about villages
meet the co-owners

In my 9th year of practicing in pediatrics, I gained a new perspective when the roles were reversed and I became the worried parent seeking professional guidance for my child in the summer of 2019.  Our third daughter, Lainey, had tongue, lip, and cheek ties that were impacting her ability to breastfeed and gain weight. After being evaluated by our sweet IBCLC, Kimberly Hampton, and subsequent revision with the wonderful Dr. Paige Prather, I sought all the knowledge I could on the topic (and am still learning!). I am now a TummyTime!™ Method certified professional, lactation counselor, and lead groups with infants and their families. It was largely in part of this experience, coupled with my roots in early intervention (EI), that Villages was created alongside Bethaney.

 

My heart is in EI for many reasons but mostly it is because of the connections and bonds that I have made with the children and their families in their natural environment. For nearly 10 years, I have worked solely in pediatrics with the majority of that time spent working with the EI babies (birth - 3 years) in their homes and communities. I have immense gratitude for all the families who allowed me to be a part of their village. 

 

When my professional experience and experience as a parent collided, special things began to happen. God placed it in my heart to help cultivate a community where families could learn from shared experiences of professionals in the field, but perhaps more importantly, from each other. 

Cassie Kleinfelder MOT, OTR/L, CIMI, CLC

Trainings & certifications

> Master’s in Occupational Therapy from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 2010

 

> Therapeutic Listening®

> Interactive Metronome®

> Keyboarding Without Tears®

> Certified Lactation Counselor

> Certified instructor of infant massage

> Brain & Sensory Foundations, Level 1 & 2 

> TummyTime!™ Method Certified Professional

> SOS® Approach to Feeding + advanced topics 

> Handwriting Without Tears® Level 1 Certified Handwriting Specialist

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I had been working in pediatrics for over 3 years when I had our son Declan. He came 6 weeks early and my entire perspective changed. The expectations I set for my patients and their families changed, and my respect for the families with babies born prematurely changed drastically.

I try to use the same techniques I found useful with my son when guiding other parents down their journey. This shouldn't be secret information only those with a degree can access. We are all just trying to raise our children the best way we know how, and the concept of Villages began to grow.

If we could focus more on baby's wellness and offer a community of support for families, then maybe we could avoid some of the problems and delays I have encountered daily through the years as a pediatric physical therapist. I felt like there was more to offer my patients had they only had the resources sooner, and it's become my passion to make that happen.

I still love working with patients and their families one-on-one and have a strong focus on overall function and the families' and patients' own goals and interests.

bethaney nielsen PT, DPT

Trainings & certifications

> Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 2014

> TMR TOTS level 2 certified

> kinesiotaping for pediatrics

> yoga for kids certified teacher

> toe-walking treatment strategies

> balance & vestibular related impairments

> HINE training for early detection of cerebral palsy

> Member of the American Physical Therapy Association, Tennessee chapter, pediatric & private practice sections

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Rachel has been a practicing speech pathologist for over 13 years. Growing up with a special educator as a mother, Rachel has always had a heart for embracing each unique child for who they were made to be. She has had a primary focus in early childhood — she loves language development and being present alongside families for a child’s first sign, wave, word! Those moments are so precious and exhilarating! Rachel is passionate about family support and education — parents are every child’s best teacher. Rachel has three children. When her youngest, who has Down syndrome, was born Rachel saw on a whole new level the innate worth, value, and full on JOY that any child brings to this life! She’s here to shout each child’s worth and help them have their brightest start! 

Rachel currently co-leads our Busy Bees toddler playgroup and is not accepting therapy patients at this time.

Rachel Cunningham M.S., CCC-SLP

Trainings & certifications

> Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders with a minor in linguistics from The University of Kentucky 

> Master’s of Science in Communication Disorders from The University of Kentucky

 

> American Speech Hearing and Language association member 2008-present

Rachel has completed numerous trainings and workshops including The Hanen It Takes Two to Talk training, workshops by Gil Rapley (creator of Baby-led Weaning), Lori Overland’s Sensorimotor approach to feeding and adapted baby-led weaning courses, and various TalkTools trainings, conferences and workshops. 

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Meet the staff