Occupational Therapists

Julia Zemlo-Patel, MS OTR/L

Julia was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and received her first master’s degree in Psychology from Kharkiv State University. She worked as a psychologist in a recruiting and staffing company conducting psychological testing for potential candidates and matching them with open vacancies.

Julia immigrated to the US in 1999, worked as a counselor at a residence home for people with developmental disabilities and was introduced to the idea of habilitation. Julia learned about occupational therapy, and decided to pursue a degree in the field. She will always be thankful to her clients at the residence home for teaching her not only that people with developmental disabilities can lead very fulfilled and happy lives, but also teaching her to speak English!

A year later, Julia was a student in the Masters Program at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduated from in 2002 with an MS in Occupational Therapy.

Julia worked at New York Presbyterian Hospital for 10 years rotating between Adult Acute Care, Acute Rehab, Adult Outpatient, Pediatric Acute Care and Pediatric Outpatient settings. In addition to learning a variety of clinical skills, she enjoyed being a part of a team and collaborating with other professionals to provide the best care for the patients. During that time, Julia also participated in volunteering trips to rural Mexico and Guatemala, providing OT services to people with disabilities.

Once Julia was married, she moved to PA and decided to follow her passion for pediatric occupational therapy. She worked for a Pediatric outpatient treatment center “Theraplay”, learning more about sensory integration, visual-perceptual, and feeding treatment. Julia also worked as an Early Intervention Therapist, learning to address family concerns and helping kids to function in their everyday routines at home and in the community.

In the most recent years, Julia decided to explore school based occupational therapy and worked in several school districts, while also continuing as an EI therapist. Having worked in a variety of settings throughout the years, she learned that even though you need to learn a new set of skills for new settings, the philosophy of OT remains the same: to help an individual to achieve their full potential. This is what she loves about being an OT!

Julia’s current interests are Self-regulation, Executive Functioning and helping individuals with ADHD to function at their best. She is also working on a certification as an ADHD professional. Julia believes that being an OT requires a lifetime of learning.

Julia has 2 children and in her free time loves to read, hike, boat, swim, travel, being a part of all the sports and performance activities her kids are involved in. She enjoys earning new things through their experiences.