A little bit about me:

I recently was honored by the president of the American Health Council as the "Best in Patient Care" in the United States for 2018.

I am a life long resident of Hamilton Township, New Jersey.

I earned a degree in Occupational Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia

I am licensed, and insured in the state of New Jersey.

I am married with two children

Donna says............

"I started this private practice to provide a dedicated, focused, and more personal  therapy for children".

" I want to hear from you!   Please call me.  If I don't answer, just leave a short message with your name and number, and I will contact you as soon as possible ".

"I'm sorry, I do not answer my phone while I'm with a client. I insist the time spent with your child, or any other child, should not be interrupted.......

Private occupational therapy is usually reimbursable, but based on therapeutic need. I will provide a billing statement with appropriate codes. The parent is responsible for all contacts with the insurance company to determine eligibility and reimbursement for services.  "This allows me to provide therapy rates significantly lower than standard rates and allows more children access to therapy ". 

Upon initial evaluation, we can schedule weekly, or bi-weekly appointments. The appointments typically last 1 hour with your child, in your home.

Everyone Loves OT

I have a vast amount of experience working with children.  In addition to my Private practice, I am presently the Occupational Therapy Department Supervisor with Children's Specialized Hospital in Hamilton, NJ.  I've gained valuable experience working with all my special children while at the Joseph Cappello School, Mercer County Special Services, Princeton Educational Resources, and the Burlington Township School District.

 Helpful Links

15 Behavior Strategies for Children on the Autism Spectrum

How to Create a Backyard Sanctuary for Kids with Disabilities

For Educators: Strategies for Working With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Helping Asperger's Teens To Survive and Thrive: 15 Key Steps

Creating a Home Atmosphere of Solitude to Help Cope with Adult Autism

Go to the LINKS page and click on Toy Story, an interesting article on therapy toys written by Jessica LaGrossa from ADVANCE


 FAQs-- Frequently Asked Questions

What is Occupational Therapy?   Any activity either mental or physical, medically prescribed and professionally guided to aid a patient in recovery from disease or injury. The therapeutic use of self care, work and play activities to increase independent function and enhanced development. The educational background of Occupational Therapist includes extensive course work in anatomy, neurology and psychology. Their education also includes course work in activity analysis.  This enables the therapist to analyze the components of play and work activities, choosing tasks that will improve the child's basic skills.

What can I do as a concerned parent?     Contact your primary care physician and discuss Occupational Therapy (OT) services for your child.

How much would Occupational Therapy Cost?      I charge $150.00 per hour with diagnosis and prescription. This cost may also be offset with insurance. Parents are responsible for payment as services are rendered. Please contact me to discuss, special considerations can be made for unique circumstances.

How much would the Handwriting Sessions cost?     I charge $70.00 for a half hour, and I charge $120.00 for the entire hour.  This cost may also be offset with insurance. Parents are responsible for payment as services are rendered.

How can I contact Donna's Occupational Therapy?         Easy, just call 1-609-929-5576

Is there an address where I can write?                                 E-mail me  

Our dog Lucy        We sometimes call her Baba-loo

Some Common Terms

AUDITORY- Relating to the sense of hearing.

ATTENTION - Attention is a complex behavior that rrequires the integration of several areas of the brain.  The first component of attention is "registration", our initial awareness of a change in sensory stimuli.  The second component of attention is "orienting", an increase in our level of alertness.  The final component is involves "effort" or exploration of the stimulus.  For example, our effort might be to listen to or watch the stimulus.

BILATERAL INTEGRATION - Refers to the ability to use the two sides of the body together in a coordinated manner.  Examples of bilateral tasks include:  running, skipping and jumping with both feet together.

COORDINATION - Includes both motor control and praxis (motor planning).  Motor control is the ability to move with precision and smooth quality.  Praxis is defined below.

CO-REGULATION - The ability to access a person's regullation state and create an equalizing response.

DYSPRAXIA  - DDifficulty in planning, sequencing, or carrying out (motor planning) unfamiliar actions in a skillful manner.

EXECUTION  - Actually doing the activity or executiing the action.

FINE MOTOR CONTROL - Involves development of manipulation skills in the hands to eventually allow for efficient and precise manipulation of objects.  Sensory motor skills must be well developed for this to occur, including postural control, sensory modulation and praxis.

GUSTATORY  - Relating to the sense of taste.>

HYPERSENSITIVITY - Over sensitivity to sensory information. May present as being fearful, cautious, negative or defiant.

HYPOSENSITIVITY - Under sensitivity to sensory information. May present as craving intense sensory information, withdrawal, or difficulty to engage.

