It started with a little bit of wine, a little bit of food and serious conversation between two friends, two OTs. We were frustrated. Kelly was working with a young mom who had just had a baby and soon after childbirth had a massive stroke. She lost half of her visual field and struggled to care for her new child safely and confidently. Bev experienced watching a young man who experienced a stroke who also lost half of his visual field as he worked with a PT and was constantly being told to stand up straight to walk as he leaned heavily to his right. Together the realization hit as frustrations were shared that without greater knowledge about vision and how deficits impact rehabilitation we were not fully addressing the needs of the people we were serving.
At that point we decided that educating ourselves and then educating others who work with clients who have vision deficits was our new mission in life! We both worked closely with developmental optometrists in the Chicago area and even presented a number of times with optometrists and at state and national conferences. From here we decided to develop our own courses to get the word out with the intention of getting our clients in the right hands by educating therapists about the whole process of recognizing and treating clients with vision deficits. It has been so rewarding to not only touch therapists lives but know we are doing greater good for the clients.
Beverly Menninger, MA, OTR/L
I have practiced as an occupational therapist for over 30 years in pediatrics to geriatrics, inpatient to outpatient healthcare settings, skilled nursing facilities and home health care to schools- and continue to grow my skills as an occupational therapist. I feel strongly about addressing each person I work with, from birth to 100, as a whole person, not just someone who is dealing with a specific disability, injury, diagnosis or change in their life. I have developed my practice skills and expertise so that I can help all ages address visual deficits and movement difficulties or disorders especially when they are most often combined and affecting a client’s quality of life. I have studied and worked closely with numerous developmental optometrists to improve oculomotor skills that more often than not have been overlooked as an underlying reason for the difficulties a child or adult has faced. I have most recently combined my work addressing oculomotor dysfunction with reflex integration (Rhythmic Movement Training – RMTi). This is where the magic begins! I also feel my best when I am teaching, sharing information and knowledge to either improve a person’s own well being or help other clinicians step back and take a different perspective, a fresh view of a situation and help their clients improve in a way they never expected possible.
Kelly Frystak, MOTR/L, ITOT
I have practiced as an occupational therapist for over 15 years in sub acute, skilled nursing, outpatient day rehabilitation and outpatient vision therapy. My expertise has developed over the years through the development of multiple visual rehab programs and collaboration and consultation with numerous behavioral optometrists. I am dedicated to improving my client’s lives by addressing each individual as a whole person, including the needs they have visually. I have taken my education further by becoming an Impact Trained OT with specialization in treating post-concussion syndrome. I love educating my clients as well as family members, staff and colleagues with the hope that visual deficits will be addressed as part of the rehabilitation process to support a more holistic recovery after neurological injury or disease process. I look forward to providing future education opportunities in the community with clients, caregivers, and other therapists. You just never know where the field of occupational therapy will take you!