Raising The Bar: Education Approaches That Go Beyond Labels | May 17th & 18th, 2019

Instructor & Course Planner Disclosure Statements

Barbara Baldassare, OTR/L – Instructor
Barb has a private practice in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, IL. She is a Credentialed Evaluator and Provider of Early Intervention Services. In addition, she provides home based services for preschool aged children. An OT who has worked for over 30 years in varied hospital, clinic and school based settings, she has focused on home based work with children and their families since 2003. Barb is certified through the Neurodevelopment Treatment Association. She has her SIPT Certification through Sensory Integration International. In addition she is a Certified Yoga Instructor. She has found in DIR, a model that that has helped her refine and integrate her training in sensory/motor and emotional/mindfulness work in her support of children and their families.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Baldassare is a member of Profectum Foundation.

Jessica Carlisle – Instructor
Jessica is native to the Chicago land area. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Therapy from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Jessica  continued her studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and recently graduated with her Master of Arts in Art Therapy. Jessica has experience working alongside individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. As an art therapist and trained professional counselor, Jessica  focuses on building upon individual strengths and following the artist’s lead. Her therapeutic approach is grounded in the notion that the process of making art can assist in enhancing one’s well-being. Art therapy provides benefits such as building emotional literacy, providing sensory regulation, strengthening interpersonal awareness, enhancing self-confidence and independence, and strengthening problem solving skills.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – No relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Sherri Cawn, MA, CCC-SLP – Instructor
Sherri Cawn is Clinical Director of Cawn-Krantz and Associates Developmental Therapies of suburban Chicago, 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® in speech and language development and trains other professionals throughout the United States and overseas on the concepts of this model. She is a frequent invited presenter at professional events. Sherri is the author of the self study DVD/Manual on the Assessment and Intervention of DIR/Floortime Model produced by the American Speech and Hearing Association (2011). She is co-author of the language disorders chapter in the Diagnostic Manual for Infancy and Early Childhood (2005). Sherri is a senior faculty member of the ICDL DIR/FT Model Training Institute and the online Profectum Academy DIR model training programs and she is an adjunct faculty member at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, Illinois. She received her graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Illinois.

Financial Disclosure – Ms. Cawn is the Clinical Director/Owner of Cawn-Krantz and Assoc and receives a salary for her ownership/employment. She is an instructor in the training programs for Profectum Foundation and receives a teaching stipend.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Cawn is a faculty member of Profectum Foundation.

Caroline Ferguson-Walsh, MS-LP(C), CCC-SLP – Instructor
Caroline is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist currently practicing in Chicago, Illinois.  Caroline graduated with a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Alberta, Canada in 2003.  She is member of the American Speech & Hearing Association (ASHA) and Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC).  She has worked in a multitude of settings including pediatric hospitals, early childhood facilities, schools, homes and private practice, in the United States, Canada and Ireland.  Her clinical focus includes providing assessments and treatment to children with developmental delays, autism and disorders of relating and communicating.  She is dedicated to coaching and supporting families to be an integral part of the clinical team. Caroline holds a certificate as a DIRFloortime® model Expert Clinician and Profectum Assistant Faculty, and is committed to guiding other professionals through mentoring and reflective practice in the DIR model.  She helped facilitate the development of the Profectum Speech-Language Pathology Study Group and has been an active member since it began in 2014.  Caroline is Hanen certified and has been trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (S.O.S. Feeding). Caroline has also been a guest presenter at the Profectum Foundation Chicago Regional Conference.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Ferguson-Walsh is a faculty member of Profectum Foundation. She is a member of ASHA, SAC and Hanen.

Anna Gray, PT, DPT – Instructor
Anna Gray grew up in Albany, NY and received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from Ithaca College. Anna spent two clinical affiliations in pediatric physical therapy care, working in school-based and early intervention. She continued to work with children after graduation in a an outpatient pediatric setting in Boston, MA that further emphasized her love for working with all children. Anna has always enjoyed movement as she played and coached soccer throughout her collegiate work. She has found her passion working, playing and building relationships with children, as well as incorporating movement and fun. She is excited to become a part of the team at LEEP Forward and to assist all children and families in leading an active and fun lifestyle.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – No relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Cortney Grove, MA, CCC-SLP – Instructor
Cortney Grove is a pediatric speech and language pathologist providing home and school visits in Chicago, Illinois. Her clinical specialties include autism, receptive and expressive language disorders, word-finding challenges, apraxia of speech, language-based learning disorders, reading comprehension, and social communication and cognition. Cortney provides in-depth speech and language evaluations and sees clients from infancy through high-school. She provides speech therapy privately in Chicago area as well as through telepractice. Cortney offers consultative services to families who want guidance about their child’s communication development in addition to their primary therapy team. She provides parent coaching and mentors speech therapists, occupational therapists, and developmental therapists about communication, language, and social interaction.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Grove is an trainer candidate for Profectum Foundation.

