Fort Myers occupational therapist
Ashlee Arrildt, OTR/L
Christopher Pomazanko is a COTA/L who has been with the occupational therapy team at FOCUS since 2019.
He was always drawn to the medical field. After graduating from Michigan State University in 2005, he was initially slated to study diagnostic medical sonography at Keiser University. He switched majors, though, after striking up a conversation with the head of the Occupational Therapy Department.
“After an hour of talking, we both decided my personality was more suited for being an occupational therapist,” he says.
He earned his associate’s degree as an occupational therapy assistant in 2017. He has experience in geriatrics as well as pediatrics.
“In pediatrics, I enjoy seeing children with autism who had difficulty with social engagement come out of their shell and start to play and really engage with their peers,” he says. “I like the fact that kids don’t really know they’re receiving therapy. They think they’re here to play! I get to tell my friends and family that I get to play with Legos, build obstacle courses and color all day at work.”
Chris grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, 30 minutes north of the city, on 11 acres of land with a pond, pool, and barn. He speaks both English and Polish, and has a small, close family that carries on the Polish traditions of his grandparents, who immigrated from the Central European country. Here in Southwest Florida, he enjoys warm weather, beaches, and the fact that he doesn’t have to defrost his car windows each morning.
“I shovel sunshine, not snow, and I love the way sunscreen smells in January!”
At FOCUS, he’s found a tight-knit, family-like environment. Working with therapists of all disciplines, he says, has been a true asset in achieving success and helping kids meet their goals.
Although the goals and strategies to reach them vary from child to child, Chris aims to make every session fun.
“I also never take myself too seriously – because kids won’t, and they will humble you rather quickly,” he joked. “I will always treat the individual, not the diagnosis. I plan my sessions in a way that makes kids want to return. This is a fun destination where they get to play everyday – not a chore.”
Krystle is a double-board certified and licensed occupational therapist who has been with the FOCUS team since its founding. A native Canadian, she graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. In 2009, she earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Dually growing up in Canada and Fort Myers gave rise to her lifelong love of travel, discovering new places and appreciation for all cultures and ways of life. Practicing occupational therapy in both countries afforded her unique insight into both healthcare systems and cemented her belief in the efficacy of client-centered therapy. In this approach, the aim is always to first view the world from the client’s perspective. It also taught her the vital importance of flexibility – whether it’s in learning a new skill or coping with the unexpected. Stemming from this is her enthusiasm for using occupational science as a means to help kids learn self-regulation in ever-changing environments.
“I became an occupational therapist because it’s a profession that allows people to be their true selves, their best selves,” Lopez explained. “Occupational therapists work to bridge any gap, demolish any barrier standing between a person and their goals and dreams.”
Krystle, who treats patients both in-clinic and in teletherapy sessions, is trained and certified in Microcurrent Point Stimulation (MPS/ETPS) treatment, Myofascial Release, Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome and the S.O.S. Approach to Feeding. She is also experienced using the Handwriting Without Tears and ALERT programs. A proud member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), her special areas of interest are Sensory Integration Solutions, feeding therapy, aquatic therapy, teletherapy and functional life skills coaching.
Early in her career, she was drawn to working primarily in pediatrics.
“I love working with children because their spirit, creativity and innocence is so fresh and bursting with promise,” Lopez said. “They are so proud of themselves when achieving something on which they’ve been working hard – it just beams from every fiber of their being!”
But perhaps her most favorite part is working with parents, equipping and empowering them to help their child develop, learn, be independent and most importantly, be their happiest selves!
“This is the main reason I’ve really fallen in love with teletherapy,” said Lopez. “It offers this unique chance not only to work with kids in their home environment, but also to be hands-on in guiding parents toward workable solutions and strategies for maximum carryover of key life skills.”
Whenever possible, Krystle strives to combine the movement principles of yoga, dance and sports to maximize functional movement, help kids self-regulate and boost their self-esteem. She believes in constantly seeking innovative ways to tap into each child’s strengths and interests, ensuring therapy stays both meaningful and fun.
Aside from occupational therapy, Krystle loves sunshine, dance instruction, traveling, art, holistic health & wellness, Erick, Ethan and their fur baby. She and her husband, Erick, especially enjoy collaborating on bus conversions, van conversions, RV renovations and other creative projects.