With a masters degree in occupational therapy (OT) from NYU graduate school and more than 20 years of experience practicing OT, both in private practice and school settings, Blanche Buchwald is excited to introduce Wonder Kids Therapy Center, a state-of-the-art sensory gym in the heart of Bergenfield.
Buchwald, who resides in Bergenfield, began her career at NYU Langone Hospital for Joint Diseases in the neurology unit, working with adults. She then transferred to pediatrics, where she worked for Shuli Spivack of Sensory Play OT in Riverdale, for nine years. Buchwald considers Spivack a mentor who made a significant impact upon the trajectory of her career and her practice methods.
Buchwald eventually made her way to Bogota, New Jersey, where she spent about eight years with Alyssa Colton and Aviva Lipner at Kids’ Therapy Place. She also worked at Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services with Chaye Warburg. She counts these women among her mentors as well. “I admire their expertise. I really learned from each of these individuals and I am very grateful to them and for my time spent with each and every one of them.”
At Wonder Kids Therapy Center, Buchwald has created a carefully curated sensory gym with various types of swings and hand-picked equipment that she feels work best for children, helping them with overall body strengthening, regulation and sensory processing. Her specialities include sensory processing and regulation, as well as working with fine motor skills, handwriting and coordination. “I incorporate a diverse amount of modalities into every activity targeting many different systems at one time,” Buchwald said.
She also specializes in helping kids build their core strength, which is especially crucial for kids who have difficulty sitting still and paying attention during circle time or in a classroom. In fact, at one of her previous practices she was dubbed the “Queen of Core” because she was so effective in helping children quickly gain significant core and trunk strength.
Buchenwald also has a designated area where she works on fine motor skills including hand strengthening, handwriting and coloring. She is a big proponent of teaching handwriting. In her experience, handwriting can strengthen reading fluency, creative writing skills, and even memory and note-taking. She uses fun, engaging and developmentally appropriate instructional methods to enable children to master handwriting as an automatic and comfortable skill.
But that doesn’t mean she shuns typing as a worthwhile skill. At her practice she also works with older children to improve their typing skills, and utilizes several different programs, depending on a particular child’s needs.
Buchwald strongly believes in transitioning the various skills learned during her sessions into the classroom and home. She encourages parents to stay and watch the sessions and learn to do what she does. She firmly believes in the value of working with schools and teachers to help her clients achieve success in the classroom. She will write up sensory diets and behavioral plans in conjunction with the classroom and teachers in order to try to generalize the skills they are learning in OT into the classroom.
“I work with the schools, with the teachers. I am in contact with them to ensure plans are being implemented,” Buchwald noted. She spends time with teachers helping them how to best put the plans into practice. “I have cumulative experience with children, and I’ve learned from my own life experiences. Therefore I am able to help guide teachers and parents efficiently and effectively through the OT process.”
Buchwald feels it is important that the child sees his or her time with her as fun and engaging. and that they are using their minds and imagination throughout the session. “When kids are in therapy with me they are having fun. They don’t realize how hard they are working. They also feel good about themselves and what they are able to achieve. I believe that this is the beauty of OT.”