We continue this series on therapist small business owners with Christina Connors, OTR/L , the owner and developer of Child Inspired.
Below is a Q and A session regarding one of her products, Get Well Maps.
Q: First just tell a little bit about yourself – job experience, years on the job, etc.
My name is Christina Connors, OTR/L and I am the owner and developer of Child Inspired. I am a proud Mama of 2 great kiddos, Samantha & Andrew. I have been working as an Occupational Therapist for 14 years to enhance the function and independence of children and adults with various physical, cognitive, psychosocial and developmental disabilities in acute inpatient rehabilitation, home health, hospital, and educational settings. I have implemented visual, tactile, and sensory motor strategies to aid in the learning and functioning of children with autism and developmental delays. I have helped to optimize the recovery of children, adolescents and adults with brain injury in hospital, school and outpatient brain injury clinic settings. I take pride in creative problem-solving, and thinking outside-the-box during personal and professional challenges. I enjoy identifying the meaningful activities and goals in the lives of my clients, and working with them to enhance their ability to reach their greatest potential.
Q: What made you come up with the idea of Get Well Maps?
Our son, Andrew (who never ceases to amaze me with his charismatic personality & perseverance) inspired the concept of our Get Well Maps. Andrew developed a life-threatening illness very suddenly when he was 5 years old, and the experience rocked our family to our core. I felt desperate for a way to communicate to my son that we would get home, although it was too early in his hospitalization to anticipate a timeline, discharge date, or know how his road to recovery might progress. How do you answer a young child’s plea…”I want to go home” when you are faced with an uncertain medical course? Andrew was still too young to understand time concepts, especially in a hospital environment that was unfamiliar and scary to him, and we recognized that his recovery was based more on medical progression than specific dates. Drawing on my experience working with children with autism and developmental disabilities, and knowing how much my son loves cars and trucks, I asked a close friend to create a visual “road map” for us to use as a functional communication tool to track his progression toward our goal of “going home”.
Q: Do you create the Get Well Maps yourself from start to finish?
Yes…With the help of a few very talented people that help bring the concept to fruition. I sketch out the concepts for each Get Well Map, and our amazing artist, John Donato, turns my sketches into the whimsical illustrations that are so fun and engaging for the children and their families. An incredible graphic designer, Ray Daminger, helps to format the directions, milestone stickers, and other design work required for our products. I contract the services of a manufacturing company that has specialized equipment to print our Get Well Maps on a firm, double-sided material that can be sanitized in healthcare settings. I complete the production process in-house by assembling & packaging the Maps, and ship directly to customers. We are proud that every creative process at Child Inspired is conceptualized, created, manufactured and packaged in the USA.
Q: Can Get Well Maps be used in school based therapy practice?
Yes. We are currently working with several local educators that are trialing our Maps (we call them “Progress Maps”) in both preschool and elementary settings. Our Maps are being utilized in both special education settings to illustrate progress towards an individual child’s goal(s) in conjunction with targeted goal(s) in their IEP, and in regular education settings to illustrate progress towards classroom Positive Behavior Support initiatives. And thanks to the creative minds of so many amazing health care professionals, educators and parents, our Get Well Maps are easily adapted to help children visualize progress towards any meaningful goal that is specific to their needs (educational, medical, behavioral, social).
Please contact me for more information! I would love the opportunity to collaborate with you and your colleagues in school based therapy practice!
Q: Is it difficult to find the time practice as an OT and manage Get Well Maps?
Yes!!! It is a constant, and at times very challenging, juggle! But with that said, I am incredibly passionate about Child Inspired, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Child Inspired is unique blend of my professional experience as a therapist and my personal experience as a parent. Our journey with our son’s (as well as our entire family’s) anxiety and PTSD only further solidified our mission to create a child and family-centered tool that could help ease anxiety for other children and families facing medical challenges. Child Inspired has been underway for 2 years. I have been working as a per diem Occupational Therapist in home health care since Andrew’s illness, which provides me with quite a bit of flexibility to manage both endeavors. Despite that flexibility, however, every day presents new challenges! Much of the work to develop Child Inspired pushes me beyond my knowledge base and comfort zone (accounting, online marketing, web development, etc), and at times has to occur outside of the traditional “work-day“ timeframe because of my OT role in home health care and personal responsibilities.
Q: Where can we find your products? (website, social media, catalog, etc)
Please email me directly at email@example.com to learn more about bulk pricing & customizations.
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