Occupational Therapist Dawna Weed’s days begin with the sunrise. “First I need coffee,” she said. “I have several families that prefer early morning visits so 7:15 finds a video link being sent from my computer some days. Every day is different, though there are always visits, reschedules, emails, consulting with our wonderful team about how to help children/families and accessing other services/equipment/information.”
“Starting a visit with a parent sharing feelings of success for themselves and their children is probably my favorite way to start my day,” said Dawna. “I also love learning from my families and being able to share their wisdom with others.”
Dawna has been an important part of Rainbows’ Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services Program for 30 years. “When was offered the job at Rainbows, I had recently experienced the sadness of being unable to provide services to children and families due to lack of financial means,” she said. “I was delighted to be able to help children, no matter their financial status.”
Dawna graduated from The University of Kansas in 1978 and completed a 2-month pediatric neurodevelopmental training while working at Rainbows. Her first job was in adult rehab in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dawna also has experience from working in home health, hands, burns, pediatrics and psychiatric and specialty clinics. After coming back to Kansas, she worked with fellow 30-year Rainbows’ staff member Pam Chiles while contracting with a school system.
“Dawna has so much experience and knowledge about all things pediatric,” said Alexia Foster, Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services Coordinator. “And even though she has all that knowledge she continues to seek out new knowledge from her co-workers and from experts in her field. She even traveled out of state to learn a new evaluation tool that she could use to help her families. She uses all of that knowledge to help the children on her caseload progress and thrive.”
Dawna is a consummate learner. “I love to play in the dirt (gardening and pottery), participate in music activities (currently learning the uke) and learn for learning’s sake,” she said. “Before the internet, I could spend an evening with a desk encyclopedia, open at random!”
“Our family enjoys traveling together along with an occasional card game,” said Dawna. “Ten Point Pitch is a favorite. When you are my daughter Alaina’s partner, it is wise to consider she thinks nothing of bidding 7 on just a few point cards. Mike, my husband and Grant, our son, excel at bidding and are gentle with those in the family who aren’t so successful!”