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Reviews of Occupational Therapists Related Pages

2011 - 2013 Reviews


Speech and or Occup. Therapist for Feeding Issues

Feb 2013

Hello. I have a 22 month old son that we are struggling with eating issues. He breastfeed very well and moved to stage 2 and bottle easily, but as soon as we introduced table food (around 7 months) and stage 3 foods he began to struggle - gagging, spitting out, refusing, etc. He is now extremely picky (fewer than 20 foods) but can eat textured and whole foods, though still prefers soft things that don't require much chewing. He is completely unwilling to try new or unfamiliar foods (almost phobic of them) and will scream, cry, throw it on the floor, etc. Very heartbreaking and difficult as you can imagine. We have met with our pediatrician and had an eval months ago at Children's and it was somewhat inconclusive, but was suggested that he may have slight oral- motor delays (his speech seems on target) and/or mild sensory issues with different textures, etc. Our insurance refused to pay for therapy as there is not a ''medical reason'' for his issues, which is frustrating to say the least - - but we are able to pay out of pocket if needed. I am looking for local (east bay) speech and/or occupational therapists that specialize in these concerns and could give us a thorough assessment, accurate diagnosis and provide feeding therapy. Any personal stories of what helped your children also very welcome. Thank you so much. Need Help! Sam


I also had a son who preferred soft foods, gagged easily and did not like to try new foods. It was a slow process, but gradually he branched out, tried new things and got over his issues by the time he was 4 or so. My advice? Don't worry too much and don't make him feel bad for not wanting to try new foods. My biggest regret is taking him to the hospital for a barium test to see if there was a physical reason for his gagging. The test was traumatic and it showed nothing. As long as he is getting a balanced diet, don't focus so much on the things he isn't eating. My picky eater is now in college, happy and healthy and eating all kinds of foods. Carrie
I'm sorry you are struggling with this. Sounds very frustrating! Why don't you give Communication Works a call? My son attends social skills groups there and we are very happy with their services. I know they have a great Occupational Therapist on staff who deals with feeding issues. http://www.cwtherapy.com/ Good luck with finding help! Melissa
Communication Works (speech and language center in Oakland) has an OT working there. I'm sure some one there could help. Best Wishes Laura
My colleague, Janel Kidd, is a speech therapist at the Speech Pathology Group who works with children with feeding difficulties, including the sensory issues that you describe. She is wonderful with young children, very sweet and encouraging, firm but always fun. She works out of the Walnut Creek office. Her bio is at www.speechpathologygroup.com. Another therapist
Hello, I am very passionate about your concerns and feel your pain. Our son is 4.5 and has always been 'failure to thrive.' He also gags, chokes, spits out food, etc. He is not a picky eater, but he does struggle with some textures, large bites, although his OT said his oral motor functions are normal. Despite the wide variety of foods he eats, he eats very little food. Our experience is different, because he has had feeding issues since birth. Still, I want to propose some things for you to look into as you navigate through specialists. We have done tons of research and spoken with tons of families and seen every type of specialist, so we know what some of the most 'common' issues can be.

(We belong to Kaiser, so I cannot recommend doctors, except for Dr. Melvin Heyman in San Francisco, who is renown and helped two children in my network. We did not see him personally.)

1. Sensory or motor issues 2. Large tonsils/adenoids 3. Food allergies 4. Reflux or GI block 5. Appetite (might need an appetite booster). Mild idea is cyproheptadine. More aggressive is Reglan. 6. Frenulum or tongue-tied (unlikely, since he nursed well)

I wish your family all the best in getting to the bottom of it!! anon


When I was a program coordinator in the early intervention system I worked with Marjorie Palmer. I'd highly recommend her. http://www.marjoriemeyerpalmer.com/ office number is 510-651-2285 Kim

ST, PT and OT for 8 year old post-brain surgery

Feb 2011

My 8 year old son was diagnosed several weeks ago with a non-malignant brain tumor and it was surgically removed in early Sept. As he recovers from his surgery, he will have some inpatient rehab at CHO and then will be doing outpt rehab a few times a week. Does anyone have any recommendations for excellent speech, physical and occupational outpatient therapists for a brain-injured child post-surgery? He will need help to improve his short term memory, expressive language, visual-perceptual skills and other general OT and PT issues. We are in the Berkeley area. Thank you! craniopharyngioma mom


CHO has outpatient services, so assuming your insurance is contracted with CHO, I'd start there. another mom
I have been in so impressed with Gale Gordon in Orinda. She is a wonderful OT who has helped my family a great deal. It might be difficult to get a appointment but she is well worth the effort. annon

Occupational and Speech Therapy in San Ramon area

Feb 2011

Hi, My son is 20-month old and need help from occupational therapist and speech therapist. Does anyone have recommendation for a good occupational therapist and speech therapist around San Ramon area? Thanks


The Learning Fountain is located in San Ramon off of Crow Canyon. They are a fabulous group of occupational therapists. I think they also have a speech therapist who works with them. Another option for Speech Therapy is the Speech Pathology Group in Concord or The School of Imagination in Dublin. Good luck. Anonymous

Private Pediatric OT/PT/Speech center?

