Meghan began her PT experience in an orthopedic outpatient PT clinic after graduating, where she treated most pediatric clients referred to the clinic. Since completing a pediatric clinical rotation, Meghan knew that pediatrics was her niche and this led her to becoming an early intervention PT. After EI, she gained more clinical experience as the PT in a specialized school for day and residential students. Meghan is excited to join the NAPA Center team and cannot wait to further expand her pediatric experiences! Meghan has been an Irish Step Dancer since she was 5 and you can find her competing or taking classes on the weekends! When she isn’t working or dancing, she can be found going on adventures to explore the outdoors with her dogs, Duck and Finn, and her family!
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
Haylee attended Charles Sturt University where she completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. She completed a various range of practical experiences within the adult and paediatric populations, however following her experiences within children’s hospitals she quickly discovered her love and passion for working with children. Her ambition to make a difference in the lives of children and families of children with a disability has led her to fulfil a career in the paediatric field. Prior to NAPA Haylee has been dedicated to further developing her skills and knowledge in child development, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing and neurological disorders, to provide therapy for a wide range of disabilities for children to reach their full potential.
When she is not at NAPA Centre, Haylee can be found playing sport, exploring beaches and hikes and getting back to visit her family in country NSW.
Thais has over 10 years of experience as a physiotherapist working in hospitals, clinics as well as her own practice in Brazil. Since arriving in Australia she has been working in the disability sector as a support worker whilst studying for her full physiotherapist licence for Australia. It was whilst visiting NAPA Centre with one of her clients that she fell in love with the clinic and felt that she needed to be a part of it!
BAppSc (Physiotherapy), The University of Sydney
Joel strongly believes in the potential of every child and is committed to helping them achieve their therapeutic goals through kind-hearted actions and communication. He also understands the immense love parents have for their children and is inspired to provide them with hope through a collaborative approach and patient education.
Outside of work, Joel recharges by spending time in nature and he enjoys leisure reading, trying out new recipes, listening to R&B/Hip-Hop music, and playing racket sports socially. He likes tea more than coffee and thinks that the Samoyed bred of dogs are really cute!!
Joanna has an extensive career in diverse areas of administration. Her favourite jobs involved helping others learn new skills, and she loves participating in career and health development of children and young adults.
Practical with a good dose of humour, she believes most things can be achieved when you put your mind to it.
When not at work, you’ll find Joanna learning (still…), trying her hand at writing fiction, doing yoga, walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and enjoying the lovely city of Sydney.
Ana knew that she wanted to be a Physiotherapist since her early years after becoming fascinated with the rehabilitation process and the body’s ability to heal. Since her graduation as Bachelor of Physiotherapy at University Santa Cecilia (UNISANTA) in Brazil, she worked in many different physiotherapy areas such as Neurological, Orthopaedics, Sports and Geriatrics. In 2010 she moved with her family to Australia and more recently joined NAPA, initially as a volunteer and then as Therapy Aide where she fulfils her passion for working with kids rehabilitation. Outside of working she enjoys life being a mother of two kids and practicing yoga and pilates.
Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours I), The University of Queensland
Anna-Marie knew that she wanted to become a Speech Pathologist from a high school work experience where she was amazed by the improvement observed in a speech pathology session. Through University and career experience, Anna-Marie has developed strong clinical skills that support her in her areas of interest of Alternative and Augmentative Communication, early language development and social/pragmatic skills. Through working in paediatrics in a regional private practice, as well as having experience working overseas in London, Anna-Marie enjoys working closely with her clients and their families to attain their goals. Time away from work consists of playing sport and walking her family dog, Happi.
BS Criminal Justice & Minor in Sociology, Texas State University
Kelsey always knew she wanted to make a difference in the world no matter how big, but never imagined having the wonderful opportunity to help amazing families along the way at NAPA. With a true passion for poetry and books, she enjoys spoken word and cannot pass up a bookstore. Although most of her day is spent behind a desk, she will never turn down an opportunity to interact with the cute kids and families that come into NAPA.
When Kelsey is not writing, she most likely can be found reading, hanging with her cat, or finding new recipes to whip up. Living in Austin for the past year and a half, she enjoys a nice picnic at Zilker Park, as well as exploring any hiking trails discovered along the way.
BBC Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, University of Western Sydney
Lisa has worked in the HR field for almost 20 years in the Finance, Insurance, Retail and Health Services Industries. Lisa comes from Northcott Disability Services where she developed a passion for supporting Therapy Services, seeing the positive difference being made in the lives of clients and even her own family. Driven by the belief that organisations are only as good as the people they have working in them, her areas of special interest include employee engagement, professional development and organisational development.
When not working, you will find Lisa at the beach with her family, entertaining friends and family or if the TV is able to be switched off “Bluey” episodes, indulging in terrible flip or flop renovations shows from all over the world.
Bachelor of Occupational therapy, Western Sydney University
Chloe is a passionate and highly motivated Occupational Therapist who is committed to supporting children and families to meet their goals in fun, creative and individualised ways. Chloe chose to study OT due to her passion to help others, a strong interest in health science. Chloe’s passion for working with children developed throughout her studies through placement opportunities, support work and working at the Children’s hospital at Westmead whilst studying. Chloe has post-graduate experience working as a paediatric OT in Sydney where she has experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder and a range of developmental delays. Chloe has found working which children and families to improve their quality of life an invaluable experience. Chloe’s favourite part about being an OT is working with children and their families to reach their potential. When Chloe is not working, she enjoys spending time at the beach, catching up with friends and family, watersking and painting.
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology), The University of Sydney
Laura always knew she wanted to help others, and this sparked her journey into Speech Pathology. She grew up with a large family by her side and has always been considered the ‘mum’ of the group. Her love for paediatrics and disability came from her family as her two younger cousins were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as she finished her degree. Laura’s passion to support her relatives started her career in early intervention and supporting children and young adolescents with a diagnosis of ASD. She joins NAPA with a passion to learn more about the field of disability and to support families to be their child’s best teacher (wearing leggings and crazy socks was a bonus!). Laura is practicing as a Certified Speech Pathologist (CPSP) and certified Hanen therapist who holds great importance in building capacity within families. She has a keen interest with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), social skills, sensory and emotional regulation, and Positive Behaviour Support. Laura is a big animal lover and will always be talking about her pets! She is most active when the sun is out and will explore the outdoors, go on walks and hikes, be at the beach but when the cold and rain hit, Laura will hibernate!
Doctor of Physiotherapy, Macquarie University
Daniel was born and raised in Southern California, where he was always involved in sports and exercise. This led him to travel across the globe to Sydney to pursue a degree in physiotherapy with the intention to work in a sports related field. However, his intention changed when he fell in love with his pediatric placements during his studies. Once he realized the impact he could have on the lives of children and their families, he knew he had found his true calling. Daniel has experience working with children in team sports and gym settings, and he has organized exercise classes that focused on dynamic movements for all ages, but more importantly, on having fun!
When he is not at NAPA, Daniel can usually be found working out at the gym, playing basketball, or indulging in his new passion for Latin dance (so please don’t be alarmed if you see him dancing around the clinic!)
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology), University of Sydney
Having grown up as the youngest amongst all his extended family, Harrison was the fortunate recipient of all the toys and attention. When he discovered that he could play all day as a paediatric speech pathologist, he was sold! Harrison enjoys finding creative ways to work on communication and feeding in fun and functional activities. He is passionate about working with the child’s family and other multi-disciplinary team members – through collaboration and evidence-based practice – to bring about meaningful change.
