Sherri Cawn, MA, CCC-SLP, clinical director of Cawn-Krantz and Associates Developmental Therapies (with locations in Chicago and Northbrook, Il), has over 40 years of clinical pediatric experience specializing in the assessment and treatment of infants, toddlers, and school-age children. She is a leading practitioner of the DIR/Floortime® model in speech and language development and conducts trainings other professionals throughout the US and overseas on the concepts of this model. Sherri is the author of the self study DVD/Manual on the Assessment and Intervention of DIR/Floortime® produced by the American Speech and Hearing Association in 2011 and the self study DVD on the Assessment/Intervention of Developmental Language (2013)., In addition she is a co-author of Language Disorders chapter in the Diagnostic Manual for Infancy and Early Childhood and she is a co-author of the Profectum Parent Toolbox, (March 2016) an online free webcast series for parents and caretakers. Sherri is a senior faculty member of the ICDL DIR FT, the Profectum (DIR/FT) Academy Online Training Program and adjunct faculty at the Erikson Institute. She received her graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Illinois.
Linda Cervenka, MA, CCC-SLP
Linda Cervenka, MA, CCC-SLP
Linda Cervenka is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and works primarily with children and adolescence with autistic spectrum and related disorders utilizing DIR and development language models. She has a private practice in LaGrange, Illinois. Linda is also co-founder of Soaring Eagle Academy, an Illinois State Board of Education approved school serving students 5 through 21 years of age with autism and related disorders. Within the academy, Linda serves as an Expert Clinician, supporting staff and students in learning and growing within the DIR and Developmental Language Model. Linda received her Bachelor’s Degree from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL and her Master’s Degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has worked for 30 years with children with special needs, in home based and clinic based therapeutic services and public and private schools providing consultation, training and support for children and families. Linda is a Senior Faculty member of Profectum and has presented nationally on the topic of developmental approaches to intervention for children.
Lisa deFaria, MSW, LICSW, BCD
Lisa deFaria, MSW, LICSW, BCD
Lisa deFaria has a Masters in Social Work (MSW) and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board Certified Diplomat (BCD) in Clinical Social Work. For over 20 years Lisa has been providing quality psychotherapeutic services for adults, parents, teens and children. She has recently relocated from California to Washington State, and offers private therapeutic services on Bainbridge Island.
In addition to general psychotherapeutic services, Lisa has a specialty in child development, specific to infants and children, 0-5 with neurodevelopmental challenges and other special needs, including autism spectrum disorders, difficulties with self-regulation, attending and focusing and those with emerging emotional, behavioral and learning challenges. She is a Senior Clinician Certified in DIR (Developmental, Individualized and Relationship-Based) approach, featuring the child and family "Floortime" developmental play therapy model for supporting the growth, development and learning of young children with special needs. Lisa also is Certified in pre- and-post adoption counseling by the Kinship Centers of California.
Lisa has trained and worked extensively with Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder’s DIR® (“Developmental, Individualized, Relationship-Based”) and “Floortime” models for the last 18 years. She was on faculty with the "Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders" (ICDL), and was an Associate Professor with the ICDL Graduate PhD program in Early Childhood Development. While in California Lisa was also an Adjunct Faculty member of the University of California Santa Cruz, Extension. Regional community-based services provided while in California included developmental programming consultation and in-service training focusing on pro-active and positive intervention approaches for Early Start/Infant Intervention programs, preschools, elementary/high schools and inclusion programs. These have included: The Children's Health Council, Palo Alto, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Early Start, No. Monterey County State Preschools, Monterey County Office of Education and Infant Development Program, Monterey County Family Service Agency, San Jose’s PACE Preschool, and the Pajaro, Carmel and Pacific Grove Unified School Districts, San Jose's Creekside School and the Soaring Eagle Academy, Riverside, Illinois. A CEITAN grant recipient and former member of the Monterey County Family and Children’s Commission’s First Five Subcommittee on Children with Special Needs, Lisa has long been an advocate for children with challenges and their families and was a recipient of The Special Kids Crusade "Reach for the Stars" award, honoring individuals and agencies that support children with special needs.
Lisa graduated with Honors from the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work, and participated in a two-year Post Graduate Fellowship in Clinical Social Work at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center’s Thalians Mental Health Center working in the Family and Children's Outpatient Clinic and Infant and Early Child Development Centers, in Los Angeles.. Lisa is an accredited member of the International Association for Play Therapy, the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work, the National Association for Social Work and the Washington Society for Clinical Social Workers.
