Special Services » Physical and Occupational Therapists

Physical and Occupational Therapists

What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy helps people across the lifespan to participate in meaningful daily activities (occupations). The focus of occupational therapy is to promote functional independence following injury, illness, and/or disability by analyzing activities and performing individualized evaluations to determine the need for adaptations, modifications, and level of assistance. Occupational therapy is holistic in nature, tailoring interventions to fit the needs of
the person, incorporating their interests and values into the treatment process, and includes the family/caregivers in  treatment planning to develop and reach the persons goals.

What is school-based occupational therapy?
School-based occupational therapists support students, families, and staff within the academic environment as it relates to school performance. Occupational therapists assist children fulfill their role as a student to perform daily school routines to promote learning and participate in all school related tasks and activities as independently as possible. Education and consultation are provided to staff and families on how they can further support their student and child within their school environment.
Occupational therapists address deficits in fine motor coordination, gross motor coordination, bilateral coordination skills, visual motor integration skills, sensory processing disorders, executive functioning skills, behavioral and mental health concerns and how they impact the student’s ability to learn and participate in school and the classroom. Common difficulties encountered in the classroom involve handwriting, whether stemming from visual motor skills to properly size, space, and form letters or fine motor and gross motor coordination to effectively hold a writing tool and/or remain in an upright seated position.
Occupational therapists use a variety of evaluations to determine delays and deficits and how it is impacting school performance. If it is determined the child requires school-based therapeutic interventions, individualized goals and objectives are developed to improve their skills.
Melissa Weiss, OTR/L
Hatchery Hill
[email protected]
Ms. Weiss is a Board-Certified Occupational Therapist. She earned her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Kean University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from William Paterson University. During her time at Kean University, Ms. Weiss completed pediatric clinical
rotations in outpatient and school-based settings, gaining experience in various conditions and evidenced-based intervention techniques. She has completed extensive research in sensory processing and integration disorders to design and implement therapeutic interventions. She has completed multiple continuing education courses to expand her knowledge in school-based treatment strategies, Autism Spectrum Disorder, typical and atypical pediatric development, and primitive reflexes.  Ms. Weiss loves assisting her students in their academic environment by promoting creativity, play, and sensory exploration to establish and strengthen their skills.
Michael Rossi
Willow Grove/High School
[email protected]
Mr. Rossi is a Hackettstown High School graduate and received his BSW from Juniata College in 2019 and MSOT from Moravian University in 2021. Michael is very passionate toward occupational therapy and helping our students achieve their greatest potential. Mr. Rossi is certified in the Learning Without Tears Handwriting Curriculum and has research published through the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Michael is also the head coach for Hackettstown’s Unified Sports and Special Olympics teams.
Lisa Renfors
All schools
[email protected]
Ms. Renfors is the Physical Therapist for the Hackettstown School District. This year will mark her 21st year as a practicing Physical Therapist in New Jersey. Ms. Renfors earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Rowan University and her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Elon University in North Carolina. Prior to working in Hackettstown Ms. Renfors worked in an inpatient rehabilitation center and in homecare.