Feb 2011

Is there a local pediatric therapy clinic that will accept insurances (besides Alta Bates and Kaiser's clinics)? Does anyone know of one in the Berkeley/Oakland area? Also, what should I expect to pay for a therapy session if I don't use insurance? If you paid out of pocket, was it worth it, in your opinion? Thanks. Berkeley Mom


My son went to see Lindy Joffe at Full Circle Development Center in Oakland - across the street from the DMV. There are 5 or 6 OT's that work out of the office and they are of the highest caliber. My son went for over a year and has benefited greatly. You can email me if you want specifics. Disclaimer, my sister is one of the high quality therapists in the office! You can google Full Circle to learn more. Good luck.
My daughter had physical therapy for multiple reasons. Part of it was covered by insurance so we went to Children's Hospital and received great care there with Shelly at the Pediatric Rehab department. I'm not sure if they will take you out of insurance, but it was worth it for us. We also had some help through the Regional Center of the East Bay and they used Starfish Therapies http://www.starfishtherapies.com/index.html who came to my daughter's daycare and worked with her there. I seem to remember getting a ''bill'' that we didn't have to pay and it was either $60 or $80 for the visit. If your child is under 3 and delayed the RCEB can help you but it isn't instant and it can take some major phonecalls. I think all of the help my daughter had early on was great and well worth it. She was seen from 3m to 15m. I'm pretty sure Starfish Therapies will take private patients. Good luck!

2010 - 2009 Reviews


OT for child with handwriting issues

Dec 2010

My 8 year old's 3rd grade teacher recommended that I find him an occupational therapist for his hand writing issues. Can anyone recommend someone in either the Lamorinda, Berkeley or Oakland areas? My son has difficulty holding a pencil/pen and writing legibly. He is very bright and excels at everything else in school BUT hand writing. His 3rd grade teacher feels it could affect his writing abilities down the road. Thank you. Anonymous


I highly recommend Gail Gordon in Orinda. My son worked with her on his dysgraphia. It didn't get fixed but it's much better. She also has helped explain his problems with the school to develop his IEP. (925) 258-9935. Another is Liz Isono. She works in Orinda and Berkeley. (510) 717- 1300. My son loved both of them. been there
I recommend Kristine Hubner Levin, OTRL. She is in Orinda very close to the 24 Freeway. She worked with my daughter for handwriting issues. My daughter is now in 4th grade in one of the Lamorinda schools without any issues related to handwriting. You can contact her at 925-254-1137 . She is very professional when it comes to OT, a specialist in handwriting and loves kids. My daughter stopped her therapy a while back and she still asks to visit Kristine. Good luck. LT

Seeking a certified Occupational Therapist

March 2010

Hi, I am looking for a certified occupational therapist (to evaluate my 8yr. old son) who uses the Sensory Integration And Praxis Test, and accepts medi-cal, or has a low fee. Thank You. anon


You can search a list of California OTs who are certified to give the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) here: http://portal.wpspublish.com/portal/page? _pageid=53,83247&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

It costs a LOT of money to take the 4 courses required to become SIPT- certified, and there are MANY excellent local OTs treating children with sensory integration issues who do not have this certification. There are many other methods that OTs use to assess sensory integration dysfunction, and many other standardized tests out there that provide the same information the SIPT does. What I mean is: you may find an OT who is excellent at treating sensory issues, but does not have the certification to give the SIPT testing. You say your son is 8 years old, and the SIPT is only standardized on children up to 8 years 11 months, which is one of the huge limitations to the test itself.

I don't know any private OTs who take Medi-Cal. You may ask your doctor for a referral to someone, and then simply ask if they have experience treating children with SI issues. A Local Pediatric OT


Occupational therapist for handwriting?

June 2009

I am looking for an occupational therapist to evaluate my son's fine motor skills and development. Handwriting has been a serious struggle for three years and I'd like to learn if there is something else we could be doing. This is the only issue we are concerned about at this time. I hope to find someone who is good with kids and who is located in Berkeley or Oakland. Thanks


My son works with Gail Gordon in Orinda, for handwriting and other OT issues. I highly recommend her. She is very adept at identifying any issues, explains them thoroughly, and makes clear recommendations for home and school. She has very creative, integrated approaches to therapy, and works well with our school team. Gail's number is 925-258-9935. Cindy
There is a program called 'handwriting without tears'. Here is a website link to their workshops/locations:http://ws.hwtears.com/category/s If this doesn't work, try the home page: http://www.hwtears.com/ Hope you will get good help.
I am an occupational therapist in Berkeley. Handwriting is one of my areas of expertise, as I have worked in the school system for several years, and have a good understanding of what is required of children at each grade level. I've seen lots of students have success using the Handwriting Without Tears program, which makes handwriting really fun to learn.

4yr old needs an occupational therapist

May 2009

My 4 year old is having trouble with impulse control and aggression. He also has some sensory issues and poor fine motor skills for his age. It has been recommended that he see an occupational therapist and unfortunately Kaiser doesn't have one (and probably wouldn't pay for it anyway). I have asked the school district to evaluate him, but they cannot as he has no verbal/language issues. So I am hoping for OT recommendations, preferably inexpensive or who work on a sliding scale as we don't have the money to spend on this at all and will have to scrounge as it is. Thank you for your help.


