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MTR's Professional Therapists
Karen Huyssoon - Speech Therapist

When I was little, I spent every waking moment I could at Arden Farms, exchanging cleaning stalls for free lessons and generally doing anything I could to be around the horses. When I was 13, I was given my first horse and he taught me so much. He was a jumper and we enjoyed many wonderful years together. I grew up riding mostly hunters/jumpers on Arden Farm. I remember riding the school ponies bareback to the endlessly green border fields before they belonged to MTR. I have been riding for about 17 years. Two years ago (before I had my last two children) I was working with a couple of local trainers breaking babies and rehabbed race horses.

In 1996, I married the love of my life who is a Naval Academy Graduate. We were sent to Norfolk Virginia where I graduated from Old Dominion University with a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology. Three years ago, just on a whim, I turned into Arden to visit with the owners and discovered MTR. I have three wonderful children and I am honored to be a part of the magic of MTR. It is a joy to be a part of a barn where sunshine is on every child’s face and the horses are so endlessly patient and happy.

Debra Taylor

Alison Laszewski - Physical Therapist

“I always knew that I would find a way to combine my love of horses with my interest in therapy.” It started long ago for Alison who as a youngster experienced a bad fall from a horse. The extensive therapy made a huge impact on her life as she embarked on a medical career. Currently, Alison works with three clients in MTR’s Hippotherapy Program. Later this year she hopes to add more clients following the birth of her second child.

Alison received a BS from Boston University in pre-med followed by a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Shenandoah University in Virginia.  Additionally, Alison holds the Level I and Level II American Hippotherapy Association certification, she is a Registered Therapist with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsmanship International (PATH) and is an Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor. “I want to incorporate all that I have learned about massage therapy and physical therapy into Hippotherapy. It is amazing to see the progress made every day.”

Michelle Seanger Physical Therapist

Michelle comes from a military family that moved to this area when she was young. She attended University of Arizona and later finished her degree in physical therapy at the University of Maryland. Michelle has always had a connection with animals and wanted to be involved with them in a meaningful way. After being trained and becoming certified in Hippotherapy she started practicing at MTR and has become MTR's lead physical therapist.

During the week Michelle can be found in the physical therapy department at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis working with patients. At MTR her passion for therapy is enhanced because of the joy she sees in her clients. Riders are outside in the fresh air and they find themselves forming a bond with their therapist and with the unconditional support of the horse. “They have a completely different focus. Their goal is realized without having to focus on their disability,” explains Michelle. “In addition to the physical benefits of the three dimensional motion of the horse, their self-confidence and self esteem really improves. Due to Hippotherapy, they approach and accomplish tasks they never would have tried before because of this positive new energy.”

 

Debra Taylor

Debra Taylor - Occupational Therapist

Debra Taylor, OTR/L SIPT Certified, comes to MTR with a wide variety of clinical experiences with both children and adults; in acute, sub acute and long-term care medical and psychiatric settings. She is trained in Therapeutic Listening, Brain Gym, and has completed her Level I Hippotherapy training. She plans on completing Level II Hippotherapy training in 2011.

She currently owns and works at Chesapeake Occupational Therapy Associates, a private practice servicing children with a variety of disorders. They offer treatment for autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, developmental coordination disorder, eating disorders, low muscle tone, sensory integration/sensory modulation disorders and other neurologic impairments. Debra hosts social skills groups in the occupational therapy gym and also at nearby private schools.

Prior to that, Debra Taylor, worked at Anne Arundel County Public Schools and Prince George’s County Public Schools in their occupational therapy departments. School based occupational therapy services were provided to both itinerant schools and special centers. She has specific knowledge of the IEP process to help parents navigate the special education world for their children.

Debra also, has experience working with adults in various settings. She was the senior OT on the medical and surgical units at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She was in charge of therapists providing services to newly injured patients in both medical and surgical icu’s as well as on the medical units for acute injuries, post-surgical rehabilitation, and cerebral vascular accidents.

Debra Taylor worked at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis in their in-patient hospital. Again, she saw patients with acute injuries. She was also the Program Manager for Genesis Eldercare Rehab providing sub-acute rehab to rehab and long term care patients.

Prior to moving to Maryland, Debra worked at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California. She worked in both their out-patient hand clinic and in-patient acute care Green Hospital. She became certified in aquatics therapy and provided services for arthritis patients while there.

Finally, Debra worked in a variety of in-patient psychiatric facilities in California, providing occupational therapy services. She has worked at Long Beach Memorial Hospital (Long Beach, CA), Harbor/UCLA Medical Center (Torrance, CA), and University of California, Irvine Medical Center (Orange, CA). These experiences have given Debra a full understanding of both the medical/physical as well as psychological impact of illness and diseases.

All Content © 2009 Maryland Therapeutic Riding, Inc.