Seeking an Occupational Therapist

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Dear Neuro-divergent Community:

    I am that parent going through school IEP Process for the first time. So frustrating!!  My 5 year old boy is autistic and has hypotonia (low muscle tone throughout his body) so we need Occupational Therapy (OT). The school district has denied OT services but has agreed to pay for/fund the IEE-Occupational Therapy assessment. So I am reaching out to you and hoping you could share any recommendations or point me in the right direction.  If you have any experience with or could recommend Occupational Therapists (preferably neurodiversity affirming), who might be able to perform an IEE for OT, I would be so grateful!!

    Kindly & Grateful, Pat & Jannie

    What school district is your son in?   Try reaching out to your healthcare provider and get recommendations for psychologists that can perform the IEE.  You can also contact the Bay Area Regional Center for recommendations.  My son has been receiving both OT and Speech Therapy for Autism since he was 5 years old and I  can tell you the progress has been amazing.  Good luck! 

    Hi Pat, I highly recommend James Bylund at the 

    Bylund clinic, they are located in Walnut Creek. They did my son’ assessment, they came to the final IEP and put together all the accommodations that he needs to have in the classroom beautifully.  I know that this is very stressful, this is my email if you need more info 

    memenytato [at] 

    My main advice would be to contact DREDF and ask to speak to a parent advocate to help you negotiate the process.

    I am not sure Outdoor Kids Occupational Therapy  this service, but likely they can recommend someone.

    Elisabeth Meikle is an awesome OT my kid works with. I’m not sure if she does an IEE but she would be a good person to reach out to. She also works for outdoor kids, which is an incredible outdoor OT program. I highly recommend you look into outdoor kids OT as a supplement to whatever your district (hopefully) offers during school hours.

    Full circle ot is another OT group that has been recommended to me by multiple people I trust. I have not worked directly with them, but they might be worth checking out. 

    good luck! 

    Reply now  »
  • My 6 year old is having trouble with impulse control and emotional regulation (controlling his anger). He also has some sensory issues and poor fine motor skills for his age. It has been recommended that he see an occupational therapist.  Does anyone have recommendations for an occupational therapist in Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/Richmond/Oakland? Thanks!

    We've had a great experience with Outdoor Kids Occupational Therapy. 

    Hi we loved elizabeth meikle as an OT, we used her mainly for motor skills but she would be good for your son’s other issues too. We currently use leanne bloom for emotional regulation and she has also been great

    Oak Bloom OT in Oakland is wonderful. 

    I suggest reaching out to Lee-Anne Bloom at Oak Bloom OT. She worked with my child (ADHD + sensory) on similar issues for a for a few years when they were around that age. During our time with Lee-Anne, we worked on emotional regulation, impulse control, social skills, fine motor and throughout she was extremely responsive to my child needs (and ours) modifying and adapting as tools were learned (or rejected). We still use many of the tools and techniques several years later

    As you pursue OT, I highly recommend you observe sessions. This helped us to understand the tools our child was learning and how we could respond to then reinforce and apply in other environments.

    We have had amazing experiences with both of the following: Elisabeth Meikle at Outdoor Kids (all of their therapists are wonderful and it’s a terrific program but Elisabeth led our son’s group and she is simply magic! I know she is doing private/one-on-one OT now, as well) and Kristina Fuller at Full Circle. We could not have asked for a better one-on-one OT experience.

  • Looking for an occupational therapist or other resources for our "highly sensitive" toddler. Archived posts are outdated or slightly off-topic.

    We've only recently stumbled onto this concept but it matches most of our 2-year-old's difficult behaviors (abnormally intense and long-lasting meltdowns, easily frustrated, clingy in new social situations). I'm starting with Dr. Becky's materials--she calls this "deeply feeling kids"--but would also like to find some local, in-person support. Thank you!

    Try Full Circle OT. We’ve had really good results with our daughter. We are working with Christina Sosa. They tend to have a waiting list but if you can get an appointment it’s easier to switch to a more convenient time once you are in their system. 

    Hi! Dr. Becky's book and website resources on DFK are great. We saw an OT at Child's Play Therapy in Lafayette, Elena Javier, who is WONDERFUL. The OT Butterfly (on instagram and her podcast) are also great resources for learning more about what your child might be experiencing and what kinds of tools, activities, etc might be helpful. If you haven't looked into it, I'd recommend adding "sensory/sensory processing" to your search terms (I started thinking our daughter was a DFK and it turns out she has sensory processing disorder). Everything we learned and have implemented, the OT and getting more support to enable good sleep have all lead to major progress and a lot more regulation and peacefulness for our kiddo. Things really got rocky around age 2 and she's almost 5 now... it can be so hard for you and your little one. Great that you're pursuing more support. Hang in there, wishing you all the best as you navigate.

    I recommend trying Lee-Anne at Oak Bloom OT. She was incredibly helpful when my child (then 3 or 4, now 12 with well managed ADHD and sensory challenges) was having a number of challenges. Over several years she helped with emotional, sensory, attention and social regulation. She can also do observations and assessments to help identify any underlying challenges. You may need/want to go down the path of a neuropsych evaluation, though it’s hard to find ones that will take until about age 5-7. Carina Grandison is great and will assess on the younger side.

    If you do OT, I’d recommend observing the sessions and trying to put the tools and techniques into practice and home/school/etc.

