Donna Stefano is a registered and licensed occupational therapist and received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Occupational Therapy in 1985, at Quinnipiac University. She has specialized in pediatrics for the past 26 years, and has experience working with a wide variety of children.
In 2004, Donna founded Playful Development to help children with all abilities and disabilities. Her practice uses a comprehensive and holistic approach focused on the child, but involving the entire family.
Donna is SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Test) certified and has treated many children with sensory processing disorders.
Her experiences also include early intervention, school systems, children with neurological impairment, and sensory integration clinics. She also practices craniosacral therapy.
Personally, Donna is married and has raised two grown daughters. She is from a large family and became an aunt at the age of eight years old, and is now the great-aunt of 11 children, and attributes her love of children to being an aunt at such a young age. In addition to being an outstanding occupational therapist, Donna’s biggest asset is her caring nature and natural ability to connect with each child she has the pleasure of working with. She sets herself apart from larger clinical settings by her therapeutic use of self in play and is able to not only connect with the children but also support the family as a whole.
Animals are another love, and are incorporated into Playful Development’s setting with two horses, and a dog. One child refers to the setting as “Miss Donna’s Farm”. Many children who have been fearful of dogs, have gained confidence getting to know Cooper, the house-hold well trained therapeutic pooch. However if a child is fearful, Cooper is kept in his kennel until the child is comfortable. Research shows that animal assisted therapy builds confidence, and many hyperactive children find a sense of calm being with animals.
A future goal is to incorporate Therapeutic Riding into services offered. As this point in time some children do take riding lessons from Jessie Stefano, Donna’s daughter.
If your child has allergies to animals this would not be the right setting for their occupational therapy need.