MEET OUR TEAM
Larry M. Zier, OTD, OTR/L
Some describe their work as a calling, an unexplainable pull to a particular field of interest, or at the very least, an overwhelming desire to make a difference. For Larry, it happened well into a career in business. Its impact was so significant that he changed careers, returning to school to work with children in an area that is little understood and certainly underserved.
Larry Zier, OTD, OTR/L, earned his clinical doctorate from Creighton University. He has received training in sensory integration, the DIR/Floortime approach, and therapeutic listening and holds a Profectum DIR certification. Larry was inspired to become an occupational therapist to create a more relationship-based option for parents and have an opportunity to offer an alternative to power and control.
His passion is working with children and helping them to achieve their highest potential physically, emotionally, and socially. His approach is to treat each child individually, always keeping their unique strengths and differences in mind. He strongly believes in the role of family involvement, as well as collaboration with caregivers, teachers, and other professionals, as integral to a child’s growth and overall success. Larry enjoys working on all aspects of family and child development – motor, sensory, emotion systems; tying them all together in dynamic experiences.
Larry and his wife, Peggy are from Omaha, NE, and have four children. Along with his family, he enjoys running, biking, yoga, boxing, and anything that will get him outside. If he wasn’t an OT, we’d probably find Larry restoring wooden boats in Michigan.
Stephanie Young, OTD, OTR/L
Stephanie received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and her clinical doctorate in occupational therapy at Creighton University. Stephanie is trained in Bowen Family Systems, DIR/Floortime, DIR Profectum Level 1 Certification, Adolescent Emotional Development, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Stephanie and Zier Institute has developed a program for teenagers to understand emotional intelligence and its power to transform learning and relationships. This new program called “BEAM” helps to transform teens’ lives. BEAM equips young adults with the internal tools they need to navigate this essential period in their lives – all in a safe, engaging environment.
Inspired to become an OT by Larry Zier’s work and the importance of social-emotional development. Stephanie finds it rewarding how OTs can support this area of human growth. As a lifelong learner, she learns from her clients daily as she builds relationships and connections with families and kids of all ages. She enjoys Zier Institute’s welcoming and laid-back nature. Families are comfortable when they walk in the door, which is vital to her as a therapist. Superhero Stephanie would possess a confidence that never wavers – she has us fooled because all we see is a confident leader and excellent OT!
Stephanie grew up in Minnesota with a large extended family that helped shape her interest in family systems. She spent most of her free time on missions to Guatemala, Mexico, Texas, and rural Minnesota towns. While in college, Steph honed her leadership and relationship skills in Greek life and volunteered time for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Today, she enjoys running, biking, baking, exploring Omaha, and traveling to see family and friends.
Emilee Hunter-Maguire, OTD, OTR/L
Emilee was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and moved to Omaha to attend Creighton University in 2010. Emilee earned her bachelor’s degree of psychology in 2014, worked for Creighton Campus Ministry and towards her Master’s of Theology in 2015, and graduated from Creighton’s Occupational Therapy program in 2018–a true blue jay! She also holds a Profectum DIR/Floortime level 1 certification. Prior to coming to Zier Institute, Emilee worked with Amy Zier + Associates abroad in Italy.
Emilee is (almost) a 300hr certified yoga instructor, certified in Children’s yoga, and has completed seminar I of John Barnes’ myofascial release training. She teaches yoga in the Omaha area. Her specific areas of research include animal-assisted therapy, time management skills, and a case study where yoga was used as the primary intervention in a child with anxiety. Emilee incorporates several principles of yoga into most of her OT sessions with clients at the Zier Institute.
In her work as an OT at Zier Institute, she’s inspired by meeting people where they’re at and joining them in building a better life, whatever that means for them! Emilee thrives in Zier Institute’s clinic environment as it’s a space for everybody–kids and adults alike. She also thinks she has the best co-workers in the world. Right back at you, Emilee
Emilee enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, Zeus. She also enjoys reading, cooking, playing games (board games and cards are her favorites!), and soaking up the sun with 50+ SPF!
Lainey Russell, OTD, OTR/L
Lainey earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and health science at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She continued her education at Nebraska Methodist College, receiving a Master’s of Occupational Therapy. Lainey was introduced to Zier Institute, DIR/Floortime, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy as a fieldwork student for 6 months before joining the team.
Lainey originally discovered occupational therapy after her grandpa suffered a mild stroke. The care the family received reshaped her educational aspirations as Lainey experienced how occupational therapy supports clients’ growth and goals. Lainey enjoys supporting a variety of clients at Zier Institute through one on one sessions and social groups. Lainey loves seeing clients’ excitement and ideas come to life. The clinic’s energy and environment feel unique in that it balances novelty and variety while also feeling like a safe and comfortable place to grow and explore.
Outside of her time at the clinic, Lainey spends time with family and friends, traveling, live music, teaching fitness classes, and playing card games/board games. Lainey has so many cities she wants to visit. She wishes for the ability to teleport herself around the world!
Theresa Kennelly, OTD, OTR/L
Theresa is an Omaha native with love for the Huskers and Bluejays! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming a teacher. Still, she discovered occupational therapy after working with a child with Autism and later experiencing OT in its purest form on a mission trip to Uganda. While on this trip, Theresa had the unique and rare opportunity to shadow an occupational therapist at a local orphanage. It was from this occupational therapist that she learned how authentic this field was. This OT used his few supplies, sticks and wood, to make walkers and supportive seating for children, among many other therapeutic interventions. Seeing how effective OT was in its most simplistic and raw form convinced Theresa then and there that this was the field for her. Theresa graduated from Creighton with her bachelor’s degree in Social Work and her doctorate in Occupational Therapy in 2020.
