Danielle Shulman has over 14 years of experience as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) and is the owner of WriteSteps Pediatric Occupational Therapy, located in the Del Mar/Carmel Valley area of San Diego. At WriteSteps, Danielle provides expert treatment in helping children with fine and gross motor difficulty using a variety of tools. She also believes in incorporating a sensory integration approach and utilizes suspended equipment as appropriate to a child’s needs. Danielle is also certified in treating children with feeding disorders, food refusal, and ‘picky eaters.’
In 1994, Danielle attended Emory University, which continues to rank within the top 20 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of top national universities. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and continued on to pursue her Master’s Degree at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating at the top of her class, with a 3.9/4.0 average, she received her Masters in Occupational Therapy and went on to practice as an OTR/L, MSOT in school districts located in the Boston area.
Danielle worked with all ages in the Boston area public school systems for over five years. She worked as an occupational therapist with children from a variety of backgrounds. Not only has Danielle worked as an OT in mainstream classrooms, Danielle has also worked with diverse school populations. Some examples include, providing occupational therapy in a preschool setting that was designed for children with autism. Many of these children had limited speech and Danielle used sign language as a means of communication with them during treatment. Danielle also worked in Life Skills Classrooms with middle and high schoolers that have diagnoses that include cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. In order to optimally aid these students, Danielle took additional courses in Assistive Technology and has had extensive experience working with software programs that can facilitate communication, such as utilizing switches for children that have limited mobility in their upper extremities. Danielle also has experience working with a variety of software programs that can be helpful for children that have difficulty with handwriting.
In the summer of 2004, Danielle and her husband relocated to California for a warmer climate. Danielle worked as the sole OT for Rancho Santa Fe School District for five years. Due to the part-time nature of this position, it was during this period that Danielle was able to pursue her goal of opening her own private practice. This led to the founding of WriteSteps Pediatric Occupational Therapy in her new city, San Diego.
At WriteSteps Occupational Therapy, Danielle currently provides evaluation and treatment to children from a variety of backgrounds. Danielle incorporates the core principles of occupational therapy guru, Mary Benbow, into her OT treatment. She believes that the motor and perceptual system need to work together in order for visual motor tasks, such as handwriting, to be completed appropriately. Danielle treats children at the visual perceptual, sensory motor, and visual motor level. She utilizes a variety of programs in order to meet each child’s needs. She has also completed Benbow’s training in utilizing the neurokinesthetic approach to improve handwriting in children.
In addition to offering evaluation and treatment at WriteSteps, Danielle conducts occupational therapy preschool screenings for young children upon request, in the San Diego area. She also provides workshops throughout her Carmel Valley community in order to educate parents and teachers on what are indicators of a child with fine motor delay. She also provides strategies for parents and teachers to incorporate in the class or home environment.
At WriteSteps Occupational Therapy, Danielle is now a consultant for Green Kid Crafts (www.greenkidcrafts.com), an environmentally friendly company that provides art projects to kids on a monthly subscription basis. This company has over 1 million followers on Pinterest and will be sells their products at local San Diego stores and will begin sales in Canada in the near future.
Danielle was also the OT consultant for JW Tumbles in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego. She educated the staff on additional fine motor strategies for them to use with young children during their classes to help them reach their optimum potential. She has also conducted a workshop there entitled, “How To Enhance Fine Motor Skills and Prevent Delays in Young Children.”
At WriteSteps, Danielle also does occupational therapy consultation and screenings at private school located in La Jolla and Encinitas. She recommends strategies to teachers at the school in order to help them provide additional support to their children that may have some fine motor weakness.
Danielle has also been involved in speaking at panel discussions for various organizations. She has spoken at one of the San Diego Branch of Dyslexia workshops as well as on a Kindergarten Readiness Panel at a local preschool. She has also given presentations at private schools within San Diego County. She has also presented a workshop at a community parent organization called “Puproseful Play.” At this workshop, Danielle engages the children in a craft activity and explains to parents the benefits of the activity, as well as how to modify the activity for the child’s level.
Aside from work, Danielle has always had a passion for volunteering in her community. Her first volunteer experience was in high school at her local hospital. When Danielle lived in Boston, she participated in the Big Brother/Big Sister Organization, and volunteered to spend her time taking a young girl with special needs to exciting and new places. After relocating to California, Danielle also began to volunteer at a local charity organization. She served on several committees and was eventually nominated to serve a 2 year term as President of the organization. Danielle received the prestigious Pauline Foster Young Leadership Award from the organization for her dedication to making a positive difference in the community. Last year Danielle was nominated by her organization to Co-Chair one of their largest fundraising efforts. Danielle’s enthusiasm and dedication helped bring in almost 1000 people to this event, a new record high for attendance. Danielle continues to volunteer, along with her husband, and helps raise money for those that are disadvantaged around the world.
Danielle has recently taken on a volunteer position for the board of PTA at her son’s elementary school and is excited about the opportunity to help raise money for the school.
When Danielle is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two adorable children, and the family dog, Waffles. Danielle believes that raising two children has not only been a gift, but also one of the biggest contributions to her field of expertise!