IDEATION - The thought or idea. Planning an idea in your mind; the ability to visualize an activity.

INTEGRATION - Being able to bring together sensory motor functions in a useful, functional level of performance.

MODULATION - The brains regulation of it's own activity. The ability of the nervous system to filter out, or let in sensory information.

MUSCLE TONE - This refers to the tension in  a muscle.  Muscle tone should be high enough to hold a position against gravity, yet low enough to move a body joint through its full range of motion.  Abnormal muscle tone would be either extreme tension or lack of tension in a muscle.

OLFACTORY - Relating to the sense of smell<.

POSTURAL CONTROL - Refers to the ability to sustain the necessary background posture to efficiently carry out a skilled task, such as reading or handwriting.  The ability to stabilize the trunk and neck underlies the ability to develop efficient eye and hand movements. 

PRAXIS - This is the medical term used to describe motor planning.  It is defined by Dr. A. Jean Ayres as "The ability of the brain to conceive of, organize and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions."  Inadequate praxis, Apraxia, is often a symptom of inadequate sensory processing.  Long term problems noted in children with apraxia, include:  clumsiness, difficulty performing motor tasks at age level, difficulty following directions and imitating movement.  A child with apraxia may need extra practice and instruction to learn a new motor task.  Once he learns something, he may refuse to try it another way and appear "stubborn".

PRIMITIVE REFLEXES - There are movement reflexes that each baby is born with.  These "primitive" reflexes assist the infant in successfully progressing through various  stages of movement so they may learn to roll, crawl, sit and walk, etc.  As a child matures, these the child is able to move without the need of these reflexes and they become more integrated and do not predominate or direct movement patterns.  Sometimes a reflex continues to direct or dominant movement after an age where it is normally integrated.   We would consider this an abnormal reflex pattern.

  - This is information that the brain recceives from our muscles and joints to make us aware of body position and body movement.  Proprioceptive makes a strong contribution to praxis, to the child's ability to grade movement and to postural control.

REGISTRATION  - The ability for the body to register tthat sensation has occurred.

SELF REGULATION  - Refers to the ability to attain, maintain and change your level of arousal appropriately for a task or situation.  Arousal is considered a state of the nervous system and describes how alert someone feels.  To attend, concentrate and perform tasks according to situational demands, the nervous system must be in an optimal state of arousal (or alertness) for the particular task.  Adults use a variety of subtle sensory  techniques to maintain their arousal level.

SENSORY DIET - The multi-sensory experiences that one normally seeks to satisfy the sensory appetite.

SENSORY INTEGRATION - The ongoing process of the central nervous system to receive, interpret, combine, and respond to sensory information in order to perform purposeful activity. The organization of sensations for use.  Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and the environment around us.  "Sensations flow into the brain like streams flowing into a lake."  ...."The brain must organize all of these sensations if a person is to move and learn and behave normally.

SENSORY MODULATION - The ability to regulate our responses in a manner proportional to the sensory stimuli.  There are children who have an increased level of arousal and seem to be over responsive to sensory input.  This is described as sensory defensiveness.  Children at the other end of the spectrum have a decreased level of arousal and seem to be under responsive to sensory input.  This is referred to as sensory dormancy.  Both extremes of modulation may be seen in one child to the same type of stimuli, but generally, one extreme tends to dominate.  Both, cause the child to have difficulty with allocation of attention and interfere with the development of sensory processing skills.

SENSORY PROCESSING - The ability to interpret the information that the brain receives.

SEQUENCING - Making a plan for an action. Identifying the steps for an activity.

TACTILE -  This refers to our sense of touch.  Deep pressure and light touch receptors. The sense of touch is a child's first way to learn about the external world.  It is a critical sense to developing relationships with primary care givers and to giving comfort.  The sense of touch plays a very important role in the child's development of body awareness  and is critical in the development of praxis (motor planning).

VESTIBULAR - This refers to the sense of movement and balance. This is the sense that allows us to recognize how we are moving in relationship to gravity.  Receptors in our ears sense if we are upright, upside down, moving sideways, spinning, etc.  As a result of this sensory input, we make adjustments to posture and to our eye movements.  Vestibular sensation has a strong impact not only on posture and eye movements, but also on: balance, coordination of the two body sides, and emotional control.  Accurate vestibular processing is essential for the development of praxis.

- Refers to the development of smooth and efficient eye movements to allow for tracking of objects, focusing on specific targets and shifting gaze from one object to another. 

- Refers to the brain's ability to interpret and make sense of visual images seen by the eyes.




























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