HOPE realized at a Center offering life-changing therapies for speech, physical, and occupational development.
Our pediatric physical therapists are health care professionals who are movement specialists addressing medical problems or other health-related conditions that affect a child's ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
Our physical therapists use treatment activities and techniques that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Our physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. Pediatric physical therapy uses play and fun activities to entice children to work hard and exercise to promote the highest level of independent function.
Who are your therapists?
Moira Miller, PT, MPT, PCS, C/NDT, CTKP and Therapy Manager, has concentrated the majority of her career on the treatment and assessment of motor dysfunction of the pediatric population. She is an American Physical Therapy Association Board Certified Pediatric Physical Therapist. Moira has experience working in a wide variety of pediatric settings ranging from group programs, school-based programs, hospital in-patient/out-patient services, in-home treatment sessions, private pediatric physical therapy practices and multidisciplinary team assessments. Moira graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a degree in Biology (1988) and then received a Master of Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California (1991). She furthered her educational experience with certification upon completion of the Neuro-Developmental (NDT) 8-week course in The Treatment and Management of Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Neuromotor Disorders. She has also completed the NDT 1-week Advanced Baby Course with Lois Bly. Moira has worked collaboratively with multi-disciplinary teams focusing on the area of early intervention in addition to experience working with sensory-integration techniques, infant developmental assessment/treatment, orthopedic interventions, neurodevelopment techniques, Torticollis assessment/treatment, equipment recommendations, orthotic recommendations, Cortical Visual Impairment assessment/treatment and recently became a certified Kinesio® Taping practitioner. She is the mother of two teenage girls, enjoys running/yoga, and traveling with her family.
Nathan Famatigan, Physical Therapist Assistant, was born and raised in Santa Clara County, CA and then later moved down to Orange County, CA. He attended at California State University Long Beach where in 2013 he went on to earn his Bachelor's of Science degree in Kinesiology with a focus in Exercise Science. Soon after, he went to Stanbridge College and earned his Associate's of Science degree in the Physical Therapist Assistant program in 2015, and was board certified in the State of California soon after. He always had a love for helping people, especially in being a part of their growth to be better in what they do. Although he only had a brief opportunity to work in a pediatric setting during his time at school, 1 day was more than enough to convince him that he was in the clinical setting where he belongs. Currently, he is working on taking more Continuing Education Courses and gaining more certifications to further improve his clinical skills in the pediatric setting. Whenever he's free he loves playing volleyball with friends, practicing martial arts, dancing, singing, listening to music, playing videogames, and being involved in many projects and activities in his church.
Brianna Velasquez, PT, DPT, grew up in Southern California and then ventured to Boston where she received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Health Science from Boston University. After her east coast adventure, she came back to Los Angeles county and worked as a physical therapy aide at an outpatient orthopedic clinic for four years. While working as an aide, she has experiences working with all ages and demographics, but fell in love with her pediatric clients. Once entering graduate school, she had the opportunity to work for 8 weeks at California Children's Services in San Diego as a student physical therapist. After completing her clinical, her passion for pediatrics was reaffirmed. She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in 2016 and began her career with UCP-OC in 2017. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Orange County's food scene, traveling and spending time with her soon to be husband and cat, Mila.
Beth Wade, MPT, C/NDT, grew up in San Diego, CA. Initially an engineering major, her college career was put on hold briefly when her father survived a motor vehicle accident which left him in a coma for 30 days. When she witnessed the physical therapist help him to walk again and return to his life, it was like magic. She began volunteering in the hospital's Physical Therapy Department and immediately knew this was her passion. She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology at Arizona State University in 1996. Returning to California, she worked alongside physical therapists to start up a Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. She went on to receive her Master of Physical Therapy from Long Beach State University in 2001. The majority of her clinical education was completed in pediatrics at Miller Children's Hospital and she immediately knew this was what she was born to do. Pulling from her experience as a nanny, she quickly learned how to integrate play into therapeutic activities. She has worked solely in pediatrics, with years of experience treating children of all ages, with many diagnosis including developmental delays, chromosomal abnormalities, rare disease, torticollis, autism and cerebral palsy. In 2011, she became certified in Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Treatment, which is a specialized form of therapy, focused on treating the "whole child". In addition to working with the children, she enjoys spending time with her husband, son and daughter, snowboarding, surfing, hiking, and playing with their sweet dog Roxy.
