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Rehabilitation Team

General Rehabilitation Team

In order to optimize the chances for success, it takes the dedication of a team of experts. The General Rehab Program is guided by a Clinical Director and a Program Director who provide clinical and administrative leadership for the program. Working with the Team Directors, you or your family member will be cared for by a team that specializes in every aspect of general rehabilitation. We have assembled this team to provide the resources so that you can achieve your maximal potential.

Clinical Director
Michele Fantasia, M.D. is the Clinical Director of the General Rehabilitation Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital. She is board certified in pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, spinal cord injury medicine, and pediatric rehabilitation. Dr. Fantasia received her graduate medical education at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey where she also completed a combined residency in pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation. She has presented at symposiums on pediatric spinal cord injury and pediatric rehabilitation.

Program Director
Donna L. Kelly, MA, OTR, Program Director for the General Rehabilitation Program joined Children’s Specialized Hospital in 2005 and continues to be the Director of Occupational Therapy. She is an experienced clinician with extensive pediatric training in Neurodevelopmental Treatment, and Sensory Integration . She has her advanced masters in Occupational Therapy from NYU specializing in the area of assistive technology. Donna has maintained her expertise in adaptive equipment, seating and positioning, and higher level electronics for power chair, augmentative, and computer access as well as Environmental Aids to Daily Living. She is also a member of RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and assistive Technology Society of North America) and is involved with related assistive technology special interest groups.

Program Supervisor
Anne Marie Santos, PT, MSPT, PCS, Program Supervisor for the General Rehabilitation Program; joined Children's Specialized in 1991. She is an experienced clinician with training in Neurodevelopmental Treatment, is a Pediatric Certified Specialist in Physical Therapy is a member of RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and assistive Technology Society of North America) and received her Assistive Technology Provider credentials. Anne Marie received her Masters in Physical Therapy from Columbia University in New York. She has presented at symposiums on pediatric spinal cord injury.


The Rehabilitation Team

Physical Therapist
The physical therapist uses therapeutic interventions, including aquatic therapy in our heated pool, to promote gross motor development to improve muscle movement, strength, balance and coordination. Patients and families learn how to use orthotics, prosthetics, wheelchairs and other aids as needed.

Occupational Therapist
The occupational therapist works with patients to improve quality of life and functional independence. Occupational therapists work with patients to assist them to learn or re-learn how to perform functional ADL skills such as bathing, toileting, dressing, and grooming. The therapist also works on simple household management tasks and other activities that may be part of the child's daily routine at home. OTs provides education in the use of adaptive equipment and durable medical equipment to make these tasks more achievable. Improving strength, coordination, and endurance are additional areas of focus during occupational therapy sessions which enhances overall functional abilities

Skilled nurses deliver around-the-clock nursing care.

Recreational Therapist
Provides treatment through recreational and leisure activities to promote the independent physical, cognitive, and social-emotional abilities of patients by enhancing current skills and facilitating the establishment of new skills. Recreational Therapists also provide leisure education to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Child Life Therapist
Provides treatment to create an environment that encourages and allows the patient to openly share and express feelings about their injury and hospitalization. Treatments also focus on minimizing the stress experienced with hospitalized children by teaching enhanced coping skills to effectively deal with pain and anxiety. Child Life and Recreation Therapists provide opportunities for successful re-integration into the community and school, along with recreational/leisure services intended to increase independence and social functioning.

Speech Therapist
The speech-language pathologists help patients learn or relearn to communicate effectively by improving oral motor functioning, articulation, and developing age-appropriate expressive and receptive language skills.

The psychologist gives supportive counseling to patients and families to address specific problems they have relating to the injury, such as changes in functional status, independence, self-esteem, social roles, personal relationships and body image.

The dietician assesses nutritional status, plans customized menus and offers nutrition education.

Patient Care Coordinator
At the time of admission, each patient and family is seen by a Patient Care Coordinator. This person is responsible for providing financial resources, networking with community agencies, and discharge planning services to ensure a smooth transition to home. In addition, support groups are held for visiting family members.

Respiratory Therapist
The respiratory therapist provides around-the-clock services plus patient education and assistance with chest physical therapy and use of respiratory equipment such as ventilators, oxygen, CPAP/BiPAP and chest percussive devices.

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