Debra Dickson graduated from Boston University with a degree in Physical Therapy. She is a pediatric physical therapist and owner of TherapyWorks Pediatrics LLC in Old Lyme. Debra is also the creator of the clinically acclaimed BEAR HUG Vest. Ms. Dickson is NDT certified in pediatrics and has a strong background in sensory processing, nutrition and immune function as they relate to children with physical, behavioral and developmental disabilities.
Ms. Dickson lectures both locally and nationally, presenting courses for therapists and other professionals. She is also a frequent lecturer at local parent groups.
Together with Anne Buckley-Reen, she developed a program for therapists to evaluate and treat children holistically. The course, entitled “The Whole Child: S.A.N.E. Strategies for Success” incorporates a multisystem approach to understanding and treating developmental disorders and incorporates proven strategies for successfully improving function. This course has been taught around the country since 1995. They are currently co-authoring “The Whole Child Handbook," for parents whose children may be struggling with such issues as ADHD, Autism, Sleep Challenges, Sensory Processing Challenges or Picky Eating. The book will help parents identify which strategies will be best for their children to create lasting changes for happy, healthy and successful children.
Melissa Knowlton is a registered Physical Therapist with years of experience in both outpatient and school settings. Melissa has experience with pediatric, adolescent and adult populations. Melissa assists with assessment of braces, wheelchairs and adaptive equipment. Melissa also has significant training and experience in treating vestibular dysfunction and sensory processing disorders.
Connie is a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years of experience in pediatrics. As a magna cum laude graduate of Tufts University, she worked briefly in geriatrics and adult physical rehabilitation before specializing in working with children.
Connie has extensive experience in school based practice and treatment of children with learning and sensory processing challenges. She has worked in public and private school settings, preschools and early intervention, in addition to participating as member of a collaborative team that provided comprehensive educational evaluations to families and school systems throughout Connecticut through the Child Development Center of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
She has advanced training in evaluation and treatment of sensory processing disorders, advanced training in collaborative teaming in school based practice, and is trained in Therapeutic Listening, Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioception protocol, Handwriting Without Tears and strategies for feeding challenges and picky eaters. She was recognized as a member of an elementary school team as finalists in MARC’s Outstanding Practices in Education Awards Program and has provided multiple in-service training sessions for teachers in on a variety of topics.
Megan Grills OTR/L is a registered occupational therapist and certified Berard AIT practitioner. She is experienced in pediatrics, sensory integration and S.A.N.E. evaluations. Megan's diverse training allows her to evaluate the whole child and develop holistic treatment protocols including AIT, sensory diets, and sensory motor treatments.
Marina Calarco is an occupational therapist with over 10 years experience. She has worked in a variety of settings including schools, Birth to Three, and currently works in the clinic at Therapy Works. She has experience in sensory integration, fine motor, and handwriting. She is Handwriting Without Tears Certified. She has worked with kids and adults, and has experience with a wide variety of disabilities. She enjoys working with kids and their parents, helping them to learn and have fun.
Amanda, known by her coworkers as Mandi, and her young clients as "Miss Mandi," is a graduate of Bay Path College in Longmeadow, MA. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors in Liberal Arts and again in 2011 with her Masters in Occupational Therapy.
After working in a skilled nursing setting, Mandi followed her dream to work with children and joined the TherapyWorks team. Currently, Mandi is working in a public school system and a residential school in northeastern Connecticut, as well as the outpatient setting at the office as needed. Her desire to help others, combined with organization and creativity allows Mandi to be a team member who is able to make a difference in the lives of many children from the elementary to high school level.
Debra Dickson RPT
Physical Therapist and Owner of TherapyWorks
Let FOOD be the first part of healing.
With over 2 decades of experience with children and their relationship with food, Patricia Lynch, RDN, CDN uses a multi-faceted nutrition assessment to piece together what may be playing a role in sensory issues, picky eating, problem feeding, and individual diagnoses. Symptoms such as mood and behavior change, poor concentration, gastrointestinal issues, sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, cravings or susceptibility to sickness are strongly linked to nutritional deficiencies, types of foods being consumed, and possible food sensitivities or intolerances. Using tools such as a nutrition questionnaire, food records, nutrition analysis of food intake, lab testing and medical/sensory history, Trish is able to guide parents toward better health for their children.
Patricia Lynch, RDN, CDN has been a Registered Dietitian since 1990. She began the journey having initially focused on the realm of eating disorders, but this took a twist when she became interested in child nutrition, the feeding process, and ultimately sensory integration disorder. She has attended intensive seminars by Ellyn Satter the author of Child of Mine and How to Get Kids to Eat But Not Too Much, Kay Toomey the developer of the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to eating, Julie Matthews the author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, DAN (Defeat Autism Now) and has been directly trained by Elizabeth Strickland, author of Eating for Autism. Trish’s training and experience provides a valuable link to identifying the difference between picky eating and feeding problems.
Trish’s mantra as a Dietitian in Functional Medicine is let FOOD be the first part of healing. It encompasses her belief in the whole-body connection of food allergies, food intolerances, gastrointestinal disorders, and feeding problems as possible contributing factors to subclinical symptoms, such as irritability, mood and behavior change, poor concentration, depression, sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, and susceptibility to sickness.
Trish enjoys guiding parents in the principles of moving toward great nutrition, and through the realm of food and meal time strategies connected with sensory issues, picky eating, problem feeding, and individual diagnosis. It has been in her own family experiences with sensory processing, and with embracing whole nutrition that she can offer personal experience. She is greatly inspired when families discover that REAL nutrition can make a difference in their child’s health.
Our Staff is a hand selected, highly experienced group with a wide variety of certifications for the most effective multi-disciplinary team available.