  • We could use more focused support for our 4yr old but not sure what type would be the best fit.  She has a million awesome qualities but I'll just share what we're struggling with.  From very early on she has been very spirited, strong willed, energetic, impulsive and defiant.  At preschool and home we see negative attention seeking behaviors like knocking over toys, ripping books, hitting/pinching or pushing kids, yelling when she doesn't get her way or feels slighted or is dyregulated for some unidentifiable reason.  Full on meltdowns of screaming/kicking/throwing have become less frequent as she's gotten older but it's still a couple times a month. The negative attention seeking and dysregulation is multiple times a day.   It's worse when she's tired but often it feels unpredictable.  She is very social (but sometimes too in your face, especially adults), can play well with other kids, verbal, physically capable and smart. She's also very sensory - needs to be touched or be touching something, loves paint and lotion all over herself, not good with physical boundaries.  

    All this background to ask - what type of support would be most helpful for her and us parents?  Preschool struggles with this behavior (and they are very adept and work closely with her) and I'm concerned it will carry over to TK next year.  It also impacts our family life and siblings.  Is this something for a child psychologist (play therapy?), OT (what do they do with kids like this?), parenting coach for spirited kids (many don't involve the kid in sessions)?  I'd like something more focused and ongoing (Kaiser behavioral health has been limited in their offerings for a kid this age but perhaps I'm not asking for the right referral or support?)

    Our experience with OT is that OT may be a good fit for your kiddo. OT will likely provide "heavy work" exercises and other ways for kiddo to move her body in specific ways that can help with these types of behavior issues. Unfortunately, Kaiser is not great for this; their OT department is knowledgeable but seems to be more medically focused as opposed to behavioral, and what you might really need is for someone to observe your kiddo at preschool and Kaiser can't do that. You might find it more helpful to pay a private OT out-of-pocket for a couple of hours if possible since you'll be able to get more effective support. 

    One place to start might be to take the parenting spirited children class that Bananas offers for free fairly regularly. It helped us so much to understand and parent our spirited kid. It's taught by the parenting coach Rebecca from Witts End parenting. If you like her you could hire her for more help with coaching. We didn't do that but considered it. 

    We also have sought out OT and counseling for our kid. That is really a long game though, I'm afraid, and may not make much of a difference in the time frame of hoping to get things more settled for TK. Very few counselors take under 5 because it's a special license. Those who do are very booked up so waitlists are long. Finding someone who takes your insurance is even harder. Same with OT. So, get on all the waitlists you can now. Counseling has definitely made a big difference for my spirited kid but it was a long journey to get there. And then once you're in it takes some time to see the fruit. OT will be starting through his public school next school year. 

    One of the best things that the spirited kids class helped me reframe around was that this is my kid's temperament. It will always be that way. He will mature and grow and I can help him in that journey, give him tools and fine him supportive people and places to be. But he will never but be spirited. It is so hard to see when you're in the pit and day to day is so tough, but it can and does get better. 4-6 years old was the toughest for us (Thanks, pandemic) but now our 8 year old spirited kid is doing so much better as he grows and matures.

    I'd encourage you that lots of these kids exist and teachers have seen them before. Our spirited kid has gotten lucky with a string of great teachers who get him, love him for his spiritedness and want to see him grow and develop. I know that's not everyone's experience with schools and spirited kids, but don't feel like you need to fix this before TK.

    I've found OT to be very helpful for my daughter (almost 5) for a wide variety of behaviors stemming from disregulation and for her sensory needs (my daughter is sensory averse rather than sensory seeking). The OT has been very helpful for me to better understand what's happening for her as well as teaching me strategies to help her stay regulated. A lot of what we have worked on is integrating what they call "heavy work" (which can be things like deep pressure, pushing, muscle force, squeezing, etc.), sometimes motions she does, sometimes things I do to her body. These types of heavy work are apparently very regulating and counteract some of the nervous system some stuff happening in disregulation and also in my daughter's sensory aversion. 

    You should try OT. My 5-year-old is hypersensitive and we were referred to OT. After a long waiting list, we got a spot at Full Circle. Their intake form was enlightening about categorizing all the things that bother my child. Basically, her body was too overwhelmed by sensory input so it made her act in ways that weren't great. My daughter isn't aggressive; she tends to withdraw, but they are flip sides of the same coin. She has improved dramatically after a year of OT, which is ongoing. I also recommend the book The Out of Synch Child. See if any of that resonates. There may be other things that could be driving your daughter's behavior but OT is a great place to start. 

    Also, I realize that I didn't answer your question about "what do they do" in OT. It's like a gym and they have exercises/activities that give your child the sensory input their body craves in ways that are constructive. You carry this work over at home. The OT also works on strengthening areas that are weak or underdeveloped. 

    Your child sounds like my twins were at that age. Parenting was an incredible challenge to say the least. We had them assessed for sensory processing disorder, which they had and saw an OT who works with kids w sensory issues. 
    As they got a little older they were diagnosed w ADHD and some LD’s.  I resisted meds for the ADHD for about a decade.  I tried dietary changes, lots of sensory sports, outdoor time etc. In middle school, my child was still struggling w impulsivity/ emotional regulation and requested to try meds. Since she requested, we did and it has been a game changer for her and us in multiple ways for the better.  

    I’d recommend getting your child evaluated. School districts do this for free and can design supports in the classroom if they think they are warranted.  You can also ask your pediatrician for recommendations for sensory and ADHD evaluators.  A private neuropsychologist assessment is also an option but expensive. 

    Please feel free to reach out to me if you have other questions.

    Hi - This is such a hard age and these behaviors can be so upsetting as a parent. My oldest is 5 and has had some similar behaviors that we have found very challenging, if not infuriating to manage. However, we have made a lot of progress over the past year with the help of a parent coach. We still have challenges, but we have a ton of tools, both our son and us as parents to work through these flare ups when they happen. They are now less frequent and when they do happen, he is able to calm down and re-regulate much more quickly. Depending on your budget, I highly recommend Julietta Skoog who started Sproutable: Julietta is an expert in early childhood. Good luck!

