The Arc of Montgomery, Berks & Bucks Counties is proud to announce the recognition of two Early Intervention staff at the 24th annual Montgomery County Awards breakfast held in Jeffersonville on March 10, 2011. Special Instructor Shelly Ortiz of Limerick and Occupational Therapist Julie Fisher Pisa, Philadelphia were chosen to receive awards for excellence in providing services to children with disabilities in their homes through Marc Children’s services.

Ortiz, a 10 year employee of the Arc of Montgomery, Berks and Bucks County and Fisher Pisa, employed at The Arc for 7 years were notified in January that they had been nominated and chosen for the awards.

Both women have experience in the field of disabilities by personal experience and through their employment with Marc Children’s services. Shelly Ortiz is the parent of two children with disabilities and Julie Fisher Pisa’s brother experiences congenital blindness in one eye.

Julie credits her experiences growing up with her brother and observing the many medical interventions and the adaptations her parents made for her brother while they were young with the success she has in working with families of young children with disabilities. She describes her role as an Occupational Therapist as “an honor- we are usually the first people to help a family in the process of helping their child with a disability to develop their potential.”

Shelly indicates she owes her success in part to The Arc’s flexibility in working with its employees, and her coworker’s willingness to share information and expertise. As a parent with a child with a seizure disorder there are often unexpected medical emergencies and changes to family life that weren’t in the plans. Her experiences have allowed her to offer practical solutions for families born out of experience and what she describes as a “grand understanding” of genuinely “walking in their shoes” by meeting her own children’s needs.

When asked about her initial reaction to the award announcement Julie says she was embarrassed at first. “It’s hard to accept attention for yourself. I was honored and touched that people notice that I try to do a good job at everything I do.”

Shelly’s response to the nomination was “it’s an honor and a recognition of the job you do. It’s nice that others notice that you are working very hard to do a good job.”