Shriners Children's Chicago Rehabilitation Therapy

Shriners Children's Chicago offers physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment in a family-centered and supportive environment.

Our Team is Ready to Serve Your Family

Shriners Children's Chicago's compassionate and experienced pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapists deliver goal-oriented care.
Physical Therapy

Our physical therapists specialize in treating acute, surgical, chronic and congenital conditions impacting children and young adults.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists at Shriners Children's Chicago help children improve fine motor skills and daily living tasks that improve independence and functionality.

Speech Therapy

Speech language pathologists use creative approaches to help children find their voice, and also work on feeding goals.

The rehabilitation services team shares one focus: children.

That focus dictates every piece of a patient's treatment plan. Children learn most efficiently and work hardest when they play. Our therapists incorporate play into functional activities to distract the child from the hard work needed to be successful in rehabilitation therapy.

Our team will work with the family to create a custom treatment plan using a multidisciplinary approach.

At a destination hospital on the outskirts of Chicago

Parents consistently describe our hospital as a special place that children want to come to.

Right after the first appointment, I knew we were in good hands. Everyone at Shriners Children’s really listens to you.
Lisa, mother of patient with cerebral palsy
Alexandra Bailey headshot
Alexandra Bailey, PT, D.P.T.
Alexandra Bailey headshot
Alexandra Bailey, PT, D.P.T.

Alexandra Bailey, PT, D.P.T., started her career as a pediatric physical therapist in 2017, and joined Shriners Children’s Chicago in 2019. She received both her Bachelor of Science and doctorate in physical therapy from Marquette University. Alexandra (Ally) previously worked in a therapeutic preschool setting. She has evaluated and treated children from birth to 18 years old with a variety of challenges and diagnoses. She has significant experience working with children with orthopedic and sports injuries, developmental delay, and neurologic conditions. She has also taken extensive training in orthotic management, and shoulder rehabilitation after injury or surgery. To her, it is a privilege to develop a relationship with her patients and families and see them maximize their full potential. 

Angela Guerino headshot
Angela Guerino, PT, D.P.T.
Angela Guerino headshot
Angela Guerino, PT, D.P.T.

Angela Guerino, PT, D.P.T., is a physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Chicago. Angela earned a Bachelor of Science in education and health science in pre-physical therapy from the University of Dayton, and a doctorate in physical therapy from Northwestern University. Angela started her career at Shriners Children’s Chicago as a student physical therapist in 2017, and later returned as a full-time staff member in January of 2021. Angela works with a wide variety of patients with differing diagnoses, ranging from birth to 18 years of age. As a staff therapist, she treats patients in inpatient rehabilitation, post-surgical patients and outpatients. Angela’s special interests include sports medicine, patients with amputations and oncology patients. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association in the Illinois Chapter.

Kathryn Hess
Kathryn Hess, MS, CCC-SLP
Kathryn Hess
Kathryn Hess, MS, CCC-SLP

Kathryn Hess, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology from MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and has a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). Kathryn has worked in a variety of pediatric settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics and early intervention, and has held a variety of clinical and managerial roles throughout her career. She started at Shriners Children’s Chicago in 2015, and is an advanced clinician in the pediatric rehabilitation department. Her primary roles at Shriners Children's include performing evaluations, treatments and consultations for inpatients, intensive/day rehabilitation patients and outpatients, and serving as the SLP representative during weekly interdisciplinary rehabilitation rounds. Kathryn has experience working with children of all ages and with a wide variety of diagnoses, strengths and challenges. Areas of advanced education and clinical experience include: speech disorders (including apraxia, phonological disorders and articulation disorders), receptive and expressive language disorders, cognitive-communicative disorders (including TBI, ABI, executive functioning difficulty), feeding and swallowing difficulties, and early childhood development. She really enjoys working as part of a strong interdisciplinary team and seeing the progress that the children make during their time at Shriners Children's. 