Vanessa Warrior, Lead Physical Therapist, from the start of her career Vanessa has had a special interest in pediatric rehabilitation. She earned her undergraduate degree from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement and Exercise Science (1996) and received her Master of Physical Therapy degree from California State University, Long Beach (2002). Vanessa has had the joy of combining her experience working with both the adult and pediatric populations ranging from in-patient hospital, home health, and outpatient clinical settings. In pediatrics, she has worked together with families and multidisciplinary teams collaborating to find the best possible solutions in regards to equipment, orthotics and splinting, rehabilitation services and referrals, and early intervention assessment. Vanessa is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Pediatric section. Her enhanced pedagogy includes Neuro-Developmental Techniques (NDT) for the infant, orthopedic updates in pediatrics, and functional gait patterns. As part of her core belief in "paying it forward", Vanessa has acted as a mentor to students from USC, Cal State University Northridge and Long Beach, and Chapman University. In her leisure time, Vanessa enjoys spending her days off with her son and daughter, music with her husband, and yoga for personal balance.
Our pediatric occupational therapists work with children and their families to help develop skills in the following areas: play skills, fine motor skills (how our hands and fingers work to accomplish a task), and personal or self-care skills. Treatment techniques promote function and engagement in meaningful occupations, remediate disability, and provide support to families. The strategies our pediatric occupational therapists may use include working on hand/finger/arm strength, trunk strength and stability, practice of specific self-care tasks, and overall sensory processing. Play is used as a way to address desired skills and to encourage the child to be active participants in their therapy sessions.
Who are your therapists?
Ria Camerino, OTR/L, Lead Occupational Therapist, received her Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from University of Southern California. She has acquired immense experience in a pediatric setting where she treated children with diagnoses such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, drug exposure, prematurity, feeding difficulties, and developmental delay. To further her knowledge in the field, she has taken advanced courses in motor-based and sensory-based feeding, NDT principles, sensory integration and Handwriting Without Tears. Ria genuinely loves her work as she hopes to make a difference in someone's life and family while aiding her patients with their challenges. She is a mother of two beautiful girls whom she enjoys spending time with going to theme parks, attending their gymnastics and dance classes, and creating arts and crafts. In her spare time, she looks forward to days spent in the company of her big, extended, close-knit family and friends.
Rachel Emas, MS, OTR/L, is an Occupational Therapist licensed by the State of California. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. She has always loved working with children and has experience working as a preschool teacher, volunteering in a children’s hospital, and interning as an occupational therapy student at California Children's Services (CCS) in Riverside. She is also a certified kid yoga teacher and enjoys using play-based yoga principles with her kiddos at UCP-OC. Rachel continues to work toward her goal of specializing in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) and feeding/swallowing techniques. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC). In her free time, Rachel enjoys staying active, being at the beach, and spending time with family and friends.
Daisy Ko, OTR/L received her Masters of Arts degree from the University of Southern California. As an occupational therapist, Daisy has continued to pursue her love working with children from infancy to school-aged children with various disabilities and delays including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hand-writing delays and behavioral concerns. She continues to work towards her goals in specializing in feeding/swallowing techniques and sensory integration throughout her career. In her free time, Daisy enjoys learning about people, their culture, and their experiences. She also enjoys taking road trips and spending time with friends in the sun.
Christine "Christy" Olson, OTR/L received her Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She has solely been working in the field of pediatrics where she has treated children from birth to 21 years with diagnosis such as autism (ASD), cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, drug exposure, prematurity, feeding difficulties, developmental delays, Spina Bifida, congenital amputations, neurological disorders, and muscular dystrophy. To further her knowledge in the field, she has taken advanced courses in feeding and oral motor disorders, NDT practice and handling, sensory integration, and Kinesio-Taping. Christy is working towards her goal of becoming specialized in feeding as well as NDT certified. In her free time, Christy enjoys spending time with her family and friends enjoying the Southern California weather.
Frances Pulido, OTR/L, CVI mentor, originally started her career as a biomedical engineer but left to pursue a more rewarding profession in Occupational Therapy. She received her Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, CA. Though Frances has experience in a variety of settings, she has found a passion for pediatrics and loves working with kids of all ages. She has taken professional development courses in Beckman Oral Motor Assessment & Intervention, Foundations in Pediatric Neuro-Developmental Treatment, Handwriting Without Tears, and Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC). In her spare time, Frances can be found practicing yoga and walking her beloved dog Harvey alongside her husband Allan.
Our pediatric speech language pathologists serve children and their families to address typical and atypical communication and feeding skills. Common treatment techniques may include oral motor strengthening and range of motion exercises, reciprocal interaction through modeling and play, training on the use of audio-visual aids, the use of assistive technology, and strategies to facilitate functional communication.
Who are your therapists?
