President and Occupational Therapist
Stefanie is a certified Pediatric Occupational Therapist with more than 25 years of experience in early intervention and pediatric therapies. Stefanie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992. She has worked in a hospital setting treating acute, rehab, and outpatient programs, as well as outpatient facilities. She has experience working with infants & children ages birth through 3 in the early intervention programs in Tennessee, Indiana, and Georgia areas. Most recently, Stefanie has worked with children primarily between the ages of 2 and 14 years, in the clinic setting, with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Sensory Processing Disorder, Learning Disabled, Cognitive Deficits, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, and Coordination Disorder. Stefanie has taken several post graduate courses on Sensory Integration, Neuro-developmental Treatment, Vision Therapy, Oral-motor and Feeding Issues in Pediatrics, Executive Functioning, and is trained in the Handwriting Without Tears Program, Interactive Metronome, as well as Therapeutic Listening and the Astronaut Training Program. Stefanie started Helping Hands Pediatric Therapy, Inc. in 2001 after moving to Georgia, primarily employing therapists to treat in early intervention. Her company has grown from this to providing both early intervention and clinic based therapy with over 10 therapists. Stefanie is the sole owner and director. She and her daughter live in Buford, GA.
Paige was born and raised in Gainesville, GA. After graduating from West Hall High School in 2005 she received a Softball Scholarship from Alabama Southern in Monroeville, AL. While in school she studied Early Childhood Education and graduated in 2007. She then moved to Mobile, AL to continue her education and ended up living there for 12 years. Living on the gulf coast was amazing and she spent numerous weekends and summers on the beautiful beaches of Pensacola, FL. She married her best friend in 2015 and they had a son together in July of 2016, which led them to move back to her hometown to be close to family.
She recently found out her son has special needs and that he needed therapy, this was a very difficult time for them, but the therapist they have worked with has brought them so much comfort and positivity. Through their experiences she is determined to learn as much as possible and help other parents and children like themselves to feel comforted and loved. She has worked in office administration for the past 10 years and truly enjoys what she does. Joining Helping Hands has been a blessing to her family and she enjoys being surrounded by the children and families that are just like themselves, along with the amazing therapists who are full of knowledge and encouragement.
Pam was born in Georgia. She Graduated in 1992 with Diploma in Practical Nursing from Gwinnett Technical. She then graduated in 2012 from Brenau University with Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Pam has volunteered work with adults and children with special needs in the community for past 17 years. Her experience includes pediatrics & early Intervention. She is certified in the following therapies/programs:
• Interactive Metronome
• Handwriting Without Tears Program
• The Print ToolTM
• Beckman Oral Motor
• S.O.S. (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) Feeding Program
• Completed level one mentor program with the Star Institute
Amanda and her husband, Derrick, live in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Amanda graduated with her master's degree in 2013 from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. She has a lifetime of experience in the special needs community as she has been a volunteer for Special Olympics and various therapeutic camps throughout her childhood and college career. Amanda has experience in the school system as well as the private clinics. She enjoys working with children with various diagnoses, but has experience working with children ranged in age from 2-21 with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, Developmental Delays, seizure disorders, and various rare genetic disorders. She strives to provide the best services to her children as well as the families to allow life to be enjoyable!
Ali Davis, a national certified and state licensed Speech-Language Pathologist comes to HHPT with 12 years of pediatric hospital-based experience. A long-time resident of Buford, she is tickled to give back to the community she has called home for so long. Ali attended the University of Georgia for her undergraduate degree and Georgia State University for her master’s degree. She has experience treating infants, children, and adolescents with a wide variety of speech and language disorders including: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Hearing Loss, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Articulation, Phonology, Expressive and Receptive Language Disorders, Fluency Disorders, Social Language/Pragmatic Language Disorders, Language-Based Literacy Disorders, Central Auditory Processing Disorders, and Oral Motor/Feeding Disorders. She enjoys working with children with a variety of etiologies and across a wide range of ages and has a real heart for pediatrics! Ali and her hubby Chris have two precious little ones, Cooper and Finley Jane, who keep them smiling and on their toes! Ali is excited to join the speech therapy team at Helping Hands Pediatric Therapy Clinic!