    Your situation is very familiar! We have attended Rebecah Freeling's Spirited Child workshop through BANANAS twice then decided to work with her directly because we needed more support. We met with Rebecah once a week over zoom to discuss how the previous week had gone - what worked and didn't work. She has a TON on experience and was really flexible with the needs of our individual kid and situation. She totally gets these kids and absolutely loves them. We have tools now that actually work and that my kid actually hears instead of him breaking things, hitting us, or otherwise totally melting down. I can't recommend Rebecah enough: 

    Wits' End Parenting
    (510) 619-5920

    Best of luck!

  • Hi - I'm looking for an OT for my 10-year old specifically for hand strength & endurance and handwriting.  OT through the school hasn't been helpful, and we also did months of OT at Child's Play which she enjoyed but also didn't help with hands.  Would love to find someone who takes insurance but open to recs who don't take insurance.  Locations in Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito are ideal, but open to Oakland or other locations too.  Thanks very much! 

    Liz Isono is a wonderful OT who came highly recommended by our developmental pediatrician our pediatrician, our neuropsychologist, and my psychiatrist. Liz has an office in Berkeley and one in Orinda. She can be reached at: (510) 717-1300. You may need to call back a few times before you get a response. Absolutely delightful. She worked with two of my children. 

  • Our very active 14 yo son broke his elbow and it required an extensive surgery that included several plates and screws.  The surgeon says the next 6 weeks are critical to regaining his function, so we are looking for both PT and OT recommendations who specialize in elbow recovery.  Our son is very motivated to get back to using it and especially being able to pitch. It was an adult type break so it could be an adult specialist who is good with teens, or a pediatric specialist in the East Bay (preferably close to Berkeley). Thank you!

    My very active teen son broke his olecranon almost 2 years ago and it was a long recovery with a ton of OT. We went to Childrens Hosp Oakland, UCSF Sports Physical Therapy Clinic. They were fantastic. All practitioners were excellent and we especially liked David. I don’t know how it will be for your child, but just a heads up that although my son hit all the monthly goals his doctor set, it was still 3-4 months of OT (2-3x a week), followed by home exercises - and from date of injury, a solid 6 months until he could even begin to do sports. It was more like 8-9 months before he really had solid strength again and could safely do sports like mountain biking. The doctors gave us overly optimistic predictions of how fast he’d be truly healed and back to normal. The pins stopped bothering him after about a year. All that said, he’s 100% back to hardcore challenging sports now and has perfect range of motion. It was emotionally draining at the time … Hang in there.

  • Recommendations for an OT for preschooler with sensory seeking tendencies and impulse/anger control? Preferably in Oakland. Thank you!

    Hmmm…well, just fwiw, “sensory seeking” and “lacking anger/impulse control” are kind of the baseline definition of what it means to be a perfectly well-adjusted toddler. If your toddler is somehow outside the norm (and normal in these departments can be pretty extreme), I’d first talk to your pediatrician and get a referral from them. Behaviors truly outside the norm often have underlying medical causes that an OT wouldn’t be able to test for/diagnose but an MD would. 

    My son with hf asd and spd has been going to CPMC Kalmanovitz Child Center in SF since 2018. We’re in Oakland and I hate the drive, but its worth it. Nice gym and insurance covers it. He sees Sydney Lew, OTR. She’s patient, kind, and knowledgeable. There’s other therapists as well.

    I highly recommend Lee-Anne Bloom ( based in the Oakland Hills. Her specialties are sensory processing, ADHD and Autism Spectrum. She was amazing with my ADHDer/Sensory seeker. We worked with her for several years, starting when my child was in preschool. With her expertise, my child and we as parents, learned and were able to implement many tools to help with sensory, emotional and social regulation both at home and school. My child loved seeing her and her support made all the difference for our family and our child’s success.

    Liz Isono in Berkeley is wonderful or try Sara Stutz in Albany. Both work with sensory seekers who have emotional regulation challenges. Sara is actually a PT but has been doing sensory work for a long time and is extremely knowledgable and warm. 

     Nan Arkwrite from a hop, skip and a Jump ahead is great.   She can work wonders.  We have met with her 1:1 and she also has socialization groups.  Here is the thing....She is in walnut creek.  I think it's worth it.  Closer, is Liz Osono.  She is also great, but is hard to get in to see.  Best of Luck!

  • My daughter's teacher has recommended private OT to help with a very specific issue - her pencil grip. She has no developmental or medical issues or learning disabilities, and doesn't qualify for school OT services. But for whatever reason, she's had a hard time getting comfortable holding her pencil using her fingers instead of her fist, which is getting in the way of developing her writing skills. Her general fine motor skills are great. Looking for someone in Berkeley/Oakland or nearby. Thanks in advance!

    We had a great experience with Anne Swart ( for a very similar issue. A few sessions made a big difference. 

    Please do NOT accept the teacher's statement that your child does not qualify for school OT services!!  This issue is affecting your child's learning every school day.  You can request an IEP for this exact issue and do not take NO for an answer.  Schools can be made to provide OT for fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and for emotional regulation.   Check out DREDF to learn about the IEP process.  I do not recommend the 504 route because there is no means of enforcing services.  If you get this taken care of right away, it is going to make your daughter's school experience so much less stressful.

    Have you tried contacting the school's special education coordinator and ask for them to work with your daughter?  Seriously, if you have a good supportive school, they could help.  My friend's daughter's school got a special aid to help when she was sick earlier in the year to help her catch up for lost learning.  Also, sometimes pencil grip can be helped through working the hand muscles, you could get medical putty, silly putty, or playdoh to help work those muscles.  

