Today we’d like to introduce you to Suzanne Greenwood Cachero.
Suzanne, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I think my career path started paving its way when I was in junior high school. My mom and I were members of a charity organization, National Charity League, and participated in numerous volunteer opportunities. The Special Olympics and therapeutic horseback riding in my hometown of San Juan Capistrano were some of my favorite activities and, thinking back, really get credit for introducing me to a population of individuals that I would later work so closely with, and learn so much from. As a high school junior, the pressure was on to choose the major I would focus on in college. My creative self, my interest in the sciences, love of working with children, and my desire to construct and work with my hands split what I felt my options were into polar opposite directions – advertising or medicine. My dad is a retired Landscape Architect and entrepreneur, and my mom is a retired kindergarten teacher, so I have some pretty strong artistic and nurturing bones!
An adult acquaintance, knowing my personality and interests, invited me to shadow a pediatric occupational therapist for a day. Within 10 minutes it was crystal clear that this field was my calling! It checked every box that fit my personality and interests, plus added an overflowing amount of warm and fuzzies – icing on the career cake! Little did I know how much my dad’s entrepreneurial drive would rub off on me. After graduating from USC, I began getting my feet wet as a pediatric OT. I was connected with two amazing professional women as part of a shared case. Not long after, our conversations developed into opening interdisciplinary office where like-minded professions could think together, learn together, and practice together to support families in our community. In 2003, we opened our suite including practitioners specializing in occupational therapy, marriage and family therapy, social work, and psychoanalysis. Our goal was, and still is, to support the whole child and family, including not only the physical challenges that present with varying diagnoses, but also to address and process through emotional and psychological challenges.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Overall, I feel the road to where we are today has been a smooth one, with an occasional bump – but those build character, right? We started rather small, and only grew within our comfort zone. I didn’t take out business loans, but instead put my income back into the practice to collect my needed equipment and supplies. After 7 years in one location, our suite decided it was time to expand a bit, so we moved to a new space nearby. While exciting, the expansion definitely brought on new learning curves. Unfortunately, the curriculum to become an occupational therapist does not include business courses, so there is always new territory to navigate here! Finding and building strong collaborative and mentor relationships, both in practice and business, has been one of the most valuable contributions to the success of Centerpointe for Children. On a daily basis I think about how grateful I am for the professional women that I work alongside.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Centerpointe for Children – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Centerpointe for Children is a private practice, pediatric occupational therapy facility that works with children of varying diagnoses, including autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy and sensory processing challenges. Our therapists specialize in evaluation and treatment using Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI), a framework developed by A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, an occupational therapist, psychologist and neuroscientist. Dr. Ayres’ theory focuses on how we process and interpret information from our senses (sight, smell, gravity, touch, body position and movement, taste, hearing) and use this information to respond appropriately to the demands of the environment. Our specialized facility is designed around tailoring intervention to each individual child’s needs using ASI principles.
As occupational therapists, we think about the occupations of a child, or how they spend their day. Playing with peers, accessing the playground, school readiness, developing coping skills, and self-care tasks are all activities that are important to develop. When one or more of these areas is revealed as a struggle, our job is to break down the task and discover what might be impacting a child’s ability to be successful. After identifying the foundations for these challenges through family collaboration and evaluation of the child, the fun begins and we tailor therapeutic activities based on a child’s interests to work on these challenges, under the guise of play! This is why you won’t ever see our gym space set up the same way twice! We have the ability to adapt the space and provide unique opportunities to challenge and support sensory perceptual abilities, motor skills, praxis, and self-regulation.
In addition, Centerpointe for Children provide a platform for other occupational therapists to branch out and begin their own entrepreneurial journeys! We are home to 10 extremely talented pediatric occupational therapists of varying experience levels who have created their own companies and developed their own specialty niches, including evaluation (www.occupationaltherapyforchildren.net), education (www.cl-asi.org), blogging (www.passporttofunction.com) and programs including Jellyfish Yoga for Kids www.jellyfishyoga4kids.com and Tumble n’ Dots sensorimotor and art groups (www.tumblendots.com)! I get particularly excited about this special piece of our office because it offers the collaboration and mentorship that I craved when I began. I couldn’t be more proud, humbled and honored to be a small part of each of these women’s professional stories.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are very excited about the opportunity to host continuing education courses this year! The Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI) has just launched their highly anticipated certificate program in the US and our office has been chosen to be one of 3 locations across the country to host their on-site courses! The philosophy that our office and therapists have always practiced is one of inclusion and community. We believe that everyone can benefit from collaborative relationships. The energy in getting together to learn and support each other is so inspiring and I am looking forward to providing a platform for education and professional development!
- Address: 19772 MacArthur Blvd, Suite 260, Irvine, CA 92612
- Website: www.centerpointeforchildren.com
- Phone: 949-474-4525
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org