After consulting with his faithfulassistant (otherwise known as Mom) about today’s weather, Joshua dresses himself in the appropriate attire. With freshly brushed teeth and combed hair, he is feeling ready to seize the day. There are castles to build and canvases to paint, not to mention all of the letters, numbers, and shapes he will encounter.

At age 3, Joshua’s “occupations” are learning, playing, and self-care. He is building a foundation for future independence, socialization, and success in school and work.

​These tasks come with minimal struggles for Joshua, but for many children that is not the case. Physical, cognitive, sensory, and developmental delays or difficulties make these daily “occupations” seem insurmountable. With the help of an occupational therapist who specializes in pediatrics, there is hope for all children.Occupational therapists hold bachelor’s, master’s, and sometimes doctorate degrees with extensive education in anatomy, kinesiology, neuroanatomy, child development, psychology, sensory systems, and task analysis.

​In March of 2012, Coastal Kids Therapy, founded by sisters, Blair Kutrow and Laurel Thornton, opened its doors to help meet the need for pediatric occupational therapy services in Wilmington and surrounding areas. Blair and Laurel both relocated to Wilmington to fulfill Laurel’s dream of owning a pediatric occupational therapy practice. Their desire is to provide excellent therapy services in a cheerful, “home-like” environment that is child and parent friendly. With Blair’s 25 years of experience in executive leadership positions in Washington DC and Laurel’s 25 years of experience as a pediatric occupational therapist, they are achieving this dream.

​In its first year since opening, Coastal Kids Therapy has grown quickly to meet the needs in the Wilmington, Jacksonville and surrounding counties, adding three therapists to their team. Weatherly Landry, an occupational therapy assistant, has brought amazing creativity, skills, and an upbeat positive attitude to the team. Occupational therapist, Colleen Rose recently joined the team when she moved to the area from Texas with her marine husband. Colleen’s knowledge, patience, and experience working with children especially those on the autism spectrum is a wonderful addition to Coastal Kids Therapy. Treating just a few afternoon children, Mandy Oestrich, another experienced occupational therapist has added yet more positive energy and expertise to the practice. The therapists at Coastal Kids Therapy provide thorough evaluations which focus on each child’s strengths as well as needs in the areas of motor skills, sensory processing, and self-care. The therapists at Coastal Kids Therapy have experience and expertise treating children with developmental delays, various genetic syndromes, including Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, sensory processing disorders as well as children on the autism spectrum. Recognizing each child’s unique individuality while finding what motivates them is their key to creating a positive therapeutic environment.

Thoughts From Our Therapists 



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503 Covil Ave, Unit 100, Wilmington, NC 28403 • Tel: 910-792-6706 • HIPAA Statement
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The Occupations of a Child
From: “Meet the Expert” Wilmington Parent, July 2013 Issue.
Laurel Thornton, OTR/L

Joshua rises at 7:00 a.m. ready to start another busy day on the job. After taking care of his first “business” of the day, he heads to the kitchen for a healthy breakfast. He will need this for physical as well as mental nourishment as he has a busy agenda today.