#267 - A Unique Model of Private Practice with Lauren Grabowski, MS, OTR/L

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC August 02, 2023

#267 - A Unique Model of Private Practice with Lauren Grabowski, MS, OTR/L

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A Unique Model of Private Practice with Lauren Grabowski, MS, OTR/L

After discovering occupational therapy when she was 10 years old, Lauren Grabowski knew that was the path for her, earning a Bachelor of Health Science in 2013 and continuing on to earn a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2014 from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

She began her career at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, then transitioned to traveling therapy a few years later, working in a variety of settings. She has now built her private practice working primarily with school-aged children along the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County through a holistic, team-based, and evidence-based approach.

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A Unique Model of Private Practice with Lauren Grabowski MS OTR_L

After discovering occupational therapy when she was ten, Lauren Grabowski knew this was her path. In 2013, she achieved a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2014, both from The University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Lauren started her career at UPMC Children's Hospital Pittsburgh before transitioning to traveling therapy a few years later, gaining experience in various settings. She has established her private practice, focusing mainly on working with school-aged children in Florida.

Lauren's Occupational Therapy Specialty

Lauren is deeply dedicated to helping students transition from struggling to thriving in a traditional classroom setting. She specializes in supporting children who face significant difficulties in the classroom or preschool environment, even without a formal diagnosis.

The parents of these children may have uncertainties regarding the specific nature of the challenges they face. This uncertainty can lead to obstacles when obtaining insurance coverage or pursuing further diagnostics.

Lauren is committed to supporting these children in overcoming their challenges and providing assistance in areas where they may encounter difficulties, even if everything else appears OK. She takes pleasure in providing families with a range of strategies to explore diverse avenues and make progress.

What Makes Lauren's Private Practice Stand Out?

Lauren's practice offers a more flexible approach to care, as she doesn't have to prolong the lengthy treatment planning process. Many of her clients' families travel or have school breaks, and she can utilize these natural pauses to assist with treatment plans.

She appreciates this approach because she has always had concerns about keeping a child in therapy indefinitely or for an extended period. Instead, the focus should be on helping them achieve happiness and success and assisting them in community activities rather than having them continue in occupational therapy for an extended duration.

Lauren's flexibility enables her to be there when and where she is most needed, allowing her to observe the challenges a child faces directly. This firsthand experience provides invaluable insights and a deeper understanding of the obstacles that many children encounter.

Providing Support To Parents After Sessions

Lauren finds immense joy in offering support sessions to children during challenging moments. These sessions allow her to gain insight into what they are experiencing, assist the child, and guide parents on how to be present and regulate their emotions.

Lauren skillfully demonstrates and fosters a profound sense of shared emotional support by engaging in this co-regulation process. However, her teaching involvement with parents is limited unless specific protocols with stringent guidelines exist.

Lauren usually gives a monthly summary, but she's also accessible whenever parents need to modify the care plan or discuss a new one. Additionally, when the child reaches three months, Lauren will evaluate the progress and set new goals.

Lauren's Top Occupational Therapy Tools

Lauren brings three spacious bags filled with games, toys, and other delightful items. She skillfully rotates through these diversions, ensuring that the children always have something new and exciting to enjoy.

She loves incorporating these tools along with tunnel exercises in her client sessions. They engage in various activities, such as crawling, utilizing the scooter board, and integrating the therapy ball.

To optimize her processes, Lauren streamlined by creating activity templates. These simple sheets can be laminated and reused with other clients, making her workflow more efficient. Her templates cover a range of activities, including crafts, numbers, letters, and writing exercises.

She has many resources, including a yearly planner, treatment notes, and small notes to send home with school children. Parent handouts and a sensory diet plan template allow you to customize specific activities for parents at different times of the day.

These resources cater to various needs and offer a comprehensive support system. They include helpful handouts with tips and strategies, transition tips, and other helpful information that can be easily printed out and shared directly with parents.

Providing handouts for idea generation allows Lauren to rediscover unexplored territories. Parents often hold rigid expectations, hoping for a singular solution that withstands the test of time. However, by presenting them with a comprehensive list of options, Lauren encourages them to embrace alternative approaches if the initial one fails to yield desired results.

Managing Work/Life Balance

Lauren is committed to achieving a work-life balance; however, her practice has experienced significant growth in the past year, making it more challenging to maintain. During the summer, she seeks to restore that balance by addressing the neglected aspects due to her intense focus on work.

While she recognizes the importance of establishing boundaries, she humbly acknowledges that it is still a work in progress. With the overwhelming number of parents seeking assistance, accommodating everyone within her schedule is quite challenging.

Despite this, Lauren always goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional care and personal attention to her clients. Her daily schedule includes a dedicated morning session for preschoolers and an evening shift to accommodate students who need flexibility around their school schedules.

Topics In Occupational Therapy That Ignite Lauren's Passion

Lauren frequently works with children who struggle with anger and have difficulty processing this intricate emotion. She continually expands her knowledge of effective strategies to support the nervous system at its core, effectively soothing intense feelings.

