Jane Audry Koomar, PhD. of Bedford, MA, passed away peacefully at her home on February 24th, after a long illness, with immediate and extended family around her. Born in Lakewood Ohio in 1954, daughter of the late Audry and Michael Koomar, Jane developed an entrepreneurial spirit at an early age. As a teenager, she created an informal day-care type babysitting service for neighborhood children. After graduating from Ohio State University, Jane co-founded Occupational Therapy Associates, now known as OTA the Koomar Center, in Newton MA. Jane received her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Boston University, where she was formerly an assistant professor of Occupational Therapy, and recently taught at Tufts University in a one year Professor of Practice position. In 1984, Jane studied with Dr. Jean Ayres, who developed the theory of Sensory Integration. Jane served as the chairperson of the Sensory Integration Special Interest Section of the American Occupational Therapy Association, and was honored with the A. Jean Ayres award at the 2011 AOTA conference. She was a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is co-author of several book chapters on sensory integration dysfunction and intervention and has taught numerous courses on these topics as well as providing on-site hands-on training to therapists and special education professionals around the country. Jane was an internationally respected authority on issues of Sensory Integration, a superb Occupational Therapist, an entrepreneur, visionary, teacher, and healer as well as a mentor and colleague for many OT's. She co-founded and was president of the Sensory Processing Institute for Research and Learning (Spiral Foundation), a research and education non-profit organization that specializes in helping families, children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) and related diagnoses lead more productive and enjoyable lives through advancing knowledge of Sensory Integration theory, and assessment and intervention for SPD. A devoted mother and wife, Jane is survived by her husband John Laferriere, son Matthew and daughter Amy Laferriere, of Bedford, MA, her brother Paul of Bay Village, OH, her step-siblings Patricia Plummer of Wabash, IN, Jim Hughes of Tinley Park, IL, John Hughes of Chicago, IL., mother-in-law Althea (Betty) Laferriere of Acton, MA, brother-in-law Barry Laferriere of Bolton, MA, sister-in-law Jeanne Smith (Laferriere) of Fircrest, WA. Family connections were very important to Jane, and every year she would be sure to arrange for visits with relatives and friends in Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois or on the west coast. These visits forged strong family ties and close, affectionate bonds between both cousins and their parents, another of her legacies. Long before Jane's encounter with cancer, she believed strongly in the healing power of the human spirit, and brought that belief both to her OT practice and to her whole life. It was impossible to spend time with Jane without coming away with a renewed sense of the importance of living in the present moment and bringing the full force of unconditional love to each human encounter. Her devotion to family and her deep belief that we can maintain our connections to one another both in this life and beyond gave tremendous solace to others facing loss. Jane lived her life fully and joyfully and trusted that our capacity to support and help one another knows no earthly bounds. Jane will be deeply missed, but will remain in our hearts forever, a loving guide and inspiration to us all. In remembrance of Jane Koomar, those who wish may make a contribution to the Spiral Foundation, at the following web address: www.thespiralfoundation.org
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Published in The Bedford Minutemen from Mar. 5 to Mar. 12, 2013