Meet Our Team
Kristi Nguyen OTR/L
Owner & Exective Director
Kristi Nguyen, OTR/L is the founder, owner and executive director of OT-Kids, LLC. Kristi is a licenced occupational therapist specializing in pediatric and sensory integrative therapies and has recieved advanced certifications in numerous therapeutic modalities realted to her field. A graduate of Quinnipiac University in 2002, she has practiced in school and clinic based settings since the beginning of her career, working with children of all ages and abilities. In 2015 she was approached by a team of local pracitioners to be part of the opening of a multi-disciplinary therapy center in Fairfield Connecticut. The Harbor Light Therapy and Social Center opened its doors in December of that year with OT-Kids as the occupational and physical therapy provider. In 2018 Kristi opened the doors to her newest office in Stamford Connecticut, a sate of the art sensory center providing occupational and physical therapy.
Specializing in sensory motor, fine motor, visual/vestibular and auditory based treatment approaches, Kristi is best known for her energetic and creative approach to working with children with sensory processing disorders, developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In 2008 Kristi was awarded with Handwriting Without Tears Level 1 Certification. She is an expert in the area of fine motor development, pre-writing and handwriting skills and interventions and the creator of The Write Stuff, her first self owned business providing homebased handwriting intervention to children in lower Fairfield County. Kristi consults with many local pre-schools and elementary schools and trains teachers on how to introduce Handwriting Without Tears into their classrooms. In 2008 Kristi was awarded the Creative Classroom Mini Grant by the City of Stamford Chamber of Commerce, allowing her to create a handwriting program for children in grades K-5 in the Stamford Public Schools who were struggling with handwriting mechanics but did not otherwise qualify for special education intervention. She worked closely with district administrators to create and implement this program throughout the Stamford Public Schools as they adopted the Response to Intervention (RTI) approach. In 2010 she recieved certification in the Vital Links Therapeutic Listeing program and currently designs and implements home based listening programs to compliment a childs therapeutic intervention. In 2012 Kristi furthred her expertise in the area of auditory programming and intervention when she became trained and certified in the use of Integrated Listening Systems method (iLs) and even further when she recieved her certification in the use of the iLs Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) in 2018.
In 2015 Kristi was the driving force behind the creation of a playbased Kindergarten program at First United Methodist Nursery School in Stamford Connecticut. Her dream of creating a developmentally appropriate play based kindergarten for her own son took flight when she presented her idea to the board of the nursery school and they expressed their interest in collaborating on the creation of the program. The FUMNS Kindergarten opened its doors to Kristi's son and 13 other children in 2015 and continues to run today. Kristi continues to be involved in the kindergarten classroom at FUMNS and consults weekly in the classroom coordinating their handwriting program and offering support services to the students.
In 2018 she was recognized by Melissa & Doug Toys as a “Pro of Play” and was featured as their first blog post for the Pros of Play series on their website and blog (https://www.melissaanddoug.com/blogpost/?postId=the-pros-of-play-meet-kristi-nguyen-the-mom-who-made-her-dream-of-a-play-based-kindergarten-come-true)
she frequently contributes her knowledge and expertise as a Blog contributor on Melissa&Doug.com.
I first earned my undergraduate degree at Fairfield University before receiving my Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Rhode Island in 1997. I began my career at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital working in both the inpatient and outpatient pediatric settings. It was there that I was first exposed to the value of a multi-disciplinary team approach. I had the opportunity to work closely with and learn from many specialists in their field by being apart of a variety of clinics, including Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, and Yale’s Own Preemie Clinic and Child Study Center. During my time there, I worked with children from Newborn Special Care Unit up to young adulthood, with experience in a wide variety of diagnoses and conditions as well as splinting, bracing, and adaptive equipment.
After starting my family, I transitioned into the Fairfield school system, where I continued to work collaboratively using a team-based model. There, I learned the intricate role that physical therapy plays in a child’s education and the impact we can have on their academic function and development.
Over the years, I have developed a special interest in reflex integration, concussion protocols and treatment, myofascial release, and the role vision plays on development. My goal is to help a child and their family achieve their desired results, through a fun and nurturing environment. I feel privileged to be apart of such an amazing team that cares so deeply and strongly for the families they serve.
