For KidSensations owner Christine Gaharan, watching children achieve their full potential after struggling to communicate or interact with others is something she said she loves to experience daily.

An occupational therapist for over 20 years, Gaharan opened her first practice a decade ago with friend Heidi Armendariz, owner of pediatric speech therapy clinic Speak Freely.

Both women run their businesses separately but out of the same building at both locations on Riddle Road in South Austin and Hwy. 290 near Dripping Springs.

“Speech and occupational therapy work really well together,” Gaharan said. “Even though we run two separate businesses we are very much
a team.”

Her passion for occupational therapy, a treatment that focuses on helping people achieve independence in all areas of life, started when she was in college, Gaharan said. Originally studying to be a pharmacist, Gaharan realized she desired more of a connection with people.

Gaharan began her career in California working with adults in neurorehabilitation who had a variety of orthopedic conditions and traumatic brain injuries.

Her affinity for helping children and families led Gaharan to transition into working with ages 0-21 in care centers and school-based environments as well as in homes. She moved to Austin in 1997, working first for the Early Childhood Intervention program through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. After 10 years, she opened KidSensations.

“I love seeing kids come into their full potential,” Gaharan said. “You continue to learn so much about how much these kids can do and how much more these kids understand than they did before. It’s great.”

Over the past 10 years both businesses have grown, leading to the opening of a second location near Dripping Springs last October. Gaharan said she hopes to grow the business even further throughout Austin.

“We want to continue to respond to the needs in the community and help families in Austin and Dripping Springs,” Gaharan said.

What is occupational therapy? Occupational therapy is a treatment that focuses on helping people achieve independence in all areas of their lives. For children, occupational therapy helps with learning skills as well as cognitive and physical growth by experimenting and participating in their surroundings; this often occurs during play.

Common diagnostic categories treated with occupational therapy:

  • neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy;

  • poor motor coordination;

  • sensory processing disorders;

  • autism spectrum disorders; and

  • Down syndrome

Source: KidSensations/Community Impact Newspaper

A. 2301 Riddle Road, Austin
B. 14101 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. 200, Austin
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.