    We love Lee Anne Bloom: in the Oakland Hills. She's lovely and has been great working with our son, who has sensory issues. I would also suggested asking your school for an evaluation so you can get services through the school (for free). We have found it very helpful to have both. has really helpful information about getting your child special education services:

    Good luck!

    Just wanted to reply based on another posters reply, OT is not a stand alone service for an IEP so the teacher may be thinking of that as why your child would not be appropriate for a referral if it is only grip. If no other concerns then I agree with the teacher she doesn't qualify for school OT. Sometimes I have seen my school-based kiddos as little as 15 minutes a week so the bulk of what I do as an OT is educating families for activities outside of school. I would avoid grips and be sure they are doing the same at school, no one should be giving your child that without knowing what is going on. Sometimes it isn't the grip at all but the shoulder stability and strength or posture and we start there.

    Outpatient OT could be really helpful in that you could ask for home exercises and activities and participate in the sessions. There are some great OTs online who provide amazing information too, Miss Jamie is one I would start with. Some quick activities and suggestions to get going: ditch any "big" crayons/pencils etc and get smaller sized like a golf pencil, use rock crayons, put paper on a vertical surface such as taping to the wall or an easel. Do animal walks around the house: crab, bear, wheelbarrows to work on shoulder stability. Have your child "pinch" beads out of play-doh, also some great games like Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game promote grasp while having fun. You can also put your child on their tummy with a clipboard while doing work. Cannot stress enough to look at the set-up and what kinds of tools the teacher has her using, do her feet touch the floor, does she have a better grasp when not at a desk.

    I hope these ideas help until you can get into outpatient OT. :)

  • Hello, 
    I have a 5 year old son who was recently diagnosed with a host of challenges that require intensive occupational therapy multiple times per week.  

    Does anyone know of an occupational therapist willing to come to your home to work on sensory processing issues, weak fine and gross motor or Autism Spectrum Disorder issues?  Our son struggles with all of these. 

    Thank you,

    Elisabeth Miekle with outdoor kids OT is amazing. Came to our house weekly and did work outside with our now 6 year old son weekly all last year. Helped him significantly. Not cheap but worth it.

    I know Lee-Anne Bloom (not through her OT services, but because she was a fellow mom at our son's preschool). She's a lovely, smart, and approachable person and works in Oakland. This is her website:

  • Hi,

    I would like to find a good occupational therapist for my 20-month-old son who has ASD, that is close to Berkeley/Albany. Mandarin-speaking would be preferred, but English-speaking is also good. Could the parents who have the experience provide some suggestions? I would be very appreciated!

    Hello, I've worked with a fabulous OT that has experience working with students with disabilities, including students on the spectrum. She works with all age groups and she makes everything fun, kids love her! Her name is Kathryn and you can reach her at kdunnot [at]

  • Hello!  Can you recommend an OT who can help my 4 year old son develop fine motor skills?

    Do any OTs offer appointments on weekends, by chance?


    Hello, I have a great OT that I've worked with in school settings and had her do some private sessions with my almost 3 year old. She is so great, makes OT activities really fun and kids love her! Her name is Kathryn and you can reach her at kdunnot [at] She is taking on clients and has weekends available at the moment.

  • Hi - We've been searching for months for an OT for our 4-yo but can't find one close by who is taking new patients right now, and I've left 3 messages at Children's Hospital with no call back.  Does anyone have recommendations for an OT you loved in the El Cerrito through Berkeley/N. Oakland area who is taking new patients right now?  Many thanks!

    Try Kelli Howie.

    She has been a big help to us.

    Good luck!

    You could try Lee-Anne Bloom at Oak Bloom OT. She worked with my child for almost 3 years (we even followed her from a different practice) and it was life changing for all of us. Her specialty is in sensory processing, adhd and autism but may work with others as well.

  • Pediatric OT?

    Oct 19, 2020

    Hi - 

    We need to get our preschooler some pediatric OT for mild sensory issues and self-regulation. 

    We hard of Full Circle OT several times, but they have disconnected their phone.

    We've tried a couple of other OTs who come recommended (Le-Anne, Liz Isono) but would like to speak with others. 

    Does anyone have an email contact for Full Circle or know their status? Additionally, are there other OTs that preschool parents would recommend for sensory/self-regulation issues? We don't care about in-network.


    You might try checking out Kristine Hubner at Kids Moving Ahead, in Orinda. My son went to her for a year in preschool, and he became so much more comfortable in his body. My son loved her, and her office has an incredible outdoor space. Good luck!

    CPMC Kalmanovitz Children’s Center in SF

    My son saw Hannah Beggan at Full Circle and we noticed a difference in his mobility within days. Her contact info is 415 710-5798. I believe some of the OT's from Full Circle (including Hannah) are working outdoors.

    Hi, I was an OT at Full Circle. We closed the clinic due to Covid, but have created a smaller in home clinic in Oakland. Feel free to reach out to me and I can connect you with the appropriate member of our therapists. Otherwise, best of luck with everything!

    Nov 2021 update: Full Circle has re-opened at the same location and can be reached at 510.250.9164 or FCCOT [at] (F)CCollectiveOT [at] (CCollectiveOT[at]gmail[dot]com)

    After conducting a similar search, we recently decided to go with Nan Arkwright (A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Ahead) for an initial evaluation followed by weekly sessions. She is currently seeing children out of her home (open air garage) in Walnut Creek. Unlike many of the local pediatric OTs we spoke with, Nan seemed more focused on behavioral issues stemming from challenges with sensitivity/self-regulation vs. sensory processing disorder. This was a much better fit for us/my son.

