Occupational Therapist, Big PLANS for Little Kids Ltd.
Some of Susanne’s earliest memories relate to Occupational Therapy as her uncle, who has Down Syndrome, was always excited to give everyone gifts he had made in OT. Not only did he inspire her as a child, but at age 69 he still continues to do so.
Susanne grew up in Markham, Ontario, and obtained her B Sc. in OT from Queen’s University in 1990. She moved to Calgary after graduation, with the intention of trying it out for a year but never left. With a calm nature and talent for problem-solving, Susanne loves Occupational Therapy because she is able to look at the “whole child”. She also describes herself as a “brain nerd,” having previously worked for many years in adult neurology, so finds her work as an OT both fascinating and challenging.
Although she was an adult therapist for many years, Susanne began working with children once she had children of her own. Not only did she find it incredibly rewarding to witness the smallest progress or skill development in a child, Susanne discovered that helping a child learn, develop and be set up for school success was a huge gift.
Hearing fantastic things from friends and colleagues, Susanne joined the Big PLANS team three years ago and is confident that she made a very wise choice. She was even invited for a sleepover by one of her sweet four-year-old kids during her first year with Big PLANS! Often complimented for her sense of humor, love of learning and play, and ability to listen and share her knowledge with parents and colleagues, Susanne has been an asset to the team.
Happily married to Mitch Williams; and a proud mom of three ( Lindsay – 18, Abby – 16, Gavin – 13), Susanne can often be found walking or hiking with her family and dog, spending time with family and friends, or hanging out at the hockey arena or the pool watching her son compete! Their 8-month-old Golden Retriever named Hazel comes from a line of therapy/assistance dogs, so Susanne and her daughter hope to complete this training with the aim of Hazel joining Susanne on therapy visits when appropriate.
On a Sunday, Susanne loves to go hiking or curl up with a great book, and then later attend her favourite yoga class. Her hobbies include reading, pilates, yoga, hiking, baking, travel, going to movies or the ballet and learning something new. Susanne started painting in the last year or so, and is hooked! Passionate about reading and books, Susanne has been an active volunteer in children’s reading programs for many years. When asked for some fun favorites, Susanne would choose chocolate, red or green (color), salted caramel or peanut butter chocolate ice cream, The Princess Bride movie and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (one of many favorite books). She also described the trip to Kenya with her family in 2014 (with Free the Children/Me to We) as unforgettable and life changing!