Meet the team – Jen Stephens
Meet Jen Stephens, our Senior Leader Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. Jen is a member of our Senior Leadership Team and works with clients across a wide age range. She leads a team of over thirty Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Allied Health Assistants.
How long have you been with Early Links?
Jen has been with Early Links for several years now, coming and going over time between the arrival of new additions to her family. Prior to Early Links, Jen worked in occupational therapy with adults and then in paediatrics. She also taught as an Early Intervention Teacher after training in primary teaching and this has set her in good stead for supporting her team to achieve their potential and in providing support in educational settings.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The aspects of her job that Jen enjoys most are working with kids, leading a group of talented and passionate specialists, supporting the development of her team and finding new ways to support clients and improve the services we provide to them.
What support do the Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy team provide?
We asked Jen if there was one way in which she and her team can support clients that people may not be aware of and she said there are three areas which are her passions. The first is addressing sleep issues to improve daytime functioning, help with reducing problematic behaviour and reduce family stress. Often this is not the reason that clients have contacted Early Links but once their sleep issues have been addressed it becomes easier to correctly identify other issues they are facing and find a way forward. Jen is one of a handful of Early Links staff that have been trained in Sleep Ability, an intervention program that promotes positive sleep practices in children and adolescents with developmental disabilities.
The second way is that Jen and her team can support clients experiencing difficulties around eating such as a limited diet. Support can be provided to create positive mealtime experiences and help expand food preferences. Jen, along with a few other staff at Early Links, has been trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding, which is a transdisciplinary program for assessment and treatment of children with feeding difficulties.
The third area in which Jen is particularly passionate is babies and toddlers and not just because they are cute! Jen is a big believer in early intervention with the emphasis on early. She said it can help get clients off to a good start and reduces the need for later intervention. Jen has previously enjoyed working in a dedicated baby program and is proud that the Early Links Physiotherapists have recently established our own baby program which we plan to expand to help more babies and their families.
If you are a parent or family member of a child with special needs who is not sleeping well or experiencing difficulty with eating, they may benefit from the support that Jen and our Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy team can provide.
Get in touch to find out more about how we can help.