    Hi, I don't have any recommendations but I'm in the same place as you are and would like to keep following the responses. Best of luck!

    My daughter is older, but we've been using Kelli Howie

    She has a great deal of experience with preschoolers and works at one. With us, she is working outside and distanced. She is able to find creative things to help my daughter, I am not sure how COVID has impacted her work with younger children.

    Good luck!

  • We’re looking for an Occupational Therapist for my 10 year old daughter in northern Marin.  One with great gym setup for heavy input exercise and core work ideal.  My daughter knows her sensory diet so would be a great regular client for an OT. My daughter loves OT- zipline and impossible obstacle courses- we just don’t have the resources to provide her with this input... 

    Anyways- any recommendations would be so appreciated!!  Thx in advance!  

    Pediatric OT chiming in here, I do not know of anyone to recommend in that area but now that she is older, I’m wondering if looking into kids CrossFit or martial arts classes, maybe some kind of circus arts class or rock climbing might be a nice supplement to OT as well? That is wonderful she knows her sensory diet and is building intrinsic knowledge of her unique sensory needs! 

  • I am hoping someone with a challenging kiddo can point me to a talented OT or therapist that could support my son directly and my husband and I in parenting him. He was born early, is not good at sleeping, and was diagnosed with general sensory processing issues around age 3. What this means for our life is our sometimes sweet wonderful boy often explodes into hours long tantrums of his waffle toppings are in the wrong order or if his sleeve is too tight or other minor issue. He screams and hits and tries to break things in our house on a regular basis. He is not in touch with his bodily needs and will not eat or drink even close to normal amounts without exhaustive efforts on our part. Starting kindergarten has exarcerbated all this and he is losing weight and goes through his 8.5 hour day of school and after care without peeing. We cannot just have a mellow day ever because if we don’t get him outside and running by 9am he gets into a mood and cannot recover, but we have to drag him out of the house to accomplish this because he doesn’t like to leave his legos. I am not sure what we need, but our efforts so far are not working and I am hoping a professional could help. Thank you! 

    My two year old was recently diagnosis with autism, and while his issues are different from your sons, I have learned a lot about the disorder and I'm wondering if you have had your son assessed for autism recently?  We recently started ABA (applied behavioral analysis) and can already see an improvement.  I am by no means a professional, but it might be worth getting him assessed by a professional (again) just to be sure. Good luck.

    I highly recommend Lee-Anne Bloom of Oak Bloom OT. She's a Pediatric Occupational Therapist in Oakland who specializes in self-regulation (sensory and emotional). She has been immensely helpful in supporting our child with attention and sensory challenges over the past couple years. With her help, we went from regular calls from school to reports that our child is a pleasure to have in class. She has taught our child, and us, a number of tools and strategies, as well as observed the classroom and met with teachers. We observed sessions to be able to implement and reinforce at home. She's now in private practice - search online for Lee-Anne Oak Bloom OT.



    Amazing results for my son.  Very similar situation. They accept insurance too.

    That all sounds really really hard!  A lot of what you describe is familiar to me, so I'd like to recommend a few resources that have really helped our family:

    1. OT: Kristina Fuller at Full Circle in Oakland.  She is simply amazing!  We have been working with her for a year and a half and our son has grown in so many areas and I have learned so much from observing her working with him.

    I believe all the OTs at Full Circle do sensory integration OT. 

    I know that Holistic Hope Center in Berkeley is also great for this and I have friends with children with SPD who've worked with the therapists there and have had great benefits.

    2. Have you considered a speech therapist (SLP)?  They can also help rigid children to become more flexible.

    3. Life-changing class offered in Walnut Creek/Lafayette beginning early 2019 (there are also some free webinars available).  My husband took it last year and the binder/book they give you is worth its weight in gold:

    4. Books: The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child

    Self-Reg by Stuart Shanker

    Differently Wired by Deborah Reber

    4. Positive Discipline classes for you and your husband (or at least read the books)

    5. Have you considered ABA to help your son to do less-preferred activities as well as to practice "activities of daily living" such as peeing and eating?

    I am wishing you all my best!  It's a hard road but tiny steps forward will lead to transformation!

    Have you had your son assessed by a professional recently?  If he got an SPD diagnosis at age 3, that was half his lifetime ago!  I wonder if he has an IEP at school or if he is more regulated and flexible at there than he is at home and therefore he doesn't need accommodations or services at school?  From what you describe, he might have SPD but of course sensory processing challenges are also a feature of MANY other things and some of the things you describe sound autism-like and/or ADHD-like and/or OCD-like and/or anxiety-like to me.  Lots of people have all of these things concurrently.  I know it sucks to have a diagnosis, but I think that getting an assessment from a developmental psychologist or physician and then really knowing what all of your son's "issues" are could really help you to figure out what services your son needs to help him (and you!) to live your best lives.  I think the losing-weight part of what you wrote is particularly concerning.  My heart goes out to you.  I also have a 6 year old who is mostly uninterested in food or drink but we have worked long and hard to train him to eat with us 3 times a day (and he has an aide at school who helps, too) and now on those rare occasions when he won't come to the table, we bribe him or even feed him ourselves so that he doesn't become a monster from having low blood sugar!  It's been a long road, though, and there were tantrums/breakdowns in the earlier years but these days it's (thank goodness) mostly smooth sailing.