Eh? Kaiser has a number of pediatric OTs. My 5-year-old daughter got an evaluation and home therapy program for mild fine motor issues not too long ago. If the person recommending OT services to you is recommending them for something that Kaiser OTs don't claim to do then that's different, but they definitely have pedi OTs. You just need a referral from her pedi for an evaluation and then they take it from there.
The school district should evaluate your son upon your written request whether or not he has verbal/language issues. Impulse control, aggression and fine motor delays will definitely impact his ability to succeed in school. They have sixty days to complete the evaluation upon receipt of a written request from you. DREDF (Disability Rights Education Defense Fund)may be able to help. They can be reached at: 800-348-4232. My understanding is that Kaiser provides OT for rehab only. Samuel Merritt College in Oakland offers free pediatric OT with student clinicians: http://www.samuelmerritt.edu/occupational_therapy/free_clinics. Good luck - Jan
Please don't give up too soon on getting help through public services. The school district might have pushed you away, because at first sight your son might not qualify. Typically, if a child won't qualify for cognitive or speech therapy, they will be sent away. However, please send a 'request for a comprehensive assessment' in writing to the Special Education Director of your school district. This will trigger a process within a set time line set by law. List all the issues your son is dealing with, and how they (might) interfere with his success in a regular classroom, giving examples of current issues in his daily activities. If he is ''is having trouble with impulse control and aggression. He also has some sensory issues and poor fine motor skills'', there is something going on, that probably should be addressed, and he should get some help. Who suggested he should get OT? Can those people give you a report that would substantiate your case?

What the school district typically does, is an evaluation to qualify for a so called IEP (individual education plan). Your son might not qualify for this indeed, so I suggest, you also ask for a 504 assessment. Your child would qualify if he had a 'disability', which could be physical or mental that limits him from major life activities. Now 'disability' is a broad term and includes learning disabilities, which may very well, what your son is already experiencing, or would experience in school. The key is, you have to be able to make a case about how your son will not be able to follow a regular school curriculum without intervention.

The school district is actually obligated to help you put this in writing after your verbal request. Since they already rejected you, you may not want to do this. If this all overwhelms you, I suggest you call DREDF for help. Hope you will get good help.


Experiences with Ellen Gordon, OT

May 2009

Hi - we're considering Ellen Gordon for OT for mild motor planning delay. Would love feedback about her or other OT specialist in the Oakland area. Thank You


Ellen worked her magic on my daughter when she was little. Her heart is H U G E and she is avery gentle and talented OT. I absolutely recommend her. V.
I highly recommend Ellen Gordon for Occupational Therapy. My preschool son has been seeing her for a year and is getting ready to graduate. Her loving attention and therapy has helped him learn how to process stimulus calmly. She has supported him and me through some difficult school behaviors and helped him greatly to gain control of his responses. She worked with both the school and I to learn how to understand and work with him to help everyone feel more positive. She established a strong and caring relationship with him and has been like a life coach as well as an OT. She works from her home and my son feels like it is a second home. Her style is warm and caring rather than high-tech or clinical. Happy with our OT

Occupational Therapist for 4-yr-old girl

April 2009

Could anyone out there recommend a great OT? My daughter has SID, and so far I haven't found a good fit. She's a little shy and hesitant to try new things - she thinks very hard before doing almost anything. I'm hoping to find someone who is patient, perceptive, and willing to adjust their pace to hers. Thanks so much! mom of a cautious girl


Susan Campidonico (OT at Alta Bates Herrick) is perfect for your daughter -- she specializes in Sensory integration issues of all kinds. She is incredinly kind, perceptive, and encouraging. I sat in on my son's weekly visits with Susan, and learned how to support what they were working on at home. My son made incredible progress in 1 year with her. We would have stayed, but she said he was ''done.'' She was right! Blue Cross covers part of it. mom of SID kid
My 8 year-old son has SID and works with a fantastic OT in Orinda. Her name is Kristine Hubner, and she is a pediatric OT. She is very familiar with SID issues, and my son has made great progress since working with her. Her website is http://www.kidsmovingahead.com/ (925) 254-1137. I have also heard good things about Nan Arkwright but do not have personal experience with her.
Susan Campodonico (Kam-poh-DAH-nik-oh)is great! She is at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley. 510-204-5217

2008 - 2007 Reviews


When to end Occupational Therapy?

Oct 2008

My question is when to end Occupational Therapy for my almost 5 year old son. I started him in OT about 5 months ago due to the urging of his preschool teacher about concerns about how he held his pencil and his lack of drawing ability and inability to trace shapes. (Here's a square - then draw it on your own below or next to it) He also has had some behavioral issues due to a tendency to get overstimulated and out of control.

We are paying out of pocket and have been going once per week, although I have reduced it to biweekly for the remainder - I want to end at the end of the year.

I have mixed feelings as the OT person keeps saying he needs more time. We have seen some improvement with his pencil and drawing. He loves the OT but sometimes is too tired to focus at the sessions.