Brian Hovorka
Brian Hovorka, MS, OTR/L
Brian Hovorka
Brian Hovorka, MS, OTR/L

Brian Hovorka, MS, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist in the rehabilitation department at Shriners Children’s Chicago. He received his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011, and Master of Science in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. Before joining the Shriners Chicago team in 2019, Brian worked as an occupational therapist within the school system, outpatient pediatrics and inpatient pediatrics at other facilities in the Chicagoland area. Brian works throughout all areas of care at Shriners Children’s Chicago, including inpatient and outpatient services. He enjoys treating a variety of patient populations, especially spinal cord injury, amputees and a variety of neuromuscular diagnoses. Brian enjoys being able to work on a multidisciplinary team to help children and young adults reach their fullest potential.

April Jewell
April Jewell, MS, OTR/L
April Jewell
April Jewell, MS, OTR/L

April Jewell, MS, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist from Omaha, Nebraska. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science, followed by her Master of Science in occupational therapy from Rush University. April has experience working with children across various settings, including outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation, early intervention and therapeutic day programming. While April has a well-rounded background working with a variety of diagnoses, she specializes in the evaluation and treatment of infants and children with brachial plexus injuries (BPI). She has experience working with children before-and-after nerve transfers, tendon transfers and humeral osteotomies for improved arm and hand function. April co-leads a national brachial plexus injury mentorship group in order to improve the care of children with BPI across the country. April also enjoys creating custom adaptive equipment for children with various orthopedic and limb differences, including arthrogryposis, in order to improve their independence with daily activities.

Maggie LeFever
Maggie LeFever, PT
Maggie LeFever
Maggie LeFever, PT

Maggie LeFever, PT, is from Chicago, Illinois, and graduated with her master's in physical therapy from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in 2004. She worked at The Pediatric Place, an outpatient clinic in Palos Heights, before joining the rehabilitation team at Shriners Children's in 2006. She is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association. Maggie has presented on the topic of robotic body weight supported treadmill training at pediatric spinal cord injury (SCI) symposiums. She has also contributed poster presentations on "RGO Training in the Pediatric SCI Patient" and "Neurocom Assessment and Training in a Patient with an Incomplete SCI" at the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals conferences. Maggie has treated and evaluated children with a wide variety of diagnoses, including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, orthopedic injuries and limb loss. Her clinical focus and areas of interest include sports medicine and spinal cord injury, but she is grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on any kid who receives care at Shriners Children's.

Cayla Maher
Cayla Maher, PT, D.P.T., PCS
Cayla Maher
Cayla Maher, PT, D.P.T., PCS

Cayla Maher, PT, D.P.T., PCS, is a physical therapist who received her Bachelor of Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northwestern University. Cayla became a board-certified clinical specialist in pediatric physical therapy in 2023. Prior to joining Shriners Children's, she worked in adult and pediatric acute care at an L1 trauma center, a burn and stroke center, and also worked in outpatient pediatrics. She has been a physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Chicago since October 2022. At Shriners Children's, Cayla is responsible for caring for patients ages 0-18 in all levels of care, including inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, acute care and aquatic therapy. Her special interests include treating neurological conditions, infant development and torticollis, and the early rehabilitative care of patients with new neurologic and orthopedic injuries. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and a part of the Illinois and Pediatrics chapters.

Mary Peer
Mary Peer, MPT
Mary Peer
Mary Peer, MPT

Mary Peer, MPT, graduated with her master's degree in physical therapy from Washington University in St. Louis' School of Physical Therapy in 1993. Prior to joining the team at Shriners Children's Chicago in 1997, she worked at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Illinois in Chicago Hospital. Mary has been a physical therapist at Shriners Children's for over 20 years. She has worked in multiple areas of care, including inpatient rehabilitation, intensive outpatient rehabilitation, osteogenesis imperfecta, acute care and sports medicine. She has also worked in specialty clinics for muscular dystrophy and amputees. Mary has expertise in the areas of wheelchair seating and positioning, and caring for children with complex medical needs. She has contributed to clinical research with articles such as the use of dynamic orthotics and long-term follow up in clients who experienced Van Ness Rotationplasty.