Dana Hutchins, MS, DT – Instructor
Dana is a credentialed Developmental Therapist and has been a Lead Therapist at LEEP Forward since 2013 and has also worked as the Transition Coordinator. Dana received her professional DIR-FCD Model certificate in Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Development through the Profectum Foundation. She implements the DIR® Floortime model in the therapeutic preschool groups. Dana received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin and taught in the public schools in Aiken, South Carolina. Dana returned to Chicago and graduated from The Erikson Institute with a Master’s in Science with a focus in working with children with special needs. Dana is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in her free time loves to explore the culinary world of Chicago with her husband, Harley.

Financial Disclosure –
Non-Financial Disclosure –

Jennifer Kelly – Instructor
Jennifer Kelly is the Founder and Executive Director of Metropolitan Schoolhouse in Chicago, Illinois. Jennifer has over 10 years of experience working with neuro-diverse children in translating therapeutic approaches into the classroom. Currently Jennifer consults with school districts and educational institutions to create programming to support diverse learners as well as train staff to understand best practice and effective strategies in working with a broad population.

Financial Disclosure –
Non-Financial Disclosure –

Lorell Marin, MST, DT, MSW – Instructor & Course Planner
Lorell Marin founded LEEP from her desire to create innovative and inclusive learning environments for all children. In 2004, she founded LEEP Forward Developmental Therapy Clinic and Therapeutic Preschool. Lorell holds a Masters in both Social Work and Teaching, specializing in Special Education. She is a credentialed Developmental Therapist, DIR® Floortime Certified, a certified Play Project Consultant in training,  also currently training in Sensory Enrichment Therapy™ or Mendabilty, and is completing her Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. Her expertise in multiple approaches fueled the LEEP philosophy, of marrying the methodologies to create individual programs and watch each child flourish. Lorell has expanded on that vision creating LEEP Beyond Non-profit, LEEP Together Inclusive Kindergarten in 2017, and Quantum LEEP homeschooling program.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – No relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Liza Marshall Kali, MSHS, BS, OTR – Instructor & Course Planner
Liza Marshall Kali is an accomplished Occupational Therapist with over 17 years experience in multiple settings.  After 10 years in the field, she co-founded Jumpstart Therapy, LLC and in 2008 joined Celebrate the Children (CTC) in Wharton, New Jersey.  She is also a consultant with the Developmental Center for Children and Families (DCCF) in Budd Lake, NJ.  Liza has been a guest lecturer at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association’s annual conference, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and many other schools and programs.  Liza’s passion for visual spatial evaluation & treatment began in 1995 when she worked extensively with Dr Vincent Vicci, OD on an interdisciplinary team that developed Kessler Institute’s Vision Clinic and more recently expanded her knowledge during the course of many consultations and trainings with Dr. Harry Wachs at CTC.  Liza has completed multiple DIR®/Floortime™ courses through Profectum as well as the International Council on Development and Learning.  She is an Intermediate DIR® clinician and is an active DIR® certification candidate through Profectum.  In 1995, Liza received her Occupational Therapy degree from Elizabethtown College, and has since completed a post-professional Master’s Degree in movement science from Seton Hall University Graduate Medical School in 2001.

Financial Disclosure – Ms. Kali is receiving travel reimbursement from Profectum Foundation and Quantum LEEP Academy. She receives a consultation fee as the AOTA CE Coordinator and for Technical Support at Conferences. She receives a salary for her employment as an Occupational Therapist with Celebrate the Children School.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Kali is a member of Profectum Foundation.

Karen McDowell – Instructor
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.

Financial Disclosure – Ms. McDowell receives a salary for her employment with Celebrate the Children School. She is receiving travel reimbursement from Profectum Foundation and Quantum LEEP Academy.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. McDowell is a faculty member of Profectum Foundation.

David A. Meyerson, PhD  – Instructor
Dr. David Meyerson obtained his BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in child clinical psychology at DePaul University. He completed his predoctoral internship at Columbia University Medical Center and his postdoctoral fellowship in child clinical neuropsychology with The Promise Project at Columbia. David is a green belt in kickboxing, self-proclaimed “good husband,” and takes his World’s Greatest Dad coffee mug very seriously.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – No relevant non- financial relationship to disclose.

Heni Mozes, MSEd – Instructor
Heni Mozes is the Early Childhood Supervisor for the Lakewood Board of Education since 2014. After spending a decade in the classroom and then working as a master teacher for the school district, she understands the culture and dynamic of the public school system. She combines this with her deep understanding of early childhood development and individual differences to create programs that can meet the diverse needs of students within the public schools.

Financial Disclosure – Ms Mozes is receiving travel reimbursement from Profectum Foundation and Quantum LEEP Academy.
Non-Financial Disclosure –  No relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Monica G. Osgood – Instructor & Course Planner
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.

Financial Disclosure – Ms. Osgood receives a stipend as the Executive Director of Profectum Foundation. Ms. Osgood receives a salary for her employment with Celebrate the Children School. She is receiving travel reimbursement from Profectum Foundation and Quantum LEEP Academy.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Osgood is a faculty member of Profectum Foundation.

