When Julia Harper, Ph.D., M.S., OTR/L, talks about her business, TheraPeeds Family Center, you can hear the passion in her voice and see the joy she gets from her work.


In her words, she was born to do this work. Born prematurely in Trinidad and Tobago and “sent home in a shoebox to die,” Harper instead not only survived, she thrived.  She believes she was ‘saved’ so that she could be an agent of change.  “I love change with everything inside of me.”



Harper, a Ph.D., began TheraPeeds in Brooklyn, New York, in 1999 and moved it to FL in 2004. At that time it was a one-person practice and her focus was to change the lives of children with processing disorders such as learning disabilities, attention problems and autism spectrum disorders. These disorders are caused by a deficiency in a person’s ability to use information gathered by their senses and can cause a plethora of issues including low self-esteem and social withdrawal.



“I set out to change the outcomes kids were getting,” she said.  Twenty years later, she has over 55 employees and TheraPeeds attracts clients from around the world, mainly via word-of-mouth.  Instead of just treating children, now the TheraPeeds team treats the entire family and adults with processing disorders across the lifespan.


Her business has experienced spectacular growth, continually running out of space.  In March 2019, TheraPeeds relocated to a new 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Davie, FL.  Harper tells you her business isn’t expanding so they can treat more clients, they’re expanding so they can treat their clients better.


Today, Harper is not only an occupational therapist but also a wife, mother of two, business owner, psychologist, life coach, mentor, speaker and writer. Her work and personal presence is an inspiration to her social followers, but most importantly to the lives of those she touches every day. You can get your weekly dose of #VitaminJ by following @JuliaHarper_phd on Instagram.




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Video transcript:


[Julia Harper] When you’re coming in this door. You’re coming in this door to change. We make sure that our clients leave with an outcome that is both functional, and life-changing.


[On screen copy] Julia Harper, PhD, MS, OTR/L. Founder and CEO, TheraPeeds Family Center  Bank of America Customer


[Julia Harper] My name is Dr. Julia Harper and I am the founder of TheraPeeds Family Center.


TheraPeeds is a center where we create change in the brains of people so that they learn to function better in their lives.


What I do as an occupational therapist is I focus on the entire life of a client. They get better motor skills, in their communication skills, in their cognitive skills, and their social-emotional behavior skills. Families come into this door functioning one way, and they leave functioning better.


So my intention was never to start a small business. I intended to be a therapist that did great work. The fact that a business grew up around me is still stunning to me today.


So we really think of this business as an individual with a life of its own. We think about it and we say, “what do we want this business to grow in to?”


I first met Marianela, my small business banker, when she walked into this door, because she wanted to see what we do here.


[On screen copy] Marianela Martinez, Small Business Banker, Bank of America


[Marianela Martinez] What makes Bank of America unique, is that we can come to our clients, to their place of business, to their environments, and bring the bank to them.


[Julia Harper] Marianela brought to the table the business perspective that I didn’t have.


[Marianela Martinez] So we partnered up with Julia, to help her forground-up construction for her new facility.


[Julia Harper] What I’m interested in doing now is providing deeper care to the entire family.


I love the fact that I’m in a sisterhood. That she’s a strong woman that showed up for another strong woman, to say yes, let’s do this.


The children, the families that we treat here, our people that need to know that they matter. And that my bank turned around and did the same for me meant the world.


[Marianela Martinez] As a mother, and thinking that she is helping families all over the world, it’s pretty amazing.


[Julia Harper] I have the power to be a change and help others change themselves.


[On screen copy] What would you like the power to do?


[On screen copy]

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