Our therapists

Experience you can trust. Care you'll appreciate.

Our therapists

Experience you can trust. Care you'll appreciate.

Kayla Bryant

Founder & Director

“I welcome you to a safe space of authentic acceptance for people of all abilities. ”

About Kayla

My name is Kayla Bryant and I am an occupational therapist and mom to a beautiful 4 year old, living in Asheville, NC. I have a passion for helping my clients connect and take control of their bodies through a holistic, client centered approach.

You may be wondering how I ended up on this journey as an occupational therapist working with pediatrics and adults experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction and sensory processing differences? And what does an occupational therapist actually do?

Occupational therapists are educated in the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person, which means we can address the vast majority of the factors that impact an individual’s pelvic health and daily life. We use a truly holistic approach.

Now that you know what this amazing profession can do, why did I choose to become an OT?

As a child I experienced sensory sensitivities that manifested into physical and emotional problems. I did not like the way my clothes felt, the bright lights in preschool, the loud noises on TV, and I ate the same breakfast food everyday for almost 2 years. As I got older I experienced urinary urgency, UTIs, and IBS. My parents were constantly searching for answers and I was made to believe it could be all in my head.

When I was 15, my grandfather had a stroke and received occupational therapy services. The treatment interventions were creative and unique incorporating what was most meaningful to him—gardening, cooking, and playing with his dog. They considered how his disability impacted his quality of life and used a functional treatment approach to reach the main goal—living life to his fullest potential.

I was introduced to pediatric occupational therapy while completing the Masters degree program at West Virginia University. My last fieldwork (internship) was completed in a sensory clinic focusing on sensory integration and feeding difficulties. The children I worked with reminded me of myself as a child and it clicked. Since then, my passion for children exploded and my determination to provide a multimodality approach to treatment began to unfold.

After having my daughter in December 2018, I experienced my own pelvic floor dysfunction, which led me to study and treat the condition on my own. Through extensive continuing education I am able to treat pediatrics and adults with pelvic floor conditions. With the combined knowledge, professional, and personal experience, I strive to help my clients find the balance and confidence they need to take control of their lives and loving themselves from the inside out!

If you’re seeking quality whole-person care regarding your child, yourself, or your family, I am glad we have found each other and I look forward to meeting you!

Education & Experience

  • Advanced Professional in Sensory Processing- Certified Level 1 STAR Institute
  • Somatic Experiencing Institute- Beginner I, II, III and Intermediate I, II, III
  • Safe and Sound Protocol- iLS
  • Becoming a Behavioral Detective- Kim Barthel
  • Trauma Informed Practice: Exploring and Applying Psycho-sensory Interventions
  • Hands-On Biofeedback for Complex Pelvic Floor Cases
  • Biofeedback Evaluation and Treatment for Elimination Disorders and Pelvic Floor Disorders
  • Herman and Wallace Trauma-Informed Pelvic Care
  • Herman and Wallace PF1 & 2B
  • Herman and Wallace Pediatric GI
  • Pediatric Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation by Dawn Sandalcidi
  • Dynamic Core Applied: the Challenge of Incontinence
  • OT Pioneers: Introduction to Pelvic Floor Therapy for Occupational Therapists
  • STAR Institute Level 1 Mentorship Program
  • The SOS Approach to Feeding: Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders
  • Handwriting Without Tears K-5
  • Building Blocks for Sensory Integration, presented by: Vital Links
  • Making Sensory Integration Measurable: Clinical Observations and Clinical Reasoning in Sensory Integration, presented by: Dr. Gustavo Reinoso
  • Dynamic Feeding Assessment and Intervention in Sensory Integration and Autism, presented by: Juliana Gutiérrez MA, OTR/L, SWC
  • Bilateral Integration: A Comprehensive Approach to Bilateral Integration, presented by: Vital Links

Deb Hagerty

Not Accepting New Clients At The Moment

“To be neurodivergent in a neurotypical world is to go through life in a constant state of disruption; not by following a formula, but by listening to my clients, I learn how to help them navigate the maze of a neurotypical world.”

About Deb

In 2007, I earned a small, seemingly insignificant scar on my left shoulder that was placed there by a 4 year old; not in anger, but in an expression of excitement to see me.

In 2008, I lost a 5 year old I dearly loved. She always knew my voice despite her lack of sight. My 2011 was filled with kitchen dance parties, dinosaurs, trains, melt downs, tears and an autism diagnosis for a child I nannied for. I supported them, but I wanted to better know how to help. Right after I graduated from college, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a condition that explained so many of my life long struggles and I was met by a wave of support and knowledge from clinical providers that changed my entire world.

My pursuance of a career in Occupational therapy is directly inspired by the three aforementioned children and a host of others whom I have loved along with my own experiences.

I returned to school at Georgia State University as a non-traditional student in 2017 to pursue my Masters in Occupational Therapy. During one of my fieldwork experiences, I was lucky enough to get Kayla Bryant as my CI and I began to learn how pediatric occupational therapists can approach therapy with a holistic perspective: understanding the whole child and working with them by entering their world. I learned how to see actions not as intentional behaviors, but as the struggles of neurodiverse humans living in a neurotypical world.

As I have grown as a therapist, I have found my passion lies also in working with teenagers. The teenage world is one on the brink of adulthood, where independence, self-expression, and trust are foundational to growth. Where life is not only most difficult, but also most passionate, most deeply experienced. My therapeutic approach is always trauma informed and child led. I partner with teens to not only learn how to navigate a world that was not made for them, but also how to communicate those needs to parents, peers, and others so that they can feel safer and more supported.

Julianne Vesely

Therapy Assistant

“With the child and family as the focus, we will work together to facilitate learning through play and experiences.”

About Julianne

My name is Julianne Vesely and I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant here at The Family OT.

Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, I moved to the beautiful mountains of Western NC one year after graduating with my bachelor’s in Exercise Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I was first introduced to the therapy field when I broke my ankle the summer before my freshman year of high school. Since then, I knew a career as a therapist was the fit for me, being able to combine my love for physical activity, science, and passion for helping others reach their goals!

After moving to western NC, I attended AB-Tech and earned an associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant. I love occupational therapy because I can work with children and adults with varying abilities and diagnoses, in a variety of settings. I enjoy working with children on feeding using a family-centered and child-led approach to create a feeding experience that is non-threatening and encourages the child to learn and increase their food repertoire through exploration and play. I also enjoy working with children with sensory integration difficulties to increase independence with self-regulation and tolerance to new sensory experiences.

As a holistic practitioner, it is important to me to provide support and education on incorporating self-care routines for parents and caregivers into our therapy sessions to promote a state of well-being for the whole family. When I’m not playing and building forts at the pediatric clinic, I also work at a local inpatient rehabilitation hospital working with people recovering from stroke, brain injury, cardiac debility, and orthopedic injuries. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my husband, Michael, and our Catahoula leopard dog, Jake. I also enjoy working out and running, reading, and rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Hannah Beveridge


About Hannah

My name is Hannah Beveridge and I am an occupational therapist at the Family OT.

I’m originally from Florida and graduated from Florida State with a degree in psychology and sociology in 2017. At that time, all I knew was that I wanted to serve people and promote wellness in some capacity. After graduating, I moved to Western North Carolina and spent a year working at a Young Life camp. I quickly fell in love with the mountains and decided to make this place my home.

I spent the following two years working at a local preschool. During this time, I had the privilege of observing and learning alongside an OT on a regular basis. This season was filled with playing tag on the playground and learning how the mission of occupational therapy aligns with my own values and strengths. I developed a passion for this profession and this population and decided to pursue a career as an OT.

I attended Milligan University and graduated with my master’s in occupational therapy in 2022. Throughout my clinical fieldwork, I gained experience in working with individuals with a variety of different needs and abilities, including those with ASD, SPD, developmental delays, and feeding difficulties. I am so grateful and excited to promote participation, wellness, and life to the fullest in our community.

I currently live in Brevard, where I like to go on walks with my husband and our dog, spend time in the woods, laugh with friends, wander around the library, and drink strong coffee.

Uma Thompson


“Through safety and connection, I assist in building skills for embodied self-regulation.”

About Uma

My name is Uma, and I am a mother, an occupational therapist, ayurvedic practitioner, massage therapist, yoga instructor, herbalist, educator, and postpartum doula. I am deeply committed to integrative health with two decades of experience as a holistic health practitioner specializing in women’s and pediatric health.

From a young age, I loved plants, nature, healing, and the mysteries of birth. I majored in women’s health and ecology at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. My thesis entitled, Color the Moon Red, is a study of the connection between the menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle. During my third year of college, I did a transfer year at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts, in Santa Fe, NC and I became a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Following college, I studied at the Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda, in Boulder, CO where I became an Ayurvedic postpartum doula. I spent a year abroad in India, studying Ayurveda at the source. Upon return, I graduated from The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM, with one of the grandfathers of Ayurvedic Medicine in the West, Dr. Vasant Lad.

My husband, Marek Sawicki, and I have a private practice in Ayurvedic medicine, massage therapy, and yoga therapy called Living Alchemy Ayurveda. In my Ayurvedic practice, I help women to balance their hormones and honor their body rhythms for a smother menstrual cycle. I also support women to have a healthy childbearing year as well as restore health during the postpartum window. I work with babies to promote healthy bonding and healthy digestion, as well as balance their systems through craniosacral therapy. I also work with children to support digestive health and nervous system regulation.

I wanted to broaden my understanding of integrative medicine and was drawn to the holistic approach of occupational therapy, as well as the focus on pediatrics and mental health. During my pediatric fieldwork at Brenau University in Norcross, GA, I gained a deep respect for the transformative power of occupational therapy to help children in the areas of sensory integration, emotional regulation, and somatic connection.

In my work with children, I focus on a whole brain approach that promotes bonding, connection, and emotional intelligence. I was a part of a cooperative parent-run playgroup with my son, which ran for four years, and was based on conscious discipline and the work of Becky Bailey. I am also influenced by Dan Sigel and Peter Levine’s work with trauma resiliency and somatic connection.

I plan to do additional training in the areas of perinatal mental health, sensory integration, somatic experiencing, and nature therapy for trauma resolution. I look forward to supporting children and families to connect more deeply with themselves and create healthy relationships for a vital life. I am a mother of a magical girl and a wild-spirited boy and enjoy hiking in nature, tending my garden, and time for deep relaxation and integration.

Lexi Reilly

Currently on Maternity Leave

“Life takes on meaning in the minute-by-minute reality in which we experience ourselves achieving ordinary things” - Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA

About Lexi

Alexa (Lexi) has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and she earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2017. She grew up all over the globe and recently joined The Family OT team after relocating to Asheville, NC.

Lexi is passionate about providing holistic care to those in need, focusing on the mind-body connection and using a trauma-informed lens. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children and adults in home and community-based settings, inpatient rehabilitation, and acute mental health hospitals. She also has experience working for Unyte-iLs, consulting clinicians internationally on the use of the Safe and Sound Protocol and the Focus System in their practice.

Lexi utilizes individualized treatment approaches based on her client’s strengths, interests, and areas of need, and she infuses creativity and compassion into each interaction. She enjoys collaborating with her client’s families and caregivers, serving as an active member of the individual’s support team.

She is skilled in using a variety of approaches in her work, including Polyvagal-informed interventions, targeted sensory processing interventions, as well as neurodevelopmental, biopsychosocial, and DIR/Floortime frames of reference. She enjoys working in the individual’s natural environment, addressing targeted, functional skill development, while incorporating a variety of evidence-based treatment modalities such as nature-based interventions, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and yoga for children.

Lexi is trained in various auditory processing interventions, aquatic therapy, trauma-informed therapy, handwriting without tears, and the SOS Approach to Feeding.

Hannah Shade


About Hannah

Hello! My name is Hannah and I’m an occupational therapist. Originally from the Philadelphia area, I earned my Masters of Occupational Therapy from Ithaca College in 2019. I moved to Asheville in September 2021, feeling drawn to the beautiful mountains and culture of this place.

Since high school, it has been my dream to be an occupational therapist. I was drawn to the profession due to the opportunities it presents to collaborate with people in order to help them live their most fulfilling and meaningful lives. Since my fieldwork in a variety of pediatric settings, I’ve felt specifically called to working alongside children and their caregivers.

I love to be silly, play games, and meet children where they’re at to help them achieve their goals. One of my clients forgot my name once and called me “The Fun Doctor” and that’s really all I could ever hope for! In my free time, enjoy exploring Asheville, playing with my dog, and completing jigsaw puzzles!

“Inclusion is not bringing people into a space that already exists; it is making a new space, a better space for everyone." - George Dei

Kimberly Styche


About Kimberly

My name is Kimberly Styche and I am an Occupational Therapist here at The Family OT. I was first introduced to occupational therapy at a young age where I watched a family member receive services during a difficult time. Her rehabilitation not only made an obvious positive impact on her life but mine as well. From that moment, I knew that is what I wanted to do.

As a holistic Occupational Therapist I believe it is very important to get to know each of my clients, including their family, on a more personal level to better assist their unique situation. Through my work in various clinics, I feel education for both clients and those involved in their life plays a key role for progress. As a therapist, there is no better feeling than seeing your client gain confidence, grow each session, and succeed at their goals. I have a particular interest in trauma, self- regulation, and sensory processing for all spans of life and am continuing my education in these areas to better serve my clients.

Originally from Pittsburgh PA, my husband and I moved to North Carolina just after graduate school. I graduated with a Bachelors of Psychology degree from Bethany College followed with a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Chatham University. When I’m not working, I enjoy being with my family including our 3 rescue dogs, practicing yoga, trying new recipes in the kitchen, scrapbooking, and rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams!

"I want to share my knowledge with my clients to help enjoy them every day this life has to offer."

Abby Jaracuso


About Abby

My name is Abby and I’m an occupational therapist! I am originally from a small town outside of Boston, MA and graduated from Wingate University’s OT program in Spring of 2022. I spent the past year living in New Mexico where I completed my final OT rotation  and worked at an incredible clinic where I learned to incorporate canine-assisted occupational therapy. I received over 2000 hours of specialized supervision and mentorship in animal assisted therapy and learned about how to cultivate the human-animal bond.


I strongly believe in including family members and caregivers into sessions and providing them with a wide variety of tools and strategies. I also work as an OT at the local hospital, where I work with people who are recovering from a traumatic injury or illness.


In my spare time I like to hike with my dog, try new recipes, and explore all Asheville has to offer. I am also studying to sit for my professional dog training license in the Spring!

Jackie Levinson


About Jackie

Hello! My name is Jackie, and I am an Occupational Therapist. Originally from Asheville, I received my undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and then pursued my master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of New Mexico.

Prior to OT school I worked as an educational assistant, assisting a student on the autism spectrum. It was in the school setting that I learned how occupational therapy promoted functional independence by addressing the whole child through teaching fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, sensory processing, self-regulation, and functional life skills. This holistic method of service delivery was congruent with my own interests. After pursuing my master’s degree, I worked in a mental health clinic for 2 years, then transitioned to a school setting for 4 yrs. I have experience serving children and teens in a variety of settings: home visits, daycare, pre-school through high school. I use a compassionate and client-centered approach, addressing the physical, psychological, and sensory systems of the body to support wellness and growth.

When I am not working, you can find me hanging out with my family and friends, spending time in nature with my dog, playing harp, making art, and learning to play pickleball.

Esme Kempler


About Esme

Hi, I’m Esme and I am an occupational therapist. I have a huge heart for giving littles the best start in life, by supporting their early development. My passion for neuroscience along with my love of babies and toddlers has led me to find my niche in OT- that makes work feel like play!

I’ve been practicing occupational therapy since 2017 and primarily have spent my career serving infants and toddlers (0-3 years old). I have worked in a variety of pediatric settings, including: early intervention, early childhood education, and outpatient clinics. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University Channel Islands and then went on to receive my Masters of Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine. Since then, I have been able to live all over the country, helping this precious age group and their families thrive.

My treatments focus on a holistic approach to support your child’s emerging skills, as well as helping parents to bolster their understanding during early development. I enjoy providing my services in your child’s natural environment, where they feel safe and comfortable- whether that is at your home, outside, or in the community. Babies learn best when they are at ease and play helps to achieve development!

I’ve had the opportunity to provide therapy for a wide range of medical diagnoses and conditions, including but not limited to: premature birth, Torticollis, Down syndrome, Autism, Congenital Heart Defects, Cerebral Palsy, Failure to Thrive, Developmental Delays, Feeding Difficulties, Cleft Palate, along with Sensory Processing and Integration concerns.

On the weekends you can find me movin’ and groovin’ in the mountains or finding peace out on the water. My spirit is fulfilled by being in nature whether I’m hiking, standup paddle boarding, making art, practicing yoga or discovering new places with my husband.

Loren Carty


About Loren

Hello! I have been an occupational therapist (OT) since 2017, mostly in inpatient and acute care settings. I became fascinated by the world of rehabilitation therapy and healing after a serious injury in 2010 that required spinal surgery. With five fused vertebrae and extensive therapy, I was able to resume all the activities I love. After years of helping others through their trauma in more acute settings and then having my first child in 2021, I became extremely interested in taking my OT career in a new direction working with kids!

For more background information, I concentrated in Sustainable Development and Smart Growth/New Urbanism at Appalachian State University through an Interdisciplinary Studies Major. After graduating, I took an Americorp position where I volunteered my time with a team of people making watersheds in rural and impoverished Appalachian areas healthier places to live and work. Subsequently, I traveled around with a trail crew and helped build beautiful hiking trails and spent all my free time rock climbing (oh to be 23 again!). I moved to Asheville in 2008 and started a business, which I still have today called the Greenbee Cleaning Company. Later, I purchased the Sunshine Window Cleaning Company. The cleaning companies focused on paying living wages to employees and providing education about safe household cleaners while creating healthy, chemical free environments. As the businesses grew, I brought in business partners in order to pursue my dream of further education, and went on to earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy at Milligan College.

I have been working towards creating healthier, happier and more sustainable environments for people in one way or another since 2002. I am eager to learn and utilize my skills in new and innovative ways, and to think outside the box in order to address more complicated developmental and psychosocial needs towards sustainable health and care. I believe I have a unique blend of personal humility, commitment to professionalism and a client centered approach that could benefit your family in positive, goal oriented ways. I am also married and a mother to two beautiful children and a fur baby. I truly look forward to getting to know you better and working with your families!

Andrea Jacobson


About Andrea

Hi! I’m Andrea Jacobson. I hold a Master’s of Occupational Therapy from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Ohio University. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and have worked as an OT in Providence, Cleveland, Denver, and then the Bay Area before making my way here to Asheville. I love to travel and have explored almost all the United States… I wonder if you can guess which one is left on my bucket list? One travel highlight was volunteering at a hippotherapy center in Bolivia and being invited to present the OT lens to teachers at The Catholic University in La Paz. This experience combined with working with children, families, and teachers across the spectrum of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and in a multitude of settings has provided me the gift of truly seeing people and meeting them exactly where they are. I have witnessed amazing things happen on children’s emotional and physical developmental trajectory when they feel safe and secure to be and express exactly who they are, connected to their body and environment, and competent and confident to use their tools to help get them there. My greatest joy is helping children and the people who love them find their center, uncover their gifts, and utilize their intensity as their super-powers.

I love learning and expanding my OT lens and have certifications in The Nurtured Heart Approach®, Intuition Medicine™, Therapeutic Listening®, Interactive Metronome®, and Occupational Therapy in Schools. I have advanced training in a myriad of topics including applied heart rhythm meditation, brain and sensory foundations – primitive reflex integration, sensory processing, ADHD, autism and mental health, Eyesight to Insight®, problem solving, The Multiple Intelligences, Respectful Confrontation®, deep listening and crisis prevention/intervention, Mindful Motherhood®, primitive earth skills, and strategies for reluctant learners. I dive deep into studying and observing relationships, communication, and parenting methods; promoting mental health; early childhood social, emotional, physical, sensory, and brain development; neuroplasticity – play and the brain; behaviors as communications; alternative approaches to self-regulation, co-regulation, sensory processing, integration, and perception; integration of body-mind-spirit, Polyvagal Theory; body as messenger; heart rate variability; dynamic systems; and, autism, ADHD, anxiety, conduct disorder, ODD, and The Highly Sensitive Child.

In addition to providing OT services through The Family OT, I help families and teachers learn and implement The Nurtured Heart Approach®(NHA) in their homes and classrooms. NHA is a proven positive parenting method that builds inner-wealth and transforms how we relate to children and how intense children move through the world. I offer NHA classes, parent gatherings, parent coaching, child coaching, Family playshops, playdates, and Nurturing Greatness small groups. You can check it out at www.childcoachapproach.com.

Christine Beevers

Therapy Assistant

About Christine

Hi! I’m Christine and I have been a Pediatric COTA for the past 5 years, and in the OT profession for the last 7. My love for kids started early when I began my first career as an Early Childhood Educator at the age of 17. I met a few amazing kids in my classroom that were receiving OT services and immediately fell in love with the profession.

Being part of a client’s process in finding and achieving their independence is something I am very passionate about! I am truly a big kid at heart, I love to be silly in my sessions, and I love sensory play! Following a child’s lead is the greatest way to connect to their world, meet them where they are, and help them reach their goals. Being part of this process is a privilege I do not take lightly and I will always strive for greatness in meeting your child’s needs.

I am thrilled to be part of the Family OT and looking forward to meeting all of you and your little ones!

Leigh Suttlemyre

Administrative Assistant

About Leigh

My name is Leigh Suttlemyre. I live in the Asheville area with my partner and step-son. I have a 21 year old daughter that lives close-by and is my whole world. My family and friends are the most important things in my life.

I have worked in an administrative capacity for many years in a variety of settings. I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with Kayla and The Family OT team. The holistic and client centered approach that is being used resonates very deeply with me. I find such joy in helping kids and families find services that can enrich their lives.

Outside of my work life I find escape in finding creative outlets and attending live music. Music is such a freeing, spiritual & healing experience for me and recharges my soul on every level.