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Our Story

Sawdust Occupational Therapy was the creation of both Benjamin Keeling and James Garwacki. Both Ben and James went to Brenau University. During a Foundational course of Occupational Therapy (OT) both Ben and James were thinking of how Occupational Therapy started and where it could be taken for the future of the profession and of individuals needing OT. 

They discussed an idea of how getting back to the basics of OT, with all the research provided, could benefit young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) through the use of craft. This idea was Sawdust OT, though not in name it was more of the unintelligible “What if we did that thing where we have young adults build things and it works!”


Identifying an at risk population for a reduced amount of services that a country has almost seem to have left behind Ben and James got to work and soon Sawdust began to build its roots. After connecting with a group of individuals in Woodstock known as Circle of Friends that were focused on building a special needs community Ben and James knew they found their perfect fit. Together they worked to create Sawdust what is it and what they hope it will be. An inclusive and safe environment for young adults and children with special needs to Learn, Build and Prosper through the use of woodwork.

Our Therapists

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Benjamin Keeling OTR/L


Ben received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia and his Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University. Ben possesses extensive experience with the pediatric and mental health population and serves as North Chair for the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association. He possesses clinical experience in community based day programs for adults with mental health conditions and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. He is an adjunct professor at Brenau University and coordinates Fieldwork supervision between Circle of Friends and is a fieldwork site supervisor at Sawdust OT.

Ben's NPI: 1104395813

James Garwacki OTR/L


James is a US Air Force Veteran who received his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Georgia State University and his Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University. He owns and operates multiple businesses that focus on construction/trade/real estate and marketing. He is experienced with pediatric and young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities as well as insurance/billing rules and regulations within the state of Georgia. He is involved with Home Depot’s nonprofit, Ken’s Krew, and is the liaison between Home Depot and Sawdust with regards towards supported employment and engagement.

Jame's NPI: 1336605906

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Jarred McNeil Headshot.jpg

Jarred McNeil COTA/L


Jarred received his Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant from Chattahoochee Technical College. Jarred currently works at a private school, and has experience in pediatric occupational therapy and community based day programs for pediatric and young men with developmental and intellectual disabilities. He also possesses experience working on small engines and mechanical work as his hobbies.

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