When Brenda and Nathan Keller brought their foster daughter home, the 10-year old with cerebral palsy used a wheelchair and could not feed herself. Two years later, she can now walk and perform her own daily care tasks.
This success — along with other field experiences — prompted Brenda, an occupational therapist, to start her own business called Thrive.
Much of the success the Kellers have experienced with their foster daughter can be attributed to the therapy she receives in her own environment.
“My foster daughter helped shape my perspective on providing therapy to children and gave me the parent’s perspective on having a child with a disability,” Brenda Keller said. “When she first came to us she did not actively participate in any of her daily care tasks. She would be kind of resistant.”
Keller said she wanted the opportunity to work with children in their own setting on skills towards becoming more independent in daily life — such as getting dressed, feeding themselves, processing sensory input, holding a pencil to write their name, strength to hold themselves in a chair, and adaptive technology to be able to access their environment.
According to Keller, making the move from the clinic into the home allows her to work with her patients where they learn best.
“That’s why I wanted to start Thrive. Children with developmental disabilities are able to work on the skill in their own setting,” Keller said. “For example, if we work on dressing in the clinic, it can be difficult to translate that knowledge to different settings. For me, that’s what it boils down to — working on the skills in the environment they need to work in.”
Thrive will offer patients the opportunity to receive therapy outside the clinic setting. This includes any of their personal environments such as their daycare, the park, or their home.
“A child who needs help getting on and off playground equipment due to their disability can benefit from these services,” Keller said. “We can work on balance, motor planning to be able to swing, and strength to be able to get on and off the play equipment.”
For someone who says they have always found joy and fulfillment in their career, Keller is ready to take it to the next level.
“For me, it’s helping people be more independent in whatever they need to do,” she said. “Being an independent person is important to me — seeing someone else be successful in that is fulfilling to me.”
Thrive will offer services to ages 0-21, and initial evaluations are being accepted currently. Keller is ready to book patients and is excited to see her dream come to fruition.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind,” she said. “The more I work with people with developmental disabilities, the more I see that children need to work on their skills in their own environment.”
To schedule a consultation with Thrive, call 270-903-7228.