It was during our time at Fairfield University that my husband and I feel in love with Fairfield and decided to raise our family here. That was over 20 years and 3 teenagers later and we still love everything this amazing town has to offer.
I began my college studies as a physical therapy student but quickly realized that my passion and interests were best suited to being an occupational therapist. I was fortunate to be able to enroll and graduate with honors from Quinnipiac University with a Masters in Occupational Therapy.
Throughout my life I've always had a special place in my heart for inclusion. Even in high school I was involved in a program that paired students together from regular education and special education, that allowed us to spend part of our days together to help both with facilitating friendships along with helping navigate the day to day challenges of being a student with special needs. I've always enjoyed working with children, and sought opportunities to develop my skills relating and engaging them by babysitting and being a camp counselor for more than 10 years.
Now, by working alongside Kristi and building upon my occupational therapy experience, I get to collaborate with speech and language pathologists, ABA therapists, and physical therapists. I'm passionate about sensory integration and reflex integration. I see the impact these foundational skills have on a child's social and emotional development.
I graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work, but shortly after beginning my career as a Social Worker, I realized that my true calling was in occupational therapy and I decided to return to school to further my studies toward a career in OT. I graduated from Mercy College in 2017 with my Occupational Therapy Assistant degree and my career in pediatric occupational therapy began. For over a decade, I have worked closely with the Greenwich Special Olympics, specifically the ice skating and swimming programs where I have the opportunity to watch and assist children and adults in achieving their dreams". I live in Trumbull with my husband and beautiful daughter and when not working or volunteering with the Special Olympics, I can be found outdoors enjoying my favorite hobby, running!
I am thrilled to be part of the amazing team of therapists at OT-Kids. I grew up in Stamford, and while pursuing my Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University, I would often spend time at OT-Kids observing and assisting the therapists during holiday breaks and over the summer vacations. When I completed my program I officially joined the team!
Throughout my life I have been fortunate to work with children of all ages. My mother was the director of a preschool program here in town and I spent many days there helping the teachers with their programs and activities. I learned to be able to engage with children in a playful way, which allowed them to put their trust in me. It was there that I was introduced to occupational therapy and was able to see how it changed a child's life. Watching a child accomplish a task or activity that he/she has been working diligently on, is one of the greatest pleasures of being an OT.
I've feel lucky to have become a part of this amazing team of pediatric developmental specialists. I look forward to working with each child, and the satisfaction of helping them achieve every task they set for themselves.
Fairfield & Stamford
I graduated from Quinnipiac University with a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2009 and immediately began my career as a Pediatric Clinician. My passion for working with individuals with special needs began when I was in high school and lead me to where I am today. Throughout my tenure, I have worked in a variety of settings including both public and private schools as well as in pediatric outpatient clinics throughout Connecticut. In addition to my role as a clinician, I have also enjoyed having the opportunity to educate Occupational Therapy Students as part of their fieldwork experience for many years for Colleges and Universities across New England. I specialize in supporting individuals with sensory processing difficulties and I have advanced expertise in the area of feeding and oral motor therapy interventions. I am passionate about working with children and their families to help all of my patients live happy, independent and fulfilling lives.
I first became interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy when I entered my freshman year of undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire. It was there that I first learned about the profession from a friend. I was immediately inspired by the difference that an OT can make in a persons ability to interact with the environment, learn and do the things they love to do! I received my Masters in Occupational Therapy from Sacred Heart University in 2012. My passion for working in pediatrics began during my first pediatric fieldwork rotation when I had the privilege of learning and working in a school based setting and later when I completed a 12 week placement under Kristi's supervision in a sensory clinic environment. I began my career in pediatrics and have worked in various sensory clinics in Lower Fairfield County. I expanded my expertise when I was given the opportunity to be the Clincal Director at a Skilled Nursing Facility in Stamford. It was there that I honed my skills in the areas of administrative and leadership duties but my passion for working with children brought me back to pediatrics and to OT-Kids. One of the greatest rewards of being a pediatric Occupational Therapist is the ability to help children engage in their occupations through activities that just seem like play!
