Occupational Therapy

The pediatric occupational therapy team at MUSC Children’s Health provides specialized care for infants, children, teens and young adults with a variety of diagnoses to achieve their maximum independence and potential with activities of daily living, play/leisure, and school activities. The team is made up of inpatient and outpatient therapists. In the hospital, care is provided (from birth to 18 years old) to assist your child with learning early feeding skills, recovery from injury or surgery, early mobilization during the hospital, reconditioning after a long term illness, meeting developmental milestones, and to be able to perform age appropriate mobility and activities of daily living in order to plan for return home. In the outpatient setting, we provide personalized treatment based on family’s goals in order to maximize independence with age appropriate mobility, fine motor skills, sensory processing skills, and self-care skills so your child can fully participate in their environment and with their peers. On both the inpatient and outpatient side, we work very closely with your child’s health care team in order to provide individualized family centered care to assist your child in achieving their highest potential.

Conditions we treat

  • Autism
  • Brachial Plexus Injuries
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delays
  • Feeding Difficulties
  • Down Syndrome
  • Other Genetic Disorders
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Oncology Disorders
  • Premature Birth
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Others

Services Offered

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptive Equipment Recommendations
  • Cognition and Visual Perceptual Skills Development
  • Fine Motor Skills Development
  • Neurodevelopmental treatment
  • Oral Motor Skills
  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • Splinting and Orthotic Fabrication
  • Upper Limb Function

Programs

  • Down Syndrome Clinic
  • International Adoption Clinic
  • Pediatric Cardiac Clinic

Locations

Children's Hospital

165 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425
Main: 843-792-2300

Children's Therapy Center

4480 Leeds Place West
North Charleston, SC 29405
Main: 843-876-2880

Meet The Team

Inpatient Team

Mary Helen Giese, Occupational Therapist
Mary Helen Giese, OTR/L graduated with her master’s degree from MUSC in 2011. After graduation she worked in a private pediatric clinic in Charlotte, NC for 2 years. Upon returning to Charleston, SC, she did brief home health with children as she transitioned to the MUSC Children’s Hospital in 2014 and has been working in this inpatient setting for the last 5+ years. In this setting, she works with children ranging from pre-term infants through teenagers. She has worked with a variety of diagnoses and ages, with goals to increase and improve functional skills and ADLs, feeding skills, ROM and developmental skills. Mary Helen also participates in interdisciplinary committees including the Feeding Team for the nurseries and the PICU Early Mobility Program to promote optimal care.

Courtney S. Jarrard, Occupational Therapist
Courtney Jarrard, OTR/L graduated with a Master’s in Rehabilitation Sciences from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2003. She has been with MUSC since 2003. Her work has included outpatient and inpatient therapy and multidisciplinary pediatric clinics. Her passion is working with the families of premature and medically complex infants to teach skills to improve soothing and calming techniques for their infants with infant massage and developmental feeding techniques. She was certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) in 2009 and infant massage with the International Association of Infant Massage in 2014. She was a contributing author for the article The Effects of Oral Motor Stimulation on Feeding Behaviors with Infants Born with Univentrical Anatomy published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing in 2013.

Paige P. Merrill, Occupational Therapist
Paige Merrill, OTR/L graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Converse College in 1992 and Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Sciences from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1995. She has been with MUSC since 2001. Prior to joining the MUSC staff, she managed a multidisciplinary outpatient pediatric facility and facilitated growth from 1 full time to 10 therapists. At MUSC, her work has included outpatient and inpatient therapy and multidisciplinary pediatric clinics while serving as the pediatric team leader. Her passion is working with the families of CHD and medically complex infants with a special interest in feeding concerns related to g-tube dependence. She was a contributing author for the article The Effects of Oral Motor Stimulation on Feeding Behaviors with Infants Born with Univentrical Anatomy published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing in 2013.

Outpatient team

Shannon Hemberger, Occupational Therapist
Shannon Hemberger, OTR/L has been working as a pediatric occupational therapist since graduating from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA in 2013. She previously worked at a privately owned pediatric outpatient clinic in Charleston before joining the MUSC team in 2016. Shannon works at our outpatient therapy facility with children of all ages with neuromuscular diagnoses, developmental delays, sensory processing difficulties, and patients with pediatric cancer in assisting them to maximize independence in daily living skills, play/leisure, and school activities. Shannon also assists with the interdisciplinary team for the International Adoption Clinic and assists with the inpatient pediatric setting as needed. Shannon is trained in kinesiotaping, therapeutic listening, Handwriting Without Tears, and the Alert Program.

Ashley Romito, Occupational Therapist
Ashley Romito, OTR/L graduated with her Master’s degree in occupational therapy from West Virginia University in 2014. She has been with MUSC since 2016. She has worked in a variety of settings, but is passionate about working in the outpatient pediatric setting to collaborate with families in assisting children to obtain the highest level of independence possible. Ashley is trained in Handwriting Without Tears. She coordinates with the pet therapy teams to provide Animal Assisted Therapy at the Leeds Ave clinic. Ashley also assists with the interdisciplinary Down syndrome clinic. She enjoys staying involved in the community through activities such as the Down Syndrome Association of the Lowcountry Buddy Walk.