Erin Harris M.S. CCC-SLP, Manager of Speech-Language Pathology, was born and raised in Atlanta, GA but traveled to Boston, MA to complete her undergraduate and graduate course work at Northeastern University. During her time at Northeastern, Erin completed clinical placements in a wide variety of settings. One of her most formative placements was with Perkins School for the Blind where her passion for augmentative and alternative communication and pediatrics emerged. Erin worked in the lower school and deafblind programs during her time at Perkins. After developing a passion for children with complex communication needs she applied for a clinical placement a Boston Children’s Hospital. During her time at Boston Children’s Hospital, she worked in the Augmentative Communication Program in the Otolaryngology department. She gained experience with the development of low and high tech AAC systems for pediatric and adult patients. After graduating with her Master’s, Erin moved to Brooklyn, NY where she continued her work with both pediatric and adult populations. In New York, Erin gained experience conducting speech and language therapy in the home, schools, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and via telecommunication systems. Erin recently moved to Southern California to continue providing speech and language intervention to pediatrics in a clinical setting. She enjoys education and has mentored graduate students from California Baptist University, California State University-Northridge and Northern Arizona University. She enjoys traveling with family and friends and discovering new music.
Lisa Risley is a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant licensed by the state of California. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Biola University and completed the SLPA program at Santa Ana College in 2015. She has been at UCP-OC since the spring of 2017. Lisa has previously worked in both private and public schools. She has experience with children of all ages and in various school settings, such as primary, elementary, intermediate, and high school. Prior to UCP-OC, she has volunteered at an interdisciplinary clinic and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s child life department. During her free time, Lisa enjoys biking, running, taking her dog on walks, spending time with her family, and being an aunt to her four nieces and nephews.
Patrice (Pati) Skinner is a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant licensed by the state of California, and Child Development Specialist for UCP for 7 years. Pati received her SLPA from Santa Ana College and is a member of CSHA (California Speech Language, Hearing Association). She has been in the medical field for 34 years as a Nurse, specializing in dialysis, pediatric oncology, home care for children with ventilators, and pediatric home care for terminally-ill children. She is involved in the Special Olympics Program and volunteers in the local school district. As a nurse and SLPA, she frequently takes classes to increase her knowledge to benefit the children that she is serving. Pati and her husband, Jim, enjoy traveling, and keeping up with their seven children and 10 grandchildren.
Katherine (Katya) Soot is a Speech and Language Pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Occidental College with a focus in researching autism spectrum disorders. She interned at the Center for Developing Kids (CDK) in Pasadena, CA her last year of college and spent time there working with children receiving services in PT, OT, and Speech. She fell in love with speech and language therapy following this experience and began her pursuit of graduate studies in Speech Language Pathology. Katya graduated with her Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Boston University. During her graduate experience, she worked in several different settings including an elementary school, Massachusetts General Hospital-Cognitive Outpatient Unit, and Boston University’s Academic Speech, Language, and Hearing Center. At the center she gained experience working with adults treating aphasia, fluency disorders, and TBI. She also gained experience treating preschool aged children with speech, language, and cognitive deficits. Katya’s love for the field of speech and language pathology is founded primarily in her love for children. She is passionate about serving children with complex communication needs and works to facilitate their relationships with their families and their communities by creating functional, specific, and individualized treatment plans for each child in her care. When she has free time, Katya enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time with her family and church community.
A Specialized Feeding Group
Our individualized, play-based, therapeutic feeding program systematically assists children who have a variety of feeding challenges. This creative feeding group brings together the unique but complementary expertise from the fields of occupational, physical and speech therapies that provide consultation and support families to assist each child with their unique feeding needs. Although the emphasis of this program is on improving feeding abilities and enjoyment of meals, other developmental areas are addressed including social-emotional, adaptive, communication, fine motor and cognition.
This program is ideal for infants as young as 18 months and toddlers up to 36 months of age who are demonstrating feeding difficulties characterized by any of the following:
Problems progressing from thin liquids via bottle or cup, pureed to solid foods
Restricted food repertoire or unable to manage varied and textured foods
Oral sensitivity and hyperactive or absent “gag” reflex
Having a limited food repertoire or avoidance behaviors
Poor weight gain or failure to thrive, those medically cleared to receive dysphagia facilitation
Other conditions may be considered on a case by case basis upon review by UCP and RCOC specialist.
Children who are picky eaters, who have difficulty gaining weight, have a limited food repertoire, or those who have difficulty transitioning between consistencies of foods can benefit from participating in this group that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30-10:30.
For more information about this program:
Moira Miller, Manager of Therapy Services
How to Get Here
980 Roosevelt, Suite 100, Irvine, CA, 92620