MEET OUR TEAM

Jennifer, OTD, OTR/L
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Owner, Jennifer is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy who resides in her hometown in Louisiana. She has been working with children with special needs/challenges over 20 years. Initially, Mrs. Jenn provided occupational therapy to adults until her son suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 7. Throughout her research and motivation to assist her son in his recovery, she discovered a passion for working with all children. Her son is now a healthy and happy veteran of the U.S. Army.

She received her Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy from Belmont University while working at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (one of the top children’s rehab hospitals in the U.S.). After almost 10 years at Children’s Healthcare, she accepted a job helping the children of U.S. military members stationed in the U.K.

After her wonderful overseas experience, she moved back to her hometown in Louisiana to be closer to family and work in the local school system helping with a variety of diagnoses and learning disabilities. In 2012, Happy Hands Therapy was opened so that she could provide medically based OT and reach students that struggle with coordination and visual processing difficulties that did not qualify for school assistance.

 

Specialties: Neurodevelopmental Treatment and Techniques (NDT), Sensory Integration Assessment and Treatment, Handwriting without Tears Motor Program, Range of Motion/Strength Testing, Bilateral Coordination, Reflex Integration, Development Assessment and Treatment, Certified in Yoga for the Special Child, Visual Processing, Ocular Motor Training

Riana, OTR/L

Ms. Riana received her bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the Louisiana State University followed by her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in Austin, Texas.

Riana has always had a natural rapport with children and felt led to become an Occupational Therapist by her desire to see children further their independence for an overall improved quality of life. Riana says, “I wanted to help children reach their full potential in all aspects”.

A fun fact about Riana is that she’s always been very afraid of clowns!

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Rachelle, OTR/L

Mrs. Rachelle graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor's degree followed by earning her master's degree in Occupational Therapy from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center of New Orleans. Rachelle always knew that she wanted to work with kids. When she was 9 years old, she took over her great-grandmother’s Sunday school class of first graders and hasn’t stopped working with kids since. She chose to become an Occupational Therapist because she wanted to teach children but knew she would make a larger, personal impact by working one-on-one with children and their families. As a pediatric therapist, Rachelle has learned to never underestimate a child. According to Rachelle, “Finding the right motivation is what it’s all about”!

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Ingrid, OTR/L

Mrs. Ingrid received her Master of Occupational Therapy at the University of St. Augustine in Miami, Florida. Originally from Florida, Ingrid moved to Southeast Louisiana with her husband. Ingrid is bilingual in Spanish and is proud of her Puerto Rican and Dominican culture.

When asked why she chose the occupational therapy field, Ingrid replied “I’ve always wanted to help children reach their full potential and make them feel heard and understood.”

While her favorite therapy tool is deep pressure input and activities, Ingrid believes that patience and a broader mindset is needed to fully understand each child’s unique way of viewing and experiencing the world. It is that ability to impact children’s lives with empathy, kindness and support that makes Ingrid proud to be a pediatric occupational therapist.

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Alex, COTA/L

Mrs. Alex lives in her hometown, Ponchatoula, with her husband and two children, Beau and Bailey. She received her Associates Degree in Occupational Therapy at Delgado and has been practicing her passion of Occupational Therapy at Happy Hands Therapy Services for 6 years. She is a board-certified COTA and is an active member of the American Occupational Therapy Association.   She considers helping children and their families to be one of her most important roles. Alex believes that incorporating fun and functional activities in a therapeutic process fosters the most meaningful progress in a child’s life. She is very passionate about serving our community and local private schools. In her free time, Alex loves spending time at her family’s camp down the Tangipahoa River.

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Macie, COTA/L

Ms. Macie is a board-certified COTA. She received her bachelor’s degree in health science from Nicholls State University. After graduating, she continued her education with an associate degree at Delgado’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Macie knew OT was for her when she discovered how diverse the field is and the limitless ways, she would be able to apply herself. While still in college, Macie worked as a therapy tech, which is where she discovered her passion for pediatrics. She said, “No matter what population I observed and worked with, my heart was always pulled toward peds.” When asked what the best part of being a pediatric COTA is, Macie says, “Being able to use my creativity and play to disguise a child’s struggles as fun which allows them to overcome and achieve so much.” In her free time, Macie loves all things dance and spent 5 years being an assistant teacher for a special needs dance class the “Dancing Divas”.