I am torn about ending and here are the issues:
- Of course I want to help my son
- Don't want to throw away 6 months of time, energy money
- Don't want to expose him to unnecessary therapy
- Therapist has not written me notes or a report that I have requested multiple times
- Therapist has not spoken with teacher as she said she would so there could be continuity
- Sometimes I am not sure he needs it - perhaps natural maturation would solve most issues
- Never got a formal ''diagnosis'' of anything - don't really want one
- I know the therapist needs the client and is good with him - why can't she give me a report? It's not her strong point but I have made multiple requests...

Any advice for how to know when to quit? Do other OTs provide reports? This is causing me some grief, as I want to do the best thing for my son. ''Flummoxed''


Your OT should have provided you with an initial evaluation that listed any deficits in skills or areas of difficulty, with clear objective goals to improve skills in this areas. As an OT, we are under obligation to assess progress towards those goals and to discontinue therapy if the pt has either met those goals or is plateauing. Your request for the report is 100% valid, and I would find another OT who can explain what your son is working on in therapy and why. - another OT
My son (age 2) has had two OT's so far - the first one always wrote a report, even though I was right there the whole time. The second one also writes reports - in fact, she seems to spend more time writing the report during his session than she does working with my son. So, to answer your question, yes, in my experience, OT's write reports. I have heard that many OT's don't like that part of the job. jill
WOW. It sounds as if you're going through what our family is going through right now (actually our OT went to our son's pre- k, as a sort of intervention so he woudn't get kicked out). My son spirals out-of-control when over stimulated and is prone to hitting if frustrated etc... He has been seeing an OT once a week for 8 months now and has made progress. Yes it's expensive but what do you do??!! To get into and stay in a school you have to take some sort of action, usually the schools suggested route of action.

Like you, I often wonder if this 'progress' would have come naturally with the maturation process. I am also under the impression a 'formal' diagnosis cannot be made until a child is at least 6 or 7. Your ignored verbal requests for an OT report is cause for concern.

I have not requested my son's OT records yet because my OT gives a thorough verbal playback of each session. She also gives us a list of things to do at home. I can suggest an excellent book titled ''Boys Adrift'(if you have time to read). It explains (and it makes sense)how boys are not developmentally ready to read & write as early as girls and how our educational system has become 'feminized'. If a boy cannot do or learn what most girls can do and learn at a certain age he's considered ADHD and/or unmotivated and then put on medication. Girls will almost always be way ahead of boys verbally and developmentally during the early school years. The book goes on to explain in great detail how boys are wired & LEARN sooooooooo differently. I have 2 boys and am discovering the hard way with my first; maybe I won't send my 2nd to school until he's 6 and ready to do all those activities which schools view as making a preshcooler 'successful': circle time, holding a pencil the right way, tying shoes, identifying shapes etc...

I'm very curious about the advice you'll receive for your post. Wish you lots of luck hope all works out!


My nephew had a similar issue and his preschool teacher also recommended that he get some help with handling smaller items in his hands. His parents considered the recommended therapy, but decided that he would grow out of it. He did! I think that there is a race to get our kids to perform at a certain level. None of us are the same and some are faster than others. That doesn't mean that we suddenly need to jump into therapy. Let him be a little boy. My nephew is now in high school and incredibly smart. Believe me, he writes just fine!

You mentioned that your son can be over-stimulated and out of control. Join the club of other 5-yr old boys! Sure, we could decide to drug our children and force them into a behavior that more suits the teachers or the parents, but why not let them be the kids that they need to be and teach them what behavior is okay in certain environments. Good for you for questioning this! jj


Pediatric occupational therapist for pre-schooler

Oct 2008

I am looking for a pediatric occupational therapist and was hoping someone might have a recommendation? Ideally, I am looking for one that specializes in Sensory Processing/Integration Disorder in preschool age kids. Thanks!


Susan Campordonico at Herrick Ped. Rehab. (510) 204-4599. Very compassionate and well-versed in SID and has helped and continues to help our child. Good luck. Anon.

How do you decide when to stop OT?

August 2008

I am wondering how parents decide when their child has had enough OT. My son is 7 1/2 and I don't really see him making progress anymore. He started OT 15 months ago for sensory integration and made rapid progress at first, perhaps because we were doing it several times a week. But I haven't seen much progress in months. He gets 25 minutes of large motor and 25 minutes of fine motor OT a week. His handwriting is awful and he gets tired after writing the alphabet once -- ie 26 letters. He is quite weak in general and his core and neck muscles are lacking in strength. He somehow cannot pump himself on a swing -- he is just lacking the coordination. I have asked our OT if she will see us more than once a week and she is not willing. I think if I asked her if we could stop she would say yes but more because of the lack of progress than because he is ready to graduate. Money is not the issue -- it's more just wondering whether we need to find another OT or whether we can quit. It is really a struggle to get him to do 15 minutes of exercise and 15 minutes of handwriting or math a day and he is starting to hate me because of all the nagging to do his exercises, handwriting etc. He seems overwhelmed and stressed and makes jokes about being stupid. We did daily exercises for vision therapy and his handwriting and drawing improved markedly, then completely relapsed just a month after we stopped. I am starting to feel like intervention is counterproductive. But I have also been told that this is the last window to work on his neurodevelopmental delays. Is the problem that we are not doing enough? Or can some things just not be rushed? When do you decide that it is just enough intervention and let nature take its course? concerned mom


