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 31 with cerebral palsy, Bryan has developed a strong passion for serving children with disabilities. Tagging along to Cody’s therapy sessions (PT, OT, ST, HBOT, Hippo, Aqua, Vision, etc.), 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.
Jerald is a CPA and CMA and is first and foremost a proud family man and has a strong commitment to his community as well as being involved in several non-profit organizations. The kids at NAPA know him as Jerry.
Jerry is an accomplished Senior Executive and Board Member with over 35 years of success across manufacturing, ecommerce, and distribution industries. His broad areas of expertise include acquisitions and integrations, financial management, profit and loss, and organizational leadership. Throughout his executive career, Jerry had leadership positions at Price WaterhouseCoopers (PWC), and leadership positions at HNI Corporation since 1991. He was President of The HON Company and EVP HNI for 10 years and the CFO for 8 years. He received his B.S. in Accounting & Industrial Administration from Iowa State University, completed the Executive Management Program at the University Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and completed the CEO perspectives at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
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.
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!
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.
Erin graduated from Whittier College with her bachelor’s degree in child development. She then attended the University of Southern California, where she received her Master’s degree in occupational therapy. She has worked with children in a variety of settings, and knew she wanted to become an occupational therapist while in high school after volunteering in the NICU of a hospital. She enjoys working with both neuromotor and sensory populations and is trained in the Astronaut program, and Cuevas Medek Exercise.
If Alisa could have one superpower it would be to read peoples minds. This SLP isn’t psychic but she has been practicing in diverse clinical settings for the past five years. After completing her CFY in Southern California, Alisa made her way back to her favorite coast and has been in Boston ever since. She has served students with complex communication needs in a highly specialized school in Concord, Massachusetts, and brings her expertise in Alternative Augmentative Communication, mixed receptive/expressive language delays, pragmatic/social language skills, and early language development to the new Napa center in Waltham, MA. She told us “I love working as a pediatric SLP because I enjoy working collaboratively with families and being part of growth and development.
MA Communication Disorders, California State UniversityAlexis chose the field of speech language pathology because of interests in helping others, human development, and lifelong learning. Prior to becoming a speech therapist, she worked as a behavior therapist providing services to support both behavioral and communicative needs of children with autism. During this time, Alexis saw the immense connection between behavior and communication skills. This inspired her to expand her knowledge and attain her education in the field of speech-language pathology. Alexis enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with families to best support the needs of clients. Her areas of special interest include Alternative Augmentative Communication, pragmatic/social language skills, apraxia, early language development, and collaboration with parents.
From therapy options to a parent’s concerns and worries, Louise understands the NAPA journey in its entirety, as she is Mum to 8-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 center, 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 20 Intensive therapy sessions with NAPA Center. The Conn family has also been instrumental in bringing the NAPA traveling teams to Singapore, Australia, and establishing the permanent clinic in Sydney.
It was a natural fit, for Louise to join us in Sydney as the Patient and Parent Co-Ordinator. She works closely with the LA team, to ensure that your NAPA experience is of the highest quality.
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 in leading private paediatric Occupational Therapy practices on Sydney’s North Shore and Eastern Suburbs. 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, and is excited to bring the NAPA experience to Australian children and their families.
While in Los Angeles in 2015, Ali has completed a number of courses focusing on sensory and movement/developmental therapy techniques. Ali has received training in CME (MEDEK), 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 Kinesiotaping Method, 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 therapists 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!
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: BA Business Administration/Finance, Loyola Marymount, Culver City, CA
Before Cindy, behind the scenes at NAPA was a little chaotic, to say the least. We are thankful that Cindy has dedicated her career to helping support the entire NAPA family as a whole. She has become a true go to as the human resources manager by implementing an open door policy. “Literally, her door is always open,” our physical therapist Jen told us. Cindy’s biggest reward is seeing first hand how many lives are improved by a combination of therapy and a staff who is committed to their well being. Ask her about the best movies to see this weekend or where some good boutique shopping can be found in Los Angeles.
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!
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.
Masters of Advanced Pediatric Physical Therapy Practice, Monash University
Kate has recently moved across from West Australia to join the NAPA Team. Kate graduated from Curtin University in Perth, WA in 2009 and has enjoyed working with kids for as long as she can remember! Kate has worked across all parts of WA from Private Practice in Perth to Remote Communities in the far-north of WA. While working in these remote settings and completing her Masters in Pediatric Physical Therapy she has found her passion for early intervention, commencing as early as early as in the NICU. There is no one too small for Kate! “The best part about coming across to NAPA has been having the opportunity to work with so many fantastic therapists and families from around the world.”
