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Growth may not be the first word that comes to mind when thinking about the challenges, plot twists, and bewilderment of 2020. However, when reflecting on the year, we’ve seen and experienced incredible growth despite the extraordinary circumstances.

Everyone was so courageous! Before bidding 2020 a final ‘Good Riddance’, let’s celebrate just how much progress has made this year and how many obstacles have been overcome. Balancing family, school, and work within the confines of the home has most certainly taught most families that they are more resilient than they ever thought possible. 

We are immensely grateful to open the doors to our small business each day and to work with tremendous families and therapists. 2020 afforded us the opportunity to expand how we support and treat our families with updated clinic protocols, teletherapy, and social groups. Redefining what therapy could look like and offering new ways to create joy and connection, either in-person or via Zoom, has been an exciting and worthwhile adventure. 

Teletherapy with kids and teens offers many fun surprises. We connect with them in a whole new light as they share their toys, gadgets, and spaces with us. Since they are comfortable, they welcome us in (albeit virtually) and we get a chance to see them in their world. The OTs’ challenge is to attune to details and increase our affect (facial, vocal, or gestural behaviors) keeping the children engaged. 

In-clinic the therapists are able to maintain a safe 6 ft. distance and increase our reactions through a face shield so the kids won’t miss our responses from behind a mask. We help children adjust to these new requirements, attune to their emotions, and interests so they know they are seen, even if all we can see is their eyes, ears, and hair!

COVID-19 also provided unexpected downtime that allowed us to increase our therapists’ training with world-renown clinicians specializing in child psychology, aggression, sensory/motor challenges, and emotional regulation. We focused on strengthening our teletherapy skills with our sister clinics in Italy who serve at the American military bases there. 

Ring in 2021

As a result of everything we collectively learned in 2020, new and continued programming ideas are emerging, with tons of enthusiasm and energy for 2021.

The first new 2021 program is part of our holistic approach to continually include parents and siblings. Sibshops by AZ+A (Amy Zier and Associates) is a NEW monthly support group for siblings to connect with other brothers and sisters of children with developmental or intellectual differences. Open to all siblings, this online group is facilitated by OT, Kasey Kotsiris. Kasey’s own experience as a sibling with this same experience inspired her career as an Occupational Therapist. Register HERE.

Stay tuned while we continue to announce clinic updates, safety protocols, and additional program information as it becomes available. And remember, our doors are open for in-person sessions, social groups, and our laptops are busy with teletherapy sessions. We‘re excited to see the continued success and growth that 2021 brings. 

Zier Institute is grateful to be a part of this journey with your family.