Kirsten Schwarz Olmedo is the Director of Design Therapy of Miami, she was born and raised in Miami, FL and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the University of Florida. She went on to earn her Master of Science Degree from Nova Southeastern University where she is currently completing her doctoral degree in education with a major in speech-language pathology. Her current research focuses on the language-literacy connection.
Kirsten has also worked with Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 14 years servicing elementary, middle, and high school students. Kirsten is fluent in American Sign Language, serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Miami within the College of Education, and also provides baby sign language workshops for parents and families.
Kirsten has always strived to stay up-to-date on the latest research and evidence-based practices. In 2001, Kirsten earned her National Board Teaching Certificate as an Exceptional Needs Specialist, focusing on students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. Kirsten truly loves working with her clients and their families as well as providing local, state, and national trainings for educators, other team members, and families to further enhance early intervention and appropriate referrals as well as increase the carryover of skills learned in therapy.
In her spare time, Kirsten loves family time, board games, and being outdoors. She’s enjoys working on projects with her son, quiet date nights with her husband, and reading inspirational books. One of her biggest priorities is giving back to the community and to others!
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
One of my favorite things about being a mom is seeing what a difference you can make in a child’s life. The little things that take a little, or a lot, longer when you let them “help” you but then seeing that smile when they finish or seeing them develop that feeling of compassion and care for others and independently reach out to help another person, those are definitely the moments that I cherish!
Q. Who inspired you the most growing up?
I would have to say my grandmother. She raised 7 children, was married over 50 years, and was extremely strong in her beliefs of the importance of family time. Whether it was learning lessons over a game of Scrabble, swinging on the hammock, or at the endless family reunions she planned, she always had positive advice to share and a great ear to listen.
Q. What is Design Therapy of Miami?
Design Therapy of Miami is a unique family-focused therapy center where we provide evaluations and treatment for speech/language and occupational therapy. Our practice focuses on the language-literacy connection and enables parents the ability to watch the therapy sessions via live video feed and review progress with videos. Whether working on pre-literacy skills, word finding, executive functioning, sensory integration or more, we always provide the highest level of research-based interventions while working closely with the family and academic teams. We also love giving back to the community including hosting our fun family movie nights!
Q. Describe a typical day in your life.
Typically I’m up by 5:30 and off to the gym which is my much needed time for me, then sneaking in my protein shake and emails before I start with clients around 7:30, a few days a week I teach American Sign Language classes at UM or attend a school meeting or two. Then I’m off to run errands, grab lunch with a friend, and pass by my husband’s open houses before my afternoon begins with the most amazing kids and families back at the office. My late evenings are filled with cooking with Chef Dylan, my son, and projects with our family enjoying the little things that count. Bed time routine, one of my favorite times of the day, includes lots of retell of our days, planning for tomorrow, and reading books. As I lie in bed each night, check a few more emails, and read the social media updates, I try to be thankful for the things that made me smile that day and get a few hours sleep!
Q. What is your favorite football team?
This is the easiest question as I live for football season and especially college football. My favorite team would be the Florida Gators, I know we haven’t been that good lately, but they are still my team. To be fair sometimes you will see me in a Canes shirt, as I also work at UM, or an FIU shirt, as my husband works there as an adjunct faculty member.
Q. What is one thing that your momma never told you about motherhood that you wish you knew?
I never knew the extent of the balancing act and all the “invisible” things moms do to keep the family moving whether it’s that never-ending to do list (mine definitely has a rollover option), throwing in one last load of laundry, leaving reminder notes, planning a vacation, or somehow squeezing in time for yourself to stay balanced.
Q. Any advice for mothers that may suspect that their child has a speech/language disorder?
I would definitely listen to your mommy voice and consult a speech-language pathologist. There are so many times when people will tell you to wait or use excuses “she’s still little” or “he’s a boy,” but with the rate academics are progressing, we no longer have the luxury of waiting. There are areas we can help with from producing sounds to oral and written language skills. Sometimes kids don’t need direct therapy, but there are other suggestions we can make to help stimulate their language development and help you monitor their progress.
Design Therapy of Miami
Speech/Language and Occupational Therapy