The story behind Playwell...
The idea for Playwell came about when Sarah and Lori, both moms and therapists, discovered they had the same underlying philosophy about development. They identified many developmental delays within the children they worked with that may have been prevented or lessened if addressed early on. Additionally, they often fielded questions relating to general development such as, “how do I get my baby to like tummy time?" and “ how can I get my toddler to talk more?” Sarah and Lori quickly realized that although caregivers may have been provided information that was generally accurate, they were not afforded the type of insight that would empower caregivers with the why or how of development. As they thought deeper about this challenge, they arrived at the need to leverage play as a medium to address this information gap.
About the Owners...
Sarah Laryea, M.S. OTR/L, CEIM
Sarah Laryea, co-owner of Playwell, has been an occupational therapist for ten years and has been instrumental in the development of preventative and wellness care in her role at George Washington University NICU where she began the full-time program. She started Playwell to offer parents and children a nurturing environment in which to spend time together and play while developing the requisite skills to enhance their child's development.
Sarah has over twelve years of extensive pediatric experience spanning from embryology through to childhood development. She has spent her career working with babies born prematurely as well as infants and toddlers in the communities with a variety of developmental delays. Her background in these areas has contributed to her specialized skill in motor skill development, cognitive development, and sensory system/regulation for children.
On a personal level, Sarah is a mother of two and post pregnancy developed back and hip issues. After working with a physical therapist, she found relief and discovered utilizing these techniques made for a much easier recovery postpartum. She wanted to share this knowledge with other moms along with providing education and support relating to common questions and concerns, such as“is this normal?” "my baby doesn't like tummy time?" "why does his ankle look like that?” or "her head is starting to get really flat on one side?". These concerns helped Sarah to forge the idea prevention is paramount and that this knowledge needs to be shared.
In her free time she enjoys traveling, running, drinking coffee, anything near the water, messy play with her kids, and trying new restaurants.
Lori Porcelli, M.S. CCC-SLP
Lori Porcelli, co-owner of Playwell, has been a speech-language pathologist for 5+ years, and has worked with infants, toddlers, and school-age children. Lori specializes in feeding and language and has worked with children across the development spectrum. Lori is also a breastfeeding specialist and is in final stages of becoming an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
On a personal level, Lori is a breastfeeding mother of a toddler. Pregnancy, postpartum life, and the demands of going back to work with a breastfeeding baby led Lori to seek out the advice, help, assistance, and camaraderie of other mothers and professionals, including a massage therapist and physical therapist because of diastasis recti and back pain. These experiences are a key factor in Lori's desire to start Playwell.
In her free time, Lori enjoys spending time with her husband and son, weekend trips to visit with friends, trying new vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants, visiting playgrounds and parks, reading and attempting to be crafty.