Creating a safe space for children to express their feelings in a controlled and calm manner can be challenging. However, we can guide and empower them to navigate and comprehend their emotions through this process.

Lauren is also profoundly enthusiastic about the integration of primitive reflexes. When we contemplate the natural progression of development, these reflexes are meant to integrate, often with awe-inspiring results.

She appreciates their profound impact on the body by exploring the fundamental principles and embracing various developmental milestones, positions, and activities. Her unwavering dedication to empowering children drives her to seek significant progress in every session.

Strategies For Managing Emotions During Sessions

Lauren creates a serene atmosphere during her sessions with soft, calming music, dimmed lights, and cozy space for most clients. It's not cramped but rather intimate, fostering a sense of connection and collaboration as we embark on our journey together.

Recognizing and navigating these emotions is of utmost importance. In times of heightened emotional states, Lauren provides co-regulation by calmly sitting with the child, guiding them to take deep breaths, and offering unwavering support.

Through her presence and support, she creates a safe haven where the child can find comfort and navigate overwhelming emotions. Providing this kind of solace doesn't come naturally to many people, especially in a society where we are told to keep going and suppress our feelings.

Even in the face of anger, Lauren's clients find solace in her comforting embrace, where their emotions can find tranquility. Although it can be challenging, and she may feel frustrated at times, Lauren recognizes the significance of being fully present for them, establishing that connection, and offering support is precious.

Closing the Divide: Uniting Private and School-Based Therapy

Lauren derives joy from overseeing a diverse team, including teachers and parents. While she may not directly interact with the students, Lauren maintains regular communication with their teachers to stay informed about classroom activities.

She collaborates closely with speech therapists, physical therapists, and behavior therapists to ensure comprehensive support is provided. The most challenging aspect is managing expectations and fostering a sense of calm.

It's essential to take things step by step and not overwhelm the child. At the same time, it's crucial to encourage parents to embrace openness and gentleness, allowing time for progress and growth.

Developing a strong rapport with parents and establishing credibility with the schools Lauren collaborates with are crucial aspects of her work. Her ultimate objective is to enhance the quality of life for everyone involved, including parents, siblings, and the child.

Lauren believes that engaging in meaningful conversations is crucial to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the challenges within households and schools. By giving these conversations priority, she can navigate and tackle the issues more effectively.

What Does The Future Hold For Lauren Grabowski?

The plan is to develop a comprehensive step-by-step course that outlines Lauren's work as an occupational therapist, her business structure, and the specific activities she focuses on. She is deeply passionate about the unique approach she has taken in creating her practice and truly appreciates how it aligns with her understanding of what occupational therapy should be.

She plans to share her model and experiences with the world so that more professionals may benefit from her private practice. With the implementation of this course, she hopes to reach a wider audience and provide them with the means to understand the various aspects that make occupational therapy effective.

Lauren believes in providing quality services to those who need them most and is passionate about helping children develop the skills necessary for a better quality of life. Her unique approach to occupational therapy has fostered meaningful connections with her clients and provided them with the tools they need to lead happy and healthy lives.

Final Thoughts

Lauren wholeheartedly encourages you to unleash your boundless creativity. If a persistent idea lingers in your mind, seize the moment and pursue it with unwavering determination.

Lauren's business came into existence by embracing flexibility and fostering creativity. These attributes have enabled her to transform into the therapist she is today, with a mindset entirely distinct from her time in the hospital and as a traveling therapist.

Lauren Grabowski's unique private practice model is revolutionizing the occupational therapy field. By creating a safe space for children to express their feelings, understanding primitive reflexes, and collaborating with parents and teachers, she has tackled many issues at once.





While we make every effort to share correct information, we are still learning. We will double check all of our facts but realize that medicine is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor / therapist may have a different way of doing things from another. We are simply presenting our views and opinions on how to address common sensory challenges, health related difficulties and what we have found to be beneficial that will be as evidenced based as possible. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or your children. Consult your child’s pediatrician/ therapist for any medical issues that he or she may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Rachel Harrington, Harkla, Jessica Hill, or any guests or contributors to the podcast, as well as any employees, associates, or affiliates of Harkla, be responsible for damages arising from use of the podcast.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing “standard of care” in a legal sense or as a basis for expert witness testimony. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of any statements or opinions made on the podcast.

Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC
Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC

Rachel Harrington, COTA/l, AC, CPRCS, and Jessica Hill, COTA/L, CPRCS are Harkla's in-house Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) and Certified Primitive Reflex Clinical Specialists. They have been working with children for over 6 years in outpatient settings. They specialize in creating easy-to-digest, actionable content that families can use to help their child's progress at home. Jessica and Rachel are the in-house experts, content creators, and podcast hosts at Harkla! To learn more about Jessica and Rachel, visit the Harkla About Us Page. Make sure to listen to their weekly podcast, All Things Sensory by Harkla for actionable, fun advice on child development.

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