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Shelby, COTA/L

Ms. Shelby is a board-certified COTA. She graduated from Pearl River’s Community College OTA Program. Shelby has always had a passion for helping people. She enjoys seeing the joy on someone’s face when they achieve something that was once thought to be too difficult. This is what lead her to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy. When asked what she has learned as a COTA, she says, “Some days are hard, but in the end, they are always worth it!” A fun fact about Shelby is that she played tennis in junior college.

In her free time, Mrs. Shelby enjoys visiting the beach.

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Candace, M.S., CCC-SLP

Mrs. Candace lives in Covington with her husband, Seth, and beautiful baby girl, Sadie. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi earning a bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science, followed by her master's degree in Speech and Language Pathology.

Candace has worked in various settings including a Skilled Nursing facility, Hospital, Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care, and Pediatric Outpatient facilities. However, she finds her passion as an outpatient pediatric therapist working together with families as a dynamic to improve communication skills of the children in her care.

According to Candace, “I became an SLP to help better the quality of life for individuals of all ages through the use of talking and eating, two of my favorite things”.

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Christina, M.S., CCC-SLP

Ms. Christina is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and holds a certificate of Clinical Competence Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Louisiana State University and went on to complete her master’s degree at Southeastern Louisiana University. Christina was led to Pediatric Speech Therapy because she yearned to help children communicate and be able to express their wants and needs. She feels that it’s very important to individualize a child’s therapy plan. While not at work, Christina enjoys visiting the beach. A fun fact about her is that she does not like chocolate!

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Kathryn, Office Manager

Mrs. Kathryn is the voice behind most of your phone calls, emails, and clinic communications. Originally from the Northshore, Kathryn and her husband (along with their two dogs) moved back to Louisiana a few years ago and love living in Downtown Hammond. Kathryn enjoys building relationships with the families of HHTS and is proud to play a small role in making sure the patients’ needs are advocated for and met during their time at the clinic. She plans to begin her master’s degree next year and in her free time loves all things outdoors, spending time with family and traveling whenever possible.

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Jessica, Clinic Manager

Mrs. Jessica lives in Ponchatoula with her husband and two daughters, Amelia and Charlee. She currently holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Language and a second bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. Before joining the Happy Hands family, Jessica managed a local childcare facility. Working with children has always been a passion for her because children are the most intriguing and engaging types of people to work with. According to Jessica, “Kids are amazing because they believe anything is possible and all challenges can be overcome by their determination”.

In her free time, Jessica enjoys taking cruises with her family.

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Karleigh, OT Tech

Ms. Karleigh received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Southeastern University and is currently working towards her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. Karleigh was drawn to occupational therapy early in her college career and discovered her love for pediatrics after working on the Happy Hands’ team as a student. Karleigh’s favorite aspect of pediatric occupational therapy is “watching the children achieve goals they didn’t think they could do” and added “Seeing the children happy, makes me happy.”

Karleigh currently serves on the team as a supporting role to the patients and therapists and is excited for her future in the pediatric OT world.

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Jillian, OT Tech

Ms. Jillian is an OT Tech at Happy Hands. As a child, she attended OT services where she first established her desire to become an Occupational Therapist. In 2021, Jillian graduated from South Lafourche High School in Cut Off, Louisiana. Currently, she is majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration of Fitness and Human Performance. After graduation, Jillian plans to apply for and attend Occupational Therapy School. At Happy Hands, you can often find her helping therapists with patient care. Her favorite therapy tool is board games! Jillian’s favorite quote is by C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending”.

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Lacy, Insurance Specialist

Lacy joined the Happy Hands family four years ago but has 8+ years in insurance billing and claims claims research. She attended Southeastern Louisiana University before beginning her career as an Insurance Rehab Specialist. Lacy enjoys helping her patients get the most out of their insurance coverage and is here to answer any questions you might have about your insurance benefits. In her free time, Lacy enjoys working out and spending time with her amazing husband and three beautiful children.

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Leslie, SLP-CF

Leslie lives in Ponchatoula with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders. As a speech therapist, Leslie finds her specialty in articulation and receptive / expressive language skills from birth to adolescence.  She first decided to go down the path of speech therapy as a junior in high school while working at a summer camp for children with special needs. According to Leslie, "I loved it and I knew I wanted to work with children and help them communicate." Since then, she has found her passion in helping people, from family members to total strangers! Leslie says, "It makes me feel like I can put good back into the universe!"

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