I am honored to be part of the OT-Kids team and having the opportunity to expand my knowledge through collaboration with the team of fantastic OT's and PT's and the children we support!
I am thrilled to be part of the team of therapists at OT-Kids. I received my Bachelors Degree in Health Science Studies at Quinnipiac University in 2020 and continued my graduate studies at Quinnipiac, earning a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy in 2021. I had the amazing opportunity to start working alongside Kristi and the OT-Kids team as a fieldwork level 2 student during my pediatric rotation.
Throughout my life I have had a passion for working with children. While earning my degree at Quinnipiac, I worked as a paraprofessional in a local school district as well as a Behavior Therapist at a local ABA clinic. My knowledge and experience as both an OT and ABA therapist allow me to engage with children of all ages and abilities to help them succeed at OT- Kids!
I am honored to be able to work alongside such an amazing team at OT-Kids Fairfield and to have the opportunity to collaborate with the other professionals at Harbor Light Therapy and Social Center.
As a Physical Therapist I have spent over 20 years specializing in the area of pediatrics and truly love working with my patients and their families to improve physical independence. I graduated from the University of Hartford with a degree in Physical Therapy and in addition to providing services for OT-Kids, I am also employed with the Yale New Haven Health System, where I have the opportunity to work with both adults and children. This allows me to share my wealth of knowledge and experience a wider range of clients while treating a range of neurological and orthopedic conditions as well as post consucssion syndroms. My broad treatment experience incorporates MNRI (reflex training), manual therapy, vestibular therapy and PNF (proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitiation). I am so excited to be joining OT-Kids to collaborate with a group of highly experienced occupational therapists. When not working I enjoy traveling the world with my husband and two amazing daughters.
Fairfield & Stamford
I began my journey in health, wellness and pediatrics in 2002 as a certified personal trainer with The National Academy of Sports Medicine. During the year 2007 I began teaching children, starting as early as 4-months up to 12-years old. I worked building not only their gross and fine motor skills, but their social-emotional and play-skills. I used creative gymnastic activities in an educational environment to help foster self-confidence through play. I understand the connection between the body and the brain. By providing fun and engaging movement activities, I help children develop a better sense of their body as well as proper emotional, cognitive and social development.
I enjoy collaborating with specialists, including both occupational and physical therapist. Under their supervision, I’ve carried out therapuetic coaching sessions that incorporate reflex development, gross-motor skills, and fine-motor acquisition. I have extensive experience carrying over listening programs within the clinic setting, using a variety of auditory systems. I’ve also worked alongside some of the top speech and language pathologist, psychologist, psychiatrist and behavioral therapist in the Fairfield County area since 2012.
I have a love for sports and being outdoors. While I may not be the best bike rider, I have a passion for teaching children of all levels how to ride a bike. I feel like there is no better feeling than the freedom you feel when riding. I am an advocate and a friend to all children. And because of this, I am able to challenge kids to try their best, even when it seems impossible. I try to instill the lesson of time to children; that it often takes time to succeed and accomplish their goals, but that anything worth attaining takes time. And I always guide them find their own path to success.
I am so excited to have the opportunity to be working with Kristi and collaborating with this dynamic team of therapists.
Occupational Therapist Stamford
My journey into the field of occupational therapy has very personal connections. My twin sister and I were born at just 32 weeks gestation (8 weeks premature) at about 2 pounds each. We spent the first 1-2 months of our lives in the NICU and were delayed in reaching our developmental milestones, however we never qualified for therapy services because we were developing “just good enough.” I am happy to report that we are both happy and healthy, but that we would have greatly benefited from services such as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech therapy while growing up. When I was in middle school, I watched how my younger brother benefited from sensory-based interventions to improve his gross motor, fine motor, and vision skills and this is where my interest in occupational therapy began.
I graduated from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor of Health Science Studies in 2020 and a Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2021. While completing my Masters degree, I was lucky enough to be placed at OT-Kids for my 3 month pediatric fieldwork rotation. It was during this experience that I realized my passion for working with children and the importance of sensory integration on children's development. I am grateful to have the opportunity to join the group of skilled OTs and PTs at OT-Kids and l look forward to working with children and their families!