Harrison’s post-graduate experience has centred around working with children with disabilities and behaviours of concern within the non-profit sector. He has also previously worked as an ABA therapist and has delivered behaviour support programs as part of a trans-disciplinary team. Harrison has a special interest in working with children with complex communication needs, early language development, social skills, and fussy eating. He is committed to ongoing learning, and has completed additional training in AAC systems (such as LAMP and PODD), PROMPT for motor speech disorders, and Social Thinking. When not at work, you will most likely find him trying to chase the sunrise, play tennis, and rock-climbing – all with variable success.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University
Shuyi was introduced to the profession of physical therapy when she worked with children with special needs in China (where she grew up!) and has been passionate about working with children ever since. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University and Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from University of Virginia.
During PT school, she completed Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) which gave her an appreciation for the children and families she gets to work with as a physical therapist. Shuyi became a believer of the intensive model after completing a pediatric internship where she witnessed the progress her patients made in three weeks. She is excited to join the team serving the children and families at NAPA center. Outside the clinic, she enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, making macramé decorations and exploring the famous LA food scene.
Master of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney
Started as a NAPA volunteer then a therapy aide, and now a physiotherapist, Pauline is passionate towards empowering kids to reach their fullest potential. Prior to moving from Canada to pursue her Master of Physiotherapy in Australia, Pauline has had 5 years of experience working with children in adapted sports, hydrotherapy, and clinical settings. This sparked her interest in making her passion her career.
As a creative and dedicated physiotherapist, Pauline always strives to create a supportive environment for kids to develop the confidence and competence to reach their goals. She believes in making therapy fun, interactive, and individualized so that it is enjoyable and meaningful to each child.
You can spot Pauline at NAPA with the biggest smile, colorful socks, and contagious enthusiasm & positivity. When not at NAPA, you can find her indulging in some ice cream or wine, embracing her sweatiness at the gym, attempting to surf, and exploring another coastal walk.
BA Occupational Therapy, University of Sydney
Alice chose to become an Occupational Therapist because she always wanted to work in a profession that contributes to her community and wouldn’t keep her behind a desk. She loves working in the field of paediatric disability, working with clients who are imaginative, spirited and wonderfully unique. Alice loves that she can learn something new every day when working with kids with different abilities and is especially passionate about making strong, collaborative connections with the children and their families. Alice has extensive experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities and Sensory Processing Disorder.
When she is not at work, Alice is usually outdoors; at the beach, playing netball or bushwalking with friends. She loves baking and has a Diploma of Floristry which keeps her busy on the weekends. She loves travel and can spend hours reading travel guides and planning her future holidays.
Bachelor of Physiotherapy, The Australian Catholic University
Sarah has always had a love of working with children. She worked as a junior school sports coach and a nanny whilst studying physiotherapy at university. Sarah affirmed her passion for working with children after a paediatric placement at Royal North Shore Hospital. To further grow her physiotherapy knowledge she completed a Graduate programme at Royal North Shore Hospital. Her experience in working with a variety of neurological conditions combined with her love of paediatrics saw her transition to the NAPA centre as the perfect fit!
Sarah is a caring team member eager to be involved in an energetic, inclusive and passionate environment. She is driven to making a positive impact in the lives of children and their families. Sarah is very excited to be involved with our supportive NAPA team!
If Sarah isn’t at work, you most likely find her playing hockey. Sarah is also a keen baker, enjoys going to the beach or watching Grey’s Anatomy!
Master of Speech Language Pathology, University of Sydney
Michelle always knew she wanted to work with children. Growing up she worked as babysitter, and volunteered as coach of a nursery netball team. During her time at university she took a year off to travel and work in an American Summer Camp in North Carolina. Working at this camp really helped Michelle identify what she was passionate about. It was a vibrant and fun environment nestled in nature and focused on positivity as well as some practical skills. There was a large focus on developing a sense of community, which is what now, really appeals to Michelle about NAPA. It also kickstarted her love of exploring and travel!
Once graduated from university Michelle worked for 2 years in Sydney in a private practice that worked closely with an OT practice. Here Michelle began to focus her professional skills towards better understanding the benefit of a closely allied multidisciplinary team input to a child with special needs and their family. Michelle has worked in London for 3 years in multidisciplinary special needs schools. Here she has worked closely with families, teachers and other therapists to implement goals. She has worked in schools for children with social and emotional mental health issues that implement specific behaviour management systems. She has also developed a special interest in implementing AAC systems. Michelle was trained in smiLE therapy (smart and measurable interactions in Live English) at the RCSLT. She took full advantage of the UK’s generous school holiday periods and will boast about visiting 19 countries in 2019! Now back in Sydney, and without Europe on her doorstep, Michelle is setting her sights a little closer to home and spending her weekends exploring local national parks.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, MGH Institute of Health Professions
Sasha has always loved working with children, being active, and learning from others. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience from Elon University and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professions. Since her first internship at a pediatric clinic, Sasha knew she had found her passion. She is excited to combine her love for pediatrics and neurology here at NAPA.
On a weekend, you can find her playing ice hockey, taking dance classes, or spending time with her friends and family!
University of Sydney – Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) Honours
Emily is a motivated and creative Occupational Therapist who is passionate about working with children. Emily’s love for working with children grew from her large family and was further established after a placement at the Children’s Hospital in Westmead. Emily has experience working as an OT with a range of children and families in both Perth and Sydney. Emily is committed to supporting children to meet their goals in a fun and creative way. Emily values collaboration with all the important people in a child’s life to support children to reach their potential.
When Emily is not working she enjoys spending time with family and friends, running and completing art projects!
M.S. Occupational Therapy, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Jordyn knew she wanted to enter the field of Occupational Therapy after working as a rehab aide for a young girl with a traumatic brain injury. She believes there is no greater joy than celebrating with an individual who has reached their goals. From there, she continued working as a caregiver for children and adults with special needs throughout college and graduate school.
Jordyn always envisioned herself working in pediatrics, but never thought she would end up moving across the country to do so. While not a California native, Jordyn has quickly adapted to the LA lifestyle. In her free time, you can find her working out, biking along the beach, exploring new restaurants, or indulging in an endless supply of mint chocolate-chip ice cream. Jordyn’s lively personality adds value when providing treatment to any individual that enters NAPA’s doors.
Bachelor of Physiotherapy, University of Sao Paulo City, Brazil.
Since the beginning of her undergraduate studies, Claudia realised that she wanted to help children reaching their potential goals. Claudia graduated in Paediatrics Physiotherapy in 2005 and gained experience at a hospital and private practice working with children. She travelled to Canada, USA and Chile, to improve her skills and was trained directly from the creator of the Cuevas Medek Exercise Method (CME). She became the first CME therapist in Brazil and has worked as a level III therapist in the CME method since 2009.
Following her move to Australia in 2019, Claudia loves to spend time with her family, exploring the amazing playgrounds around Sydney.
Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Australian Catholic University
Jasmin had known quite quickly want she wanted to be when she grew up after being treated herself from a young age by physiotherapists. She loved the idea of helping people in an environment that was fun, energetic and inclusive. Jasmin also loved the idea of helping those with neurological disabilities in some way, as she was fascinated by the brain and the ways that we can train it to get the best out of our bodies. It wasn’t until her very final university placement at a children’s hospital in Sydney that she found her passion – working with children!
Jasmin started her career gaining experience in a private practice treating in musculoskeletal, sports and neurological caseloads, but she knew every time she was lucky enough to treat a child that she belonged in paediatrics. So she made the big leap to NAPA and has been very excited ever since!
When she isn’t at NAPA having fun, Jasmin is found challenging her own skills with sport – she competes in triathlons and has been playing soccer for years now. She also enjoys baking and hanging out with dogs.
