Meet Nashville Speech And Occupational Therapy Providers Wonderlight Therapy

Dated: 06/21/2019

Views: 1102

by TJ Anderson

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As a Realtor in Nashville, I work with people whose occupations and passions run the gamut. Chefs and songwriters. Accountants and marketing managers. We often find some common ground — a lot of jobs are centered around a hope of making people’s lives better, and/or more enjoyable. Mine certainly is. And my client Jessica Salley’s (above, right) is too.

Alongside business partner Breanna DeKuiper (above, left), Jessica leads Wonderlight Therapy, which offers individualized speech and occupational therapy services for children of all ages in Davidson, Williamson, and parts of Sumner counties.

More simply: Jess and Breanna help kids thrive, and help take weight off parents’ shoulders. We’re all striving to give our kids the tools they need to achieve, and to feel proud and happy. For kids who are struggling, with anything from language challenges to social and physical difficulties, Wonderlight Therapy develops a path to improvement, and works with children to implement it, and make progress.

I’m inspired and moved by the business they’ve built and the work they’re doing, so I wanted to introduce Wonderlight Therapy to more of my Nashville friends and neighbors. If you’re a parent in Nashville — or know Nashville parents who’ve had struggles with their child’s development — Jessica and Breanna, and Wonderlight, might be exactly the help you’re looking for.

A little more about Nashville speech and occupational therapy providers Wonderlight Therapy:

How does a parent learn whether speech and/or occupational therapy could be helpful?

Jess Salley: There are several ways a parent can learn about speech and OT services. Oftentimes, a child is identified by a teacher or doctor because the child is not meeting his/her milestones or is struggling with certain skills compared to similar aged peers. Other times, a parent may just have this lingering gut feeling that their child could use a little boost related to his/her development. Here are some red flags that parents can look out for:

— Difficulty following directions, identifying items, or understanding age appropriate concepts like other kids his/her age (receptive language)

— Your child seems to always be “on the go” or it may be the opposite and they have a low arousal level compared to their peers

— Trouble putting together grammatically correct sentences or your little one is a late talker compared to similar aged children (expressive language)

— Your child dislikes getting messy, certain clothing textures, bath time/swimming, and playground equipment, or your child seems to touch everything and is impulsive/un-safe on playgrounds

— A difficult time with pronunciation (articulation/phonology) and feels frustrated when he/she is misunderstood

— Difficulty making and keeping friends (social/pragmatic language)

— You child seems much clumsier than other kids, fatigues easily, or struggles during gym class and sports practices

— Significant difficulty tolerating the feeling, smell, or even look of certain textures or foods, which leads to “picky eating” (feeding difficulties)

— Difficulty with managing emotions and behavior

Speech and OT both address a wide variety of integral skills and, even though it’s summer break, there is no better time to have fun while making progress!

What originally attracted you toward building a career in this kind of therapy?

Jess: Both Bre and I are very energetic, imaginative people with a love for children. We feel that working in the speech and occupational therapy fields is the perfect blend of serving others in our community and promoting inclusivity, while still fueling our creative sides.

What drew you to Nashville?

Jess: While I have only been in Nashville for several years, Bre is what we all like to call a “unicorn”! She was born and raised in the Nashville area. Nashville has such a unique, vivacious feel and it’s only getting better! The growth of Music City gives you a feeling of opportunity and excitement for what’s to come, which is what we hope to provide our clients!

Do you feel like Nashville is a welcoming place for entrepreneurs like you and Breanna?

Jess: Nashville has greeted us with open arms! We are so grateful to be in this environment as we launch Wonderlight Therapy. We have attended various networking events and insightful meetups with other entrepreneurs. The recent population growth has brought many families to the area and we’re looking forward to meeting them!

Can you share any highlights from the work you've done — any experiences you've had with kids making progress that really stuck with you?

Jess: We wholeheartedly believe in celebrating every success, big or small. One of the most fulfilling parts of our careers is being present for our client’s “breakthroughs.”

We’re lucky to have a whole memory bank of these experiences to smile about, but something we highly value is the impact and empowerment therapy has on families as a whole. Guiding the way for a family to communicate with their child, helping a picky eater participate in family meals, or developing a child’s social skills so he/she may participate in games/sports with their friends means the world to us!

About your "community inclusion" services — why do you think it's important to provide therapy to support kids directly in social/extracurricular activities?

Jess: This is an aspect of Wonderlight that we are extremely passionate about. Both Bre and I participated in sports and extracurriculars throughout childhood. We experienced the benefits these activities have on social skills, mental health, a sense of community, self-esteem, and overall development, first hand.

We strongly believe that a child’s differences can be superpowers instead of barriers to participation in his/her interests or hobbies. We offer our services to consult, modify, and collaborate with community staff to allow your child’s hobby/interest/activity to be inclusive.

For example, if your child is interested in martial arts, but generally struggles in an environment that is too noisy and unpredictable, or has difficulty sequencing several moves into a combination, Wonderlight can educate the child, teachers, and parents on ways to best support one another for success through visuals, teaching strategies, or environmental modifications.

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Learn more about Wonderlight Therapy

Wonderlight Therapy provides individual and/or group speech and occupational therapy services within the home, school, and community, with a goal of targeting a child’s needs within his or her natural environment. Learn more about Wonderlight’s services at, and follow their work on social media: @wonderlighttherapy on Instagram and Wonderlight Therapy on Facebook.

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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