My name is Denise Ribarich and I am grateful that you have chosen my course. I began my OT career at Stony Brook Hospital then moved to ACLD ( Kramer Learning Center), and HASC (Hebrew Academy for Special Children) for 6 years. I gained knowledge of sensory processing delays and interventions from many colleagues. And lastly SLCD (School for Language and Communication Development). 23 years ago I began working for Nassau BOCES in the Hearing and Vision program and presently work at Rosemary Kennedy School and Iris Wolfson Middle and High school.
In the last few years I was fortunate to have a wonderful principal and assistant principal who embraced my vision of building a garden and has provided me the area and resources necessary for it to be successful. They have observed the changes in the students and the life skills that they have been afforded to the students in this program .Some gains that the educational staff and I have observed have been increased expressive speech, participation, motivation, curiosity, as well as improved fine/gross motor and motor planning skills. This gardening program has built up from flowers to vegetables and herbs being grown. I look ahead to expanding even more as this school year progresses and the best part is the once resistive students are more motivated to come to their OT sessions to get their hands in the dirt and achieve their goals. I truly hope this will inspire you to have a vision to plan a simple garden at your school or community and see the joy that your students will experience.