Growing up the eldest of her 20+ cousins, Zoe has always been surrounded by kids and enjoys teaching and inspiring them to pursue their own passions, as she did with artistic gymnastics. Her commitment to the sport taught her the value of discipline, determination and sheer belief; and the positive effect of movement on the developing body.
Zoe grew her passion for paediatrics as she rotated through her new-graduate year at a large tertiary hospital in Sydney. It was here that Zoe was involved with treating acutely unwell children with a variety of medical backgrounds which inspired her to seek opportunities to help maximise the potential of these children when they were well – hence her big move to NAPA.
In her spare time, you will usually find Zoe at the gym or experimenting in the kitchen – any delicious recipe suggestions are welcome!
Doctorate of PT, Loma Linda University
In 2012, Tso-Hsien (Geoffrey) received his Bachelor in Physical Therapy in Taiwan. He worked in post-acute hospital as a physical therapist for both geriatric and pediatric population which then encouraged him to pursue higher education in the US. He attended Loma Linda University and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2017.
Tso-Hsien grew up in Taiwan and has always enjoyed working with kids. After working two years in hospitals in Taiwan, he found there wasn’t enough recourses nor techniques available in pediatric rehab field, so he decided to travel to the US to gain more knowledge and training. He found out about NAPA Center and instantly fell in love with this big family and feels like it’s a one-stop shop of all contemporary therapies.
When Tso-Hsien is not at work, he enjoys spending his time with his dog Gucci and his husband Wissanu. They love exploring different restaurants and never says no to good food, and will travel to a different state just for a nice medium-rare steak.
Masters in Occupational Therapy, Ithaca College
Before entering school to become an OT, Courtney had been helping children and families while working as a babysitter and special education teachers aide in her community. Subsequently, her love for helping people, grew throughout her formative years and steered her directly into a profession in which her passion is met by her fulfillment. Courtney has worked in various school settings, inpatient and outpatient pediatric rehabilitation, gaining valuable knowledge and skills throughout her career, especially in the areas of visual deficits, neurodevelopmental impairments and feeding difficulties. She has learned to welcome challenges, even look forward to them, because she knows the joy she feels from meeting goals is only surpassed by the sense of accomplishment her clients experience as they gain greater function and independence.
In Courtney’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog Kolana. She is often caught overpacking for many weekend getaways and adventures. But if staying local, she enjoys long distance runs along the Charles River, keeping up with the sport she participated in through high school and college. Courtney has only run one marathon but is already looking forward to her next.
Lauren graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Western Sydney University. She grew up in Sydney and is very family orientated. Lauren comes from a massive family, in fact her family is SO big that they always struggle to fit everyone in just one picture! Because of this, she has always been surrounded by her young nieces and nephews.
Lauren has always enjoyed working with children of all ages and abilities to reach their full potential and to achieve their goals. She has worked as a primary and secondary school tutor, a disability support worker and as a weekend sport trainer for Netball, Rugby and Soccer teams. When she discovered she could get the best of both worlds by being a physiotherapist AND be surrounded by kids all day, she knew that she had found the right profession.
When Lauren is not spending time with the awesome NAPA kids, you’ll find Lauren hanging out with her family and friends, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, playing touch football or oz-tag, going to the beach or skiing at Perisher!
Natalie initially developed her passion for working with children whilst on placement at her local children’s hospital in England as part of her physiotherapy degree. Natalie found the diversity of this role incredibly rewarding and empowering and loved being able to have a bit of fun every single day! Once qualified Natalie went on to work as a Paediatric Physiotherapist in the NHS before recently deciding to take on a new challenge and move to Australia to work at NAPA centre.
During her free time, Natalie can be found exploring her new Australian home with her son and friends and enjoys trying to keep fit. She also enjoys eating whatever biscuit, cake or chocolate bar she can get her hands on!
Masters of Occupational Therapy, University of Sydney
Zoraida is a dedicated and enthusiastic Occupational Therapist, that has worked and volunteered in a variety of settings including wildlife rehabilitation and community research. Zoraida’s greatest passion is exploring the world and she was even lucky enough to volunteer with children in the Dominican Republic. Zoraida came to Sydney from the USA to study her Masters in Occupational therapy in 2016. Having quickly fallen in love with Sydney and tiramisu gelato from Messina, she hasn’t looked back since.
Zoraida Ioves seeing kids fulfill their potential and this drives her to go the extra mile whenever possible. Zoraida started off by volunteering at NAPA. She knew straight away that NAPA’s unique approach truly makes a difference in people’s lives and wanted to be a part of the team.
When not in the NAPA centre, Zoraida can be found rock climbing, hiking, attempting beach volleyball, or playing laser tag. Being half Iranian and half Mexican, she also enjoys cooking a wide variety of dishes!
Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours), University of Newcastle, 2019.
Joe grew up in the Hunter Valley and is an avid sports fan, which is why he decided to study Physiotherapy. As such, he always expected to work in the sports physiotherapy field when he graduated. Joe worked as a therapy assistant at a paediatric disability clinic in Maitland for two years during his studies and saw the important impact which therapy can have on the lives of children and their families. After undertaking a clinical placement at NAPA during his final year of study, he fell in love with the big NAPA family and knew that this was where he wanted to be.
A good coffee helps Joe have as much energy as all the awesome kids he gets to work with! When he’s not at NAPA, you’ll probably find Joe out socialising with friends over a couple of sneaky beverages, or unwinding at home with a good Netflix binge-session. On the weekends he’s normally out and about somewhere across Sydney or the rest of NSW/ACT, umpiring AFL!
Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours), University of Newcastle.
Growing up in a family of allied health professionals, Hannah always knew she wanted to work in health care. Hannah started her speech pathology career in Melbourne where she developed a passion for working in childhood disability, especially in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Hannah thrives on building and facilitating positive relationships between parents and their children to support communication development across the ages. As a speech pathologist, she believes that patience, nurture and motivation build the foundation to communication success. Hannah is a certified Hanen trained therapist and incorporates child-led play in all her therapy to support social communication development and communication intention. She has experience using Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) to support communication access and is Level 2 Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN) and Key Word Sign (KWS) trained. She also has a passion for motor speech disorders where she utilises programs such as PROMPT to aide complex motor needs. Hannah has a keen developing interest in sensory modulation disorders and behaviour management in children with disabilities.
Hannah is a keen skier in the winter months and enjoys camping and hiking in summer. She is always looking for new mountains to explore!
Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of St. Augustine
Kristen graduated with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, CA. During her internships and clinical experience working with different patient populations, she realized she wanted to pursue a career in pediatrics. The vibrant atmosphere, amazing kids, and constant learning environment made NAPA the perfect place to make those dreams a reality. Kristen enjoys her time with family and friends, all while taking advantage of the perks of being an LA native. From exploring new restaurants, repping Dodger blue, and trips to the happiest place on earth Kristen is living her best life every day!
Klarissa is currently attending Los Angeles Harbor College. She plans to transfer to California State University, Dominguez Hills where she aspires to obtain a BA in Sociology. Her goal is to become a social worker and to be able to enhance the well-being of children in need. From a very young age, Klarissa knew she had a passion for mentoring children. With experience working in an after-school programs and at summer day camps. Klarissa finds great joy in helping children reach their full potential. Make Karissa’s day by sharing your secret coffee shops in LA.
CBD College Los Angeles, CA
Chelsea is a Los Angeles native who loves the outdoors making her the intensive family guru for fun weekend ideas. Her passion for working with kids and making an impact in families lives drives her smile every day at NAPA. Being a kid at heart, Chelsea, not only knows how to be the silliest therapist but also the biggest cheerleader. The growth she gets to be a part of, in her patients and their families, is what she describes as “one of the best feelings in the world.”
BA in Arts and Sciences, University of South Alabama
AA in Massage Therapy, Northwestern College
Eric looks all business but really, he knows all of the kids’ favorite songs and will do whatever it takes to keep them motivated. In fact, we once saw him play the tambourine while dressed as a princess. Talk about commitment! As the Trexo Specialist, Eric can help you determine if your child is a good fit for the first wearable robotic platform designed to help children with disabilities experience walking. His positive and upbeat nature really keeps everybody at NAPA moving. It’s apparent to us and his patients that helping and motivating others is his true calling.
MS Occupational Therapy & BS Psychology, Sacred Heart University
Katie always knew she would enter a field centered around taking care of others. She enjoys learning, being active, and constantly being challenged. Occupational therapy was an immediate draw due to OT’s holistic views and opportunities for individualized treatment. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Katie worked as a behavioral technician with home based early intervention. During this time, her love for helping children and their families took flight.
Katie enjoys being creative and working with those around her. She never tires of taking her dog on a hike or planning her next travel destination. She adores her nieces and nephews and will jump at the chance to be silly and spend quality time with her family and friends.
MS Speech and Language Pathology, Northeastern University
Mei-li is a California native returning after six years from the East Coast after finishing her Master’s at Northeastern University. It’s easy to see, Mei-Li is passionate about pediatrics and is excited to help support families communication and feeding needs. Prior to speech therapy, her background includes Applied Behavior Analysis, where she worked with children on the Autism Spectrum supporting communication and behaviors. In addition, she served as a developmental specialist in the field of Early Intervention, where she learned to collaborate with other disciplines and work with families as a whole. Her areas of interest include AAC, social language skills, and oral motor/feeding. Free time is spent at the beach with her golden retriever Rico, playing volleyball, cooking, and traveling.
BS Special Education, University of Iowa
Lynette LaScala grew up in Iowa and moved to California to fulfill her lifelong dream of living a life by the beach with lots of sunshine and outdoor fun. While preparing to celebrate her son’s first birthday, her life changed forever. Cody and his nanny were playing in his bedroom when she thought he crawled back to her. However, he crawled out the sliding door into the newly added family pool. Doctors gave Cody a very poor diagnosis and told Lynette and her husband they should leave the hospital and go on with their lives. Lynette was pregnant with their second child Bryan. Cody was still alive and leaving him was never an option.
After hearing time and time again that there was no hope for Cody, Lynette researched to find an intensive home therapy program. As a parent of a child with special needs and challenges, you will try anything to give your child or loved one the best life possible. It became her passion to teach children with disabilities while traveling around the world to find the best therapies to help her son with Cerebral Palsy.
Lynette became the US Parent Representative for the Euromed Rehabilitation Center in Mielno, Poland. She traveled from city to city spreading the word to doctors, parents, caregivers, etc on what intensive therapy entailed and how it changed her son’s life.
As the founder and CEO of NAPA Center, Lynette shares her knowledge and experience with other families, while giving back to the community. NAPA Center’s therapists travel around the world to be trained in the best therapies one can find. Lynette’s dream of sharing all the therapies she found for Cody has become a reality. When you walk inside the doors you know….you have arrived to the place you were looking for. Welcome to our NAPA Family…..
BBA Marketing, University of Iowa
Growing up as the brother of Cody LaScala, now 32 with cerebral palsy, Bryan has developed a strong passion for serving children with disabilities. Tagging along to Cody’s therapy sessions, doctors appointments, surgeries, emergency room visits, and many of the out of state/country programs Cody attended, Bryan was exposed to the healthcare industry and special needs community at a very young age.
During his high school years, Bryan began working in respite care and had intentions of going to college to pursue his degree in physical therapy. After entering college at The University of Iowa, Bryan switched his major to business and graduated with his Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing. Promptly after graduation, Bryan joined the NAPA team and also devotes his time to the NAPA Center Kids Foundation.
OTD, OTR/L, SWC
Lisa is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy and the Director of Rehabilitation at the NAPA Center. She received her Occupational Therapy Doctorate and Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy degrees from the University of Southern California in 2007 and 2008 and has been practicing in pediatrics in a variety of settings since then.
Lisa’s dedicated work in occupational therapy has enabled her to travel worldwide from Ghana to Singapore to Australia aiding children with disabilities. Lisa has a strong passion for working with children and enjoys the help and support the NAPA Center Kids Foundation offers.
B.Business, University of Technology, Sydney
Paul has a passion for the work of NAPA having been affiliated as a client for six years for his son Max, who was born with Cerebellar Ataxia – a condition that affects his general motor skills and ability to balance. Max has attended in excess of 15 NAPA intensive sessions, both in the Sydney and Los Angeles locations, and continues to make great gains through these regular sessions. When Paul and his wife Sally first came into contact with NAPA in 2013, they knew they had “finally found a family that truly understood what we were going through and that could design a program with the specific needs of our son in mind.”
Paul has been a Sydneysider for his entire life, and resides there with his wife Sally (also a previous team member at NAPA Sydney), and children Jack, Lucy, and Max. Paul joins NAPA following an extensive career in retail operations and marketing, most recently being the National Marketing Manager for Australian property companies Mirvac and Lend Lease. Paul looks forward to bringing his areas of expertise to the NAPA Australia business, ultimately striving to ensure that NAPA and its unique range of services, is available to more kids more often, so that all families can see the benefits he has experienced with his son Max.
Rebecca Weiss has worked at NAPA Center as a physical therapist since interning here in 2008. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Physical Therapy from Cal State University Northridge. Rebecca has had an interest in pediatrics since volunteering at the Children’s Hospital of Oakland while in undergrad.
Rebecca has dedicated her practice to Cuevas Medek Exercises (CME) since studying under Ramon Cuevas in Santiago, Chile three times since November 2011. She believes that CME has enabled her to facilitate countless improvements in the lives of children and families at NAPA Center, and is so grateful she discovered CME.
When not working, Rebecca and her husband are busy running around with three small children – Aviv, Benjamin, and Talia. Never a dull moment in the Weiss household!
From therapy options, scheduling, to a parent’s concerns and worries, Louise understands the NAPA journey in its entirety, as she is Mum to 11-year-old Georgia, who has cerebral palsy (dystonic/spastic quad). Georgia’s birth resulted in a catastrophic brain injury, and she was diagnosed with severe brain damage at seven days old. Because of this, Georgia started rehab therapy at four weeks old. At the time, Louise and husband Mick were based in Singapore, where therapy options were limited. Louise searched the globe for effective and different therapy programs for Georgia, and discovered NAPA Center. They took the plunge, and flew with Georgia to Los Angeles to do a three-week intensive. Before the first week ended, they knew they had found not only a great therapy centre, but also a place of support, hope, friendship and positivity. They extended their stay in LA for an extra two months certain that NAPA Center had the potential to make a real difference for Georgia’s future. Since then, Georgia has completed over 30 Intensive therapy sessions with NAPA Centre. The Conn family has been instrumental in bringing the NAPA clinic in Sydney with Lou coming on as the Intensive Coordinator. She works closely with the US team, to ensure that your NAPA experience is of the highest quality. She understands the juggles and stresses families face on the special needs journey. Lou is also a fan of yoga, the beach, live music, coffee, and wine, all essentials to special needs parenting!
Doctor of Physiotherapy, Idaho State University
Liz relocated to Los Angeles from Idaho specifically to work at NAPA Center. Liz has always loved being around children, especially when she began coaching youth football as a teenager. She still enjoys coaching, and even spent a winter as a youth ski instructor. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and friends, ski, and snowboard. Liz was introduced to physiotherapy when she was injured playing football in her senior year of high school. Soon after learning more about the profession, she shadowed a pediatric physiotherapist, and knew immediately that she wanted to pursue it as a career. After graduating with her Doctor of Physiotherapy degree from Idaho State University in 2010, she spent her first two years working at the Infant-Toddler Program in Idaho in early intervention. She then spent two years in Utah working for The Learning Centre for Families, as well as teaching Sports Medicine and Anatomy, before moving to Los Angeles with her husband, Adam.
Liz is a member of the Pediatric section of the American Physical Therapy Association, has completed herCME Level 2 training, has attended numerous continuing education conferences and courses, and has had formal training with children’s orthotics. One of Liz’s ambitions is to organize and run a football camp for children with special needs.
Ali graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) from the University of Sydney in 2008. It was there she discovered her interest in working with children, and what a huge need there was in the community for specialists in the field. Since graduating, Ali has gained extensive skills working with children who have diverse needs and disabilities. Ali has a passion to see her clients exceed not only everyone else’s expectations, but the child’s own expectations of themselves. Ali works in a holistic manner, and has a special interest in Sensory Integration therapy.
Ali was selected to be the first Australian occupational therapist to be accepted into the NAPA training program, based on her skills, knowledge, work history, and commitment to children. She believes that NAPA offers something very special to children with neurological disabilities. Ali has completed a number of courses focusing on sensory and movement/ developmental therapy techniques. Ali is a CME (MEDEK) Level 2 trained therapist.
Ali has also completed training in CIMT and bimanual therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Kinesiotaping Method, Wilbarger Brushing Protocol, Therapeutic Listening Program, Astronaut training, M.O.R.E. – Integrating the mouth with Sensory & Postural Functions, DIR®/FloortimeTM therapy approach, The Alert Program, NDT and many more.
Ali is an enthusiastic, fun, and active therapist who believes that it is important for all children to reach their full potential in all aspects of life. Ali has worked as a part of a multidisciplinary team previously, and believes that NAPA’s holistic approach involving the child, parents, school teachers, and other therapist’s benefits everyone.
Working with children of all abilities has always been a passion for Tara. During high school and college she worked in a variety of after school recreational programs for children with special needs as well as a summer camp program. After college, she moved on to the insurance industry and for the past 10 years has been working in underwriting and management in the professional liability insurance sector. When Tara’s first child Kate was born, she suffered a hypoxic event at birth and was ultimately diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This brought Tara back into the world of special needs. Like many parents, she searched everywhere for the most effective treatments for her daughter including traditional and alternative therapies. She found NAPA in 2016 when Kate was three years old and flew to LA with her family to complete her first intensive. Tara told us “I knew immediately that I had found the right place for Kate. The expertise, therapies, knowledge, and community at NAPA is unlike anything I have experienced before.” Tara and her husband Mike are lifelong Connecticut residents and are excited to be moving to the Greater Boston area and joining the NAPA family. As Red Sox fans, the idea of moving to Boston was a natural fit as well as a great community to bring NAPA to.
Nikki graduated from Ithaca College with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. While at Ithaca, she played for the women’s varsity soccer team. She has enjoyed both playing and coaching sports since she was a little girl, which eventually helped clinch her decision to pursue a physical therapy degree to helping children. Her physical therapy career has been solely in the pediatric field, and she has experience in both the outpatient and inpatient settings. She has worked for several years as a clinical supervisor, teaching graduate students of different universities. In May 2015, she became an American board pediatric certified specialist. Nikki has experience treating a wide range of pediatric diagnoses, ranging from children with developmental delay to those with neurologic impairments, orthopedic conditions, and rare diseases. Furthermore, she has extensive training in evaluating and treating infants with torticollis as well as recommending orthotics for children. Nikki is a CME level II clinician, and has trained several times under the creator, Ramon Cuevas. Since becoming certified in CME, Nikki truly believes her therapeutic approach has been further polished and more importantly, life-changing.
Background: BS Marketing & BA Media Arts, The University of Montana
Ellen always knew she would work in marketing, but never imagined getting to help families along the way. With a true passion for all things creative, she enjoys designing visuals that pull people in. Although most of her day is spent behind a desk, she will never turn down an opportunity to interact the cute kids that come into NAPA.
When Ellen is not creating, she most likely can be found hiking, putting IKEA furniture together, or watching really bad reality T.V. shows. Still new to California, she loves tourist attractions of any kind and exploring all LA has to offer.
Background: Current Student at Los Angeles Valley College
Ms. Sarah adores children so much that decided to make it her lifelong career path. She is currently wrapping up some prerequisites before transferring to CSU to earn her degree in child and adolescent development. Right now, we are keeping her mind sharp by putting her to work in both the billing department and preschool. Her favorite part of the day is reading to her preschoolers. It takes no time to notice everything Sarah does is with great enthusiasm and spirit. In fact, Sarah is so passionate about a good read she once traveled all the way to Oregon to check out one of the top 10 bookstores in the country. Talk about commitment!
Rhonda is the first port of call at NAPA Sydney, always has a smile unless she hasn’t had her morning cup of coffee! She enjoys working with people and loves seeing the kids shine while they work hard at NAPA. Rhonda has a passion for travel, cheese, and cider, and loves nothing more than spending time with family and friends cooking up a storm.
Cecilia, also known as Cece, is the friendly face you first see when you walk into NAPA Center. When she is not answering phones, scheduling appointments, or working with insurance, you can find her completing one of her many home improvement projects. CeCe amazes us daily with her incredible ability to multitask.
Note to Parents: Cece is now accepting donuts, chips, or candy for anyone who wishes to reschedule for a same day appointment.
Background: CPC American Academy of Professional Coders
Sean grew up in Ohio, and moved to sunny California to pursue his passion in business administration. Always wanting to give back, Sean found working in finance makes a huge impact on the growth of a business. His dedication to helping families with the mysteries of insurance has also allowed him to do what he loves. Being a father and sports enthusiast, Sean enjoys spending time with his children and watching his beloved Buckeyes, Lakers, and Cowboys. He claims he only works here for the free coffee and donuts, but we know Sean’s favorite thing about NAPA is seeing the reward of helping other families and their children.
M.A. of Education specialization in Early Childhood Education from National University
Glenda has been working in the field of Early Intervention and special education for over 10 years. As a child, Glenda worked alongside her great aunt who owned a family daycare. She would call Glenda her “little teacher,” which inspired Glenda to eventually become an educator.
Glenda enjoys helping everyone in the Kidz Academy reach their developmental goals in an environment that is both creative and structural. She continues to be a great resource for both parents and staff as she has taught preschool for five years and has 13 years experience working as a behavioral therapist implementing ABA practices.
Glenda is active participant in her sons travel basketball team and is well known as ‘the loudest mom on the court.’ Along with perfecting her game day cheers, she has also mastered play therapy, with over three years of experience using a floor-time therapy approach.
B.S. Health Sciences, Masters in Occupational Therapy, Quinnipiac University
Kathryn attended Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, earning a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences and a Masters in Occupational Therapy. A New York native, she moved to Southern California after graduating, lured by the endless sunshine. Still an east coast girl at heart, her family, friends (and the pizza), brings her back towards her roots to join NAPA Boston!
Kathryn began her professional career in pediatrics, with experience in educational, clinic based and early intervention settings. Her clinical interests include working with neurodevelopmental populations and children with sensory processing disorders and feeding and eating difficulties. A lifelong learner, Kathryn regularly partakes in continuing education and is currently working towards earning her clinical doctorate.
Kathryn is passionate about working with children and first became interested in OT after volunteering as an adaptive ski instructor for children with disabilities. As a pediatric OT, she loves being a part of helping children learn and master something new. “It’s the most incredible joy!” Kathryn spends her free time with her favorite people and going to yoga. Outdoor runs, puppies, iced coffee, and good brunch make her smile!
Maggie is an LA native who decided on a career in occupational therapy while in high school after years of volunteering at Pediatric Therapy Network. As an undergraduate, she attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2010 (with a minor in snowboarding). She spent several years teaching in Japan before returning to LA to pursue her masters and doctorate degrees in occupational therapy from University of Southern California (USC 16 and 17). Maggie is passionate about sensory integration, mental health, and body work. She is certified in Level I Craniosacral Therapy and is in progress with her Certificate in Sensory Integration. Maggie is also a certified CME therapist. In her free time, you might find Maggie hiking, meditating, or playing a round of disc golf.
Masters of Occupational Therapy, St. Ambrose University
Therese earned her Masters of Occupational Therapy and her Bachelors in psychology in Iowa at St. Ambrose University. From an early age, Therese knew she wanted to work in a health and human service profession with children. She thought about a variety of careers in both education and health care but nothing seemed like a good fit until she discovered occupational therapy. At the time, she was working as a nanny for a family who was researching all sorts of therapies for their son. Nothing sparked Therese’s imagination and interest like OT, and she is still excited to learn as much as she can to support the children and families she now serves. She has taken a special interest in sensory processing and assistive technologies. Outside of work, Therese’s curiosity leads her to explore any new place she can from trying to find the best coffee in Boston to hiking national parks in Ecuador.
Masters in Occupational Therapy, University of St. Augustine, San Diego, CA
Katie found her way to occupational therapy through her love of children and passion for helping them achieve therapeutic goals. Before NAPA, Katie spent seven years practicing in a variety of pediatric settings including sensory integration clinics, the home, and schools. Katie enjoys working with both neuromotor and sensory based populations. She is SIPT (Sensory Integration Praxis Test) certified, trained in CME and has experience with Sensory Integration and Neuro Developmental Approach.
She lives outside of Boston with her husband, two kids, and a retired therapy dog. When she is not at NAPA or in the kitchen cooking for her family, you can find her in the gym or having dance parties with her kids. In the winter, she loves to ski with her family and in the summer she spends the weekends on the beaches of Cape Cod. Take us with you Katie!
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology)
Beatrice has been working in pediatrics since she can remember, and she has always had a particular interest in the field of disability. The pure focus on providing health care for children with a variety of neurological and developmental needs in one of the world’s leading and unique rehabilitation clinics, prompted her to work at NAPA. She has worked with children who have a variety of needs, including those within the areas of speech, language, voice, feeding and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). During her time studying at the University of Sydney and practicing as a Certified Speech Pathologist (CPSP), she developed a special interest in feeding and swallowing, which is why she recently became accredited to provide the SOS Feeding approach. Her passion in this area of speech therapy is also shown in her love for trying new restaurants with friends and family. Beatrice also loves a good conversation about travelling and the outdoors, especially recommendations for new coastal and bush walks.
Bio coming soon!
BS Sports Rehab Therapy, Fremont College
Geoff feels that being a therapist for kids with special needs gives him a sense of accomplishment. “Hard work pays off!” It is also a very rewarding job that keeps him grounded. He enjoys weight lifting and watching Greenbay football games with friends and family.
Emily graduated from Western University of Health Sciences with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Since then, she has been working at NAPA Center, Los Angeles where she has had the opportunity to work with children and their families from across the world and gain extensive experience with diagnoses from Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Kleefstra Syndrome, CDG, Seizure Disorders, and many more neurological, chromosomal, and genetic disorders. She is trained in Neurosuit, Medek, Universal Exercise Unit, Kinesiotaping, Theratogs, Trexo, NDT, and has seen great benefits from using whole body vibration (Galileo training) with her patients.
Emily is no stranger to cross country moves, she moved from Minnesota to California for her undergraduate work. While she enjoyed her time at the beach for 12 years, she is excited to get back to the lake life in Austin, TX just like she grew up with in Minnesota, “the land of 10,000 lakes”!
BS Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas
AAS Physical Therapy, Houston Community College
From coaching little league cheerleaders to volunteering at pediatric therapy clinics throughout her undergrad, Lauren knew she wanted to pursue a career focused on helping children become strong and independent. Lauren moved from Houston, Texas to become part of the NAPA family after seeing the substantial gains a fellow patient of hers received after attending our intensive program. And yes, “ya’ll” is a permanent part of her vocabulary. It only takes one conversation to learn that Lauren is dedicated to three things: The Texas Longhorns, helping kids, and brunch.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of St. Augustine
After interning in a pediatric setting during graduate school, Katie found working with children to be the most rewarding! We admire her go for it attitude, adventurous sprit, and superhuman ability to turn down anything with sugar in the therapist lounge. Katie is a diligent worker and notoriously the first one into the clinic to prepare for the day ahead. Along with completing CME training, she continues to enroll in education courses to stay current in the world of physiotherapy.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Loma Linda University
After growing up primarily in Idaho, Larissa attended college in Washington, and then Graduate school here in Southern California at Loma Linda University. Larissa loves to utilize her knowledge of the human body to help children grow. She gets her inspiration for both original and creative PT activities from her favorite pastimes such as camping, hiking, hanging out with friends and family, and traveling. Her most recent travels have led her to The Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland. In fact, she lived almost a year in Micronesia teaching 4th grade before going into graduate school. Larissa is excited to be working at NAPA as she knows that she will be able to help children from all over the world progress in their gross motor goals.
Jenn is excited to be a part of the NAPA Center Boston team! She earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, Jenn swam on the varsity swim and dive team. Her experience with her own injuries as an athlete spurred her interest in pursuing a physical therapy degree. While in PT school, Jenn found her true passion in working with children. Since graduating, Jenn has worked in a variety of settings, including a school system for children with visual impairments and outpatient pediatrics, treating a wide range of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, developmental delays, genetic disorders, torticollis, and amputees. Outside the clinic Jenn enjoys beach days, learning to ski, and traveling every chance she gets.
Bachelor of Physical Therapy 2017, Australian Catholic University
Georgia has a life long history of working with children. She worked in childcare and as a nanny while studying physical therapy, but it was during one of her PT placements that Georgia knew pediatric physical therapy was for her. She also has experience in sports and musculoskeletal PT in a private practice clinic.
Georgia is a keen hockey player, loves to go to the beach, and is a proud aunty of an ever-expanding number of nieces and nephews.
Raquel graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy in Madrid, Spain in 2001 and specialized in pediatrics in 2003. She worked in early intervention using traditional European techniques (as Bobath, Vojta and Le Metayer) until 2010, when she joined her husband in an adventure to the US.
Since her move to America, Raquel has made two trips to Chile to get her certification as a CME practitioner under the tutoring of Ramon Cuevas. She is passionate about helping families unleash their CME superpowers and discover all the benefits of this unique approach to physical therapy. Raquel is a firm believer that the therapy needs to adapt to each kids needs on an individual level. Along with an individualized approach, she also finds it’s equally important to sing as much as possible during each session. This busy mom rarely gets a moment to herself but when she does, she loves to empower women by exercising her make up artist skills or cook paella!
Lindsey is excited to help the NAPA team in Boston makes it’s first years epic. She grew up in Northern New Jersey and moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University. While working towards her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and Early Intervention Certification, Lindsey fell in love with the city and has lived there ever since. Her enthusiasm for learning led her to explore and receive certification in NeuroDevelopment Treatment and KinesioTaping techniques. Lindsey is known for her friendliness and compassion with the children and families she works with. It gives her great pleasure when she can make the experience fun for all.
Lindsey’s drive to learn extends beyond physical therapy, as she recently became a certified yoga instructor. She practices yoga regularly and has seen the benefits of the mind/body connection in her own life as well as in those of her students. Lindsey enjoys many outdoor activities like running, hiking, and bike riding, but nothing beats a relaxing New England beach day. She also enjoys traveling when she can; Iceland, Prague, and Greece are places on her bucket list, just to name a few.
Jenny graduated with a Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California where she was born and raised. She has always wanted to work with kids, but wasn’t sure what field to go into until she found occupational therapy. Jenny started at NAPA as a student and decided to never leave! Jenny is a total foodie and makes all the other therapists jealous of the gourmet feasts she brings in for lunch. When she is not cooking, she spends her free time practicing martial arts, going dancing, and eating good food.
MOT, OTR/L, University of St. Augustine
Tiffany has been passionate about working with children from a young age. While teaching special education, Tiffany discovered the effectiveness of occupational therapy for students with sensory processing difficulties. This inspired her to move across the country to receive her degree in OT and work in both school and clinic-based settings.
In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, and cheering on The Ohio State University Buckeyes!
Ali graduated with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from CSU Dominguez Hills in 2013. Her passion for working in the pediatric setting started when she was an assistant in an early intervention program where she embraced the unpredictable, yet rewarding nature of working with children. Prior to joining the NAPA team, Ali gained experience as a school based therapist, working closely with children, families, and interdisciplinary teams. Born and raised in the South Bay, Ali loves going to the beach, running, watching sports, and spending time with family and friends. During college football season you can catch her cheering for her Arizona State Sun Devils!
Katharine graduated with a masters in occupational therapy from San Jose State University, but really we think she has a masters in flattery. She loves to tell us “NAPA is a clinic unlike any other” and a welcome surprise in her career. Katharine pursues areas of intervention and is continually seeking opportunities to learn and grow as a therapist. She does a fantastic job sharing this information and helping the NAPA team navigate tricky and unique patient goals. She believes her journey as a therapist enriches her life, both personally and professionally, and she is privileged to be a part of a network that cares for and serves amazing families. Her work experiences in multiple settings (clinics, homes, schools) and personal experience as a caregiver, have expanded her capacity and increased her empathy, which she hopes is evident in her work as a therapist and in her life.
Allyson has had the opportunity to work with the pediatric population in a variety of settings including public and non-public schools, the children’s hospital hand clinic, and child development centers. Allyson graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in education, and taught in Washington D.C. for three years before becoming an occupational therapist. After moving across the country and graduating from the University of Southern California with a masters in occupational therapy, she completed her doctorate.
You can find her in two places, at the beach playing sports, or in the therapist lounge pumping up her co workers. She let us know her passion and devotion to learning is fueled by getting to help children participate in everyday meaningful activities.
Mara graduated with a combine bachelors and masters degree in Occupational Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2013. She immediately moved to Southern California to get as far away from the cold as possible! Before joining the amazing team at NAPA, Mara worked with children in the public and nonpublic school system, as well as in an outpatient pediatric clinic. Mara has always known she wanted to work with children, and decided to become an OT when she saw how much it helped her younger brother who is autistic. She feels empowered that every day is a new opportunity to make a difference for her clients and their families. When not at NAPA, you’ll probably find Mara playing one of the board games in her giant collection (she owns more than 70) or marathoning Netflix shows.
Samantha graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation psychology and from Tufts University with a master’s of science in occupational therapy. Our favorite thing about Samantha is that she emphasizes one of children’s main occupations in her treatment approach- play! From hiking to long walks on the beach, Samantha is making up for all the time she spent indoors during snowy winters when living in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Boston.
AA, Cerritos College
Julie comes from an elementary school based environment. She works predominately with children who have Autism. Her background includes Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy and Picture Exchange Communications Systems. She is passionate about working in Early Intervention and celebrating success big or small with parents.
Everyone at NAPA loves being around Julie. She brings a fun and vibrant energy with her wherever she goes. Sometimes we catch her on the the trampoline or in the ball pit after all of the kids leave.
Evon is currently studying Nursing at the University of Sydney and is extremely passionate about working with people, especially children. She loves her time assisting on the floor or working at reception – where she gets to unleash her inner maths geek. She loves to socialise, spend time with family and friends and works hard to fund her travel bug.
Master of Science in Communication Science and Disorders, Florida State University
Katrina is a bilingual speech language pathologist who was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She was interested in speech language pathology from a young age growing up with a friend with cerebral palsy. While she has worked with a variety of patients ranging from pediatric to geriatric populations, her greatest passion lies in collaborating with children and their families. Katrina works to facilitate functional communication through speech and language intervention, as well as healthy and safe relationships with food through feeding and swallowing intervention.
Areas of interest and training include early intervention, multiculturalism and severe disabilities, feeding and swallowing, voice and fluency, and augmentative and alternative communication. She loves to stay active with activities such as hiking and exploring all Los Angeles has to offer.
BS Communication Disorders, California State University Long Beach
Jamie is a board game playing, amusement park going, cooking, and exercising queen, who also happens to be a mom of two! While researching different ways to help her children, both of whom needed speech services, Jamie discovered a love for the world of speech and language. Like many moms, she relies on and appreciates how her kid’s therapists have transformed her family’s life and overall wellbeing. It’s absolutely apparent to us that Jamie loves getting to give back. She continues to research and find different ways to reach each child. “There is no better feeling than working with a child and seeing them grow with their speech, language and communication.”
MA Speech-Language Pathology, California State University, Long Beach
The extensive impact that communication and feeding have on a child’s everyday quality of life are deep passions that drew Miki to the field of speech-language pathology. Miki loves working together with parents to support a child’s gains in therapy. Her prior clinical experience includes ABA therapy, feeding therapy in a pediatric hospital setting, early intervention, and in school-based settings. Miki’s areas of special interest involve feeding/swallowing disorders, language disorders, early language acquisition, and intervention with severe/medically complex diagnoses. This outdoors enthusiast loves to travel and explore new places, read, and eat delicious food!
B.S. Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, CSU Sacramento
Amanda is one of our bilingual SLPA’s, fluent in both English and Tagalog. Born and raised in the Philippines until the age of 9, she learned both languages simultaneously. Amanda knows first hand the impact speech and language contributes to different cultures. She was introduced to the field of speech language pathology while researching career paths that would combine her interest in multicultural communication differences with her passion for working with children. Amanda has experience with pre-school and school aged children in small groups, as well as a structured ABA socialization program for school aged children with Autism. When not striking up a conversation with her patients at NAPA, Amanda enjoys spending as much time as she can with her friends and family, playing tennis, or museum hopping up and down the coast.
BSc of Occupational Therapy, University of Cape Town
Sarah is a passionate and creative occupational therapist who enjoys coming up with new and inventive solutions to problems for her clients. She has had experience in a number of settings including a rural community hospital, a primary remedial school, and private practice. Sarah loves working with children and originally thought she would become a children’s book writer and illustrator. After realizing that working with children was more of her passion, she chose the path of occupational therapy and now enjoys weaving stories within therapy sessions to motivate children to progress in their skills. Sarah loves to learn and is continually trying to increase her knowledge so that she can better help her clients. She also enjoys getting outdoors and being active in nature. Weekends often include camping, hiking, going to the beach, and going out for dinners with friends. Sarah is also a lifesaver on Bondi Beach in Sydney and has had a few star struck moments with the lifeguards from Bondi Rescue.
Current Student at Santa Monica Community College
Meet Daisy, a woman who truly doesn’t hesitate when it comes to helping others. This super sweet mom stood by her nephew’s side everyday of his intensive therapy program, as well as during traditional therapy before she took on a job at NAPA. She quickly developed a way of drawing out just what kids need and are trying to express. With over three years of special needs experience, Daisy is never short on great advice. She inspires her tiny tots to try something new everyday and lives by the mantra: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein.
B.A. Major in Psychology, University of California, San Diego
Karina dedicated most of her time in college to volunteering at her local community center where she helped kids of all ages in expanding their learning through art and science projects. She confirmed her passion of working with kids through a recent position she had as a Kindergarten teacher in an after school program. She hopes to one day become a speech pathologist, because “there’s nothing greater than helping a little one develop a strong voice to be heard.”
Karina’s favorite part of her workday is story time at NAPA. When story time is “all done” she is constantly looking for new dessert places to try, scrolling through Netflix to add more shows to her already long list, or taking spontaneous trips to Disneyland.
Perla is passionate about children and their developmental growth which is why she is currently attending college and looking forward to transferring to CSUN next fall. In a nutshell, Perla is always looking for ways to help children as well as others. She explained “I understand what is like to need help from others, therefore it feels great when I am able to be of any service.” Perla started her career at a rehab facility, assisting patients with daily living activities, but feels extremely excited to be able to work with young children. As a mother of two, she finds it effortless to relate to the families at NAPA. Like many California parents, she enjoys taking her kids to the beach and hiking. She also enjoys reading, painting, and listening to music making her a perfect fit for the NAPA Kids Academy.
Background: Hyperbaric Medicine Certified, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center
Barbara came to NAPA in 2010 and is a true jack-of-all-trades. From martial arts to brewing the best cup of coffee, Barbara truly does it all. She is well known for making hyperbaric oxygen experience a comfortable one for both patients and parents. Coined as the Mother Bear of NAPA, you can most likely find her running around, making sure everything is in order and that everyone is happy and content. Barbara explains, “It’s all about the children getting better.”
Her current projects include remodeling her home and helping with her autistic great-grandson. They are working on saying simple words because It’s her dream for him to speak.
Cenny is one of the first faces you see coming into NAPA Center. Cenny handles billing and acts as CeCe’s right hand woman. Between this dynamic duo, there isn’t a question that can’t be answered. Cennys favorite thing about working for NAPA is seeing the kids improve. “I love seeing each child grow from their first day of the intensive to the last. It makes me so happy seeing their hard work pay off.”
Cenny has always wanted to work with kids. In her family, she is the go-to babysitter. On her days off, Cenny enjoys cooking her famous spaghetti for her nephews, having spa days, and going to watch her favorite team play the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Background: MBIC, UEI College
Belle chose the administrative side of healthcare because she wanted to help families get the care that they needed. Working with different insurance parties can be quite the daunting task but Belle loves when the kids stop by the billing department just to say hello. When Belle is not crunching numbers, you can find her cozy at home watching Disney movies with her daughter. She also enjoys going to classic car shows on the weekends. If it screams retro, smells vintage, and sounds rock and roll, Belle is your gal!
Background: MBIC, American Career College
Behind the scenes at NAPA, Jessie is working hard to help insurance cover as much therapy as possible! Like all parents, Jessie has been trying to teach her daughter the value of a dollar. Despite her efforts, she let us know “Toddlers don’t care about your budget.” Jessie gets the best of both worlds working in billing. She can say hi to all of the cute kids but retreat to her desk if they happen to have a meltdown. Ultimately, her favorite part about coming to work each day is getting to help families navigate the tricky world of insurance.
Doctorate of Physical Therapy, MGH Institute of Health Professions
Kerri graduated from Amherst College with a bachelor’s in Biology before pursuing her physical therapy degree at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston. One of her earliest introductions to physical therapy was an observation of her younger cousin’s hippotherapy session. While she still can’t ride a horse, she found and has maintained a passion for using her knowledge of movement to help children reach their functional potential. Kerri developed a specific interest in the rehabilitation of neuromuscular disorders as a student at a pediatric hospital followed by a year spent working at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital on Cape Cod. She is excited to combine her passion for pediatrics and neurology while serving the children and families at NAPA Center. When not at NAPA Center, you’ll likely find Kerri in a hockey rink, waterskiing, or chasing after her golden retriever.
Masters in Science in Occupational Therapy – University of Southern California
Jennell earned her bachelors degree in Child Development from the University of Wyoming but knew she wanted to do more to help kids physically and mentally. She then moved to sunny California where she earned her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2010. Jennell worked at various pediatric clinics around Los Angeles but fell in love with NAPA Center because of the intensity and the variety of children she got to work with.
After two years at NAPA, she moved to Nashville Tennessee, where she continued work as a pediatric occupational therapist while also pursing a music career. We were thrilled to invite back NAPA’s most talented singer to our Sydney team! Jennell continues serenade her kiddos.
As a practitioner, Jennell has experience working with children with neurological disorders, sensory processing disorders, sensory-based feeding disorder, developmental delay, autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and fine motor delays. She really enjoys working with both neuro and sensory populations. Jennell has trained in various programs related to sensory issues such as the iLS (integrative listening systems), sensory integration, SOS feeding therapy, HWT, Wilbarger brushing techniques, as well as behavior programs such as the Zones of Regulation and Alert Program.
It’s easy to see Justine’s passion and excitement for pediatric speech pathology. Her love for working with the pediatric population began with a background working as a behavioral therapist and infant stimulation therapist with children with a variety of needs. Justine believes that therapy should be enjoyable, and a place where development and progress are facilitated through fun, engaging and meaningful learning opportunities! When she’s not playing with kids, Justine loves listening/playing/watching live music, traveling, and trying all different kinds of cuisines/restaurants!
Jonathan always knew that his life purpose was to help people. An avid surfer, Jonathan discovered occupational therapy through the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (a therapy organization that surfs with at-risk youth and Veterans who have PTSD using an occupational therapy framework.) To be able to do something he loves to do as a means to help people solidified his career path.
Jonathan is passionate about pediatric mental health, family centered practice, and learning more about innovative evidence-based therapies. Jonathan refers to himself as an “oversized child” and loves the process of families working together to maximize a child’s full potential. In his free time, Jonathan plays basketball and music, dances, travels, watches his teams play “Go Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, and Trojans” and hangs out with his friends and family (most especially his dog.)
Doctor of Physiotherapy, Bond University
Jennifer was born and raised in Sugar Land, Texas. GO HOUSTON TEXANS! She moved across the world to Gold Coast, QLD to pursue a degree in physiotherapy. From teaching swim lessons, volunteering at paediatric therapy clinics to completing a paediatric physiotherapy placement in Vietnam, Jennifer knew she wanted to pursue a career working with children.
Jennifer enjoys visiting the beach, playing tennis, drinking coffee and searching for the best Mexican food.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Washington University of St. Louis
Cait received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor’s degree in Pediatric Health and Motor Development from Pepperdine. During her 10-week clinical rotation at NAPA, we fell in love with Cait (and the feeling was mutual.) Cait is passionate about the power of play and strives to educate and empower all of her families. When she’s not working with the superstar NAPA kids, Cait enjoys swimming, surfing, traveling, and organizing/leading physical therapy service trips.