Kathleen Sweeney
Kathleen Sweeney, PT, D.P.T., PCS
Kathleen Sweeney
Kathleen Sweeney, PT, D.P.T., PCS

Kathleen Sweeney, PT, D.P.T., PCS, is a physical therapist in the pediatric rehabilitation department at Shriners Children’s Chicago. She earned her doctorate of physical therapy degree from Creighton University in 2003. She achieved her pediatric clinical specialist certification from the APTA in 2011. Kathleen joined the staff at Shriners Children’s Chicago in July 2007. Kathleen serves as the center coordinator of clinical education for physical therapy students to coordinate final student placements for local physical therapy programs. Kathleen is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and participates in the weekly serial casting program to address all forms of toe-walking. Kathleen evaluates and treats patients from 0-18 at Shriners Children's in the post-operative phase, inpatient rehabilitation setting and outpatient setting. Kathleen enjoys evaluating patients for proper wheelchairs, along with providing training and adjustments to improve function.

Emily Thomas
Emily M. Thomas, MOT, OTR/L
Emily Thomas
Emily M. Thomas, MOT, OTR/L

Emily M. Thomas, MOT, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist in the rehabilitation department at Shriners Children’s Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and graduated from Governors State University with a Master of Science in occupational therapy in December of 2013. Emily has worked her entire practice as a therapist in pediatrics, servicing children in the settings of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and within schools. She is the primary occupational therapist staffing the upper extremity and hand specialty clinic at Shriners Children’s Chicago. Emily has experience working with patients with a wide range of diagnoses, including neurological and genetic disorders, spinal cord injury, developmental delay, brachial plexus birth palsy, upper extremity and hand injury. She has extensive experience in custom splinting and orthosis fabrication for children with upper extremity and congenital hand differences. Emily strongly believes in using a team approach and working closely with other disciplines involved in each child's care. Emily is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Illinois Occupational Therapy Association and American Society of Hand Therapists, and enjoys advocating for and promoting the profession of occupational therapy as the coordinator of occupational therapy student observers at Shriners Children’s Chicago.

Rachel Twohig
Rachel J. Twohig, PT, D.P.T.
Rachel Twohig
Rachel J. Twohig, PT, D.P.T.

Rachel J. Twohig PT, D.P.T., is a physical therapist in the pediatric rehabilitation department at Shriners Children's Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science in exercise science and Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Saint Louis University. Prior to joining Shriners Children's, she worked as an outpatient pediatric physical therapist. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has experience in treating an array of diagnoses in the pediatric population, including neurologic disorders, developmental delays, genetic conditions and many more. Rachel joined the Shriners Children's team because she appreciates their collaborative approach to patient care, and she enjoys working with other disciplines to provide comprehensive treatment. She finds great joy working with children and their families, witnessing the resilience in her patients and celebrating with them as they achieve their goals. Outside of her professional life, Rachel enjoys reading, traveling, exploring new restaurants with friends and spending time at her family’s lake house in Wisconsin.

Ashley Umali
Ashley Umali, MS, OTR/L
Ashley Umali
Ashley Umali, MS, OTR/L

Ashley Umali, MS, OTR/L, is a senior occupational therapist in the pediatric rehabilitation department at Shriners Children’s Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her master’s degree in occupational therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. With nearly 10 years of pediatric experience, Ashley enjoys treating a variety of different diagnoses, including spinal cord injury, brain injury, developmental delay, upper extremity injuries and congenital limb differences/issues, and other neurological and genetic diagnoses. She also has a special interest in pediatric splinting, upper extremity prostheses and casting. Other notable clinical experiences include presenting at the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association virtual conference in 2020 on atypical upper extremity arthrogryposis, coordinating clinical fieldwork students, participating in multi-disciplinary rehabilitation rounds, and guest lecturing at occupational therapy programs across Chicago. Ashley is passionate about making therapy fun while supporting children and their families to achieve functional goals that are meaningful to them.

