Alicia Morgado, OT
MS, Occupational Therapy
Class of 2010
When she describes occupational therapy to new patients and their families, Alicia Morgado invokes a philosophy of the late physician and educator Maria Montessori: “Help me to do it myself.” Morgado has always been drawn to helping others discover their capabilities. After earning her BS in Pre-K and Elementary Education from Barry, she worked as a special education teacher, assisting students from kindergarten through ninth grade as they navigated a range of challenges. “I was very content being a teacher,” she says. “But I felt an innate calling to be an OT.”
Morgado answered that calling with her typical positivity and determination. Less than a week after the birth of her second child, she was back on Barry’s campus, interviewing for a spot in the Occupational Therapy graduate program. Returning to Barry was an easy decision. “I thought, Of course I’m going back,” she says. “I think I was born to be an OT, and I want Barry to give me the tools to meet that goal.” Barry’s flexible program allowed Morgado to continue working as an educator while she pursued her master’s, affording her the chance to practice her newfound skills in a real-world environment. “I was incorporating what I learned into the classroom,” she says. By the time she earned her degree, in 2010, she was well equipped to launch Optimized Today’s Wellness Center Therapy Solutions—or OT Wellness—her occupational therapy practice that now serves pediatric patients in three locations across Miami-Dade County.
Morgado’s services are as varied as her patients, whom she assists with everything from social development to problem solving to stroke recovery. She views her role as a facilitator of each patient’s potential. “Our job is to allow the individual to be as independent as possible and live a meaningful and purposeful life.” She has extended this mindset beyond her clinical practice and into the Miami community, as well, co-founding the We Coach Foundation, which caters to local families with special needs. The nonprofit organization offers fun, inclusive activities—including a bi-weekly running club and a hangout social club—for individuals with special needs (ages five to adults) and their family members.
In the years since she embraced her life’s mission, Morgado has raised her young children into teenagers. Her son, just two when she began her graduate work at Barry, is now 15, and her daughter is 13. Her plate is full, but she is adept at managing stress and heavy workloads. In fact, her strategy for personal success employs the same self-acceptance she fosters in her patients. “It’s really about knowing who you are and what works best for you and using it,” she says.
“I think I was born to be an OT, and I want Barry to give me the tools to meet that goal."