     Our family highly recommends Rebecah Freeling, the founder of wits end parenting.   We really believe she helped set our family in a new direction and two years later we can happily say things are so much better than when we first reached out to. Just recently we referred her to another family who started seeing immediate results. We reached out when our spirited six-year-old was seemingly getting worse and worse and it was taking a toll on the whole family.  Now we call her our family coach and we tell the kids that Rebecca helps us all treat each other more nicely. Just the other day our five-year-old said she missed Rebecah and wanted to go back! What was most helpful in seeing her was that she took the time to really observe our family and make recommendations targeted to specific behaviors. 

     She has a book called your rules are dumber how to maintain your parental authority without creating a partnership with your spirited child. You can find it on Amazon. Her phone number is  614-769-3563 and her email is rebecah [at] 

  • My 5 year old son is going through a lot emotionally and academically. We met with the school of imagination and I’ve been told I need to find an occupational therapist (OT) for an evaluation however I can’t find any in the sf east Bay Area that take our insurance, BLUESHIELD PPO. We would like to stay in network since we’re paying out of pocket for so many other evaluations, tests and therapy. If anyone knows of an OT for children in Bay Area that take blueshield that would be great. I would travel up to 45 min if need be. Any other suggestions or recs would be great too. Open to anything that could help. Thanks 

    Try Baby Builders in Oakland on Piedmont. Gabriela is great and we have had very good experiences with the OT and PT people who worked with our son. Very nice facilities.

    good luck!

    Ugh. Go back to Blue Shield and file a grievance. It took me many months to force them to find a therapist who could work with my daughter. It was SO frustrating and I am convinced they make it so on purpose so we'll give up. I am so sorry you're dealing with this! 

    If the evaluation is for sensory processing issues, you may need to go through a developmental pediatrician or child psych first because SPD is often (not always) secondary to either Autism or ADHD. It is not a recognized diagnosis on its own and I’m not sure any insurance in California covers it, but they will cover OT related to autism or if there are self care skills (doesn’t write or use utensils or dress themselves) that are strictly OT issues. I’d start by addressing symptoms and confer with your pediatrician. Good luck - we started down the SPD path and ended up with an ASD dx, and believe it or not we are better for it - parenting a special needs child is just a different ballgame and you need different rules.

    Unfortunately, a lot of OT won’t bill insurance for evaluations (or even a lot of therapy sessions depending on the type). If you are having trouble finding one in network, you can call Blue Shield and ask them for a list. If they can’t get you one within 30 miles (or maybe it’s 30 minutes), you can request and out of network referral. It basically means they authorize you to see an out of network provider  covered at in network rates. You typically still have to pay out of pocket, then file a claim for reimbursement. Whether you get reimbursed depends on the diagnosis, your paper trail indicating it’s medically necessary (unusually involving a pediatrician visit/referral), documented contact with Blue Shield regarding need/provider search/case number for out of network referral, and your tenacity to stay on top of them to process the claim appropriately and actually get a check. I recommend starting a binder for all your documents, records, etc.

    My daughter went to Therapy at Play in San Ramon for OT for tactile sensitivity and emotional regulation issues. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield Federal and I think the provider list may be the same. She had a great experience with Valeen and graduated from the program. 

    I am sorry you are going through this! We love Angela Osterberger, who is an independent OT who will come to you at your home or at your child’s school. She is not in network, but she gives us invoices that I send to Blue Shield and they reimburse us at 70% of her actual rate so it is relatively affordable. If this sounds ok please contact me and I can connect you. I am not sure if she is taking new clients right now but worth a try.

    Two very good places I know in San Ramon are The Learning Fountain,, and Therapy at Play,  The Learning Fountain takes most insurance.  I'm not sure about Therapy at Play.  Good Luck,

  • Hi,

    My 8-year old son attends a private school in the area and after a few years of struggling with his handwriting, it has become clear that he needs outside help. Can anyone recommend a good (and hopefully reasonably-priced) OT in Oakland/Berkeley?



    Hi Shannon,

    Our daughter had the same problem and we took her to an OT person at Herrick.  This was years ago, but it did help some.  The therapist used an art therapy approach.

    Re: cost...our insurance (Aetna at the time) paid for it.  We got a "prescription from our pediatrician.  Hope you have good insurance and you can get it covered.

    Good luck,


  • Dear Parents,

    Our 10 year old son {ASD, ADHD, with an IEP ;  )] needs an Occupational Therapy evaluation, especially for handwriting. Do you have someone you can recommend? We live in the San Leandro area. The school district is paying for it.

    Thank you so much!

    I'm not sure how useful this is since it's not near you but Full Circle OT in Oakland has done a great job helping my dysgraphic son who also has sensory issues. We worked with Sasha, but there are many good therapists there.

  • Hi BPN, 

    We have 20 month old twins in need of local therapies. We need an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. If you have any recommendations, we'd really appreciate it. 

    Specifically for sensory processing disorder and speech/cognitive delay.

    Also, if you have any personal stories of having kids with these needs, I'd love to talk! Feel free to reach out directly. 


    Hi Shannon,

    I have been looking for an OT for my son (3yo, he also has spd) and my research led me to Child's Play in Lafayette. They seem very knowledgeable re: spd, super nice people and they are reasonably priced. I hope this helps! 

    Check with your local school district to see what speech services may be available and at what age.  I think my grandsons were evaluated when they were 3 years old and received services then and these continued when they entered public school.

    Has anyone mentioned the Regional Center of the East Bay? If your twins qualify, you can get free in-home services funded by the State of California. I believe the program is called Early Start. Here is the Regional Center's website:

  • Cursive Help?

