MOMpreneur: n. defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.
Welcome to our latest installment of MOMpreneur Monday, highlighting businesses and brands that were founded by female entrepreneurs and fellow Mommas!
Today’s featured Modern Boca MOMpreneur is Melissa Spitz, CEO & Founder of OT With Me and Adventures in Handwriting, a home-based pediatric occupational therapy practice and writing program.
Tell us a little about your background and how you started your company…
Hi! My name is Melissa Spitz and I’m the owner of OT with me, a home based pediatric Occupational Therapy practice. I opened my practice in New York City, where I had been working as an OT since I graduated from Columbia Graduate School. After 14 years of Big Apple life, I decided to move down to South Florida with my husband and 2 boys for sunshine year round. As I continue to manage my NYC practice and build my private practice treating children in Florida, somewhere along the way, I decided to venture into the world of virtual learning!
When COVID hit in 2020, life changed for everyone. Parents took on every role there was and it was hard! I had an 18-month-old little boy at the time and despite the hundreds of indoor and outdoor activities that we did, at some point in the day I would get the inevitable question: “Can I watch something?” I couldn’t escape it. The TV or iPad had won again. As much as I wanted to limit his screen time, between you and me, I kind of needed it too. I was tired and someone needed to cook dinner! I figured, as long as I could find educational shows and videos, I wouldn’t mind the occasional break.
There were, in fact, a ton of educational shows and videos out there, especially for kids his age. But when I started digging deeper, I noticed there was one thing I couldn’t find, anywhere…educational videos that taught children the RIGHT way to WRITE!
“I wanted to help. I HAD to help. I’m an OT …. and a mom. Help is my middle name.”
It was at that moment, that Adventures in Handwriting was born!
Adventures in Handwriting is an interactive, follow-along, online video program that allows children to practice and strengthen their fine motor and handwriting skills. It’s a fun, easy way to help build children’s prewriting skills, object manipulation skills, confidence and independence in handwriting. Best of all, videos can be watched, and activities can be done without an adult. They are child friendly in the way they are structured, taught and presented.
A specially curated “Adventure Kit” with all of the tools and materials used in each video can be purchased to ensure you have everything you need. Each lesson takes you on a different adventure, keeping your child engaged and motivated. We currently offer two programs: Lines & Shapes and Uppercase Letters. Both programs support and supplement what children are learning in school. A multisensory approach is used to teach basic foundational skills needed to develop strong handwriting habits and proper handwriting development. I’ve taken my experience and knowledge working with children as an OT and created videos that all children can benefit from, whether they need OT specifically or not.
Handwriting is so much more than making lines on a piece of paper. It requires:
- Strong fine motor skills
- Proper grasp
- Efficient visual motor and visual perceptual skills
- Postural and shoulder girdle stability
- Sustained attention and more
All of these skills are addressed in the program, giving children opportunities to learn, improve and master handwriting through play. Each video lesson takes you on an interactive and fun adventure your child won’t want to miss.
Handwriting is about communicating your thoughts, ideas and creativity. Remember how many times you practiced perfecting your signature? Remember how you felt when the boy or girl you had a crush on left you a note in your locker? Handwriting is one of the most organic ways to show your creativity, personality and communicate with those around you. Adventures in Handwriting allows children to develop their handwriting skills through their most natural way of interacting with the world, through PLAY. Your child will be learning without even knowing it.
How did OT with Me support your newest business venture, Adventures in Handwriting?
Over the years of working as an OT, I started to see a trend. More and more parents were coming to me because their child had “messy” handwriting. They weren’t able to form their letters properly, they held the pencil in a strange way or they couldn’t write their name in between the lines on a piece of paper.
Some kids didn’t like to color, and others had trouble drawing a picture of themselves. These were usually the kids who shied away from “paper and pencil” activities. As children get older, the workload gets harder, and the demands increase. As an OT, it’s my job to help and support children as best I can. I want to help make things easier for children, giving them opportunities to practice their skills in a fun and safe space.
I was limited in how many children my team and I could help. I wanted every child, whether they had occupational therapy or not, to be able to benefit from what OT’s work on with children. All children should have the same opportunity to develop strong developmental, fine motor and visual perceptual skills, improve their object manipulation and dexterity skills and strengthen their self-regulation and cognitive skills. These are the foundational skills needed for lifelong learning.
What’s unique about your business?
Adventures in Handwriting makes learning FUN! It’s the first and only online program that is self-motivating, engaging and capitalizes on what children are innately good at: playing. AIH isn’t just about handwriting. It focuses on valuable developmental skills that lay the foundation for independence in the classroom and home environment. The program focuses on building a child’s attention, ability to follow directions, problem solve, organize their materials and surroundings, improve their body awareness and self-regulation skills. Plus, they may even finish the program with better handwriting than you!
Why should Modern Boca Mom readers work with you?
Moms think they can do it all – and they’re right, they can! But they don’t HAVE to. We have enough on our plate. Let teaching your child the RIGHT way to WRITE be something Adventures in Handwriting has covered. You’ll be relieved to have a few extra minutes to yourself. But more importantly, you’ll be amazed how a few adventures can improve your child’s fine motor skills and handwriting. Feel confident knowing your child is learning from a handwriting expert with tons of tips and tricks up her sleeve to keep your child motivated and engaged. All of the material in the programs supplement what your child is already learning in school. Start your adventure here and see for yourself!
What exciting things are coming up for Adventures In Handwriting?
More adventures are coming your way! We have a ton of new programs that cover everything from numbers to lowercase letters to scissor skills and more. We’ll be having individual themed lessons for holidays, seasons and special occasions too. For Florida and New York areas, kids will have the opportunity to join an in-person class with the Adventures in Handwriting tour guides themselves! We’ll be doing live videos as well for those outside of Florida and NY.
What do you love about working and living in South Florida?
I grew up swimming competitively, being an avid runner and lived 20 minutes from the Jersey shore. However, it was never a requirement of mine to live year-round in a warm weather place. I did have 4 years of sunshine though when I attended the University of Florida! When college was over, boy did I miss it! Now that I am back down in Florida, I’m able to do all the things I once was only able to do 3 months out of the year.
My husband and I love an active outdoor lifestyle and we wanted to give our kids that opportunity. We are experiencing a different lifestyle than what we grew up with and are completely loving every minute of it! The smile on our 2 little boys faces every time we find “sea hair” at the beach is priceless. We all just have to get used to the Florida summer heat!
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