Burnt Out To Building Bridges

Mellie Boozer, Bridges Co-Director

Several years ago, I knew it was time for a change. The job I was in had totally burned me out, so I resigned and prayed about where I was supposed to be. A friend told me her pediatric therapy clinic (The Therapy Place) was hiring a front desk admin. I knew I wanted to work with kids and not necessarily at a desk, but I felt an overwhelming urgency that I had to interview for the job, even though it was not exactly what I wanted. I enjoyed the interview, loved the clinic and the staff, but I knew I was not supposed to take that job. I wondered why I had that urgent feeling to interview. I thought that maybe I simply needed the interview practice. 

A few days later, I received a call from Dawn Darby explaining that I had not gotten the front desk job, but they wanted to create a job for me at The Therapy Place in the Bridges Program. What!? It was a dream job- working with kids and using my degrees, experience & passion. Now it all made sense. God works in mysterious ways! 

Juggling Work and Life


View More: http://brittanyorenphotography.pass.us/christmasminisdrennan2015
Jessica Drennan, MSW

Did you know that one of our awesome parents at The Therapy Place is an accomplished juggler? Jessica Drennan does not actually work for the circus, but she performs feats that require skill and balance between her family and professional life. In her professional life, Ms. Drennan is the Director of Children with Special Health Care Needs at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. In her family life, she is the mother of three young children, one with special needs. Keeping up with three young children is a challenge but adding the demands brought by a child with special needs presents a unique challenge that is shared by many families at The Therapy Place. Jessica shares with all parents the constant need to balance professional and family life. Her situation is further complicated by the lack of a family support system since her family lives out of state.

At age four, Michael could not articulate his thoughts and was facing serious behavioral issues. His vocabulary consisted of about four words. In her foster parent role, Jessica was informed that Michael’s next step would be an institution if his placement in her home did not work. Armed with referrals for physical, speech, and occupational therapy from a developmental pediatrician, Jessica began calling organizations to find no availability – only wait lists. Since she had recently relocated to the Columbia area, Jessica relied on the recommendation of a co-worker and called The Therapy Place. Michael was evaluated within the week, and he began therapy immediately. His evaluations indicated that he was nearly three years behind his peers in his development although his IQ was age appropriate.

What a difference a year makes in the life of a child at The Therapy Place! His language gains have been amazing. He is a hard worker and as he gains communication skills, he is a much more active participant in his family and school life. He attends a regular kindergarten program, and Jessica finds that she and Michael are able to use many of the skills he is learning at The Therapy Place to help him with issues he encounters at school such as sitting still for circle time.

Jessica is very conscious of making sure that her family works as a unit. She spends one-on-one time with each child and when one loses a privilege, the family loses it. Her advice to those who are impressed by her amazingly “normal” demeanor is, “You can do it! Depending on the needs of the individual children—sometimes one needs more, but you can make it up later. Use the supports that you do have.”

Jessica will be sharing other ideas on this topic at the Second Annual Healthy Me Healthy Family Conference. She will be speaking on the topic, “Not Just for Clowns: Juggling Work, Life, and Kids.” Hope you can join us—previous juggling experience not required!


Submitted by Karson Kocher, TTP Admin Intern Spring 2017

Columbia College, Child and Family Studies Major, Class of 2018

What’s On Your Mind?

surveyThe Therapy Place values your opinion, and would like your input. We invite you, as part of The Therapy Place family, to participate in this five-minute survey about Family Services. Your anonymous answers help us better serve you from how you receive information to what topics are of interest and assistance to you and your family. The more feedback we get, the better equipped we will be to improve our existing services and develop new ones to meet emerging needs.

(Survey is available until August 30 online and printed in the TTP lobby)

Second Annual Healthy Me Healthy Family Conference

Healthy Me Healthy Family ConferenceThe Therapy Place, SC Developmental Disabilities Council, Junior League of Columbiaa

Saturday, October 8, 2016
Trenholm Road United Methodist Church
3501 Trenholm Road, Columbia SC 29204

Sponsored by the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council and Junior League of Columbia

A conference bringing together families who have child(ren) with special needs to educate, empower and provide support! FREE registration includes childcare (and activities), dynamic sessions from speakers, resource tables from community organizations and lunch.

More information and registration coming soon!

