Where kids and families achieve
what previously felt impossible
Bearfoot is an outdoor pediatric occupational therapy practice that addresses social, emotional, motor, and sensory challenges to launch kids into days of joy and success.
Our mission is for kids to receive the services they need to go forth successfully into the world. No holding back, we are ALL IN on helping your kid and family learn the tools and build the skills to thrive. Let’s do what it takes, learn what works, and make real changes so your child’s future includes more playdates, school success, and sense of belonging.
Through the comprehensive program we provide at Bearfoot, we want to bust open the status quo of what it means to empower children with emotional, sensory, motor, or behavioral challenges. Once you’ve seen the results of bold communication and meeting your child’s individual needs, your child’s future will forever be improved.
That means looking beyond what insurance will reimburse and including what your child and your family really need - supercharged sessions, clear communication,
and over-the-top caregiver support.
a note from our founder
Marika Austin, MS OTR/L
As the owner and occupational therapist behind Bearfoot OT, I’m driven to think outside the box to provide more effective therapy services.
From taking therapy outdoors to raising the bar on parent collaboration, my vision has always been to fill gaps so kids get incredible results without being in occupational therapy indefinitely.
And after years of building this unique approach to OT practice, I’m more passionate about this work than ever.
Every day I have a front seat to watch the amazing transformations that happen when kids have their energy, sensory, and emotional needs met while playing in nature. Whether your child struggles with anxiety, emotional outbursts, motor skills, or lack of focus, the program at Bearfoot is here to address challenges, remove unknowns, and get your child on track.
Meet The Team
Ashlyn Southard, OTR/L
Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri
Favorite thing about nature-based OT: That nature is my office!
Favorite snack: Ice cream
Favorite occupations: Baking and hiking
Fun fact: I was a park ranger for one summer in Grand Teton National Park
Asa Williams, MS OTR/L
Hometown: I grew up in southern Sweden right next to the Baltic Sea
Favorite thing about nature-based OT: Getting to do the best job ever (OT) in the best place (nature)!
Favorite snack: Fruit, nuts, and cheese!
Favorite occupations: Hiking, reading, photography, and exploring new places
Fun fact: I was regional team table tennis champion in 4th grade
Melissa Budnick, OTA/L
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Favorite thing about nature-based OT: The good vibes
Favorite snack: Olives and pickles
Favorite occupations: Cooking, yoga, and hiking
Fun fact: I have three sisters and all our names start with 'M'
Nicole Habbe, OTD OTR/L
Hometown: Rapid City, South Dakota
Favorite thing about nature-based OT: I love being outside and having space to explore and be in wonder
Favorite snack: Popcorn and ice cream
Favorite occupations: Hiking, camping, fly fishing, skiing, reading
Fun fact: I can quote almost every episode of SpongeBob
Online Business Manager
Hometown: Baguio City, Philippines
Favorite thing about nature-based OT: I love how Bearfoot balances play and therapy, work and life, professionalism and friendship
Favorite snack: Watermelon and unripe mangoes in shrimp paste
Favorite occupations: reading, singing videoke/karaoke, writing and listening to motivational audio materials
Fun fact: 50% of my hair strands are really straight and 50% of the strands are really curly.
We love partnering with Bay Area families who share our passion for the outdoors, active collaboration, and doing what it takes for kids.
Without a doubt, communication with parents is the secret ingredient to massive success. We're ready to hear your thoughts — the good, bad, or ugly. Always balancing compassion and a no-nonsense attitude, expect to give and receive feedback for the best outcome for your child.
Around here, you’re respected and listened to as the expert on your child. That means honoring the challenges that brought you to this point to hearing your perspective on what works for your child.
What sets us truly apart is a deep respect for kids. From our words to our actions, we want kids to experience a place where their bodies, experiences, abilities, and preferences are respected and celebrated.
We constantly surprise families with our level of support, involvement, and results. We’re all-in with every child. Each session, response, and resource is provided with the right blend of energy, thoughtfulness, and the latest research.