Pediatric Thearpy Services at Haywood Regional 

The rehabilitation department is proud to have a professional team of Speech and Occupational Therapists who can provide excellent assessments and therapy services to children from infancy to 21 years of age. Our goal is to assist each child with reaching his/her maximum potential. Pediatric therapy promotes functional independence for children dealing with the effects of disease,
injury, birth defects, disability or developmental challenges.

Pediatric therapy services may benefit the following conditions:

  • Auditory Processing Disorders
  • Articulation Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Apraxia
  • Developmental Delay
  • Failure to Thrive
  • Feeding/Swallowing Difficulties
  • Fine/Gross Motor Deficits
  • Fluency
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Language Disorders
  • Pre-reading/Phonological Awareness Disorders
  • Social Pragmatic Language Disorders
  • Visual Perceptual Disorders
  • Voice Disorders
  • Low Muscle Tone 
  • Toe Walking
  • Coordination Impariments 
  • Hemophilia
  • Torticollis/Plagiocephaly

Occupational Therapy

A child’s job is to be a kid!

Pediatric Occupational Therapy focuses on:

  • Fine motor skills, including hand use, printing, and eye/hand coordination
  • Self-help skills, such as feeding, dressing, and grooming
  • Pre-school readiness and school skills, such as following directions, problem solving and socialization
  • Improving sensory processing skills, such as organization and self-regulation
  • Visual motor and perception skills, like hand-writing, and cutting with scissors

Speech Therapy

Communication is a vital part of being a kid. Pediatric speech therapy focuses on improving language skills, developing social/pragmatic skills, sound production so your child can be understood, oral motor skills for speech and swallowing, and finally promoting independence with communication in the home, school and community environments.

We offer Modified Barium Swallow studies which are conducted by the speech-language pathologist and radiologist. A Modified Barium swallow study is a test that takes pictures of your child’s mouth and throat while he/she swallows various food and liquid consistencies mixed with barium. This test is appropriate for children who exhibit signs of feeding/swallowing difficulties.

How do I tell if my child needs a speech-language patholigist? 

Signs at any age: 

  • Swallowing/Feeding Issues- Choking, gagging, or coughing when eating/drinking, difficulty chewing, poor weight gain, recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • Voice-prolonged periods of hoarseness, abnormal vocal quality, too loud or soft
  • Hearing- child has a hearing loss
  • Poor attention –unable to sit with adult for short period of time
  • Limited interest- in people and other children, limited eye contact
  • Loss in previously acquired skills- stops using words that he/she once used
  • Frustration- children who demonstrate negative behaviors often but are not using words to communicate thoughts/needs/desires as often.

Download our continued checklist by specific age HERE - if you have any concerns call Haywood Pediatric Therapy at 828.452.8071

Parent Involvement

Each child’s success is dependent upon a team approach between therapist and parents. Our pediatric team works closely with parents and caregivers to ensure that they understand the home program for their child. With this model, the child’s progress is enhanced by a combination of direct therapy and carryover activities for the home environment.

Our Team

Catherine M. Leister

Catherine M. Leister, MEd, CCC-SLP holds a Master’s of Education in speech-language pathology and a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has 34 years of experience and has worked for Haywood Regional since 2010. She previously owned a private practice in Charlotte, NC. She specializes in working with children who have autism, auditory processing disorders, and delayed language.

Olivia R. Muse

Olivia Muse, MS-OTR/L holds a Master’s of Science in occupational therapy and a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has worked for Haywood Regional since 2009 in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Prior to working at Haywood she taught kindergarten and completed an internship at Kidnetics Pediatric Outpatient Therapy Clinic in Greenville, SC, in addition to working as an OT within the school system. She specializes in sensory integration disorders.


Lauren Kinsland-Tatham

Lauren Kinsland-Tatham, MS, CCC-SLP holds a Master’s of Science in speech-language pathology and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Before working at Haywood Regional, she completed a Child Life Specialty internship at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Lauren completed a Master’s level grant specializing in speech and language services for children with severe and profound disabilities. She has worked in early intervention collaborating with the Children’s Developmental Services Agency. Lauren specializes in pediatric feeding/swallowing.

Jamie Beckwith 

Jamie Beckwith graduated from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Florida in 2016. She then moved to Portland, OR to participate in a year long pediatric residency program with Oregon Health and Science University. While at OHSU she worked with children and adults with a variety of developmental disabilities and motor impairments including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, encephalopathy, torticollis, low and high muscle tone, and coordination impairments. She also worked in OHSU's Hemophilia Treatment Center. Upon completing the program, she has worked with children as a physical therapist in Early Intervention, Early Childhood Special Education, and the outpatient settings. She desires to help all families of children with special needs learn what a gift their child is and to help them achieve greater independence through mobility. 


Patient Testimonials 

Kassie and Cole Carter

Kassie, five, and Cole Carter, three, both were born with exposure to drugs and alcohol. The two came into the care of foster parents Amy and Monty at the young ages of six weeks old and four days old.

“Kassie suffered from seizures, attention deficit, difficulty retaining information and struggled in school. She now can recite her ABC’s, sound out words, and remember things better. Cole experienced more behavioral issues, and challenges with physical, occupational and speech skills. He has progressed from not talking, to now saying 3-4 word sentences. He has just blossomed. These ladies are more than therapists. We all just fell in love with them. They make you feel like they genuinely love your kids. For somebody to care enough and put out so much effort and make you feel like that, they care a lot about their job. You don’t get that everywhere. This program did not just treat our children, they treated our family,” says mom Amy.  

In addition to rejoicing in achieved milestones at therapy, the family just celebrated the adoption finalization of Kassie and Cole in February of 2017. 

Rylan Deeter

Rylan is another patient of Haywood Regional pediatric therapy. He is diagnosed with high-functioning autism, hyperlexia (precocious ability to read), auditory processing disorder and sensory processing disorder. Right before age two he began therapy. Rylan is now five years old, and is a superstar in the program.

“When he first started he barely spoke, and now you can’t quiet him. He had a lot of coordination issues that now he can do with ease. He loves letters and numbers, and can even play chess. He’s brilliant! He’s now working on social speaking. The therapists know what they are doing and how to draw out the skills out of each individual child. Therapy has done wonders for him,” says mom Melody Deeter.