Someone You Should Know: Pediatric occupational therapist makes a difference at Move U

Someone You Should Know
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 5:07 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Pediatric occupational therapist Kristin Wittmayer is the director of Move U in Sioux Falls.

“I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for about 17 years now,” Wittmayer said. “I have worked in a variety of settings and ongoing throughout my career — just education and advancing my practice — and my ability to treat and really like see children and meet them where they’re at has continued to grow throughout the years, and so really Move U came about a year ago.”

Move U is a gym and safe place for children and teens to gain skills to help them become more efficient in everyday life.

“It’s a nontraditional setting, which is super fun and exciting for kids, but also highly skilled,” said Wittmayer. “There’s certain certifications and specialties that I have — I am the only provider in the region that has various sensory-based certifications.”

“It totally fills my tank when I can help in the process of this child blooming and becoming who they are and feeling confident in their being and like, ‘I got this. I can do this. I can try something new and different. I can go to the new place. I can do things out of routine that I wasn’t expecting because I’m better equipped and able to tolerate this,’” Wittmayer said.

Kristin helps children with sensory processing issues, disorders, and those who are struggling to keep up with their peers through nontraditional techniques.

“I get to play all day long, but the play is very skilled,” said Wittmayer. “Play is the primary occupation of children, which occupation is a meaningful activity, and so it’s through play that we really develop self-concept, self-confidence, problem-solving skills, language, how to share, how to work together, how to use my body for its purpose and use these tools called hands.”

Move U provides unique and nontraditional approaches to occupational therapy to fit the needs of every child.

“It’s the coolest thing — to see the kids is exactly why we do what we do, especially me not being a clinician and getting to sit back and truly watch her therapist just impact the community and make these child’s lives,” said Lexi Morrison.

Making a lasting impact on the lives of children and their families, Kristin Wittmayer and Move U are providing skills for young people to succeed.

“There is no in-between as to what we can and cannot treat,” said Morrison. “It’s nice that we can help parents — from small little routine occurrences that a child may have to major diagnoses and problems that come about. Just to understand you’re not alone in your struggles and that there is an opportunity for help.”