Michelle Urban, PT, MHS, WCC
Michelle Urban, PT, MHS, WCC
Michelle Urban, PT, MHS, WCC
Michelle Urban, PT, MHS, WCC

Michelle Urban, PT, MHS, WCC, has been a physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Chicago for the past 26 years. Prior to that, she has worked at two different hospital systems, rotating through different focuses including inpatient, rehabilitation and outpatient in both pediatrics and adults. This is where she discovered her love for pediatrics. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy at Marquette University and a Master of Health Science with physical therapy focus from University of Indianapolis. She has held several roles and currently practices as an advanced clinician. Her specialties include wound care and pressure redistribution (Wound Care Certified WCC for 13 years), wheelchair seating and DME, serial casting, and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. She also likes treating children with developmental delays, pain in different joints, neuromuscular disorders, arthrogryposis, sports injuries and unknown diagnoses. She is always up for a challenge and open to new learning opportunities. She feels that communication and an interdisciplinary approach helps to address the client’s needs more effectively. She has also participated in several research studies during her time at Shriners Children's.

Jenna Urbaniak
Jenna Urbaniak, PT, D.P.T.
Jenna Urbaniak
Jenna Urbaniak, PT, D.P.T.

Jenna Urbaniak, PT, D.P.T., started her career as a pediatric physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Chicago in 2019. Jenna earned a Bachelor of Health Science at Bradley University, and her doctorate in physical therapy from Northwestern University. She is experienced in working with pediatric patients with developmental delays, orthopedic and sports conditions, and neurological injuries. At Shriners Children's, Jenna is responsible for caring for patients ages 0-18 in all levels of care, including inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, acute care and aquatic therapy. She specializes in serial casting for individuals with idiopathic toe-walking and ankle equinus contractures. Her special interests include sports medicine and treating athletes (specifically gymnasts/dancers and runners). She has received advanced certifications in clinical instruction, and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy, as well as the Illinois Physical Therapy Association.

Debbie Victor
Debbie Victor, O.T.D., OTR/L
Debbie Victor
Debbie Victor, O.T.D., OTR/L

Debbie Victor, O.T.D., OTR/L, received her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008. Throughout her career, she has worked in pediatric rehabilitation settings. Debbie began working at Shriners Children’s Chicago in 2013, where she sees clients in all levels of care, including inpatient rehabilitation, day rehab, and outpatient settings. Her areas of expertise include pediatric spinal cord injury, spina bifida, brachial plexus injury, arthrogryposis, upper extremity serial casting, and working with families from diverse backgrounds. Debbie has a special interest in working with the LGBTQIA+ community. She has additional specialization in pelvic health, and she enjoys training individuals in self-catheterization and serving those who have bowel and bladder issues. Debbie is passionate about social justice and occupational justice and places client advocacy at the forefront of her practice.

Nicole Viverito
Nicole Viverito, PT, D.P.T., BSPTS
Nicole Viverito
Nicole Viverito, PT, D.P.T., BSPTS

Nicole Viverito, PT, D.P.T., BSPTS, is a physical therapist who received a Bachelor of Science in movement science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Midwestern University. She has worked at Shriners Children’s Chicago since 2013. She is advanced level certified in treating scoliosis with physiotherapy scoliosis specific exercises based on Schroth principles through the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School. She has participated as a contributing member of Shriners Consortium for Outcomes, Research, and Education in Sports (SCORES). She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association Pediatrics Section. Her areas of interest include scoliosis, sports medicine, spinal cord injury and chronic pain conditions. Nicole values being a member of the multidisciplinary team that provides comprehensive care to improve the lives of children and adolescents and the families who care for them.

Elena Zumbuleva headshot
Elena Zumbuleva, PT, D.P.T.
Elena Zumbuleva headshot
Elena Zumbuleva, PT, D.P.T.

