About Staff

Miriam Manela, OTR

cropped-miriam-manela.jpgMiriam Manela, OTR, is the director of Thrive Occupational Therapy, her private occupational therapy practice housed in a unique sensory gym. In addition to her private practice, Miriam is known for her workshops and lectures for educators and teachers as well as health-care professionals (MDs, OTRs, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, substance abuse professionals, and others).

Miriam uses a creative blend of proven techniques to help her clients overcome behavioral, academic, social, and physical challenges while providing a safe space where children can feel free to be themselves as they explore and grow. Miriam believes in listening to and working closely with parents and caregivers to help them achieve a healthy, responsive, and mutually satisfying parent-child relationship.

Miriam is certified in Therapeutic Listening™, and has received advanced training in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT), Sensory Integration, Attachment Theory and Reflex Integration. Miriam is a certified Reiki practitioner and Therapeutic Listening provider. Miriam practiced school-based OT in New York and New Jersey for over five years and worked at Hand to Heart OT, as well as provided services to victims of domestic violence and people living with addictions.

Miriam graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kean University and interned at Staten Island University Hospital. She is the legislative co-chair of the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) and is also the former representative for the representative assembly of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

In December, 2013 Miriam received the WCBS-AM & Cancer Treatment Centers Women Achievement Award.  Miriam has been awarded Top Doctor’s in New Jersey award in both 2015 and 2016.

For more information on Miriam Manela, please see the following pages.


Raquel Bondar, MS, OTR

Raquel Profile PicRaquel Bondar, MS, OTR is a staff occupational therapist at Thrive Occupational Therapy, a private occupational therapy practice housed in a unique sensory gym. Raquel has a wide range of experience serving patients from age 1-99 in private practice, home, school, and rehabilitation settings.  Most recently, Raquel has worked in both private practice and in various school settings serving children with varied diagnoses ranging from social and emotional issues to children on the autism spectrum.

Raquel focuses on the whole child-including their emotional, sensory, and social abilities. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Raquel had significant experience working with children with mental and developmental challenges.  Raquel’s reputation as a warm and creative therapist has followed her through her career in Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.

Raquel graduated summa cum laude from CUNY Brooklyn College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. She attended SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Occupational Therapy Program and was the student representative to the College of Health-Related Professions. Raquel is trained in Reflex Testing and Integration, Handwriting Without Tears, Wilbarger’s Brushing Protocol, Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome, and Neurodevelopmental Techniques.


Tova Brown, MS, OTR

TovaTova Brown, MS, OTR is a staff occupational therapist at Thrive Occupational Therapy, a private occupational therapy practice housed in a unique sensory gym. Tova additionally works as a school-based occupational therapist and regularly collaborates with teachers. She also works in early intervention, focusing on pediatric development with family collaboration. Tova believes that mindfulness and self-awareness are key components of healthy functioning. She enjoys helping children succeed and working with parents to develop a treatment approach specific to their child’s needs.

Tova graduated cum laude from Touro College with a Bachelors of Science. She attended Touro College School of Health Sciences and graduated with a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. Tova has received training in Attachment Theory, Reflex Integration, Handwriting Without Tears, and Neurodevelopmental Techniques and is also certified in Therapeutic Listening™.