The Therapy Place, Inc. is accepting proposals from speakers for the Second Annual Healthy Me Healthy Family Conference on Saturday, October 8, 2016, at Trenholm Road United Methodist Church.  All proposals must be received no later than Friday, August 26, 2016.
To apply, please click here.

Therapy Place Families : This One’s for You

Family ServicesHave you been lost in a maze of paperwork, doctors, therapists wondering, hoping for some type of fairy godmother to help? Well, as The Therapy Place’s new Family Services Coordinator, I don’t have a magic wand, but I do have over five years of experience with my own two children with special needs (Autism and Down syndrome in case you’re curious).
I have been working hard to meet all of our incredible families and children. If you haven’t seen me wandering the lobby yet, you will. Stop me and say hello, as I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.

My job here is to help you. I advocate, help connect you to outside resources, develop our annual conference (Save the date October 8!), host Family Fun Day (Next day is July 16!), keep our blog updated, coordinate monthly newsletters, plan family support groups and more.

Get connected with The Therapy Place online to receive all of our news and updates. Here’s where to find us:

I will be distributing a survey very soon for families. PLEASE make sure you take time to respond. Your answers will help shape current and future programs and services, as well as help me do my job of helping YOU!

I am in and out of the office until mid-August, so if you need me and don’t see me be sure to leave me a message or send me an email. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Toni Turbeville Morton
Family Services Coordinator

25+ Activities for Inclement Weather


Blog1Inclement weather can limit children’s ability to run, play and get messy outside. Here are some games and activities that can be done inside to assist with all of their needs and keep them busy!

Movement Games

Freeze: Play some favorite music while the kids dance and move around. When the music stops the kids “freeze;” whoever doesn’t freeze loses and runs the music for the next round. Make it harder by having the kids “freeze” in animal or yoga poses.

Hopscotch: Cut old cardboard boxes/cereal boxes and write numbers on them, have each child align them in different patterns and lead a session.

Indoor obstacle course: Using household items (chairs, couch cushions, tape on carpet/floor) design an obstacle course for the kids to run through. You can time them, or place puzzle pieces at the beginning and get two to four pieces prior to going through obstacle course to put together at end. Continue until puzzle is complete.

Animal charades: Place the names (or pictures for children who are not yet reading) of animals in a hat and have kids act out what the animal does, how it walks, what it eats. etc. in order for everyone else to guess.

Hot Potato: Use an old sock and fill it with dried rice or beans; tie and or tape the top of the sock so there are no leaks and have the kids toss the sock to each other while music is playing. Stop the music randomly and whoever is holding the “potato” runs the music for the next round.

Simon Says

Red light Green light: Adapt the traditional game by having the children run, walk or animal crawl.

Balloon Tennis/Volleyball: Blow up a balloon and have the kids hit it back and forth without letting it hit the ground.

Hide and seek

Scavenger Hunt: This may take a little prep work for adults… Hide items throughout the house and provide clues to locations. Easier version: Provide a list of items the children have to bring back to you (Q-tip, blue sock, toy that starts with letter “L”, etc.). First one back with all the items wins!

Bowling with water bottles: Set up water bottles at the end of a room/hallway and use a beach ball or a weighted ball to bowl them down.

Making play-doh

Sensory Games

Make your own playdough.

Cook something together.

Touch-and-feel box: Cut a hole in side of an old shoebox, place items into box and have child feel them and guess what object is without looking. Or place a lot of items in a box, have child reach through hole and get out a specific item that you request.

Finger paint.

Fake snow: (Warning: This is messy, so prepare with trash bags on table and surrounding floors!) Mix baking soda and shaving cream together to make “snow” (recipe). Have children roll snowballs, make snowmen or just enjoy the flurries. Add extra glitter for some sparkle.

Fishing in bathtub.


Memory games.

Missing item: Place items on a table and let children look at them for 30 seconds. Have the kids close their eyes and then remove one object. See if they can remember which one is gone.

Animal alphabet game: Take turns starting with “A;” have the child think of an animal starting with that letter and then act it out. The next person will do letters “A” and “B.” See how far down the alphabet you can go.

Read a book together.

Put on a play of favorite story.

Board games.

Last Resort

If you’ve run out of options, put on some good music and dance it off! Children can work on following directions and get their wiggles out.