Occupational Therapists

Haylie B., OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Location
Dyer Clinic Lake County First Steps & Porter County First Steps as needed

Meet Haylie, a dedicated Occupational Therapist who proudly received her Bachelor of Art in Psychology from Indiana University Northwest in 2019, setting the stage for her to earn her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from Governor’s State University in 2022. What makes Haylie’s journey unique is her deep-rooted connection with Wee Care Therapy. Her commitment began as a volunteer during her undergraduate years, and her passion for empowering children continued to flourish when as a graduate student, she embarked on a transformative rotation at Wee Care Therapy. Haylie’s expertise spans a wide spectrum of diagnoses, including autism, sensory processing disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, emotional regulation, attention challenges, feeding difficulties, behavioral disturbances, dopamine deficiency, and stroke. Her experience extends across early intervention and clinical settings, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of pediatric therapy needs. Her proficiency in cognitive assessments and community integration underscores her commitment to holistic care. Haylie’s creative ingenuity shined through as she successfully designed a sensory room on a budget, showcasing her ability to make a significant impact with resourcefulness. As she returns to Wee Care Therapy as a fully-fledged Occupational Therapist, Haylie is poised to bring her wealth of knowledge and boundless enthusiasm to serve your child. Her journey is a testament to her unwavering commitment to empowering young lives. Haylie eagerly anticipates the privilege of being part of your child’s remarkable journey!

Christina B., OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Location
Dyer Clinic & Lake County First Steps

Meet Christina, a highly accomplished Occupational Therapist whose educational journey and diverse experiences are truly remarkable. In 2008, she proudly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, followed by a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2009, both from the prestigious University of Indianapolis. Christina’s career trajectory has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her wast expertise spans pediatric inpatient acute care, outpatient therapy, clinic therapy, school-based therapy, early intervention, and NICU follow-up clinics. Her comprehensive experience has seen her work with children from the earliest stages of life to young adulthood, tackling complex challenges related to cardiac surgery and limitations, hematology/oncology, respiratory illnesses, neurological disorders including seizure disorders and brain injuries, as well as orthopedic injuries and surgeries. Her extensive knowledge base extends to a multitude of diagnoses, including developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. With her CPR certification, Christina prioritizes the safety and well-being of the children she serves, ensuring they receive the best care possible. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Christina shares her love for movement and creativity by teaching dance to children at a local dance studio. Her heart has always been devoted to pediatrics, and she eagerly anticipates the opportunity to make a profound impact on the children she serves. Christina’s approach strikes a creative balance between work, play, and leisure, ensuring that your child’s therapy is joyful and fulfilling!

Candace B., COTA/L
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Candace, a dedicated Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant who loves to make a positive impact on children’s lives. After years of uncertainty about her career path, Candace proudly earned her Associate degree in Applied Science with a concentration in Occupational Therapy Assistant from Brown Mackie College in 2016, marking the start of her remarkable journey in pediatric occupational therapy. Candace’s passion for pediatrics was solidified after becoming a mother, where she witnessed firsthand the transformative effects of early intervention. This profound experience fueled her dedication to empowering young lives through therapy. Immediately upon graduation, Candace wasted no time in diving into her career, gaining valuable experience in diverse settings such as the school system, First Steps, and outpatient clinics. Her CPR certification reflects her unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of the children she serves. Candace’s expertise extends to working with children diagnosed with a wide variety of conditions, including autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, sensory processing disorder, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, infantile spasms, and numerous neurological and genetic conditions. Her deep-seated passion lies in unraveling the intricate connections between neurology and sensory processing. While she briefly explored other avenues in her career, her heart and true calling have always been in pediatrics. Candace eagerly awaits the opportunity to become an integral part of your child’s team, bringing her boundless enthusiasm and unwavering dedication to their developmental journey!

Bernadette B., COTA/L
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Bernadette, a revered Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant who proudly earned her Associate degree in Applied Sciences with a concentration in Occupational Therapy Assistant from Brown Mackie College in 2012, setting the stage for her transformative career. She was inspired to work in the field of occupational therapy after witnessing the compassionate care hospital staff provided to her father during his illness. This experience ignited her lifelong commitment to making a difference in the lives of children. Once licensed, she immersed herself in schools, an outpatient clinical setting, and then early intervention, where she honed her expertise. Bernadette is experienced in treating a multitude of diagnoses, including ADHD, autism, hypotonia, prematurity, sensory processing disorder, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, and a myriad of developmental and chromosomal differences. She is committed to professional growth and pursued continuing education in areas such as sensory integration, sensory-based strategies, behavior management, reflex integration, kinesiotaping, cardiac ICU interventions, and executive function. As a testament to her dedication to the field, Bernadette has shared her expertise by presenting on vital topics like Home Programming to Build Development Skills and Autism. She thrives on working collaboratively with families to create an environment where skill development seamlessly integrates into daily routines, nurturing growth in natural settings. With her unwavering focus on “Team Family,” Bernadette is excited to bring her knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm to your child’s team!

