Christina Bellini-Zaher MS, OTR/L
Christina Bellini-Zaher MS, OTR/L is the owner and director of The Therapy Center for Children. She established this company after working since 2001 with hundreds of families and children ranging from two weeks old to twenty one years old. Each of these families came from different socioeconomic backgrounds but were similar in wanting the best quality of life for their child. She has had the privilege to get to know these families and tailor her treatments in accordance to the goals of each child and the needs of each family.
Ms. Bellini-Zaher is a registered occupational therapist who earned her Master’s degree in occupational therapy in 2001 from Touro College School of Health Science. During her professional training with the early intervention population, she provided occupational therapy at United Cerebral Palsy and Saint Mary’s Children’s hospital. It was here that she had the opportunity to work with a diverse population ranging from babies and toddlers recovering from second and third degree burns, as well as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, Trisomy 18, and Traumatic Brain Injury. In addition, she had the privilege to take supervised trips into the community with the related service team, to provide early intervention evaluations. This helped her to hone her observation skills and interpersonal skills with families.
During her six year employment with the New York City Department of Education she worked in both a special education school and general education inclusion program. It was during this time she worked with some of the children that came from the Saint Mary’s preschool program. This provided her with insight into what goals and challenges children from zero to three would face as they moved on into elementary school. It gave her the perspective to always remember that she would be influencing the foundation of skills that they would need to take to the next level of development.
Ms. Bellini-Zaher continued to provide early intervention services while working in a special education and general education school. During these years, she was asked to participate in a special program for children on the autistic spectrum. Surrounded by a team of specialized professionals, she was educated and trained in the adaptive behavioral therapy. She spent time training with a consultant from Eden, a specialized school for children with autism. She also gained experience with pediatric wheelchairs and orthotics. This experience gave her further insight into the future goals and challenges of the early intervention population.
Ages 0-3, which the early intervention program covers, can be especially rewarding as children and families reach developmental milestones, including the first time they are able to coordinate their hands to hold their bottle, maintain a crawling position, actively release an object from the palm of their hands, taking their first steps, and saying their first words. These experiences have been especially rewarding for her, as well as the children and families she has serviced.
Suffolk Community College
Ms. Bellini-Zaher is also an adjunct in Suffolk Community College’s Occupational Therapy Department where she has had the honor of working with other professionals dedicated to life-long learning. She has been lucky to teach and guide students as they prepare to become occupational therapy assistants. Some students are former parents of children who have received early intervention service. She continues to learn from their past experiences and the creativity they share.