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.
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.
Bijal Bhavsar is an Occupational Therapist at Watch Me Grow who received her Masters from Dominican College in New York. She has experience working with early intervention, preschool and school aged children. She specializes in helping those with sensory processing disorders and neurodevelopmental delays, ASD and other neurologicial impairments. She also has experience working in group settings in pediatric mental health. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling, reading, and spending time visiting her family in Michigan!
Trisha Ignatowski is an occupational therapist at Watch Me Grow‘s W 72nd St location. Trisha received her Master’s degree in occupational therapy from Ithaca College in 2016. Throughout the years, Trisha has had the opportunity to work in a variety of facilities in her clinical fieldworks as well as in her career. These have included Monroe community hospital (working in inpatient, neuro-rehabilitation for her fieldwork), Adaptive design association (fieldwork) where she designed adaptive equipment, sensory clinics, and IHOPE (a school for children with traumatic brain injuries). Trisha has a wide range of experience and skills and has experience with neurological conditions, sensory processing, development, adaptive equipment, autism, cerebral palsy, and early intervention. Trisha 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 to help their child reach their full potential.
In her free time, Trisha enjoys running long distances, rock climbing, cycling, swimming, cooking, hiking, traveling, and finding time to enjoy her hundreds of other hobbies.
Emily Budnick is an Occupational Therapist currently practicing at Watch Me Grow‘s Upper West Side location. Emily received her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from Boston University Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Emily has experience working in the clinic, preschools, and elementary schools with children who have a variety of conditions, including autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy. Previously, Emily worked in a residential school for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder, brain injuries, and behavioral health diagnoses, with a camp for children with brain injuries and at a skilled nursing facility with a geriatric population. Emily loves working as a pediatric OT and using creativity and play to help each child reach his or her fullest potential. In her free time, Emily enjoys going to the beach, yoga, exploring New York City, and spending time with friends and family.
Amy Feder loves being a part of the Watch Me Grow/Liberty POST team at the Upper West Side gym location! She works with early intervention, preschool, and school-age children with developmental delays, sensory integration disorders, neurological and orthopedic conditions, and autism spectrum disorder.
Amy has loved working with the pediatric population since way before PT school and solidified that path during her clinical affiliation with the Department of Education. Amy graduated from Touro College School of Health Sciences with a Bachelor’s in Health Science and Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and graduated with both academic excellence and research excellence awards. Before starting at Watch Me Grow, Amy worked with people of all ages, including pediatrics, helping to improve overall function, strength, and mobility.
In her free time, Amy likes painting, needlepoint, taking walks, and hanging out with family and friends!
Heidi is a Physical Therapist currently practicing at Watch Me Grow NYC at both the East Village and Upper West Side locations. She attended University at Buffalo where she received her Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2017. Growing up with a brother with ASD, Heidi found her passion early in life knowing she wanted to do her part in helping children of all abilities reach their full potential. While in school, she was given the opportunity to further explore this passion and add to her pediatric experience by participating in clinical internships at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Center for Disability Services, and Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center. Here she had the pleasure of working with children with a wide-range of diagnoses including ASD, CP, developmental delay, and various genetic disorders. Heidi strives to promote acceptance of self and others on a daily basis and encourages each child to embrace their individual differences and unique qualities. In her free time, Heidi enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, eating, watching Netflix, skiing/snowboarding, kayaking, exploring the city, and finding dogs to pet.
Corrine is an Occupational Therapist with Watch Me Grow. She is a graduate from NYU’s Masters of Occupational Therapy program. Corrine has experience with children of all ages and enjoys finding the “just right” challenge for the children she works with. She has experience with sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and developmental delays. Corrine is passionate about helping the children become as independent as possible, and provide success for them in all environments.
Outside of work, Corrine enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching college football on the weekends.
Batsheva Granek is a Physical Therapist currently practicing at Watch Me Grow on the Upper West Side location. She attended Touro College where she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She has experience working with early intervention, preschool, and school aged children with developmental delays, sensory processing disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Batsheva is excited to be a member of Watch Me Grow‘s staff and enjoys creating a fun environment to maximize the child’s gross motor and functional skills.
Sharon is a pediatric occupational therapist practicing at Watch Me Grow in the East Village location. She received her Masters in occupational therapy from New York University and has since been practicing in pediatric clinics and schools. She is passionate about improving the well-being and success of children with autism and developmental disorders/delays. She completed an elective course in sensory processing challenges for people with ASD and it absolutely sparked a flame to always pursue a strength-based approach to her practice. In her free time, she loves reading and doing anything outdoors (hiking, kayaking, etc.)! She is excited and thankful to be able to serve the kiddos at Watch Me Grow and beyond!