Shirael Pollack, founder of Watch Me Grow Sensory Gym and Speech Language Center, is an experienced physical therapist who has devoted her career to helping children with a wide variety of physical and developmental challenges. Shirael received her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Long Island University in 2002. After years of practice as a pediatric physical therpaist in both schools and home-based settings, Shirael created Watch Me Grow in January 2007 to realize her personal vision of what a sensory gym should be — a place where therapy was not just effective, but also fun for children to receive. In addition to managing Watch Me Grow‘s two full-service locations on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in Gramercy, Shirael remains an active pediatric therapist, applying innovative and proven therapeutic techniques in her work with infants and school age children with neurological, developmental and musculoskeletal impairments. For her outstanding work, Shirael was recognized as an “Everyday Hero” on WPIX’s “Dr. Steve” show. In addition to her work as a therapist and manager, Shirael is very active with the National Autism Association NY Metro Chapter, currently serving as the Chair of its Fundraising Committee. Shirael also has two beautiful daughters, who are very proud of their Mommy.
Jacqueline graduated with her Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2011 from Ithaca College. Always having a passion for helping others, she knew she wanted a career in helping children and found OT was the perfect fit for her. Having many years of OT and PT as a child, Jacqueline uses her personal and professional experience to help children become the best version of themselves. Jacqueline has worked with children from 6 months to 18 years old with varying levels of abilities. She has experience in sensory integration, NDT, and feeding therapy. She has worked with children with ASD, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s syndrome, developmental delay and neurological and genetic impairments. She believes every child has a beautiful light inside of them and is lucky to be one of the people to help them discover it.
Kirsten Chod, MA, OTR/L
Kirsten is a senior occupational therapist at Watch Me Grow‘s East Village location. Kirsten received her Masters in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California in 2011 with a specialization in pediatrics. Throughout the years, Kirsten has had the opportunity to work in some world-renowned facilities around the country. These have included two children’s hospitals (working in inpatient, neuro-rehabilitation, and outpatient settings), and a DIR©/Floortime clinic. Kirsten has a wide range of experience and skill set and specializes in brachial plexus palsy, orthopedic and neurological conditions, development, and is a credentialed early intervention provider. Kirsten is passionate about working with children and their families and strives to empower parents and caregivers to embrace their child’s individual differences of development and sensory processing through supportive relationships. In her free time, Kirsten enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling and exploring new places, exercising, skiing, shopping, binge watching Netflix shows, cooking, and anything/everything that has to do with New Orleans!
Sara Davoudi is an Occupational Therapist currently practicing at Watch Me Grow NYC on the Upper West Side as well as the East Village location. She attended University of Southern California where she received her masters in Occupational Therapy. She has experience working with early intervention, preschool and school aged children with developmental delays, sensory processing disorders and autism spectrum disorders in the clinic, home, and school setting. Sara also completed a clinical internship at Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center, an inpatient facility working with adults and adolescents with psychiatric needs. Sara enjoys creating a fun learning environment, providing the just-right challenge to promote growth and success.
Maithilee Kadam is a Physical Therapist currently practicing at Watch Me Grow’s East Village location. She attended University of Pittsburgh where she received her masters in Physical Therapy. She has experience working with early intervention, preschool and school aged children with developmental delays, sensory processing disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Maithilee has experience working in various settings such as sensory gyms, home care and is a full time Physical Therapist at a Manhattan school during the day. She has taken several continuing education courses ranging from Pediatric functional strength to other sensory, gait and developmental programs. Maithilee enjoys practicing creative play therapy to maximize the child’s gross motor and functional skills.
Talia loves working with children and helping to foster their development and growth. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yeshiva University in 2011, she then went on to earn her Masters in Occupational Therapy from New York University in 2014. Talia has experience working with children, teens and adults with a wide variety of diagnoses and currently holds a full-time position at The Aaron School as a staff OT. She has advanced training in Interactive Metronome and Get Ready to Learn Yoga as well as experience running groups, providing Sensory Integration treatment, and using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. Talia is excited to be a member of the Watch Me Grow staff and looks forward to supporting your children to promote their independence!
Vaishali is a Physical Therapist who specializes in Pediatric Neurology and earned her Masters degree at University of Indianapolis. She started her PT career in Mumbai, India, where she worked for over 2 years with children who presented with varied developmental and gross motor challenges, sensory processing issues, genetic syndromes, and cerebral palsy. She has continued to boost her experience in the field of Physical Therapy in the United States at Watch Me Grow‘s Upper West Side location. She enjoys working in a variety of settings including children’s hospitals, out-patient clinics, home therapy and schools. Vaishali has experience in orthotics to improve gait as well as assistive devices and equipment recommendation for community access. She applies NDT techniques to her treatment plans and strives to make exercises regimens playful yet functional for every child. She believes that working with children has not only been a wonderful learning experience but has also motivated her to be a well-rounded therapist.
When she is not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and photography. Also, she is a die-hard fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jimmy Fallon.