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Katie Vienot, Synapse Pediatric Therapy

“Making daily life easier for kids and parents”

A Profile by Jean Cunningham

· Wellness,Therapy,For Kids


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Tell us about yourself and your business! What do you do or sell?

My practice is focused on making daily life easier for kids and parents by providing relationship-oriented speech and occupational therapy. We look at children's communication and how they participate in their daily activities to determine what kid's strengths and needs are. With that information in mind, we develop a personalized therapy plan that will help kids and families thrive.

As for me, I'm a mom of two rambunctious and incredible boys. My parenting journey continually makes me a better human, business owner, and speech language pathologist. My engineer husband, Andrew has supported me each step of the way- he even installed the flooring in our clinic and, more recently, a therapy swing. There are many ways that Synapse has been a labor of love for our whole family.


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Why did you start this business? What is your origin story?

I started Synapse after moving to Evanston eight years ago. I wanted to create the kind of environment where I would send my own child if they needed therapeutic services. I'd had a few work experiences that highlighted the importance of the "human" side of therapy and I decided that I wanted to create a small therapy practice that operated from a place of genuine care for children and families.

I brought our first part-time staff on when my son was born in 2017 and we operated in homes and schools for years before we opened our beloved Chicago Ave clinic in 2022.

What's the story behind the name of your business?

A "synapse" is a space (between brain cells) where learning and growth happens. It is, on the most granular level, a representation of the connection and learning that happens in speech or occupational therapy. We get to actually help kids' brains develop in a healthy way and that is the inspiration behind our name and the work we do.

Did you choose the Main-Dempster Mile? Or did it choose you? Tell us the story of selecting your location.

It was an absolute dream of mine to open up in this area but I did not think it was possible. Thankfully, in 2021, we found our space at 807 Chicago Ave and were able to purchase it with the help of a loan from the US Small Business Association. We then had to build out the space to transform it into the cozy, bright, welcoming space that it is today!

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What sets your business apart from others that sell the same products?

Our practice is a very unique space because of our neurodiversity affirming, strengths-based approach. We genuinely care for kids and enjoy what we do. The joy and welcoming nature of our therapists and clinic space are really special and are not accidental. We've worked hard to cultivate a team and environment that reflects our values.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business?

It's not for the faint of heart. Make sure you know your plan A, B, C, and D. Know your values and don't compromise them.