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Meet Dr. Stephanie Drummond of San Diego Occupational Therapy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Stephanie Drummond.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was a little girl I had a childhood friend who had a congenital disorder and required weekly therapy appointments for her continued growth and development. I would attend those visits with her, and after seeing what a tremendous difference the therapists made in her life, I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up! I focused on my studies and was accepted at the #1 ranked Occupational Therapy program in the country, the University of Southern California. While there I completed my Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate of Occupational Therapy degrees, and after graduating I moved to San Diego.

After a few years working as a staff OT for other companies I struggled with how I felt our profession was locked into a certain way of treating patients, and I formed my own ideas on creating a treatment model that focused on the whole child and the whole family. I began treating patients in their homes and operated out of my car until I opened my first office in 2010. From there the practice has continued to grow with the model I always dreamed of – looking at the whole child and their family and how that impacts the child’s overall growth and development.

I would then formulate a treatment plan which included techniques to promote the most efficient path to independence within their childhood occupations. What started out as a “one-woman show” has slowly grown into a current staff of 5 Occupational Therapists, 2 office administrators, and we also have Speech Therapists who are on site to make sure we have a collaborative approach to treating all of our patients.

Has it been a smooth road?
As a business owner, there are always challenges – which at the time always seemed overwhelming, but I have learned through the years that those challenges ultimately sparked positive changes that have made the business stronger. Finding the right space for our clinic was one of my biggest struggles. We started out sharing space with other professionals who were seeing both adult and pediatric patients. That proved challenging from a noise perspective as we are definitely not able to complete our therapy sessions quietly!

Our patients are kids, and we encourage them to get excited, loud, and most of all have fun! It was also challenging to find space in the Carmel Valley/Sorrento Valley area with ample parking and an option for outdoor areas. I wanted to be able to have fresh air in our treatment spaces and the option to treat outside –we are in Southern California after all! We ended up finding our own building with plenty of parking, lots of space for growth, and the option to open things up to let in all the fresh air and sunshine we can handle.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with San Diego Occupational Therapy – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
San Diego Occupational Therapy provides pediatric occupational therapy services in our 4,000+ sq. ft. building that offers us both indoor and outdoor treatment spaces. We specialize in treating those with sensory integration and feeding challenges. Kids today are often mislabeled as having behavioral issues, picky eating, attention issues, “the child who can’t sit still”, fine motor challenges, and a myriad of other childhood disorders. We have found that a lot of the time these kids actually have Sensory Processing Disorder.

Once we are able to correctly identify the foundational issues that are affecting the child’s inability to access their true potential, we can then treat those issues and everything else falls into place. Life for these kids is hard – they have to work so much harder than every other child to accomplish the same tasks and our goal is to make life a lot easier for them so they can be a kid. If these underlying issues are not treated then they tend to manifest as anxiety, stress, behavioral outbursts, picky eating, and obsessive or controlling types of behaviors.

We work with so many bright and intelligent children who are having difficulty making their brains and their bodies work together as a team. We get so many parents who call for handwriting difficulties, feeding difficulties, kids who are not following the directions in class and the teachers are communicating this to the parents. When in fact these are not fine motor or feeding or behavioral issues – they are stemming from the underlying sensory processing disorder. We treat the underlying foundational issues and the child then gets to go be a kid as they now have the neurological foundations to learn and grow from. I often relate it to “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” We are different from other providers as we use a more intensive model where our patients come in twice a week for treatment and we make much quicker gains – thus allowing the child to be in therapy for a much shorter duration of time and then being able to go be a kid – which is our ultimate goal! Traditional therapy settings have children going to Occupational Therapy once a week for many years – most of our patients are with us on average of around 6 months.

We also incorporate families and other care providers into all of our care – holding regular parent meetings and looking at the child’s overall health and wellness from multiple angles such as nutrition and movement – so that we are not only addressing the underlying neurological foundations but the other systems that will continue to nourish their bodies for the rest of their lives.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that I can be outside year round and this is the first place I have lived where I didn’t have to do a seasonal wardrobe change come winter! I am from the midwest and the fact that I can wear flip-flops year round is a definite plus! I would say the biggest challenge about living here would be the traffic during the summer and track season. San Diego is an incredible place to live and raise a family and I love living here!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kristin Szepe Photography

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Kelly

    March 29, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    We love Dr. Drummond and her staff, and wouldn’t go anywhere else for OT for our son!

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