With our 3 year old we did OT 1X/week for 45 minutes with a therapist, and then worked a home program aggressively (like 2-3 30 minute sessions a day) for about 9 months. And at the end of 9 months, the OT and I just looked at each other, and said ''he's done'' with the understanding that he would always need sensory support and work, but it was something we had integrated into our lives well, and we knew the signs of when a ''tune up'' might be in order. And while we continue to be aggressive with facilitating some kind of bodywork daily, now that he's 5 he also independently seeks the kind of input that we had to formerly administer, and I can be a little more relaxed that he's figuring out how to get what he needs. I can't imagine that we would have seen much in the way of lasting benefits with just one formal OT session a week, it was really the home program that cemented the learning for him. But this was ''fun'' sensory work, bouncing, jumping, pushing, wrestling, rolling etc, and the kind of work you're talking about sure doesn't seem like ''fun'' to me! Can you check in with your OT (or another OT) about whether some of the same skills might be built through alternate activities that are a little more fun and less overtly connected to what you want him to move toward? Can he enroll in a clay class and build hand strength by throwing pots on the wheel? Horseback riding lessons for trunk strength? Climbing walls for hand strength? Has there been any evaluation for hypotonia, or other reasons beyond the sensory element, that might explain why he's not progressing? I found that senseory work needs a constant infusion of new ideas and activities to keep it fresh, maybe that's what's lacking. But I also found that my gut instinct for when he was grounded and organized was sound, and that once he hit a consistent groove of being organized, it was pretty clear. Sensory mama
We also have a child with SI issues, both gross and fine motor (terrible coordination and balance, weak core, fatigues easily, etc.), and tactile and auditory as well. I'm wondering if your son looks forward to his OT appts. If he doesn't, then I think your answer is right there: find another OT. There are lots of incredible OTs out there, and if he isn't totally excited every week to go, then you definitely need a different one. All of his therapy will be fun for him (at appointments and at home) if you have the right OT and the right setting. Also check out Pediatric Motor Playground if you don't know about it. It's a fun, exciting place for kids to go in a group setting to work on their issues. The exciting part of your post to me is that money is not an issue for you as far as getting OT goes. That is so great, and I wish I could say the same!! Also have you read ''The Out of Sync Child Has Fun??'' That book and ''Raising a Sensory Smart Kid'' and also some other books have great ideas for fun things to do at home that enhance your child's occupational therapy. Craniosacral therapy with Nancy Burke and Rose Stamm (an OT herself) could also help him a lot. Whatever you do, please don't quit-- our child finally figured out how to pump a swing just recently!!-- I think it's true that helping him is now or never..... Don't Quit!!
Your OT should have goals and regularly asess whether your son is meeting them. Also, OT can be fun. Maybe you should find another OT with a different approach that is more playful and less of a drill. You can also try activities yourself that your son might enjoy more that will also have some therapeutic value--swimming, tae kwon do, gymnastics, riding a bike or scooter. There are tons of fine motor activities and games that you can do with your child. If you think of it as something fun you do together rather than something arduous he has to do himself he will enjoy it more. best wishes
I’m responding both as a Speech Language Pathologist in my professional life and as the parent of a wonderful girl with muscle tone, binocular vision, sensory and other challenges. Reading through your post, I see what I know as a professional and yet what is so hard for us parents of special needs kids: our followthrough on a regular basis outside of therapy sessions is crucial to our kids daily functioning. I would encourage you to ask your OT (and other providers) to help you prioritize goals, and then to think about how you can build practice into your home routines without driving yourself, your son and the rest of your family crazy.

In my professional practice, I emphasize to families that while “every day” may just be too hard, at least 3 to 4 times per week will make a big difference. Or perhaps for you, finding 15 minutes a day (versus 30) and alternating the different groups of exercises. Another possibility that has worked for our family is having a favored babysitter oversee exercises/tutorial once or twice per week. We work with our OT as a consultant, and while we haven’t made the progress I’d like to see in certain areas, others have progressed enough for me to say that its definitely worth it. I encourage you to look at a variety of options before leaving OT altogether. C


Occupational therapist for a teen

June 2008

This is for the person who wrote some time back wanting advice about her ADD teen and also a recommendation for an occupational therapist. For an occupational therapist, I highly recommend Kristine Hubner-Levin at 510- 331-3401 or 925-254-1137. We used her several years ago and she was phenomenal.


OT in Berkeley/Albany for sensory seeking issues

April 2008

Hi our son has sensory seeking issues and we are getting to our wits end needing some affordable OT help-please Berkeley or Albany area hopefully? over stimmed mom


We've been very happy working with Rita Montez in El Cerrito for sensory issues. We don't have any personal experience with her, but friends are very happy with Susan Campodonico in Berkeley. Sandra
Our son who is now 11 has had similar issues; I highly recommend you get an evaluation by a local expert - Amy E. Faltz, M.S. CCC-SLP; Amy Faltz has been treating our son for 4 years and we have seen wonderful results. sb

Pediatric OT for SPD

Feb 2008

Can anyone recommend a good pediatric occupational therapist for SPD? I am looking for someone who can do a full evaluation of my son's sensory integration issues and give us suggestions for a home-based sensory diet. Also, since I am sure that my insurance company won't pay for it, I would appreciate ballpark figures for how much such an evaluation would cost if I am paying privately and what do weekly therapy sessions run? Anon


I would highly reccomend you do an evaluation with a Developmental Pediatrician before moving on to OT. We were worried about our son's issues, and considered doing OT before a diagnosis - and I spoke with a few OT's who were happy to see him. A social worker who had known him since infancy highly reccomend the Pediatrician route and I am so glad we went that way. While he has sensory processing issues, she picked up on other things that may have been missed - and did a number of blood tests to check for other things.