Karen McDowell is an educator with over 25 years experience working with the adolescent and young adult population. She is an assistant faculty member of Profectum Foundation and strives to implement a comprehensive developmental curriculum into both her classroom environment and therapy work. As a Lead Teacher and Young Adult Program Coordinator at Celebrate the Children school for 13 years, she has contributed to innovative curriculum and strategies with the unique needs of individuals in mind while promoting opportunities for growth and development in both group and individual settings. Karen facilitates a weekly young adult group for several years with intensive focus on social and emotional strengths and challenges. Areas of interest and study include executive functioning, visual spatial processing, emotional regulation, and problem solving and she has provided workshops around the country on these developmental areas. Karen strives to provide programs that entice thinking, collaborative problem solving, effective communication, and positive coping strategies to support success, independence, meaningful and fulfilling experiences, and happiness within the demands of the 21st century.
Celebrate the Children’s founder, Monica G. Osgood, is an experienced behavioral consultant and therapist who specializes in using developmental approaches to support children with autism and other differences in relating and communicating. She is also the Founder and Director of the Developmental Center for Children and Families and Executive Director and a founding member of the Profectum Foundation. Monica has worked in homes, therapy centers, and private and public school settings for over 20 years. Some of her experience has included assessment and the development of intervention programs, curriculum and IEP development, and parent and professional training.
In 1998, Monica created the first public school program with the Developmental Individual Relationship-based (DIR model) approach as the core philosophy. In 2000, she was the first educator to join the senior faculty of the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning(ICDL) to provide interdisciplinary training in the DIR model. During her time with ICDL, Monica served as faculty for all of their yearly training institutes, spoke at many of their conferences and had the opportunity to work closely and collaborate with Drs. Greenspan and Wieder to further develop the DIR model in school settings. In 2004, she collaborated with Lauren Blaszak to open a state-approved, DIR model school for children ages 3-21 in Denville, New Jersey, now serving over 70 school districts and 130 families.
Additional accomplishments include, many speaking engagements at conferences and participation in television, radio and newspaper interviews across the USA, Wales, Ireland and Amsterdam. Monica has appeared on Welsh Channel 4 and BBC1 documentaries, sharing the DIR model approach with British parents and professionals. Monica and the Celebrate the Children school were featured in a TIME Magazine cover story in May of 2006. She serves on the Advisory Board for 3LPlace and the National Advisory Council for The Centers for Exceptional Children. Monica also serves on the Economic Development Advisory Council and the Sustainable Economic Development Plan Steering Committee for her local Town Council. Finally, she collaborated with twice Grammy nominated children’s artists Dan Myers and Brady Rymer on an album and music video celebrating diversity in children with all abilities released April 2011.
Michele Ricamato, MA, CCC-SLP
Michele Ricamato, MA, CCC-SLP
Michele is a licensed speech and language pathologist, who works primarily with children diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. She has been in private practice since 1997 and worked in an early childhood school setting prior to that. Michele consults in many public school districts in Illinois and is one of three founders of a private school (Soaring Eagle Academy) for children with special needs that uses developmental language intervention and incorporates DIR® into its academic programming. Soaring Eagle Academy provides integrated programming to meet each child’s unique needs. Michele supports the curriculum development and implementation at Soaring Eagle Academy. Michele is a trainer and faculty for Profectum, an organization that uses the DIR® model as a framework for supporting children and families. Michele has a master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (1995). She also holds an undergraduate degree in communicative disorders from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California (1993).
Michele is also a mother of three children and has learned the most about development and language acquisition through her interactions and experience as a parent.
Lauren Blaszak is one of the Co-Founders and Executive Directors of Celebrate the Children school. Lauren has extensive experience working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders for over 14 years. Prior to starting the school in 2004 in collaboration with Monica Osgood, Lauren worked as a behavioral consultant to public school districts in New Jersey and New York. In addition, her experience includes parent support and training, social skills training, supervision of home programs, supervisor of instructional teams and supporting public schools in learning about and integrating DIR® into the mainstream. She also works collaboratively with other organizations and professionals in terms of education and research of Autism and related disorders. Her accomplishments include speaking engagements at national and local conferences, as well as participation in television, radio, and newspaper interviews and publications.Lauren Blaszak is one of the Co-Founders and Executive Directors of Celebrate the Children school. Lauren has extensive experience working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders for over 18 20 years. Lauren worked as a behavioral consultant to public school districts in New Jersey and New York. In addition, her experience includes parent support and training, social skills training, supervision of home programs, supervisor of instructional teams and supporting public schools in learning about and integrating DIR® into the mainstream. She also works collaboratively with other organizations and professionals in terms of education and research of Autism and related disorders. Her accomplishments include speaking engagements at national and local conferences, as well as participation in television, radio, and newspaper interviews and publications.