When she is not exploring Sydney, she enjoys the sunshine, swimming, and getting to the beach with her very large but very friendly dog, Beau. Kate also loves to travel and doesn’t tend to stay still for too long. However, she is not a fan of the cold weather and has been to know to hibernate in winter with the standard Netflix marathon.
Bio coming soon!
Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis
Rebekah always had a curiosity for science and wanting to help heal people. She found her happy place working with people of all abilities, and feels blessed to find her place in the world of pediatric physical therapy. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri but ran off to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California (fight on!) then returned home to attend PT school at Wash U. She scored her first job working in her dream field of pediatrics where she thrives on the resiliency of kids and the love of their families. Rebekah wants to empower kids and families to live life abundantly. She returned to LA to grow with NAPA Center. To balance her favorite pastime of eating delicious food, Rebekah loves to play soccer, beach volleyball, and run around beautiful southern California.
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.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Western University of Health Sciences
Emily graduated with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2015 from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. She is originally from Minnesota (brr!) and became interested in pediatric physical therapy at a young age thanks to her mom, who is also a pediatric physical therapist. Emily started working with kids as a teenager doing everything from nannying, working as a special education teacher’s assistant, and volunteering as a special needs soccer coach. During her physical therapy school internships, Emily spent three months at NAPA Center and fell in love with all the cute kids and fun, supportive, atmosphere.
When she is not at NAPA, Emily enjoys running or biking at the beach, watching re-runs of Friends, spending time with her husband and friends, and traveling home to “Minne-snow-ta” visit her family.
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, 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.
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Mount Saint Mary’s University
Laura grew up in a small active community in Tahoe City, CA where she spent her childhood waterskiing, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and downhill skiing. Growing up in such an active community gave Laura a love for movement, which fueled her dream of becoming a physical therapist. At a young age, she also knew she wanted to work with kids because she has always loved being creative and using her imagination.
Laura completed her final clinical rotation in physical therapy school at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where she gained experience treating children with a wide range of orthopedic and neurological diagnoses. She is continually motivated by how rewarding it is to help kids learn and grow through enhancing their movement. Laura is excited to be working at NAPA where she can continue to work with kids near and far to achieve their mobility goals! Laura also shares a love for music and the great outdoors. She plays guitar, takes piano lessons, and frequents the Hollywood Bowl for concerts. She doesn’t miss a beat after work by paddle boarding, training for half marathons and taking trips to Disneyland.
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!
Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Wayne State University
What do you get when you mix a brilliant mind with a sweet personality? Amanda! After working with Amanda as a PT student, we knew we had to have her full time. We are ecstatic that she has moved from Michigan to join us at our LA clinic. Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and her Doctorate of physical therapy from Wayne State University. From being a nanny to coaching gymnastics, Amanda let us know from day one, it has always been a goal of hers to work with children.
Now that Amanda is a Californian, she enjoys paddle boarding, wake surfing, exploring LA’s amazing restaurants, shopping till she drops, and any sweet treat. “Did someone say chocolate?”
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.
Bachelor of Physical Therapy, Australian Catholic University
Jessica was surrounded by 40 cousins growing up and has always enjoyed teaching them to crawl, walk, surf, play football, and snowboard. During her studies she believed she was destined to work in a sports related field, however during her clinical placements she fell in love with pediatric physical therapy unlocking her true passion for wanting to assist children in meeting their goals.
Jessica has gained experience working within a pediatric private practice in Sydney and has also provided home therapy and hydrotherapy services as a sole practitioner. She has a strong desire to develop working relationships with families and children, ensuring that all goals and sessions are made enjoyable. She believes that if you work hard, you grow confidence and the strength you need to unlock the most powerful you. She is quite competitive, even with the KIDS!
BPhys, GradDipExSc(Rehab), BHM(ExRehab)
Jessica completed her degrees in Human Movement and Exercise Science in 2010 and began working as an exercise physiologist. Having always had an interest in rehabiliation, particularly neurological, Jessica completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. While studying, Jessica worked as an exercise physiologist in a private paediatric clinic, and its here that her passion for working with children began. She spent her holiday breaks volunteering at the clinic and was fortunate to complete two university placements in a paediatric setting. Jessica continued her education by spending four months in the Los Angeles clinic training in Neurosuit and CME. What we love most about Jessica is her endless enthusiasm for the hard tasks she pushes her kids to do.
Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology – Kansas State University
Tara has always had a strong passion for working with children, which ultimately led her to choose a career in speech-language pathology. Tara has earned both a bachelors and masters degree in speech language pathology from Kansas State University. During her graduate study, she served as a researcher conducting studies on child language development. Tara has also worked with children who have a variety of speech needs from language and articulation, to AAC and feeding. Her therapy experience includes working with children of all ages and across multiple settings including private practice, schools, and outpatient clinics.