We saw Veronica Daly at CHO - really reccomend her. The evaluation session (2 hrs) was around $500 (eventually some was reimbursed by our insurance). We saw Gail Gordon, OT in Orinda --I think she was $90 a session but maybe the frist session was more? She prescribed a sensory ''diet'' as you say and a year later, my son is doing much better. But I cannot stress enough that its key to start with an overall evaluation. been there


Need OT evaluation for 3.5-year-old

Jan 2008

My 3.5 YO has fine motor delay (my observation, not clinically evaluated) and I'd like to get a private OT evaluation. I'd love to hear about your experience with OT practioners and any advice / recommendations. Thanks!


I have experience with three OTs in the BPN archives and would wholeheartedly recommend each of them for an evaluation of your child's fine motor delay: Rita Montez, Susan Campodonico, and Cindy Ng--though Cindy now works exclusively in San Francisco in her own gym instead of doing home visits, www.kidspacetherapy.com. All are smart, warm, and well-connected. Mom of 8 YO

Worried about 3-year-old's coordination

Oct 2007

Hi - My 3yo seems a little coordinated and to have less fine motor skills than I would expect (based on seeing peers in pre-school). The teachers are not flagging anything, but I have a nervous feeling that something isn't as it should be - I don't want to medicalize everything, but am not sure what to do. Is an Occupational Therapist the way to go? If so I would appreciate recommendations. Thanks!


Hi there- I would trust your own instincts and get an OT evaluation. I had concerns about my son's speech when he was young...everyone told me I was ''paranoid'' b/c I am a therapist myself. Turns out he had a moderate hearing loss due to fluid in his ears and adenoids that were swollen and enlarged. Once he had surgery to correct those, he started speaking more age-appropriately right away. All that to say- it is better to know for sure and get things checked out early. You should be able to get a free evaluation through your local school district. Call the special education office and ask them to schedule an evaluation. Hope this helps. An experienced occupational therapist
Hi, If you are concerned about your son's fine motor development, I recommend that you at least have him evaluated by a pediatric OT in order determine if there are any delays. An assessment typically includes a standardized evaluation which will provide you with an age equivalent of his skills. Of course, any functional impacts related any delays (such a handwriting difficulties, unable to manage buttons, etc.) are more important than any number on a test, so be sure to share those concerns with the OT. I encourage you to speak with your pediatrician and see if they will write a Rx for an OT evaluation. Hopefully your insurance will cover the cost of the eval or a portion of it. Your insurance can also direct you to authorized vendors that provide pediatric OT, such as Alta Bates or Children's Hospital Oakland. Best of luck. a local OT

Occupational Therapist for SID

May 2007

I am looking for an Occupational Therapist who specializes in Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Even better would be someone who works with Tactile Defensiveness and is trained in Wilbarger Technique. (And if this person practices in the East Bay, that would be icing on the cake.) Thanks in advance.


We have worked with two OTs for SID, around primary issues of gravitational insecurity and tactile defensiveness, and the brushing protocol was something both OTs advocated for and we used to great success (among the constellation of interventions that we employed). Cindy Ng (415) 203-8156 has a clinic in SF (but home visits in East Bay regularly) and Amy Arenberg (510) 525-9710 who works through Mary Kawar and Associates in El Cerrito. Very different approaches, both very successful in helping our family to work with our (now amazingly grounded and pleasant) preschooler. Mary Kawar is a leader in the field of OT for SID, so anyone in her offices is probably top notch. Made a believer out of me

2006 - 2005 Reviews


Occupational therapist in Lamorinda area for sensory integration

December 2006

I'm looking for an occupational therapist in the lamorinda area to work with my child on sensory integration and fine motor issues. Please let me know about your experiences good and bad with local OTs. thank you


Please see my posting under Sensory integration. I'm the PT and mom.
I can enthusiastically recommend Kristine Hubner-Levin, OTRL, in Orinda, phone 925-254-1137. She worked with my 4.5 y.o. son for 6 months on sensory processing issues (until we found out he was eligible for services through our school district). My son *loved* going to see her--she has a fabulous personality for working with kids--fun and friendly, while accomplishing a lot. She works out of a home office equipped with great gear, and her fees are affordable based on local going rates. O.T. with Kristine really made a difference for us! O.T. Fan
My daughter has been working with Gina Banks for almost a year, and we could not be more pleased! She is a delight to work with as a parent, and she has been excellent at following the lead of my headstrong toddler while still getting lots of work done. She LOVES her kids, and is very familiar and experienced with SI stuff, too.

