St. Vincent 360: Rachel Griffin OTD, OTR/L, ATP
The people behind the care: Rachel Griffin
“I worked with kids with special needs in therapeutic horseback riding, and I volunteered with Special Olympics at a young age. Then I met an Occupational Therapist and saw how that work would be such a great fit for me,” says Rachel. “With OT I help deficits become a change in lifestyle. I thought of it as ‘play’ with people and how that could be my lifelong work.”
As a doctor of occupational therapy at St. Vincent Health, Rachel Griffin provides both outpatient and inpatient therapy services for patients of all ages. She has extensive training and a special interest in pediatric occupational therapy (OT), with many years’ experience with sensory integration, adaptive technology, learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities and physical disabilities.
Pediatric occupational therapy can benefit children who fall into several categories: from infants who were born prematurely to kids with ADHD, to children with learning or physical disabilities. Occupational therapy focuses on a broad range of skills, from social behavior to self-care to emotional regulation. Ultimately, pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults. Early intervention is key in preventing future roadblocks for kids.
Rachel might work with a child on learning to write letters and numbers, and shapes and patterning; fine motor skills including self-feeding, lacing, buttons and hand strength. Gross motor skills like balance and body coordination—to ensure the child can keep up in gym class or on the playground—are another area that she can influence. Pediatric OT helps with social skills to ensure children are able to relate to, and participate with, their peers during cooperative play, pretend play and group activities.
In the hospital at St. Vincent Health, Rachel helps patients recover, improve, maintain and develop the skills they need to return to independent living and working. “An example is a swing bed patient who is discharging to home. I want to make sure he can feed himself,” said Rachel. “So our exercise is for him to make his own lunch, then bring lunch back to the room using his cane.” As another example Rachel mentions, “if someone wants to get back to snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, that’s going to be my goal: to help them get back into that activity.”
For people of all ages with a temporary or lasting disability, occupational therapy is a game-changer. As an occupational therapist, Rachel helps people participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.
“I make sure each patient is as independent as possible in what we call meaningful occupation,” said Rachel. “That’s at home, at work, in school and in the community.”
Sometimes her work is helping a child with disabilities participate in school and in social situations. Other times it might be assisting a person recovering from injuries in regaining their skills. Often, she’s aiding an older adult in remaining as independent as possible.
In all cases, Rachel’s goal is to help patients see their full potential and how they can best utilize their skills.
Care available at St. Vincent Health Physical Therapy:
Inpatient and outpatient care
Sports medicine & rehabilitation
Strength and conditioning
Pre- and post-surgical treatment
Pelvic floor rehabilitation
Functional dry needling
Vertigo & dizziness
Running analysis/video critique and coaching
Hours: Weekdays by appointment
Location: 822 W. 4th Street in Leadville, in the legacy (former) hospital building
Fun fact: Rachel’s service dog, Chinook, is an important partner in care and helps make patients feel at ease.
Another fun fact: Rachel was born and raised in Colorado, splitting time between Englewood and Breckenridge, where she currently resides. She instructs skiing and coaches Special Olympics ski racing at Copper Mountain, a program in which kids and young adults with cognitive disabilities learn to race.
Third fun fact: Rachel is certified in Therapeutic Listening®.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy available at St. Vincent Health treatment for diagnoses:
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder /Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Autism (Types I, II, & III)
Executive Functioning Deficits
General Developmental Delays
Fine motor delays
Cerebral Palsy (inc. general congenital motor delays) Anxiety
ODD (Oppositional defiant disorder)
OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder)