Story & Inspiration Of Fredlyn Berger, OTR/L

Fredlyn (Freddie) was introduced to the field of Occupational Therapy while she was a freshman attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Her first cousin sustained a severe traumatic head injury after falling off a high cliff. The cousin, who was 20 years old at the time, reverted to functioning at about a 9 month old level when she came out of a several week coma. Freddie was able to assist the therapy staff work with her cousin as she helped her go through her rehabilitation program over the next 6 months. Within that period, the cousin recovered nearly 100% of her normal functions. This was such a phenomenal event that it made her realize how amazing it is to be a facilitator in helping others recover their lives. The decision to study to be able to do this kind of work became her obsession. Freddie achieved her BS in Occupational Therapy in 1974 and moved to Los Angeles to do her final internships at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital and Harbor General Hospital.

Graduate work continued through USC with specialization in pediatrics and sensory integration studies, and through UCLA with a certification as a lactation consultant and educator. She also has earned the advanced practice specialty certification in both hand treatment and dysphagia/feeding through the California Board of Occupational Therapy.

During her extensive career of 40+ years as a practicing Occupational Therapist, Freddie has the full spectrum of practice settings and all ages from premature birth to geriatric level. She has been involved in providing treatment and developing programs in acute care hospitals, outpatient programs, rehab centers, home health agencies and private clinics. One of the highlights of her experience was when she worked as a program manager and developer throughout the state of California, traveling from San Diego to San Francisco to set up over 30 rehab clinics, staffing them and training several hundred therapists to provide Medicare approved care.

She has also worked in surgery, assisting hand surgeons in their delicate work and then providing the rehab necessary to improve the functional use of the limb. She developed the first newborn in-home developmental and feeding/lactation follow-up program for Kaiser Permanente in the Southern California area, and developed a thriving Occupational Therapy pediatric outpatient, inpatient acute, neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care programs at Northridge Hospital for 7 years.

In the last half of 2003, Freddie received the right to be a vendor to the State of California for the Early Start program and gave birth to Every Child Achieves, Inc. (ECA). This is an early intervention program, servicing the zero to three year old population who are at risk for delays or are already developmentally delayed. Over the course of five years, ECA grew to be a primary provider for 7 different Regional Centers throughout all of Southern California.

In 2005, Freddie started developing a new vision. She wanted to connect with more of the community and make a larger impact; therefore, Wellness Works Inc., also known as Wellness Works Therapy, was launched in 2006 to provide a multitude of services for all ages through private insurance and cash pay. In addition, Freddie developed a 7,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art therapy facility in North Hollywood, California that could service both companies.

In 2008, Freddie’s vision kept growing. The overall organization had over 100 therapists and was servicing from San Diego to Santa Barbara, but she wanted to continue to diversify.

In 2009, Wellness Works Inc. launched a school-based company called Reach to Succeed. Reach to Succeed is a certified NPA and is approved to deliver OT, PT, and ST in the clinic and in the schools. In her spare time, Freddie loves to read, travel and explore other cultures. She loves training new and developing therapists and child development people. She has always been interested in babies/children of all ages and parents, and how they establish and manage the dynamics of a family, which she believes is the foundation for a strong building block to their children’s future.

In December of 2015, Freddie had to close down the outpatient therapy clinic due to major changes in healthcare funding and the determination to not compromise her quality of care. Freddie continues to advocate for each and every family that ECA provides services too and is passionate about the impact that ECA can make through early intervention  in an every changing healthcare environment. She continues to empower her team and families that it is possible to change the world one child at a time! Although the clinic closed, Freddie’s early intervention program is moving forward with a dedication to providing the highest quality services in a natural environment setting.

As she looks out into this challenging world, Freddie has always felt very lucky to have had terrific role models in her own parents and marvels at how hard they worked to instill in her and her three brothers, values and ethics that provide for a happy and fulfilling life. Her mission now is to share these foundational skills with her clients, staff and the greater area through Every Child Achieves.