Tara is always learning and keeping up to date with the latest research and therapy practices. She is a Practicing Speech Pathologist (CPSP) and is certified to provide Vital Stim for swallowing. Tara holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and is also a member of Speech Pathology Australia. After years of practicing speech in the USA, Tara is excited to plant roots in Australia.
Gabi is a busy mum of two who has a love for special needs children and great knowledge of cerebral palsy.
Gabi graduated from the International Peto Institute as a Conductive Education educator-teacher/conductor. Early on in her studies, she developed a great interest in Early Intervention and spent several years working with infants and young children.
She worked in New Zealand for several years managing a Conductive Education Centre in Invercargill where she created conductive groups with children between the ages of 0-12. During that time she created a network with some of the local Plunket nurses and assessed many infants and young children who showed developmental delays without a diagnosis. Gabi was also a regular guest speaker in the local Polytechnic on child development.
Our Hungarian conductor has been all over the map, but we are happy to report she has planted roots in Sydney! She currently enjoys reading, photography, and loves to cook and try out new cuisines.
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.
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.
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.”
B.S. Biology, University of California, Irvine
B.A. Communicative Disorders, Utah State
Lisa is our hiking, biking, baking, beach loving, California native with a huge appetite for great food and helping others. Growing up with an aunt who has Down syndrome introduced Lisa to the world of speech and language pathology. Lisa explained to us this career path is “ a great way to make a positive impact on an individual’s life and the lives of their families.” Lisa has worked in pretty much every pediatric setting, from early intervention to special education preschool, all the way up through high school. She enjoys collaborating with parents to help their child grow in their speech and language skills and has a whole lot of fun doing it!
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.
MS Communicative Sciences and Disorders, New York University
Niloo found her way into the world of speech language pathology through a love of languages and cultures. Niloo grew up in Dubai and moved to America where she experienced life in both New York and Los Angeles. She completed her undergraduate career at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received her bachelor’s in linguistics and psychology. From there, she attended New York University for her master’s degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Niloo finds motivation and passion in the multiple opportunities within this field to give someone a voice and the chance to be heard. Niloo loves to spend her evenings with her family at home, cuddling with her dog Watson. On weekends, you can find her hiking, at the beach, snowboarding, or discovering the endless amount of cuisine LA has to offer.
Ally first came to us because helping kids is always on her mind. She loves to give big bear hugs and help her kiddos complete beautiful arts and crafts. The kids love getting to play with Ally because she has a way of making each little individual feel special. Ally tells us “Nothing makes me happier than getting to play and sing with the kids at NAPA.” When she isn’t busy helping her little guys in the classroom she loves to bake and play sports.
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.
BS Human Development, California State University, Long Beach
Our kids use him as a human jungle gym, but Jesus continues to show the NAPA team how to bring a little more patience into our day. Jesus began his work with special needs children while volunteering during college. Through this experience working with children diagnosed with autism, Jesus formed a special connection and understanding with the struggles that special needs children and their families undergo. This inspired him to work in a research lab where he assisted with the implementation of an experimental educational program for Latino families of children with autism. Jesus now plans on attending graduate school and focusing his research on mental health issues within the Latino community.
Masters in Communication Management, Asian Institute of Journalism & Communication
Michelle has 21 years of combined experience in the multimedia, academe, non-profit, and public relations. But her seven years of experience in special education have taught her the value of patience and encouragement. Her skills in differentiated instruction, assistive technology, and multi-sensory lesson planning allow her to meet the needs of every student. She works closely with each child to provide the individualized support and praise they require. It’s apparent to us that Michelle truly appreciates and learns from every family she works with. If you can’t find her in the classroom, Michelle told us “I can most likely be found at a Blue October or Dalton Rapattoni concert!”
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.
BS Human Development, University of California, Davis
Stephanie chose to study human development with a focus on early childhood development because she believes it’s the most rewarding and exciting stage in a child’s life. She especially enjoys working with young children to help them reach their goals and celebrate accomplishments together. Throughout college, she volunteered in elementary school classrooms and worked as an after-school tutor where she became involved in children’s daily learning process through play and activities. The key to Stephanie’s heart is a matcha green tea latte which makes sense, since she typically has more energy than the kids at NAPA.
