Jessica Leer

January Clinician of the Month Jessica Leer

As Jessica Leer, OT would say, Occupational Therapy found her. Following a traumatic brain injury, she was paired up with an OT to help in her recovery. Throughout recovery and talks with her OT, Jess had her eyes opened to the perfect way she could meet her goal of making an impact on her patients’ life, health and wellness.

Jess has always known she wanted to work with kids. She worked at a specialized preschool for children with Autism, volunteered at a children’s hospital and spent her summers volunteering at special needs summer camps. She learned first-hand the importance of giving medically fragile and special needs children the resources to flourish in their best life.

However, where Jess feels her biggest success is working as a pediatric OT is in the home. “You really see what each child’s day-to-day like looks like,” says Jess. In a clinic there is somewhat of a disconnect, the parents can’t share everything; perhaps they do not know what to look for, or they forget or they are simply overwhelmed.

According to Jess, by working with the families in their home you truly see what needs to be done to help. People share more because they are in their natural environment which allows the therapist to better understand . Home Healthcare also allows for more successful integration of the therapy into every day life. Specialized therapy tools are often cost prohibitive for families but a skilled therapist like Jess can draw parallels from therapy to their toys in their home. Therapists can adjust and recommend based on the families’ lifestyle and available resources. Another, often overlooked aspect is the integration of the family’s culture into the therapy. One “developmental milestone” is for toddlers to be using utensils by 17 or 18 months. Some cultures, for example, use injera (or flatbread) in place of utensils so the milestone is not appropriate. Your Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare therapist can work with your family to integrate these cultural-specific skills to maintain cultural identity.

One of Jess’ biggest passions is getting parents and caregivers involved in the sessions. In the hospital or outpatient setting they often wait in the waiting room and have no opportunity to participate. In the home, parents have a good chance to see the therapy as well as participate in it. There is more opportunity to ask questions of the therapist because they don’t have back-to-back 30 minute appointments.

In her free time, Jess enjoys going to as many community events as possible, supporting local pediatric causes, and listening to podcasts about wellness, movement and nutrition. She has even developed a 12 stage protocol for mind, body, and spirit for wellness and maintains a database of articles, studies and techniques for maintaining peak wellness.

We are so very honored to have Jess on our team, she is an amazing clinician and a fantastic example of all of the core values of Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare.