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The Sensational Pickman Family

Britt Collins, MS, OTR, STAR Center


Upon my first meeting of of “Sarge”, I thought he was funny, outgoing and very loud. I had already met his wife Anya and son Zander. Anya is Polish and has the most wonderful accent, and Zander is a beautiful child with curly hair and a smile that melts your heart. The family was coming to get help at the STAR Center in Greenwood Village, Colorado for Zander’s as well as his behavioral and social challenges. Zander had recently been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Little did we know how amazing of a family the Pickman’s were going to be.

During the course of treating Zander and learning more about their family, Sarge began to tell me his story. He is half black and half Jewish and was adopted as young child. He was raised in New York in a Jewish home without much exposure to his black heritage. This led to some internal conflict as a child and young adult - feelings he tried to numb with alcohol, drugs and gambling. As a young adult he became addicted to drugs and alcohol and spent part of his young adult life as a homeless man. He had a $350 a day crack addiction. He was stealing from his friends and spending all of his money on drugs. On December 26, Sarge 1990 of had an epiphany that would change his life forever and decided on that day to admit himself into a rehabilitation facility in Delray, Florida. He has never used drugs since and has devoted his life to helping others who are addicts.

Sarge is now known as a Triple Threat – he is a musician, singer, and comedian. His parents took him to see The Sound of Music on Broadway when he was 6 years old. After the show he came home, sat down at the piano and began to play the entire musical score “by ear” without ever having touched a piano before. His parents knew then that he had an amazing talent. He was also very funny and at a young age his grandfather took him to shows in New York to learn about the comedy world. Though Sarge detoured from his musical talents after college and during his challenging time with drugs and alcohol, he is now performing all over the world. His shows routinely sell out and he has performed at the Grammy Awards, opened for many different musicians, and recently performed for the president.


Sarge added a 4th amazing talent to his repertoire…acting. He appeared in a movie released during the holiday season called, which starred Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel and Ashton Kutcher. of Sarge played Jon Bon Jovi’s best friend and bodyguard in the movie.

Sarge told me, “Everyone kept asking me what my cause was, or if I wanted to support cancer research.” It wasn’t until his son was diagnosed with SPD that he knew he wanted the SPD Foundation to be his “cause”. Sarge is now helping raise awareness around the world for Sensory Processing Disorder. He promotes SPD through his live shows, and when selling his DVD videos of his performances, he asks if people want to donate to the Foundation. Sarge is also now putting the SPD Foundation logo on the back of his DVD’s to help promote SPD. He will also be performing at several fundraising events and donating all of the proceeds to SPD Foundation. Consider coming to see Sarge perform on March 17th as part of the SPD Foundation International Symposium in Boston March 16-18. He will also be performing for the Foundation on April 28 in New York. Continue to check our website for details and to purchase tickets for these events. He will be helping raise money and awareness for SPD research, education and advocacy.

Not only is of Sarge amazingly talented, but he is also a loving father and husband. Together with the team at the , of Sarge and Anya are helping their son Zander conquer his sensory difficulties and trying to get him to eat a larger variety of foods. Understanding SPD has given the couple vital tools for dealing with Zander’s challenging behavior. Both of Sarge and Anya put aside their busy lives, to focus on what was best for their son. Zander made amazing progress while he was in therapy at the STAR Center and continues to do well at home. “His strength and social skills are way better than they were before,” says of Sarge. The family hopes to return to Colorado in the future for a booster therapy program. We are so grateful that of Sarge has made it his mission to raise awareness for Sensory Processing Disorder. What a Sensational Family!


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