QUICK FACTS about the Occupational Therapy Department at Munroe-Meyer Institute
To help children and adults with developmental disabilities and sensorimotor challenges participate successfully in everyday activities, utilizing evidence based practice and family-centered care; to provide clinical training to the next generation of practitioners; and to support research activities that promote clinical excellence.
- Meyer Therapy Center was founded in 1958 to support the rehabilitation of children afflicted with polio, some of whom were being treated as inpatients at Children’s Hospital located across the street at that time or in residential care at the Hattie B Munroe Pavilion.
- MCRI (Meyer Children’s Rehabilitation Institute) occupational therapists were among the first to provide educationally related therapy services in Nebraska under PL 94-142 (EHA-1975), because many Nebraska school districts contracted with MCRI to educate their students with multiple and severe disabilities.
- The Occupational Therapy (OT) department began adding staff to contract with metro area public school (PS) districts in the early 1980’s, including Millard PS, Ralston PS, Bellevue PS, and Omaha PS.
- Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, students with developmental disabilities attending school in greater Nebraska came to Meyer Rehabilitation Institute (MRI) for interdisciplinary evaluation, and/or participated in multi-disciplinary clinics staffed by MRI physicians & therapists near their home.
- Assumed full responsibility for the educationally related therapy needs of Special Education verified Omaha Public School (OPS) students in 2000, and this relationship with OPS continues today.
- 2 AOTA Board Certified Pediatric Occupational Therapists; 2 RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professionals; 2 OTs who are AOTA Specialty Certified in School Systems.
- 18 OTs support students ages 3-21 in 99 public and 41 non-public schools within the Omaha Public School (OPS) district.
- Outpatient occupational therapists provide approximately 800 outpatient or home-based visits, and up to 100 hospital-based visits each year.
- Specialized Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) consultations at Nebraska Medicine hospital and Nebraska Methodist Women’s hospital.
- Mobility and Assistive Technology (MAT) team offers evaluations and fitting for clients of all ages and disabilities, for various mobility equipment.
- Expertise in sensory & neuro-motor based fine motor delays and feeding disorders; upper extremity orthotic applications for children with congenital hand / arm impairments; and a variety of assistive technology (AT) applications.
Training and Research Activities
- AOTA approved 12-month long Pediatric OT Fellowship, in collaboration with Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, July 1 to June 30 annually since July, 2017.
- Provide five 12-16 week long clinical rotations, 2-3 Capstone student clinical supervision, and up to 8 additional week-long clinical rotations to OT graduate students each year.
- Provide clinical observation opportunities to 3-5 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) trainees across all disciplines each year.
- Course instruction provided on occupational therapy for the High School Alliance project 2 times a year beginning in 2020.
- Responsible for teaching pediatric courses at College of Saint Mary OT program 1996-2008; currently contribute to pediatric & orthotics courses for UNMC CAHP, PT Education; guest lecture at Creighton University OT Education.
- Hand-Arm-Bimanual Intensive Activities with Virtual Reality (HABIT) an intensive therapy summer camp that provides a focus on improving upper-extremity motor control. A virtual reality component added the summer of 2021.
Michelle Westengaard, OTR/L
– Director, Occupational Therapy Department
402-559-6580 | Email Michelle Westengaard