Angela C., OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Angela, a dedicated Occupational Therapist whose journey into occupational therapy is nothing short of impressive and deeply rooted in her passion for enhancing the lives of children. In 2018, Angela proudly earned her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Governors State University, building on the strong foundation she laid with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from Purdue University West Lafayette in 2016. Her extensive experience encompasses working with children diagnosed with a variety of conditions, including autism, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, and various other developmental differences. Beyond her professional life, Angela thrives on an active lifestyle. She enjoys working out, going on bike rides, indulging in board games, tackling puzzles, and cherishing quality time with her daughter, husband, and fur friend. This playful energy seamlessly transitions into her therapy sessions, creating an engaging and dynamic environment for her young clients. Angela’s heart has always been devoted to pediatrics, and her philosophy revolves around collaboration and education with the child’s family. She firmly believes that supporting independence and growth through play, fine motor skills, and daily occupations is the key to unlocking a child’s potential. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, and a wealth of knowledge, Angela eagerly anticipates the privilege of making cherished connections with you and your child!

Rebecca (Becca) D., OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Location
Dyer Clinic & Lake County First Steps

Meet Becca, a shining light in the field of occupational therapy. In 2018, she earned a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Governors State University. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science from Calumet College of St. Joseph, where her exceptional academic prowess earned her the distinguished titles of Valedictorian and recipient of the Outstanding Science Baccalaureate Award and the Pioneer Award for Community Service. Becca’s commitment to professional growth is evident in her specialized training, which encompasses manual therapy, sensory integration, and sensory-based strategies. Ensuring the well-being of her young clients is further exemplified by her CPR certification. As a testament to her academic and professional excellence, Becca graced the stage as an MOT Research Presenter at the ILOTA conference in 2017. There, she presented on the crucial topic of Perceptions of Professionalism in Level II Fieldwork, showcasing her leadership and commitment to advancing the field. She also served as a panelist on the Fieldwork Panel at ILOTA’s Student Conclave. Outside her professional life, Becca thrives on competitive sports, enjoying both volleyball and basketball. Her positive energy radiates through her treatment sessions, creating an engaging and dynamic therapeutic atmosphere. She firmly believes in the power of family involvement in therapy, recognizing its pivotal role in a child’s development. Becca eagerly anticipates the opportunity to meet you and your child, embarking on a path toward greater independence and growth!

Cindy G. , COTA
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Location
Lake County First Steps
Porter County First Steps As Needed

Meet Cindy! Cindy, is a seasoned Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with several years of experience in pediatric occupational therapy. Her journey began at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, where she graduated with her Associate’s degree in Applied Science majoring in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program in 2006. Herdedication led her to invest her energy into developmental play therapy. She earned a certificate of proficiency in DIRFloortime,® and used the strategies learned through her training with children in clinics, home health, school, and early intervention settings. Her treatment experience includes working with children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, sensory processing disorder, and various other chromosomal, neurological and developmental diversities. She is also CPR certified. What sets Cindy apart is her deep personal connection to the field. As a mother of three, two of whom are neurodivergent, she brings a profound understanding and empathy to the families she supports at every stage of their child’s development. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys crafting, and infuses her creativity into her therapy sessions. She firmly believes that all development starts with building relationships and connections, and play is her specialty. Cindy is not just a COTA; she is a source of inspiration and a compassionate advocate for your child’s development!

Ashley H., COTA/L
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Ashley, a seasoned Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, who is dedicated to making a positive impact on children’s lives. In 2007, Ashley proudly graduated from Brown Mackie College with her Associate degree in Applied Science, specializing in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Her career has been a remarkable tapestry of diverse experiences, spanning across hospital settings, geriatrics, schools, private clinics, and early intervention. Ashley’s expertise extends to treating a wide spectrum of populations, including children with Cri-du-chat syndrome, Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, autism, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, limb differences, and developmental delays. Her CPR certification ensures the safety and well-being of her young clients during therapy sessions. Ashley is developing her conversational Spanish skills, allowing her to work effectively with Spanish-speaking families. Her commitment to serving others goes beyond therapy. She personally fostered children since 2019 with boundless care and compassion. Ashley cherishes quality time with her family and dogs, and she actively engages in her church community. Her commitment to making a difference shines through in her authorship of the book “Apostolic Ladies Devotional: The Minister’s Wife Edition,” a testament to her dedication to uplifting and inspiring others. She values each family as an indispensable part of the team, approaching every child with the utmost tenderness, love, and care. With Ashley by your side, you can be confident that your child’s development will be guided by a true advocate and supporter!

