As a child, Sabrina Filoteo Salinas found a role model in her maternal grandfather, a family physician in the Rio Grande Valley. “He wanted to make a difference in the lives of others,” Filoteo Salinas says. “He had a strong desire to help underprivileged individuals and minorities in the Valley and was extremely involved in developing clinics and education programs to serve the Hispanic community. His ambition ignited my desire to help others and motivated me to pursue the field I’m in.”
Her love of working with children impelled her to enroll in the early childhood education program at The University of Texas at San Antonio; she received her undergraduate degree in 2006. “I felt it was my calling to work with children with special needs,” she says. “As I continued in college, I developed a drive to work with children with disabilities and those who are challenged in other ways.”
Filoteo Salinas earned her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio in 2009. After graduation, she accepted a position at Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital of San Antonio, where she worked as a speech-language pathologist until 2012, when she had the opportunity to move to Houston.
“TIRR Memorial Hermann is a very well-known facility,” she says. “I was impressed by its reputation for quality and outcomes, the range of programs, population of patients and the opportunities for professional development. I felt TIRR was where I belonged. I went for it, and here I am.”
Filoteo Salinas has seen enormous growth in the pediatric program during her three years at TIRR Memorial Hermann Adult and Pediatric Outpatient Rehabilitation at the Kirby Glen Center. She is currently involved in a new program called Camp Abilities, a social and communication skills camp for children ages 3 to 9. Camp Abilities provides a fun, structured and supportive setting for children with a variety of disabilities and disorders.
“Social interaction and engagement are critical to successful relationships with others,” Filoteo Salinas says. “Participants in Camp Abilities take part in multisensory activities, interactive fine motor and gross motor game play, storytelling and communication activities, and a wrap-up session focused on positive patient-child interaction. Camp activities provide fun opportunities for instruction in turn-taking, sharing, listening, problem-solving, managing transitions and appropriate initiation and response in social interactions.” The program is held each summer in June and August.
She is also involved in the pediatric feeding program, a multidisciplinary approach to address feeding aversions and swallowing disorders, and provides mentoring for new employees.
“Watching patients and families progress toward their rehabilitation goals together and knowing that I’ve helped as a member of their team is incredibly rewarding,” she says. “We’ve got a great team with excellent communication within and between disciplines, which maximizes the benefit of therapy to patients. Where there’s good teamwork and collaboration, amazing things can happen.”