Michaja Prendergast Johnson, MS, OTR/L – Instructor
Michaja is a pure Michigan native who received her masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University. She is driven by a passion for her work with parents and children who are affected by sensory processing challenges. The last ten years she has spent working with kids with developmental differences using a DIR® Floortime approach. As the Director of Related Services and the Occupational Therapy Department she seeks to have kids thrive where they are and provide therapy in unique ways and changing settings to support progress in all areas of life. ​Michaja’s journey to her landing spot in Chicago has been quite the adventure! Her time away from LEEP is spent with her husband and two sons looking for the perfect coffee or working on her other projects; including writing and continuing families non-profit.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – No relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Kelly Reilly, MA – Instructor
Kelly Ann Reilly is a Teacher of Students with Disabilities at Celebrate the Children in Denville, NJ.  She holds an M.A. in Special Education from New Jersey City University and a B.S. in Accounting from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.  In addition to her special education certification, her teaching certifications include high school and middle school mathematics, middle school science, high school biology,  and high school business education.  She has recently become DIR certified.   Her teaching strategies encompass experience-based and sensory integrated lessons in the areas of mathematics, science, and business studies that target the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.   Principles of the DIR® Model are targeted throughout all lessons. In addition to teaching responsibilities, she is active in the formulation of student IEPs, reevaluations, behavior plans, and curriculum development.  Kelly also maintains licensure from the State University of New York as a Certified Public Accountant.  She has worked in both the public and private sectors.

Financial Disclosure – Ms. Reilly is receiving travel reimbursement from Profectum Foundation and Quantum LEEP Academy. She receives a salary for her employment with Celebrate the Children School.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms Reilly is a member of Profectum Foundation.

Katie Scott, MS, LISW – Instructor
Katie Scott lives in Columbus, Ohio and works at West Central Ohio Network as a PLAY and Teaching PLAY Consultant. Katie is a PLAY Project supervisor, Teaching PLAY Mentor and Master Trainer. She has a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from the University of Dayton, Master of Child Development from the Erikson Institute and an MSW from Loyola University of Chicago. She is an early intervention specialist and a clinical social worker. Katie’s experience in working with children has included Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory-processing issues, medical issues, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, genetic disorders and developmental delays. She has worked with a wide range of ages from birth to adults in a variety of settings (home, clinic, schools) for over 15 years.  Katie began her work with PLAY as a PLAY Tutor in 2006 and was officially trained to be a PLAY Consultant in 2012. Over the past few years, Katie has been invested in expanding Teaching PLAY and training as many educators as possible. She has been in dozens of classrooms coaching interdisciplinary teams and has provided several full-day Teaching PLAY Workshops in Ohio.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – No relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Diane Selinger, PhD – Instructor
Diane has been a faculty member of the DIR model summer institute since 2002. In addition to her private practice, she is the mental health consultant and supervisor of the mental health department at Beth Osten and Associates, a multidisciplinary DIR model pediatric clinic. The mental health program includes DIR model coaching, individual therapy (children, adolescent and adults), family therapy and multidisciplinary group therapy. She has also helped develop and continues to supervise the Penguin Playgroup Program, a DIR model therapeutic playgroup program for preschool and kindergarten aged children at Beth Osten and Associates, as well as a practicum program for mental health graduate students. She provides individual and group (multidisciplinary and mental health) supervision to therapists within the clinic, as well as to many candidates within the DIR model certificate program. She is also the mental health consultant and supervisor at Soaring Eagle Academy, the DIR model school in Illinois for children on the autistic spectrum. Thus, in addition to DIR model intervention and psychotherapy, she has a strong interest in organizing, developing and working in therapeutic milieus for children and families. Prior to her involvement with the DIR model, she worked in various psychodynamic and developmental schools and programs. She has presented workshops at the ICDL November conference, as well as at various clinics, parent groups and schools.

Financial Disclosure – No relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Dr Selinger is a faculty member of Profectum Foundation.

Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L – Instructor
Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in family-centered and school-based O.T. / DIR-FCD services. She is passionate about supporting the integration of the DIR-FCD model into public schools including working with multi-disciplinary teams and primary caregivers. Susan completed a post-professional doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy (OTD) at The University of Kansas Medical Center in December 2018. She is the founder and owner of Avon Occupational Therapy, Inc. located in Avon, NJ. Susan is an Associate Faculty member of Profectum Academy and a member of its International O.T. Working Group.

Financial Disclosure – Ms. Smith-Foley is receiving travel reimbursement from Profectum Foundation and Quantum LEEP Academy.
Non-Financial Disclosure – Ms. Smith-Foley is a faculty member of Profectum Foundation.

Conference Financial & In-Kind Support

  • Metropolitan Schoolhouse – Provided a financial contribution in support of this Conference with a Partner Sponsorship.
  • A Grateful Family – Provided a financial contribution in support of this Conference with a Supporting Sponsorship.
  • KDM Engineering, LLC – Provided a financial contribution in support of this Conference with a Contributing Sponsorship.