Calvin Detwiler is an Ohio native who has recently moved to the lowcountry. He loves staying active, especially long distance running. Calvin is a Cleveland Cavaliers fan and enjoys eating pizza and pho.

Most recently Calvin has been exploring the possibilities of dance as a therapeutic intervention. He is also interested in Aquatics.

When asked why he wanted to join the LTC team, Calvin said…

“One great thing about Low Country Therapy is the collabrative approach to therapy between disciplines to create a fun, positive approach to therapy for kids of all ages!”

He brings five years of experience in the field to add to the awesome physical therapy team!

National School Backpack Awareness Day

Every September the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) selects a day to highlight the importance of proper backpack selection, fitting, and packing to help reduce the instances of backpack-related pain and injury.

Check out these quick tips to help decrease stress caused by improper selection, fitting, and packing of backpack

  • Select a lightweight backpack with well-padded straps.
  • The weight of your backpack should not exceed 10% of your body weight.
  • The backpack should extend from the shoulders to no lower than 4” below the waist.
  • The backpack should rest firmly on your back.
  • Heavy items should be packed in the back of the backpack, closest to your back.
  • Light items and sharp items should be packed in the front of the backpack.
  • Use both straps of the backpack to equally distribute the weight.

Additional Resources from the AOTA:

1, 2, 3’s of Basic Backpack Wearing

Backpack Strategies for Parents and Students

Employee Spotlight: Sarah Hanson

Tell me a little about yourself and your role at Lowcountry Therapy. How long have your worked at LT?

I moved here from Wisconsin 12 years ago. We planted ourselves in the Lowcountry and now have 3 boys - Henry (6), Fred (4), Kenny (1). I’ve worked here 9 years. I’ve been working since the doors opened. I was brought on as a clinical lead but since we’ve grown, they have added more leads for each discipline. I am a speech therapy lead.

3 Ice Breakers:

  1. Where is your favorite travel spot?
    My favorite travel spot would be somewhere tropical that is all-inclusive.
  2. If you could pick one person to have lunch with, who would it be?
    My husband, Dale. We have been married 9 years. We actually got married right before I started working here.
  3. If you were participating in a beauty pageant, what would your talent be?
    I would play the French horn. I’ve been playing since I was in the sixth grade. I play the French horn in the Savannah Wind Ensemble at Georgia Southern.

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

Throughout the week I treat approximately ten to fifteen patients. When I am not treating I am performing lead duties which include scheduling, mentorship, and on-boarding new therapists.

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

I enjoy all aspects of my job, but if I had to pick I would choose treating patients. I am passionate about helping people, and I love the challenge. I love seeing the children grow and make progress. It is such a rewarding feeling to make someone else’s life better.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

It is difficult to balance scheduling, lead duties, and mentorship with treatment and paperwork, but I love it all!

What is a fun fact that your patients do not know about you?

My favorite car is an El Camino.

Meet Maybel the therapy dog

Coming soon! We are so excited to announce Lowcountry Therapy’s newest recruit!

We interviewed with our own Occupational Therapy Assistant Haleigh Rumsey, COTA who is the owner and trainer of Maybel.

Q: How long have you had Maybel?

A. I’ve had Maybel since she was 9 weeks old. She turned 2 this in April.

Q: Did you intend for Maybel to be a therapy dog when you adopted her?

A. Yes, I adopted Maybel specifically to train her to become a therapy dog. This impacted my choice of breed majorly. I wanted a labradoodle due to the hypoallergenic coat paired with the intelligence and temperament of the Labrador and Poodle combined.

Q. What does it mean to be a therapy dog?

A. A therapy dog is defined as a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, clinics, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas. At Lowcountry a therapy dog could assist your child with impulse control, joint attention, ADL skills, transitions, executive functioning, and anxiety behaviors; just to name a few!

Therapy dogs receive extensive obedience training for a minimum of one year. Maybel passed the AKC- Good Citizens test in November.

Q. What are a some of Maybel’s favorite things?

A. She loves stuffed animals, playing fetch and eating ice! She also loves anyone who will rub her belly.

Stay tuned for Maybel’s Adventures!
Middle Name: Clementine
Pet Name: Meebs

© Lowcountry Therapy/Website by Hazel Digital Media