Theresa joined the Zier Institute team as an OT student to learn about the DIR/Floortime™ model and discovered the power of relating with children through play and understanding the integral components that uniquely make up each child. Upon graduation, she stayed at Zier Institute as a licensed OT. Using this model, she continues to find meaning through honoring the child’s self and building relationships with the children and families she works with. For Theresa, the most significant thing about occupational therapy is that it serves a function for people of all ages. Every person participates in daily occupations, and OTs get to help people from all walks of life learn how to participate in roles and occupations that are meaningful to them.
In her free time, you will likely find Theresa playing with her two big dogs (Ella and Wrigley), coaching volleyball or playing sand volleyball, reading books, or playing board games with friends or family (her current favorite is Ticket to Ride)! Given her choice of superpowers, Theresa would choose time travel, but we hope she’d stay here with us!
Kayla Peck, OTD, OTR/L
Kayla was born and raised in Omaha, only a few blocks away from Creighton, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and continued to complete her clinical doctorate in occupational therapy. Kayla grew up familiar with occupational therapy with an occupational therapist mother and physical therapist father. She knew she wanted to go into one of these fields, but it was not until Kayla discovered the DIR/Floortime model of Zier Institute that she settled on occupational therapy.
Kayla spent many years as a competitive gymnast. She found a way to integrate her love of gymnastics with occupational therapy as the director of a program at her gym for kids with special needs. Kayla could see the impact of full-body movement on the sensory system and realized this what she wanted to focus on with children. Kayla continues to use the knowledge she gained during this time in her occupational therapy practice as she loves to incorporate gymnastics moves into her sessions to impact the sensory systems.
When she’s not at the clinic, Kayla enjoys reading books, playing chess, going for walks, spending time outside, eating ice cream, and playing with her dog, Luna.
Faithe Patrick, MA, LMHP
Faithe Patrick has experience providing therapy services to individuals and families ages 5 – 60, predominantly high-school aged students. Her bachelors degree in psychology was obtained at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she then obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at South Dakota State University. She focuses on strengthening interpersonal relationships along with working through past emotional trauma.
Faithe uses culturally sensitive, client-centered approaches to create a strong rapport with her clients. She seeks to empower clients through promoting growth within the self and the family system as a whole. As an empathy-driven practitioner, she works to create a calm and safe environment for clients at all stages of therapy.
In her spare time, Faithe enjoys listening to music, podcasts, spending time with family, and Facetiming with her nieces. She loves playing board and card games, traveling, and trying new foods with friends, scuba diving, and creating various art projects for gifts and home décor. Also, you can find Faithe thrifting or at local garage sales. Who doesn’t like finding treasures at an affordable price?
Crystal Coffman, OTD, OTR/L
Crystal is a Pennsylvania native, and as an Air Force military spouse, Crystal has had the opportunity to serve the occupational therapy community in various capacities. Most recently, in Southeastern Virginia, Crystal coached families of babies and toddlers in Early Intervention and provided volunteer consultation for a children’s program at a transitional housing facility for homeless women and children.
In Montgomery, Alabama, Crystal launched the inaugural occupational therapy clinic for Easterseals Central Alabama and expanded it to include a dedicated multi-disciplinary feeding clinic and a hippotherapy program.
Crystal has also led a team of occupational and speech therapists as the director of related services in a charter school for autistic children and a group of OTs and technology gurus in an innovative (for 2015!) sensory-based telehealth program. When she learned about the work of Zier Institute, she immediately pursued joining our team of skilled, impactful relationship-based therapists.
Crystal is passionate about empowering children and families through coaching, education, and collaboration. She believes in following the child’s interests and strengths to foster connection and growth. She is influenced by the work of Lucy Jane Miller, Meg Proctor, Lindsey Vestal & Quiara Smith, and Mona Delahook.
In her free time, Crystal loves to teach barre and foster dogs. She and her husband, Jeremy, have two sons under three. They love to visit museums, ride bikes, and explore their environment together as a family.
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Misericordia University
Post-professional Doctorate from Eastern Kentucky University
STAR Institute Level 1 Sensory Integration Intensive Mentorship
ICDL – Greenspan Floortime Basic Approach (DIR 101 and 201)
SOS Approach to Feeding Basic Certification and Autism certification
AOTA Certified Level 1 & Level 2 Fieldwork Educator
Kinesiotaping Fundamentals (K1) and Advanced (K2) Certification
+ Kinesiology Taping Certification for pediatrics
Certified as a VA Early Intervention Professional from Nov 2017 through July 2023
→ includes certification in parent coaching model
Handwriting Without Tears Preschool + K-5
OT Pioneers: Pelvic Floor Therapy for Occupational Therapists
Birth–3 years population, including infant mental health
Animal Assisted Therapy
Established Multidisciplinary Feeding Clinic (@ Easterseals Central Alabama)
Established Trots for Tots Hippotherapy program for children with ASD (@ ECA)
Roy Hu, MSOT, OTR/L
Roy received his bachelor’s of occupational therapy from Kunming Medical University in China and his Master’s of Occupational Therapy from Creighton University.
During his time in school, Roy developed his interest in working and interacting with kids from a different cultural perspective. As he trained and experienced the DIR/Floortime model at Zier Institute, he was fascinated by the uniqueness and impact of the approach. He continued as a paraprofessional before joining us as an Occupational Therapist in 2022.
In his free time, Roy enjoys hiking in the mountain and travels all over the world. He’s a big music fan and even produces his own to express himself.