City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Morgan Hand, COTR, working on sensory regulation with her patient

Featured Article

The 'Child Whisperer'

“’Miss DiDi,’ as my son Bryson calls her, came into our life at a time of great uncertainty and has become a godsend to our family. In 2017, Bryson, at just 4 years of age, began experiencing challenges in speaking. …[W]e made an appointment with Holland Pediatric Therapy for an evaluation and help. As a result of the evaluation, he was diagnosed with a severe disfluency (stutter). The very next week, Bryson began seeing Diane on a weekly basis for speech therapy. It did not take long for Bryson to grow close to Miss DiDi and greatly looked forward to their weekly sessions. During their sessions, Miss DiDi would make the time fun, yet provide speech therapy by incorporating skills and techniques that would promote ‘easy speech’ through the play of games and crafts. It was not long before we began to see improvements in his speech fluency. Diane not only has helped Bryson learn speaking skills, [but] she has also helped to build his confidence as a young individual and has helped our family learn how to best meet his needs. You see, there is no cure for disfluency and will more than likely be something that he is challenged with for the rest of his life. When we first learned of Bryson’s stutter and that it was something that he would be challenged with for life, I was heartbroken and scared for my young child and what that would mean for his future. Diane’s calming presence, vast knowledge in the field, and support as a fellow mother gave me such comfort. I knew that we were in good hands and that with determination and hard work, Bryson could overcome this adversity. I realize that we have a long road ahead, as Bryson grows older and enters his adolescent years, but because of the skills, experience and knowledge we are learning from Holland Pediatric Therapy, I know that Bryson will become a confident individual who is not ashamed to speak.”

The above (shortened) narrative was written by the mother of a former young speech therapy client of Diane’s as a letter of support for the founder of Holland Pediatric Therapy for The Journal Record’s 2022 50 Making a Difference Award (of which she was selected as a recipient), recognizing prominent women who epitomize leadership in both their professional careers and in the communities where they live.

Like the mother who wrote the above heartfelt letter, parents who come to Diane and her team at Holland Pediatric Therapy in Norman often arrive deeply fearful and anxious for their child, who is not developing in a typical manner.

Holland Pediatric specializes in assessing, diagnosing and treating children ages birth to 13 years for communication disorders, fine motor difficulties, self-help issues, sensory disorders and/or feeding difficulties.

“We are devoted to providing caring, competent and professional speech therapy and occupational therapy services to young children and their parents,” said Diane, noting that their therapists receive ongoing continuing education to keep them up to date on the best evidence-based practice available in their respective fields.

The speech language pathologists at Holland Pediatric Therapy work to address difficulties in producing the sounds of speech, understanding spoken language, using words and sentences at expected levels of competency for age, voice problems, stuttering, or social skill deficits. They also work with children with feeding/swallowing difficulties. For a speech language development timeline, visit their webpage.

The practice’s occupational therapists evaluate a child’s current skills related to play, school performance and daily activities and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for that age group. Focus is placed on activities that are required to do tasks and participate in daily life, providing treatment for sensory and motor skills, self-help, play, social skills, school readiness, fine motor skills and cognitive development.

Some of the areas they address include improving fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills, addressing hand-eye coordination to improve play and school skills, learning basic tasks such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves, maintaining positive behaviors in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity, and improving attention and social skills to allow development of interpersonal relationships. Often in coordination with speech pathologists, occupational therapists also work with children who have feeding difficulties.

Holland Pediatric also works with children who increasingly are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which affects communication and social skills.

Diane recalls that when she was in graduate school in the early 1980s, the prevalence of autism was 1 in 10,000. She worked with her first client that had an autism diagnosis in 1988, when that diagnosis was still considered rare.

“The CDC now reports the rate at 1 in 27 for boys and 1 in 116 for girls,” she said. “I am often asked whether the actual rate is increasing, or just our ability to diagnose it. I know that the rate is increasing. I know it because as a speech pathologist for so long, I would see children with those characteristics if it were called ASD or anything else. The primary features are communication delays and social interaction issues. They would have found me then regardless of what they were diagnosed with.”

The cause or causes of autism remains elusive, though vaccines have been ruled out as a factor, said Diane, also noting there also have been alarming increases in autoimmune disorders and mental health disorders.

“Are they connected?” she wonders. She pauses, then responds: “Those answers are for another generation to solve. Our job is to provide the best intervention to these children that we possibly can.”

About Diane Holland

Diane Holland was a self-described service-brat who traveled around the world until her dad retired from the U.S. Air Force in Nebraska when she was 16. She earned her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Nebraska. She and her husband, Martin Holland, moved to Norman in 1986, where they raised their three children.

Diane has over 40 years of experience working in the field of speech language pathology, including 22 as director of the John Morris Speech and Language Clinic at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Although she received the Regent’s Superior Teaching Award for her teaching at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Diane considers her biggest compliment to have come from one of the students who described her as the “Child Whisperer” for her work in the pediatric speech and language clinic.

She opened her private practice, Holland Pediatric Therapy, in 2014 as a solo speech-language pathologist after retiring from USAO. In starting and growing her business, Diane was able to able to attract some of her best former students to work for her.  Her husband, a business coach, helped guide her from the beginning about the importance of having a vision and solid culture for the business.

“From the beginning, my mission was twofold: one—to be the best providers of speech-language and occupational therapy so we could help young mothers who were concerned about the lack of development of their child, and two—to be the best place for pediatric therapists to work, where they are recognized and supported for the important work that they do,” she said.

“Our policies and procedures are all derived from six basic core values held at Holland Pediatric Therapy: Judgment, Punctuality, Communication, Curiosity, Passion, and Honesty,” she added. “These create a work culture unlike any other that I have been part of.”

Learn more about Holland Pediatric Therapy at

Holland Pediatric
2429 Westport Drive
Norman, OK 73069


“We are devoted to providing caring, competent and professional speech therapy and occupational therapy services to young children and their parents."

  • Diane Holland
  • Speech pathologist Mady Thompson working on communication skills with her patient.
  • Morgan Hand, COTR, working on sensory regulation with her patient

Businesses featured in this article