We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Batman, MS, OTR, BCP, CNT, NTMTC and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Heather’s professional career path and personal experience with her baby’s feeding and swallowing challenges, including difficulty gaining weight and meeting developmental milestones, while navigating the complex medical system of specialists and too-long wait lists inspired her to open her practice, Beyond Preemie, integrating her expertise into her community to support and optimize infant care, changing the trajectory of infant outcomes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Heather is a neonatal and pediatric occupational therapist with 20 years of NICU expertise in feeding, swallowing, and developmental skills. Heather received her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Bloomsburg University and completed her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Chatham College. Heather has worked in the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital System in both level IV and level III NICUs, coaching families in teaching their babies how to eat and move over the past 20 years. Heather has guided NICU quality improvement teams to integrate family-centered, neuroprotective, and neuropromotive care practices as standards of care. Heather co-developed and managed a high-risk follow-up clinic serving birth to 3 years. Heather was a co-investigator for Improving Long-Term Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Low Birth Weight and Extremely Premature Infants, currently in the process of being submitted for publication, and was a content expert in neonatal feeding and development, providing mentoring and education at a system and state-wide level.
Heather holds her advanced board certification in pediatrics, is a Certified Neonatal Therapist, is recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association as an Early Intervention Specialist, and received her NIDCAP and Neonatal Touch & Massage certifications in 2012.
Beyond Preemie offers pediatric occupational therapy specializing in the premature infant. As a neonatal and pediatric occupational therapist, I guide families in teaching their babies, toddlers, and children how to eat, move, play, grow, and thrive. I put my 20 years of established and trusted resources to use in helping families navigate the medical system and finding the resources needed for their child’s specific needs. Whether families live next door or across the country, I want to share my experience and expertise. I want to support families, walk beside them through their individual journey, and help remove confusing, conflicting, and unsolicited advice.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We love kid-friendly venues, so when my family visits, we love exploring Smither Park, enjoy seeing the dinosaurs at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the kids love running wild at all the different Spark Parks the Heights has to offer, and of course, hanging out at the Houston Zoo. There are a plethora of fantastic restaurants in the Heights, and our kiddos just happen to be adventurous little eaters! We enjoy the child-friendly space along with the food at Preslee’s; drop by Hughie’s for some delicious vermicelli bowls, Alma Latina for their amazing enchiladas de mole, Romanos for the best NY-style pizza Houston has to offer, and Jeni’s Ice Cream for the decadent goat cheese and red cherries ice cream. Then we head for a little shopping down 19th street and walk the trail along Heights Boulevard.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be where I am today without the support of my family, the journey with my child, my loving spouse that believes in my abilities and my vision, my friends at Zion Lutheran Church for accepting us as we are, my local community of families and providers that are so positive and supportive of Beyond Preemie, and the entire NICU team, led by an amazing nurse, Elizabeth Kutchback, at Children’s Memorial Hermann The Woodlands who taught me how to be a better leader, therapist, protector, advocate, mother, and a better friend.