Tracy is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist with over 28 years experience serving patients ranging from birth to 21 years of age in the pediatric private practice setting. She was born in North Carolina into a military family, and while they moved frequently, grew up in the “Aloha State” of Hawaii. Tracy received her Bachelor and Master degrees from The Florida State University. She has extensive training, including but not limited to the areas of: oral motor/placement techniques (Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson/TalkTools OPT; Debra Beckman’ Oral Motor Protocol); myofunctional therapy (Sandra Holtzman’s “Myo Manual” - OROFACIAL MYOLOGY: From Basics to Habituation); feeding therapy (Cheri Fraker, Laura Walbert, & Sibyl Cox’s Food-Chaining Courses I, II, & III; Kay Toomey’s SOS Approach to Feeding); DSE’s See and Learn visually-based teaching programs which support development in four key areas - speech, language and reading, number and memory skills - through the early years and into primary school. They are designed to meet the additional learning needs of children with Down syndrome with practical, developmentally appropriate and individualized teaching activities, however benefit children across diagnoses; and Signing Time! - Baby Signing. Tracy is excited to have the opportunity to serve the Buford and surrounding areas here at Helping Hands Pediatric Therapy.
Making a difference…one child at a time, inspired by The Starfish Story
Donna Pharis was born in Atlanta, Georgia and lived in various places, including Germany and Alaska, growing up. She graduated from Armstrong State University with a degree in Speech Correction. She has a Masters in Deaf Education from Georgia State University and earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech in 1989. Donna earned a Specialist in Education degree from Piedmont College in 2012. She worked as a teacher of the Deaf at Atlanta Area School for the Deaf and Atlanta Speech School. She also worked as a Speech Pathologist at Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, at Walton County Schools, N.E. Ga. RESA, Gwinnett Co. Schools, and Kidspeech.
Deinna was born and raised right here in Buford, Georgia where she and her husband, Randy, still reside with their two sons, Harrison and Asa. Deinna graduated from The University of Georgia with her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1993. She is licensed in the state of Georgia and maintains her certificate of clinical competence with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She began her career 24 years ago in the Gwinnett School System and has also worked for Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, GA and for Buford City Schools. Deinna currently works part-time for Gwinnett County Schools and part-time for Helping Hands. Her time spent in the public and private school sector has provided much experience writing and implementing individualized education plans (IEPs) assisting students in their communication development and academic growth. She has served pre-school through high-school populations and has experience with a variety of communication deficits including articulation, phonological, language, and fluency (stuttering). Deinna is passionate about making a real difference in the lives of the children she treats!
Julia is a certified speech-language pathologist with her Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Georgia and her masters in Speech Language Pathology from Armstrong State Atlantic. Julia has clinical experience with both pediatric and adult therapy. She has worked in outpatient neurorehabilitation and in elementary through high-school education. Julia has served on the PCORI Autism Advisory Board through the Emory School of Nursing, focusing on transition supports for individuals on the autism spectrum. Julia has assessed, diagnosed, and treated pediatric patients with a variety of disorders and special needs such as Trisomy 21, cerebral palsy, autism, apraxia of speech and severe developmental delay. Julia is also certified in Beckman Oral Motor assessment and intervention techniques for feeding
Cindy has been an occupational therapist for 15 years. She earned her BS degree in Exceptional Education from the University of South Florida and her MSOT in Occupational Therapy at Florida International University. In 2011, Cindy completed her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at St. Augustine University. She has worked for 15 years for Dekalb County School System and began working at Helping Hands Pediatric Therapy clinic in May 2012. Cindy has experience working with children and young adults ages 2 years through 22 with ASD, Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Sensory Processing Disorder, Learning Disabled, Cognitive Deficits, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, and Coordination Disorder. She and her husband, Steve, live in Buford where both of their children, Callie Jo and Colin, attend school.
Terry graduated from Jacksonville State University with her Bachelor’s in Education in 1990 and then from Nova Southeastern University with her Masters in Occupational Therapy in 1996. She has experience in sub-acute & outpatient rehabilitation before being employed with the Dekalb County Schools for the last 19 years. In 2010, Terry earned her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine. While still working for DeKalb County schools, Terry has been with Helping Hands since 2012 where she works with children who present with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Sensory Processing Disorder, Learning Disabled, Cognitive Deficits, Anxiety Disorder, and ADHD.
