In December 1980, three occupational therapy colleagues, Cindy Thomas, Hanna Gruen, and Carol King-Etzel, sat down to brainstorm the launch of their own therapy business in Pittsburgh. All three were well known locally in the medical community and respected as occupational therapists in their own right.
Their goal was to provide occupational therapy services to a variety of medical establishments on a contractual basis. They also wanted to build a family-first company that was innovative and flexible in its hiring practices, but with a keen eye toward hiring occupational therapists who shared their standards for professional excellence. They determined that their core values in setting up the company were professionalism, creativity, compassion, flexibility, and partnership.
Those collective ideas and skills set into motion the process of incorporating Associated Occupational Therapists (AOT, Inc.) as a home-based private occupational therapy practice located in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. At the time, AOT was one of only three privately owned and operated therapy firms in Pennsylvania. Within 18 months, we had contracts with two hospitals, two extended care facilities, and a private rehabilitation firm.
Before the end of our first decade, we had secured our first educational therapy contract. We hired our first pediatric occupational therapists and by 1994 our first physical therapist was onboard. AOT was rapidly moving forward into the next century as a pediatric-focused therapy practice.
Decades later, AOT has grown far beyond its origin in facility-based occupational therapy. As an educational therapy company, we now include occupational, physical and speech therapy, as well as applied behavioral analysis (ABA) in our repertoire of services designed to enable a child to succeed in school. We are now part of the Theraplay family of companies and are headquartered in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, and manage a growing service area. As recognized experts in our field, we provide consulting services to third-party payers and businesses. Our staffing flexibility allows us to offer temporary coverage services to school districts and agencies.
One of our foremost founding principles, high standards for hiring, has ensured that our therapists are among the best in their professions. Our 88% retention rate reflects our commitment to our employees’ job satisfaction, management support, and professional growth. This enables our client school districts, and their students, to enjoy reliable staff continuity with ongoing excellent therapy provision. Our dedication to customer service and professional competency standards ensures that our therapists exceed our client’s expectations.
“Your therapists are dependable, helpful and good on their paperwork. We especially appreciated your therapist’s efforts this summer in working with an incoming child... She measured things, helped locate items in catalogs, worked with the family and child to try things out - was invaluable to us!”
– Dr. H., Director of Pupil Services