About Heather

Heather Ajzenman, OTD, OTR/L has her doctorate in occupational therapy and is licensed to practice in New Hampshire. She is a DIR Floortime® Basic Certified Provider and is working towards her Hippotherapy Clinical Speciality Certification. She has experience working with diverse children and families from birth to 21 years of age using a family-centered, evidence based approach incorporating all functional needs of each child and family. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the American Hippotherapy Association and the Scientific Advisory Council for the Horse and Human Research Foundation. She published a study in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2013 on hippotherapy and children with autism spectrum disorders.

Experience & Philosophy

Heather is focused on families building relationships with their children through shared engagement, creating connections, and developing trust for emotional and intellectual growth.

She has worked with diverse populations including children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing challenges, ADHD and executive functioning disorders, cerebral palsy and/or other types of acquired brain injuries, children impacted by abuse and/or neglect, and a variety of other neurological and/or genetic disorders in early intervention, daycare/preschools, and outpatient settings.

Research

Evidence-based approaches are key to incorporation of best practices into sessions. Current research is used to support treatment approaches and interventions throughout therapy sessions.

Heather published a study in 2013 in the Journal of Occupational Therapy of "The effect of hippotherapy on motor control, adaptive behaviors, and participation in children with autism spectrum disorders: A pilot study." (source link 1) Though not currently active in research, she consults with other researchers and students as well as reviews grants for research studies.

Occupational Therapy Services

Consultations/Screenings

If you think your child may benefit from occupational therapy services, Heather offers free screenings over the phone or in person to further discuss your concerns. Screenings are a great way to further learn about Heather and the services she provides.

If your child receives occupational therapy services, Heather consults and collaborates with other individuals your child works with to assist with development of and engagement in daily activities.

Evaluations

A formal 1-2 hour evaluation is completed to determine need for occupational therapy services. An evaluation is necessary prior to the start of services and typically is completed on a yearly basis.

During the evaluation, background information, child's strengths and family concerns, and observations of the child will be collected as well as use of standardized assessments to determine the needs of the child and family.

The family is an integral part of this process. A treatment plan is created with goals to meet the family and child's needs.

Occupational Therapy Treatment

Occupations, participation in daily activities are the core of occupational therapy. For children, occupations include self-care, play, community engagement, social interactions, engagement in preschool/school, and family routines.

Heather offers a variety of treatment approaches to address occupational needs. Interventions used in treatment include but are not limited to: equine-assisted occupational therapy and hippotherapy, DIRFloortime®, sensory processing strategies, self-care development, community engagement, executive functioning strategies, and motor learning and neurodevelopmental treatment strategies.

Education

Heather offers clinical experiences for occupational therapy students, continuing education, and courses in conjunction with UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

Contact Heather