Jennifer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Georgia State University and completed her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at Augusta University (formerly Medical College of Georgia). Jennifer completed training in local school systems, hospitals, and outpatient clinics while volunteering for the Miracle League and Camp TBI. She specializes in pediatric therapy services for a variety of diagnoses including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, sensory processing, and other developmental delays. She is certified in Therapeutic Listening and Interactive Metronome and has experience utilizing the Handwriting Without Tears Program. She has specialized training for the treatment of fine motor and visual motor skills as well as sensory integration. Jennifer is licensed in Georgia and registered by the National Board of Occupational Therapy. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and kids. They enjoy going to the beach, going to concerts, and traveling.
Rachel Shotwell has worked as an Occupational Therapist since 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brenau University in 2010. She returned to Brenau University and graduated with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2015. Rachel has experience working with children and adults with a variety of conditions including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Developmental Delay, sensory processing issues, coordination and fine motor deficits, and chronic/persistent mental illnesses. Rachel uses a holistic approach to treatment and feels privileged to work with children and their families. She has completed continuing education in various pediatric topics and is trained in Therapeutic Listening. Rachel is a licensed Occupational Therapist in the state of Georgia and registered by the National Board of Occupational Therapy.
Taylor Harrington is a state licensed Speech-Language Pathologist working towards national licensure through ASHA. Taylor attended Valdosta State University for her undergraduate degree and for her master’s degree. She has experience treating toddlers, children, teenagers and geriatrics with a wide variety of speech and language disorders including: autism spectrum disorders, articulation, phonology, expressive and receptive language disorders, fluency disorders, and social language/pragmatic language disorders. Taylor also works in a school-system and serves many clients with augmentative alternative communication devices ranging from low tech to high tech. She is trained with LAMP Words for Life and TouchChatsoftware for high tech AAC devices. During her free time Taylor enjoys distance running, hiking, and being outdoors.
Dinah is a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia in 1982. She worked for Dekalb Medical Center and West Paces Ferry Rehab prior to her position at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. There she received both SIPT and NDT certifications. She worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings with emphasis on neuro, orthopedics, burns, NICU, and upper extremity limb deficiency. She resides in Alpharetta with her husband and son.
Christina is a Speech-Language Pathologist who received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia (Gooo Dawgs!) and her Master’s in Communication Disorders from Auburn University. She’s had the pleasure of working with both children and adults in various settings, including the school system, private practice, outpatient rehab, and skilled nursing facilities. While she loves working with all populations, pediatrics is her favorite! When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, and traveling.
Ms. Julie is south Georgia born and raised where she received her Master’s degree from Valdosta State University in Speech Language Pathology. She moved to the Atlanta area after she married her husband Mark. They have a daughter is college and a son in high school. Ms. Julie specializes in working with the birth to three population, and is looking forward to expanding her expertise to children of all ages.
Sarah received her BS.Ed in Health and Physical Education from the University of Virginia in 2004. She received her doctorate in Physical Therapy from Emory University in 2008. Sarah has a wide range of knowledge treating children with neurological conditions, orthopedic conditions including torticollis, respiratory conditions, genetic conditions, and developmental delay. She has taken extensive continuing education, including in neuro-developmental treatment, breathing and postural mechanics, decreased and increased tone, and interventions for high-risk infants, among many others. Sarah has worked in a variety of settings including a pediatric hospital setting (including neonatal and pediatric ICUs, acute care, and inpatient rehabs), and pediatric outpatient settings (including day rehab, outpatient clinics, aquatic therapy, and hippotherapy). She also has experience in a teen and adult rehabilitation hospital for brain and spinal cord injuries. Sarah enjoys helping children and their families reach their therapy goals in a positive environment.
Anisha Patel is from Buford, GA. She is currently a full time speech language pathologist with Gwinnett County public schools. She attended the University of Georgia for her undergraduate education and New York Medical College for her graduate education. Her background is in pediatric feeding, but she has a wide range of experience in articulation, language, social skills and fluency. Outside of speech, she enjoys running and working out along with spending time with her dogs and family!
Jenna was born an raised in Clearwater, FL. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Health Science at the University of Florida. During her undergraduate career she completed a minor in Disabilities in Society, which led her to pursue a career working with individuals with special needs. After graduating with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from UF in 2018, she moved to Flowery Branch, GA. Jenna has experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses including: autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and other developmental delays. She is licensed in the state of Georgia and registered by the National Board of Occupational Therapy. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with family.
Jenna Luther, MS, OTR/L