Dr. Melissa L. Schaeffer is a licensed and pediatric board certified occupational therapist with more than 15 years of experience in pediatric practice specializing in neurorehabilitation, vision, orthopedics, sensory processing, and social skills training. Her clinical practice includes work in the hospital setting in medical surgical, NICU, in-patient acute rehabilitation, and outpatient therapies. She has also work in school based and home-based therapy settings. Currently an assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Occupational Therapy, Dr. Schaeffer provides instruction in the master’s program since 2020. She provides clinical services to clients throughout the community and provided her expert opinion to the AOTA in the development of the new board certification for pediatrics. Her research focus has been on sensory integration therapy, and mCIMT and Bimanual hand training as well as early power mobility.
Dr. Schaeffer has developed programs to promote sensory processing as a foundation for play, education, and social participation. She has presented posters and short courses at local and national conferences including NYU School of Medicine, NYU Medical Center, AOTA, and AACPDM. Dr. Schaeffer has secured grant funding to improve the lives of children with disabilities through the development of sensory gyms to funding for needed durable medical equipment and assistive devices, and education programs to assist families learn how to engage with their children with severe developmental disabilities.