This Harry Potter fan hopes to work some magic on your kids.Diana can be described as sweet, fair, and most of all fun! Working with kids who have special needs hits close to home as she has and aunt with Downs Syndrome and a cousin recently diagnosed with Autism. She let us know “They are near and dear to my heart and it has taught me to see people for who they are.” Diana is currently working towards her Early Childhood Credential and plans on transfering to CalState LA.
B.A. Psychology, CSU Dominguez Hills
While still a kid at heart, Valencia chose to study psychology with a focus on Child and Adolescent development. As she began working in the classroom with children, she soon learned that the importance of child development became her primary interest of work. When Valencia isn’t working with children in the classroom she is doing yoga or visiting the beach.
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.
Background: BS Degree Health Administration and AS Degree Medical Assisting
Ebony is eclectically skilled and trained in medical office management and medical reimbursement. She has a depth of experience in Health Administration, having worked as a medical administrative and billing manager in a variety of medical office settings such as: cardiac, Ob/Gyn, wellness centers, family practices, and chiro/physical therapy clinics. Collectively, Ebony has worked 15+ years at various clinics, hospitals, and medical groups handling front/back office, and medical billing.
Being a mother of a special needs child herself, the most rewarding thing about working at Napa is the constant visual support she receives. Getting to physically see the children gain new physical and mental heights that many parents of special need kids are told “will never happen” gives her hope, faith, and belief that improvements CAN be attained in average daily living activities. “I can tell my child with special needs that with assistance, he too can improve and have growth. It is both an overwhelming and encouraging environment because one of the many practices is that of just simply engaging with the child in addition to repetitive therapies that support this bonding.” When this busy mom gets a moment for fun, she is always down for camping with family, dancing, singing, sewing, routing for Miami Dolphins with her hubby, cooking, and ALL things Beyonce’.
Lisa has always wanted to work with children and completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Movement Science, in 2011 at the University of Sydney. After exploring career options, which introduced her to pediatrics, Lisa completed her Masters of Occupational Therapy in 2013 at the University of Sydney. Lisa feels most fulfilled when helping children and their families work towards goals that are important to them. She has a wide range of experience working with children with various physical, cognitive, emotional, sensory, and behavioural challenges and is particularly passionate about working with children with neurological conditions.
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.
Medical Billing and Coding Student
Rachel is working towards completing the MBC program, and will finish in April of 2019. She prefers long naps, food, family time, and numbers! Moms and dads love her because she gets insurance to pay claims! While working on our billing team, Rachel discovered she has a passion for both pediatrics and physical therapy. She hopes to grow with NAPA and potentially even become a PT. With her upbeat and sunny outlook we totally foresee this as a possibility. (Sorry Billing Team)
MA Speech Pathology, University of Central Florida
Shannon developed a passion for understanding and facilitating communication at a young age through a personal experience with a family member. She learned vital lessons that have transcended into her professional career as a speech and language pathologist. Shannon loves being a part of a multi-disciplinary team including professionals and families to create therapy plans that are designed specifically based on the child’s individual needs. Contributing to a child’s progress and celebrating that progress is a driving force in her career and she is truly passionate about and takes great pride in being a speech and language pathologist. Shannon’s areas of special interest are Alternative Augmentative Communication, social language, apraxia, autism, articulation, and developmental language. Shannon completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and spends every Saturday during the fall cheering on the Florida Gators and watching SEC football. She loves hoping on a boat and exploring new restaurants in Boston.
Masters of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
Kali is a passionate occupational therapist who strives to enable children and families to participate in both meaningful and essential daily occupations. Kali uses an evidence-based and family-centered approach to guide her therapeutic interventions, which are targeted towards enhancing functional independence and overall quality of life. Kali has experience working with children and youth of various ages and abilities at school, home, and in the community. As an OT, Kali has designed and facilitated individualized treatment plans using sensory integration, emotional regulation, and neurodevelopmental techniques, cognitive strategies, life skills, and social skills training, Handwriting Without Tears programs, as well as specialized equipment and assistive software. Kali has had additional training in sensory integration as well as the Cognitive Orientation to Daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) approach and has had successful experiences implementing with children and their families. We value her ability to incorporate fun into her sessions while developing positive, therapeutic relationships with each of her patients in an effort to discover new possibilities.
BS Business Administration: Emphasis Accounting
Nelly retired from the post office and has switched gears to help out NAPA with accounting. She told us she feels blessed to work at NAPA because it has given her the opportunity to expand her knowledge in a fun atmosphere. Really we are the ones who feel blessed because crunching numbers has never been our jam. Ellen our Intensive Coordinator said “ Nelly is the best! She never gets mad when I turn in my expense reports late and always helps me with my technology difficulties.” When Nelly steps away from the calculator, you can find her volunteering in the community or traveling.
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.)