December 19, 2023

Lisa Irvine, MS, OTR/L, has worked as an occupational therapist for The New England Center for Children (NECC) for 18 years. She was nominated by a colleague because she is “amazing with the students. She always goes above and beyond for them every day, whether it’s doing yoga with them or being on shift! She is the highlight of both staff and students’ days! She is always smiling, has the best energy, and radiates positivity.”

How long have you worked at NECC?

I began working at NECC 18 years ago, starting as an occupational therapy assistant. With NECC’s tuition assistance, I received my master’s degree in occupational therapy from Dominican University, and in 2014, NECC supported my decision to become a certified yoga instructor and I began teaching classes for our students.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I love working with the students. I enjoy leading groups, as it helps my students embrace social skills with functional tasks. I have had the pleasure of teaching several group lessons, including scrapbooking, grooming, and cooking/nutrition.

Why is OT an important part of the students’ education?

Occupational therapists help students engage fully in their daily roles and responsibilities as students by improving fine and gross motor skills.

Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?

I started my career with a degree in marketing, however, when I became a mom, my career goals changed. I re-evaluated my strengths, and I always knew that I could relate to individuals with autism in a way that was unique. For example, when I am working or meeting with a student, they have my full attention. I treat each student as an individual and make it a point to identify their interests and talents. I know I have found the perfect career because after 18 years of working as an OT it still does not feel like work. It is a pleasure to come here every day.


I feel so lucky to be a part of the APE/PT/OT department at NECC. In addition, working at NECC is an opportunity to be part of an organization that makes a difference. I am honored to be a part of that.

What is something your colleagues might be surprised to learn about you? 

I teach yoga in the community for adult day and residential programs when I am not at NECC. I try to live a mindful life (as most of you probably already know!).

Who is someone you look up to?

My parents were pivotal in helping me become who I am today. My dad taught me compassion and patience and my mom taught me to be strong.

What is a motto you like to live by?

Start each day with positive words of affirmation. For example: I am Brave, I am Calm, I am Strong, etc.