Elena Zumbuleva, PT, D.P.T., is a pediatric physical therapist who received a Master of Arts in German linguistics from Minsk State Linguistic University and a doctorate in physical therapy from Midwestern University. Elena has experience working with children of all ages starting from 24 weeks gestational age to early adulthood. She treats patients with a wide variety of orthopedic and neurological disorders, as well as other difficulties with gross motor skills, coordination and balance. Elena is a DMI level A certified clinician and is passionate about helping her youngest patients with developmental disorders.

Being born and raised in Belarus, she speaks Russian and Belarussian as her native languages. She also speaks conversational Bulgarian. Elena has a great appreciation for different cultures and traditions and aims to create a sensitive and comfortable environment for each family and child.

Elena truly enjoys working with children and highly values trust and communication with their families. She strive to provide compassionate and individualized care for her patients in order to help each child reach his/her full potential.

Malachi Talks About Pediatric Rehabilitation

Malachi talks with his physical therapist Aly about his experience as a patient at Shriners Hospitals. For more on why Malachi came to Shriners Hospitals in Chicago for inpatient rehabilitation visit https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/chicago/news-and-events/malachi-on-the-move-2040
View Transcript

Speaker 1:

The first question, Malachi, is what is the first thing you'll do when you go home?

Malachi:

Ride my bike.

Speaker 1:

Ride your bike. What do you think has helped you the most here at Shriners?

Malachi:

Allie and Brian, and doing exercises.

Brian:

Go, go, go, go.

Speaker 1:

Why would you recommend Shriners to a friend?

Malachi:

Because you can get stronger there. They got good food, I guess, and yeah, is just really helpful.

Allie:

Boom. Yes.

Speaker 1:

And the last question we have for you is, what is your favorite memory of Shriners?

Malachi:

Meeting all of the nurses, making new friends and making a [inaudible 00:00:46].

 

Mason saves Buzz Lightyear | Physical therapy at Shriners Chicago

Need some motivation for the new year? Our Shriners Hospitals patients have it in spades...with a little help from favorite friends like Toy Story. Mason is relearning to walk after an unexplained illness took away his steps. His parents are pros at getting M to try the braces, wear the boots and do the work to get stronger. Our orthopaedic, rehabilitation and POPS teams are proud to be part of so many family stories like this one. See more of them at shrinerschicago.org. See more of Mason on our instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3nD68mnp9b/
View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Please, Jacob. Please save ...

Speaker 2:

Oh, no.

Speaker 1:

Oh, Jacob. Oh, Jacob.

Speaker 2:

Don't let him fall. You got to save him before he falls.

Speaker 1:

Oh, no.

Jacob:

I'll catch you, Buzz.

Speaker 1:

Catch Buzz.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you got to catch Buzz. Catch him.

Speaker 1:

Catch him.

Speaker 2:

Catch him.

Jacob:

I'll catch you.

Speaker 2:

Great job.

Speaker 1:

Catch him.

Jacob:

[inaudible 00:00:15]

Speaker 1:

Oh, no. Oh!

Jacob:

I caught you, Buzz!

Speaker 2:

You did it!

Speaker 1:

You saved him.

Speaker 2:

Good job. Yay.

Speaker 1:

Good job, bud.

Speaker 2:

That was so good.

 

Watch Starlit in PT. “Don’t Touch The Cone!”

Physical Therapists work with each child to reach their individual treatment goals. See Starlit play one of her favorite games in physical therapy.
View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Can you go in a rainbow? I'm going to pick some so they're a rainbow for you. Ready? It's a surprise where the cone goes. You got to start walking. Ah! Don't touch the cone. Oh my goodness, look at you go.

0:53
Malachi Talks About Pediatric Rehabilitation
0:23
Mason saves Buzz Lightyear | Physical therapy at Shriners Chicago
0:26
Watch Starlit in PT. “Don’t Touch The Cone!”

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