    Sep 13, 2016

    My son is learning cursive in school this year and is really struggling. The biggest issue that I see is that he holds his pencil in a fist instead of holding it correctly. All of his teachers (going back to preschool) have tried to get him to hold his pencil correctly and he refuses to even try. Every attempt that is made to teach him to do this ends in frustration for everyone. He's a very stubborn child who has some sensory issues and I think that it just doesn't feel good to him to hold the pencil right. 

    I'm wondering if there are any specialists out there who are good at correcting this issue. Someone who has some techniques for switching his grip other than just showing him how to do it correctly. I would think that we are not the first family to struggle with this and there must be a good technique for this that is different and could maybe make a game out of it or come up with some other way to get him to actually try to do this right. Being the only kid struggling with this isn't providing incentive to do it correctly, instead he just complains about how much he hates school. 

    Any advice/recommendations? Thanks

    Oh I think you need an OT (occupational therapist) for this. In fact I'm sure of it - I have had several friends report the same issue and they have had terrific results with an OT. The school should actually have one on hand, which should be free, but if you have the money, you can just find one on your own -- may even be covered by insurance. 

    Run, don't walk, to an Occupational Therapist!  Your son may be struggling with handwriting due to actual fine motor issues or even dysgraphia.  An Occupational therapist will evaluate and be able to have him do exercises to help strengthen or even suggest a correction that suits him better.  He may also need to use an additional "gadget" on his pencil that will help with positioning.  If your son does end up having dysgraphia (also can be assessed by the OT), then he will benefit from accomodations to writing.  Things like reduction to the amount of physical writing, being given copies of instructions so he wont have to write them all down himself, and being allowed to use a keyboard for long handwriting assignments.  Circle Development Center in Oakland is a good place, but I'm sure there are many OT centers.  (btw, my daughter has dysgraphia so we've been through this process)

    You might want to try teaching him to use chopsticks. They make a helper set and it would show him a different grip. Then he might be more willing to try something different with a pencil. Just an idea.

    Have you tried any pencil grip aids?…

    I would also approach this very very slowly. Try getting him to just hold the pencil, without writing anything, for a week, or maybe longer. After he gets used to that, move on to scribbling for another week or two or longer. Then maybe a coloring book. Then loops or circles or something relatively simple. Finally, try letters. But let him get comfortable with each step before moving on. 

    Dear Mama Bear- Used to teach 3rd Grade and know this subject well. I always started out by telling the children that cursive was an art form...individual expression welcome. Holding the pencil with a fist worries me because that means past teachers didn't address the issue. Now he has the habit. And that part has to be broken. Cursive is correctly taught by first teaching the large "shapes" that make it up. A straight line. A circle, etc. This can be done with watercolors on cheap paper. Use the whole arm. There is also a wonderful program-an oldie but goodie-called Handwriting without Tears. Your son has what we call an affective filter or a brick wall up nice and solid, because he probably has always hated handwriting. Ya' gotta get around the wall sneaky-like. Encourage art work at home and get him to hold the brush correctly. Hopefully that will help because writing with a fist is actually very uncomfortable and uses excess energy from the arm. I would hate writing too!

    If this is a public school his teacher or an occupational therapist may be able to help. They make special grips that slide on the pencil that facilitate the proper hold. I am wondering why this has not been a problem until 3rd grade when they learn cursive? They should have that down by 1st grade. Ask his teacher if the occupational therapist can help.

    My sensory-sensitive kid had a difficult grip too, and what was helpful (didn't "cure" his writing difficulty, but helped him) was the claw pencil grip. You can get a bag full on Amazon, and if you give them to his teacher to use for the whole class, he won't feel so weird doing it. You don't even have to let him know it's from you, to avoid a power struggle.and if kids already use the correct grip, they will find it fun and comfortable and your son might too. The thin soft rubbery grip has 3 deep "cups" arranged around a central hole meant for the pencil, and the tips of your fingers sit in the cups and keep your fingers in the correct position for writing. Good luck!

    You might want to consider the HANDLE Institute, Holistic Approach to Neuro Developmental Development. Local practitioner is Sindy Wilkenson in Lafayette at the Enhanced Learning and Growth Center 925-934-3500. I'm sure she can explain more clearly than can I, but they might say that these issues are not about hand position but neurological development, so through a series of exercises the sensory issues, including the handwriting, are addressed and the more basic connections are strengthened. It's not cheap but the price includes an in-depth assessment, a customized plan for exercises that you do together, a check in a week to see how it's going, then monthly sessions to fine tune and advance the program for six months. I SO wish I had known about this when my son was young enough that I could essentially make him do it. . . It's a positive thing you do together to help him and it's fun. Good luck to you.

    I once received a suggestion for ergonomic issues to hold the pen or pencil between the knuckles of your index and middle finger. Your hand is pretty much in a fist, but with the palm down instead of facing to the side. For me, I don't have quite as much dexterity as with a standard grip (but that could be practice), but it's remarkably easy to write fluidly. I don't know if your son would take to that better any better than the standard grip, but it seems worth a try.

    I can share my experience from a few years ago.  My son also did not have a good grip for writing.  It is a very difficult thing to change.  We tried "grip adapters for writing utensils" which you can google.  These are soft rubber pieces that slide on the pen.  It was no magic solution, but helped me feel like I was doing something.  I just noticed this on Amazon, the Pencil Grip Writing Claw, says it: "eliminates thumb-wrap and fist grips."   I think a fist grip will be even harder to shift, and my thought is to use a completely different shape pen to help your child.  If you google ergonomic pens, you will find some ideas,  the PenAgain, has a completely different grip that your child might be willing to try.   My son never became adept at cursive.  Maybe an occupational therapist would be able to help.  My son's teachers did not have the skills to address the concern.  

    Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions! We will ask about the OT at our next SST meeting. I like all of these ideas and am open to trying anything to get this fixed. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


OT for sensory issues/highly sensitive child

Jan 2016

Our three year old is anxious and has some sensory issues- sensitive to loud sounds, throws a screaming kicking fit when faced with transition ( time to get dressed, time to eat etc) and has a hard time going to sleep and staying asleep. He is very sweet and loving but flies into out of control tantrums at the drop of a hat and is also a little behind in some gross and fine motor skills. I know most 3 year olds are difficult and struggle with transitions and tantrums but our kiddo seems to be having a tougher time than others. We live in Oakland are looking for an OT to help identify triggers and develop coping strategies. It would be great to find someone covered by blue cross but we will pay if that gets us to the best people. Thank you. Anxious mom

You are lucky to know about Sensory Integration and the relief that a talented OT can bring. Our boy suffered (and we did too!) until second grade. Susan Campodonico is an expert and is also so kind and natural with my kid that we made great progress in the first few months. She kicked us out after a year, and my sensitive son has blossomed into a happy, funny and highly artistic young man! It was a huge relief to learn how to help him and that we were not to blame for his troubles.

Susan teaches professionals, but she may also still work with kids directly at Herrick/Alta Bates. Here's her bio on a website: Susan Campodonico has thirty years of experience as an Occupational Therapist, working with children and adolescents in New York and California. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Art Therapy and is certified in SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Test), Infant Massage and Level One Brain Gym. She has fifteen years of experience working with Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in pediatrics in early intervention, providing home based and center based intervention. In addition, her clinical practice includes evaluation and treatment of children with a wide variety of diagnoses including sensory processing disorder, autism, PDD-NOS, feeding disorders, global fine and gross motor delays, among others. She has worked with children in many age groups, ranging from infants to middle school aged youth. She is a guest lecturer at JFK University, Department of Professional Psychology and with Harris Training Program at Children's Hospital Oakland. If she is full, get a referral from her. Also, I attended every session, and we replicated as much as possible of the work at home on a daily basis. She will first evaluate your child and explain a treatment plan if OT is called for.

Mom of Sensitive Son

Affordable OT services for kids?

Nov 2014

Are there any clinics or OTs that take sliding scale payments? We are a middle-class family- can't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford $125/hour which is the going rate for OT services. Our insurance won't cover OT services. What do people do who are in our situation? Is there any way to do a visit or two and get ideas to do at home? Or is it necessary to go for lots of sessions? Thanks

You don't say how old your child is, or what kind of OT services you are seeking (sensory processing? feeding issues? autism spectrum, or general developmental delay? handwriting?) . If child is under 3, you can check for eligibility with the Regional Center. If over three, is the issue one that might qualify for school-based services? Both those avenues would be free, I believe. And are you certain your insurance covers no OT at all? I think most cover at least some sessions, at least in part (though not for every OT- related issue, so it depends). RK

Hi there. I work with kids that need OT and then my daughter qualified for services and is currently getting pulled out once per week, for a 30 minute session (this started in Kindergarden).

Depending on your child's age, you have a few options.

1. If he/she is under 3, contact your local regional center and request an OT or comprehensive evaluation. If he/she meets the criteria, they'll pay for it. They will either send you somewhere or someone will come to your home.

2. If he/she is over 3, then you contact your school district office and then do the same as number 1. For speech, they have to fall under the seventh percentile so I'm sure it's close to that for OT but, definetly worth contacting them because if he doesn't qualify, you still get a report/review/findings. If he does qualify, you'll start.

3. School age, first talk to the teacher about your concerns and then follow up with the special needs coordinater or ask at the office.

4. Call around. Get as many prices as you can. Call Mills and see if you could work with a student that's learning OT. You could also sign him/her up for gross motor activies (soccer/kick a ball at the park, gymnastics,) or fine motor activities (e.g., Art, Legos,) or a mommy/me preschool. Look into your local recreation center. They have a lot of affordable classes that are sometime just as valuable as a classic OT.

You didn't include the age and concerns so this is what I have to offer. Good luck! Lindsay

About 5 years ago we were referred to Samuel Merritt college's OT clinic for free OT services when my son wasn't able to qualify for them through school or Kaiser. The services were provided by student interns who were very closely supervised by their instructors. The setting was very friendly. The interns were lovely, and my son enjoyed it. I think the program (number of sessions offered) was about 10-12 weeks. Sorry that I don't have contact info for you. Maybe you can find them online or call the college. Good luck!

OT wanted for 5YO's Sensory Integration Dysfunction

April 2014

Hi I'm looking for Occupational Therapist recommendations for my 5.5 year old son who has Sensory Integration Dysfunction. He has the sensation-seeking type. We would like to find someone in the Berkeley- Albany- El Cerrito area, but the quality of the therapist is most important.  Thanks. CJ

I know you're hoping for someone in Berkeley, but in case you don't find someone I wanted to recommend Fiona Wong at Full Circle. Their office is in Oakland. I have to admit it's a huge pain in the @ss drive from Berkeley, but I did it for a year for my son and don't regret a minute of it. Fiona was amazing. Berkeley mom

You might want to try Liz Isono, on Ninth St in Berkeley.510-717-1300. She helped my son about 6 years ago. My son adored her. Lbyb

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. 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 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. 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 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!

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: _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: If this doesn't work, try the home page: 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.

Earlier Reviews

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 (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\xe2\x80\x99m 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 \xe2\x80\x9cevery day\xe2\x80\x9d 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\xe2\x80\x99t made the progress I\xe2\x80\x99d 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 recommend 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, 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 - 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

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 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 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.


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 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

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: 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