Angela K., OTD/OTR
Occupational Therapist

Location
Dyer Clinic & Lake County First Steps

Meet Dr. Angela, a standout in the world of occupational therapy. After serving as a dedicated volunteer and Administrative Assistant at Wee Care Therapy for several years, she returned as a full-fledged Occupational Therapist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Indiana University Northwest (2018) and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from Indiana University (2022). Her doctoral capstone revolved around championing the rights of school-aged learning-disabled children in a public school. Her groundbreaking research delved into the effects of stigma on school performance, strategies for reducing stigma among general education teachers, implicit bias, and occupational performance. Dr. Angela has treated children with an wide array of diagnoses, including autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, Erb palsy emotional regulation difficulties, neurological conditions, and radial dysplasia. Her extensive training included courses on sensory-based strategies, sensory integration, toe walking, limb loss, feeding, and adverse childhood experiences. Her proficiency extends to soft tissue and scar massage, wound care, and various physical agent modalities. As an avid advocate for change, Dr. Angela’s work, Applying the Ecological Model of Human Performance and the SlutWalk Movement to Support those Affected by Rape Culture in the Context of Occupational Therapy, was published in the Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. She brings a strengths-based, client-centered approach that emphasizes connection over compliance to therapy. She firmly believes that nurturing connections yields positive therapy outcomes. Dr. Angela eagerly awaits the opportunity to collaborate with you and your child in the pursuit of growth, development, and empowerment!

Danielle M., OT/L
Lead Occupational Therapist (Supervisor of COTAs and OT Students)

Location
Dyer Clinic & Lake County First Steps

Meet Danielle, an Occupational Therapist extraordinaire, who is dedicated to helping children thrive. In 2010, she earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Midwestern University. Prior to earning her degree, Danielle gained valuable experience as a one-on-one aide for a child with autism, igniting her passion for pediatric therapy. She also worked in the office of a pediatric therapy clinic, where she had the privilege of observing and learning from experienced therapists. She has worked with a diverse range of young patients, including those with autism, cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, prematurity, brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, and various developmental differences. Danielle has advanced training in sensory integration, sensory processing disorder, neurodevelopmental treatment, psychology, anxiety, and food chaining. Additionally, Danielle holds certifications in the Interactive Metronome and CPR, ensuring the highest level of care for her young clients. Danielle’s dedication to her craft is reflected in her status as a master clinician. Her exceptional skills and leadership abilities have earned her the prestigious title of Lead Occupational Therapist at Wee Care Therapy. Danielle’s passion for the great outdoors shines through in her hobbies, which include camping, bike riding, hiking, and spending quality time with her family. Her deep-rooted connection to Wee Care Therapy has been evident since her graduation. She firmly believes in the importance of incorporating nature and outdoor play into therapy, recognizing its pivotal role in child development. With Danielle by your child’s side, you can trust that their therapy will be guided by a consummate professional with the transformative power of turning work into play!

Susan (Sue) Swindeman, OTR/L
CEO/Occupational Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps Dyer Clinic Portage Clinic & Remote

Sue has been transforming the lives of children since her graduation from the OT program at University of IL at Chicago in 1984. Her journey led her to the creation of Wee Care Therapy in 1994, a testament to her unwavering commitment to pediatric care. She is certified by National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. She firmly believes in the continual pursuit of excellence through advanced training, recognizing its pivotal role in enhancing therapy skills. She has training in sensory integration, sensory-based strategies, neurodevelopmental treatment (8 week Bobath trained), therapeutic listening, craniosacral therapy, myofacial release, and feeding to name a few. She is certified in the administration and treatment of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests and CPR. In 2021, She globally shares her wealth of knowledge by presenting continuing education seminars. Furthermore, she’s a co-author of two groundbreaking books, “Tools for Tots: Sensory Strategies for Toddlers and Preschoolers” and “Tools for Infants: Sensory-Based Strategies for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Intervention Providers.” These invaluable resources have been translated into German, Turkish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Sue’s exceptional leadership and outstanding service in early intervention earned her the well-deserved First Steps Excellence of Service award from Indiana. At the heart of her approach lies her conviction in the significance of family engagement and effective team communication in the therapy process. Sue is not just a therapist; she’s a visionary, mentor, and catalyst for positive change in the world of pediatric therapy!

Brenda W., OTR/L 
Occupational Therapist (Supervisor of OT Students)

Location
Dyer Clinic & Lake County First Steps

Meet Brenda, whose journey has been nothing short of remarkable. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University in 1995, followed by a Master of Arts in Education from St. Xavier University in 2002. Before venturing into occupational therapy, Brenda taught high school biology and psychology, delved into cancer research, and contributed to social sciences administration. In 2019, she obtained a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of IL at Chicago. Brenda’s expertise spans a wide range of diagnoses, including autism, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, feeding difficulties, hypotonia, seizure disorder, brachial plexus injury, and torticollis. Brenda co-authored the study The Effects of Mindfulness Training on Wisdom in Elementary School Teachers, which was featured in the Journal of Education, Society, and Behavioral Science. She was also lead author on the scientific review of the Occupational Self-Assessment published in the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab Rehabilitation Measures Database. In recognition of her expertise in serving autistic children, Brenda holds the Advanced Certified Autism Specialist credential through IBCCES. As a natural leader, she supervises occupational therapy students at Wee Care therapy. Her approach to therapy is holistic and evidence-based, and she believes in the power of collaboration. With Brenda on your child’s team, you can expect innovative solutions and compassionate support, as she goes above and beyond to help your child thrive!