We connected with her through Regional Centers, and I believe that she is a private contractor (not in a group). She has clients all over the East bay, so she probably would have some in your area. She is currently expanding her private practice, so your timing may be excellent! If you would like to email me, I will verify that she would like you to contact her (rather than posting her phone number in a public forum!).

Good luck--I know that SI can pose some real challenges, but our daughter has improved tremendously with occupational therapy!


Finding an OT for kindergartener's writing trouble

Nov 2006

I am considering occupational therapy for my Kindergartener, who is having a lot of trouble with his writing skills (and who is unhappy in school and having occasional behavioral trouble because of this). My question is, how does one initiate this process? I am not sure I want to go through the district (people's opinions, lots of testing, lots of fuss) -- I might just want to do it privately to see if it would help. I looked through the BPN recommendations list, and can't actually seem to find phone numbers and addresses for most of the recommended OTs for whom I've looked (some of them seem to work only through a hospital, or school district). The couple I did find seemed to subscribe to some sort of alternative theories of medicine/behavioral health. I don't want that -- I want some very mainstream help with specific handwriting difficulties, in a child who is otherwise completely fine. How does one go about finding an OT, and obtaining services for one's child? Karen


When my son's first grade teacher suggested that he might need to see an OT, we went to Denise Killingsworth in Walnut Creek. Her number is 925-932-4815. She was great and the OT work helped my son very much. She is especially good with kids who need help with sensory integration work. My son has settled down at school now, is reading up a storm and doing very well. The drive out there was a pain, to be sure, but we made the best of it with books on tape. mom of a quirky kid
as a first step you might want to try the handwriting without tears approach - www.hwtears.com. i was a sp. ed. and first grade teacher for 9 years and found this approch to be helpful for many handwriting problems - but get your child evaluated by all means if the problem persists.... zoe

Occupational Therapist for Toddler's Feeding Aversion

March 2005

My 1.5 year old son still refuses to self feed (other than Cheerios), and also is increasingly resisting being fed pureed food. When he is spoon fed food with chunks, he either vomits it up or spits it out. We're working with a gastrointerologist to rule out any physiological problems, but at this point it's looking as if it's more of a psychological / behavior issue. My son is also said to have ''oral defensiveness'' (i.e., hard to get near his mouth with ANYTHING without a fight). Does any one know of a good Occupational Therapist for Feeding Aversions that works independently? We are Kaiser and they've not been too helpful. I contacted Oakland Children's Hospital, but without insurance covering the treatment (which it's unlikely that Kaiser will), we will not be able to afford multiple visits. Please advise. Thanks in advance.


Speech Pathologist Marjorie Meyer Palmer in Fremont at 510-651- 2285.
Frances Grahamjones is an excellent SLP here in Albany. She has years of specialized experience. You can reach her at 510-524-0350.
Linda Lawton

2004 & Earlier


2.5 yr old w/Apraxia

June 2004

My best friend's 2.5 yr old son was recently diagnosed with apraxia. Are there any parents out there who are dealing with the same issue? If so, what resources have been the most helpful to you? She has her son in speech therapy and has seen a developmental pediatrician so far. Any and all advice, words of wisdom, etc. are very welcome. Concerned Friend


Try www.apraxia-kids.org. I found that a good OT helped (helps) tremendously. Locally, Herrick Pediatric Rehab. is experienced with motor apraxia/dyspraxia (Stacy or Susan C.) 510-204-4599. Parent of Apraxic Child

OT to assess 16-year-old's poor handwriting

April 2004

I am looking for an occupational therapist to assess my 16 year old son's handwriting problems. Must be able to evaluate within the context of demands of high school essay and test writing. Dana


My teenage daughter had handwriting difficulties. I can recommend the HANDLE program practitioner in Lafayette. She is an experienced educator as well so she brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the issue. She helped my daughter with lots of educational issues, including what she needed for the high school entrance exam taking. Sindy Wilkinson, MA, Lafayette (925) 962-9506 or email sindywilk at comcast.net Satisfied parent

Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old

July 2003

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good Occupational Therapist in East Bay who is very experienced with young children? My 7-year-old son has been diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disability and has mild sensory motor integration problems and has been referred for OT.

Recommended:

  • Susan Campodonico
  • Susan Deutsch
  • Stacey Frauwirth
  • Trang Phan
  • Samuel Merritt College OT Clinic
  • Rose Stamm

    Other advice:

    Pediatric Building Blocks in San Leandro has a novel approach to sensory integration and you might find their style more compatible. Finally, check our www.handleinstitute.org for an excellent modality for learning differences. A mom

    I have a copy of the Spring 2003 Newsletter of the East Bay Learning Disabilities Association, which focuses on NLD. You might want to try to get a copy from them (their number is 510-433-7934). It talks about support groups and has an article about NLD written by an OT named Kristine Wong (it says her number is 466-5405). Good luck!


    Susan Campodonico

    Re: Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old (July 2003)
    Susan Campodonico has been our OT at Herrick/Alta Bates for several years now. She has been wonderful with my son, now 4, and is highly experienced in sensory integration issues. Stacey F. is also excellent but may not be taking on new patients. Good luck.

    Susan Deutsch

    Re: Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old (July 2003)
    Susan Deutsch works with the BUSD and also privately. She lives in Alameda and commutes with her bag of tools to your home. Our son enjoyed his sessions with her.

    Stacey Frauwirth

    Re: Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old (July 2003)
    I attended a talk given by Stacey Frauwirth, an OT at Alta Bates and thought she was wonderful. It seems like she really understands kids and has lots of years of experience. I haven't worked with her personally but know someone who has and they like her very much. If you can't find her number feel free to e- mail me and I'll get it from my friend. Hannah

    Ellen Gordan

    July 2003

    Re: Gail Gordan O/T
    My son was referred to both Gail Gordon and another private OT Ellen Gordon (not related). The neuro psychologist from oakland Children's Hosp who tested our son gave us both names, but prefered Ellen. We chose Ellen because i had a better feeling about her on the phone. And she's in Oakland which is closer to home. For a second opinion, you might consider Ellen. She's very casual, works out of her home in oakland. But she is very sincere and knowledgable. Did my son get a lot out of OT? It's really hard to say. He still struggles (11 yrs old) with sensory integration issues (hand writing, anything with a ball) and has been diagnosed with a ''non-verbal learning disability''. My son went to Ellen for a year from 7 to 8 yrs old. There is no magic cure for any of this stuff, you just have to try different things, get good references and don't stay too long if it doesn't feel right or produce identifiable results within 3-6 months. That's my 2 cents! Good luck. Her # is 510-530-6586 Good luck. Stay calm. another mom


    Mary Kawar and Associates

    Re: Adoptive Parents Support Group for challenging kids (April 2006)
    For our child with SI issues, we see Rita Montez at Mary Kawar and Associates in El Cerrito. She is a terrific Occupational Therapist, and I highly recommend her (if you can get an appointment - she is very popular). She did a very thorough evaluation, and has helped our child tremendously. Been there.

    Samuel Merritt College OT Clinic

    Re: Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old (July 2003)
    I don't know if this is of interest to you, but I saw something in the Montclarion about a free OT clinic at Samuel Merritt College. It sounds like it might be a good opportunity for folks whose insurance probably wouldn't cover the costs. I checked on Samuel Merritt's website and found information on the department of occupational therapy's website. Here's a link to the main page: http://www.samuelmerritt.edu/default.cfm unfortunately, because of lame website design I can't send the link directly. OT savvy

    Trang Phan

    Re: Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old (July 2003)
    My 6 y.o has seen Trang Phan, OT at Childrens Hospital and we liked her alot, but my son's issues are different: fine motor delay. peggy

    O.T.s at Premiere Physiology

    Jan 2003

    I am taking my 16 mo old son in to be tested for Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SI) and was wondering if anyone has had any experiences with SI treatment provided by the Occupational Therapists at Premiere Physiology in Dublin. Premiere Physiology is the occupation therapy group that has contracted with my HMO, Hill Physicians, so it is easy for us to be referred to them. Thanks, Kristin

    [no replies received]


    Rose Stamm

    Re: Occupational Therapist for 7-year-old (July 2003)
    Rose Stamm, in El Cerrito, is a caring, experienced Occupational Therapist. You can contact her at: 215-7615 Ginger

    More Recommendations


    Feb 2008

    Re: Who to diagnose and prescribe for ADD in teen?
    This is for the person who wrote some time back wanting advice about her ADD teen and also a recommendation for an occupational therapist. For an occupational therapist, I highly recommend Kristine Hubner-Levin at 510- 331-3401 or 925-254-1137. We used her several years ago and she was phenomenal. As for the ADD teen, this is such a gigantic topic with so many subtopics, I don't know where to begin and don't have any magic answers, but just know you are absolutely not alone and this is hard and super frustrating for many many parents, not to mention the kids. I recommend reading Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey, if you haven't yet. anon


    Feb 2008

    A family friend recommended Peggy Bledsoe in San Leandro for Occupational Therapy for our 4 year old daughter who we think has a sensory processing disorder. I didn't find any previous posts on her and wondered if anyone has experience with her and would recommend her? We find that our daughter's symptoms are very confusing to us despite having read a lot about SPD and so we want someone who is really experienced and able to give us good insight if this is SPD or something else such as ADHD or even bi-polar or a combination. Or if there is someone else they might recommend instead that doesn't have a 9 month waiting list. anon


    My son saw Peg Bledsoe for a year about 12 years ago, also for sensory integration issues. She can be a little scattered and disorganized, but is a phemomenal OT and my son made excellent progress with her. I would definitely recommend her. anon
    Peg Bledsoe worked with my sensory-defensive child through the OUSD (assuming it's the same Peg Bledsoe, OT) several years ago and is working with him again this year again. She really was able to help him in the school setting; she was the only school district-provided OT who was even willing to talk about and work on sensory integration (great for us!). For private OT, we would highly recommend Susan Campordonico, at Herrick/Alta Bates 510.204.4599. Anon.
    Nov 2003

    Re: Sensory Integration Disorder
    Hello, Here are a few people who work with sensory integration issues:

    Kristine Hubner, OT
    Orinda
    510-331-3401
    
    Liz Osono, OT
    Gail Gordon, OT
    Both practitioners can be reached at 925-258-9935
    
    S Aurilio
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