Grace Portoghese

Grace has been an occupational therapist for 37 years, 12 of which has been in pediatrics. Grace began her career in a hospital working with adults in acute care, rehabilitation and out-patient. Over the years, her career as an occupational therapist took place in various settings, mostly in out-patient working with orthopedic cases and more specifically, hand and upper extremity injuries. Grace worked closely with plastic and orthopedic hand surgeons, restoring her clients’ functional use of their hands/arms in order to return them to their former activities of daily living. Grace also was in a management role for a large hospital in California, overseeing the occupational therapy department.  She took some time away from her career to become a stay at home mom and upon returning to the field, she was given an opportunity to work with children. Grace had not worked with children since her school internship, but took the opportunity, relearned some skills and learned many new ones. She developed a passion for children on the spectrum and those with sensory processing disorders because she saw that what she did made a difference in those children’s lives and their families. Grace learned as much as she could from taking continuing education courses and applying them during her treatment sessions with her clients. She became an advocate for the children she treated by educating the parents and caregivers on how to help their children and give them hope for a better life for their loved ones.  

Zielia Crespo

Zielia has been working as an Occupational Therapy Assistant for 8 years, 5 in pediatrics. She loves children and has spent a majority of her life caring for them. Being the oldest of 4 children and having 5 step children and 3 of her own, she understands children and enjoys them. She began her healthcare journey as a personal trainer and owned a personal training business, Liveloud Fitness, for 8 years. During that time, she also owned a healthy meal preparation business with her husband David. She then found a love for therapy and healthcare in a different form. Shortly after, she attended South University and began studying Occupational Therapy. During her second clinical rotation in pediatrics, she knew pediatrics was where her heart was. The enthusiasm and energy of children excited her. She has studied sensory integration and has a passion to educate, equip and support families in understanding and conquering all the challenges that may come along with sensory processing conditions. Although she has loved her time working with orthopedic and neurological patients, working with children is what she is called to do in this season.

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