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Occupational Therapy


Occupational therapists help children achieve goals related to fine motor skills, sensory processing, activities of daily living, and feeding.

Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy?
There are a variety of problems and conditions that may be improved by occupational therapy treatments. Children with special needs as well as those with the following conditions could benefit from occupational therapy:

  • Inability to properly use feeding utensils, toothbrush, hairbrush, etc..
  • Difficulty cutting or writing
  • Problems associated with feeding such as gagging, picky eating, or refusal of foods
  • Aversions to certain clothing or textures
  • Difficulty with buttons, tying shoes, zippers, and snaps
  • Sensory processing disorders such as trouble tolerating certain smells, sounds, and environments
  • Difficulty with attention, following directions, and/or transitions

Aquatic Occupational Therapy
Pediatric therapy Center, in conjunction with the Sarpy County YMCA, is now offering aquatic occupational therapy. Aquatic occupational therapy is a great way for children to practice moving their bodies in a calming and less-resistant environment. The warm water will provide the child the freedom to move their body in ways that are more challenging on land. The water provides deep pressure to the body which can help with improving a child’s body awareness, ultimately improving a child’s motor planning and motor skills.  The deep pressure of the pool water can help improve attention and sensory processing, specifically regulation and sensitivity. The ease of movement in the water can also assist with developing improved oral motor skills.

Specialized Intervention Methods
Pediatric Therapy Center’s occupational therapists are trained to provide specialized intervention methods including:




Kellie Costello

Occupational Therapist

Kellie Costello graduated from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri in 2000 with a Bachelor’s of Art Degree in Psychology and in 2002 with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. She has 11 + years experience working in pediatrics in school based, outpatient, and preschool/early intervention settings. She has specialized training in Beckman Oral Motor, Sequential Oral Sensory Feeding Program, Astronaut Training®, Interactive Metronome, Therapeutic Listening®, and is Level 1 certified in Handwriting Without Tears®. Kellie has taken numerous continuing education courses in sensory integration, visual deficits, feeding/oral motor, fine motor, and handwriting. She has experience working with children birth to 18 with a variety of diagnoses including Down syndrome, oral motor delay, cerebral palsy, autism, and developmental delay. Kellie has a passion for helping children with feeding difficulties and looks forward to attending additional trainings in this area.


Sarah Fellman

Occupational Therapist

Sarah Fellman graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Hispanic Studies from Creighton University in 2010. She graduated with her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Creighton University in 2013. Sarah has experience working with children participating in equine therapy, as well as working with children in underserved populations in the Dominican Republic in both early intervention and the clinic. She has experience working with adolescent children in the hospital setting with diagnoses such as traumatic brain injury, traumatic amputations, behavioral disorders, and multiple orthopedic traumas resulting from accidents. She also serves as a teaching assistant and lab instructor in neurorehabilitation at Creighton University. Sarah has specialized training in Mary Massery assessment and intervention techniques, kinesiotaping, Interactive Metronome, and Therapeutic Listening. She is passionate about working with children and their families and is excited to receive additional training relating to feeding and sensory processing disorders. She looks forward to integrating her knowledge of Spanish into pediatrics to help empower families in the community as well.


Samantha Hagge

Occupational Therapist

Samantha Hagge graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri in 2009. She completed her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Rockhurst University in 2010. She has been working with the pediatric population for 5 years in various settings including schools, in-home, and community. Samantha has experience working with clients ages 0-21 with a variety of diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, physical disability, ADHD, and cerebral palsy. She has also worked with adults in acute care settings. Samantha has worked in various programs in the Kansas City area specializing in serving children with behavioral disorders. She has also received additional training in handwriting, sensory processing, and feeding. Samantha is passionate about serving children with sensory processing disorders and is excited to receive additional training in this area.


Kristan Pilakowski

Lead Occupational Therapist

Kristan Pilakowski received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish Language from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She continued her education at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she graduated with her Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy. Kristi has been a proud member of the Pediatric Therapy Center team since 2010 and now holds the position of Lead Occupational Therapist.  Kristi has experience working with infants and children from birth to age 21 with a variety of diagnoses, including developmental delay, sensory processing differences, autism spectrum disorders, and motor impairments.  As a bilingual therapist, she enjoys helping Spanish speaking families with their child’s therapy needs. Kristi is trained in the Handwriting Without Tears® program, Sequential Oral Sensory Feeding Program, Beckman Oral Motor Interventions, and holds her Level 1 CranioSacral Therapy certification.  Kristi is a Therapeutic Listening®, Advanced Therapeutic Listening®, Interactive Metronome, and NDT for the Infant and Young Child trained provider. She has received training in aquatic therapy and has helped to bring aquatic occupational therapy to Pediatric Therapy Center. In addition to her passion for treating patients, Kristi also enjoys teaching and has been a guest lecturer for area OT programs, parent organizations,  school staff trainings, and has been a presenter at the yearly NOTA conference (Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association). Kristi has recently taken over the position as Clinical Education Director at PTC and strives to provide all students who come to PTC with a quality education as they prepare to transition into entry-level therapists. Kristi’s dedication to increasing her knowledge of occupational therapy signifies her passion to empower children and their families to achieve independence and success in their everyday lives.


Lori Podany

Occupational Therapist

Lori Podany graduated from Creighton University in Omaha in 2002 with a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She has experience working as a pediatric occupational therapist in school-based, preschool, and in-home settings. She has worked with children who have a variety of diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD, and developmental delay. Additional work experience includes in-home behavioral support and program development for children with autism. Lori has attended numerous pediatric continuing education courses including Sequential Oral Sensory Feeding Program, Handwriting Without Tears, and neurodevelopmental treatment. She attended the American Occupational Therapy Association Conferences in 2014 and 2016, which provided updated information and current research in pediatrics. She is passionate about working with children and their families to achieve independence. As a mother to a Pediatric Therapy Center graduate, she understands the importance of a collaborative network of support for families. With a recent move back to Nebraska, she looks forward to serving her hometown community through participation in events that empower children with special needs.


Jacinta Traxler

Occupational Therapist

Jacinta Traxler graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota in 2013. She completed her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse in 2015. Jacinta has clinical experience working with birth to 18 in the clinic setting with various diagnoses including Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, developmental delays, traumatic brain injuries, physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, and sensory processing disorder. Jacinta also has experience working in a summer program for children with disabilities and developmental delays. She has spent many hours volunteering for a local elementary school aiding in the classroom and assisting children in their studies. As one of the oldest of 10 children, Jacinta has been passionate about working with the pediatric population her whole life. She is very excited to advance her knowledge in all areas of pediatrics in order to help children and their families achieve their greatest independence.