The Kiddos' Clubhouse Practitioners
Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals whose education includes the study of human growth and development with specific emphasis on the social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury.
Speech and language therapists work on the corrective or rehabilitative treatment of physical and/or cognitive deficits/disorders resulting in difficulty with verbal communication. This includes both speech (articulation, intonation, rate, intensity) and language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, both receptive and expressive language, including reading and writing).
Physical therapy addresses mobility and gross motor needs of infants, toddlers, and adolescents who have genetic, congenital, development, or acquired conditions that affect motor development and motor function.
Brett R. DeVore - MS, OTR/L
Brett R. DeVore has been working to better the lives of children with a wide range of disabilities as a practicing occupational therapist for over 19 years. Brett’s focus has been work with kiddos from birth to age 21 and his passion is working with patients to improve quality of life, increase physical and emotional capabilities and strive for greater independence for parents and children. Brett also sees mentoring other therapists as part of his service to the kiddos and their families.
Brett’s past experience as a practicing occupational therapist includes 2 years at Memorial University Hospital in Savannah, Georgia and 1 year at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in Alpharetta, Georgia. In 2001, Brett started TOTS, Inc., a traveling occupational therapy service, where he has provided care for over 30 kiddos a week in their homes.
Frustrated by his physical limitations for additional case load and in recognition of families in need of quality care, Brett decided to bring a number of experienced therapists together to extend his services, building on the success of TOTS, Inc. Brett opened Kiddos’ Clubhouse in June 2005 to extend his bandwidth and provide exceptional care to more children and families.
Brett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 and his Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia in 1998. He is a Registered Occupational Therapist with National Board Certification. He received his license to practice occupational therapy in Georgia in 1998 and is certified to administer and interpret the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT). Brett is also trained in Advanced Therapeutic Listening. He has presented his research work on movement differences in persons with autism on the state and national level. His areas of focus in treatment continue to be children with sensory integrative difficulties and children who utilize augmentative/alternative communication.
Brett has been married to his wife Nell, a fellow occupational therapist, since 2002. They have a 14-year old son, Hayden and another son, Parker, who is 12. Brett is involved in Boy Scouting as an adult leader in Troop 2000 in Johns Creek, he is the Northern Ridge District Chairman and also helps with the Atlanta Area Council. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing soccer, photography, Star Wars, watching the Steelers, Penguins and the Red Sox, Arsenal FC and FC Bayern Munich!
Brett and Nell started Kiddos' Clubhouse Foundation in 2009, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to children and families throughout the state of Georgia. In the fall of 2017, Nell opened Milestone Makers, a clinic in Dunwoody focusing on serving children birth to six years old.
Ashley Gleit, MHS, OTR/L
Ashley officially joined the Kiddos' Clubhouse family in May of 2014. She graduated with her Master of Health Science in Occupational Therapy from The Medical College of Georgia in 2013 after completing undergraduate coursework in Psychology at The University of Georgia. Ashley was inspired to become an Occupational Therapist in high school after participating in early intervention services while working as a caregiver for premature two and a half year old twins. Since starting at Kiddos’, Ashley has been further inspired by the amazing professionals she works with and is pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis at Georgia State University to earn her BCBA.
Ashley has experience working with pediatric patients in outpatient, home health, school, and community settings. She has worked with children with diagnoses including autism, sensory processing disorder, developmental dyspraxia, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and anoxic brain injury. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and enjoys keeping up with the newest research concerning how to best help her kiddos. Ashley has taken continuing education courses covering a variety of topics including handwriting, sensory integration, and intervention for children with feeding and eating disorders. She is certified in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding as well as the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol. Ashley loves creating motivating and client-centered treatment plans, as well as developing close bonds with both her patients and their families.
Ashley was born in New York, but relocated to Georgia when she was 6 and was raised in Alpharetta. She currently lives in Brookhaven with her boyfriend Julian and their two feline children, Phineas and Murphy. In her free time, Ashley enjoys baking, reading, and doing yoga. In the Fall, you can find her wearing red and black and cheering on the Georgia Bulldawgs.
Carla Heinsch, OTR/L
Carla grew up just down the road in Woodstock, Georgia. From an early age she knew she wanted to work in a pediatric setting after growing up watching her sister participate in Occupational Therapy. She attended Berry College in Rome, Georgia majoring in biology and then graduated from Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 2001 with a degree in Occupational Therapy. She has always worked in pediatrics beginning at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for 7 years. She then became a medical missionary using her Occupational Therapy skills to support orphanages in Kingston, Jamaica that take in abandoned children with disabilities with hands on caregiver training, gathering of wheelchairs and supplies, and treatment plan development. She pursued her graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She joined the Kiddos Clubhouse team in October 2014.
She has had further continuing education training in Beckman Oral Motor strategies, sensory integration techniques, Alert Program for Self-Regulation, Therapeutic Listening, NDT handling strategies, Handwriting Without Tears, Keyboarding Without Tears, fine motor strengthening techniques, Understanding and Managing Visual Deficits, among others. She believes in utilizing an individualized treatment plan that best fits the needs of each child in order for them to meet their maximum potential. She loves being a part of the Kiddos Clubhouse team!
Lindsey Rosenberg, MHS, OTR/L
Lindsey officially joined the Kiddos’ Clubhouse family in January of 2018. She has known, since she was younger, that she wanted work in the healthcare field with the pediatric population. It wasn’t until summer 2012 when Lindsey started to nanny for a little boy diagnosed with Down syndrome that she knew she wanted to be an occupational therapist. Lindsey studied Human Development and Family Science at The University of Georgia before graduating from Augusta University (formerly known as Medical College of Georgia) with her Masters of Health Science in Occupational Therapy in August 2017.
Lindsey has experience working with children and young adults who present with a variety of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, autism, developmental delay, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorders, traumatic brain injuries, stroke patients, and cardiac conditions. In January 2017, Lindsey and her research team at Augusta University, designed an app, called OT at Home. This app focuses on creating a bridge between the clinic and home environments by providing an accessible resource of activities for caregivers to use at home, under the direction of their child’s therapist. OT at Home is currently available for download on the iTunes store.
Lindsey was born in Atlanta, Georgia and has a twin sister and a younger brother. Lindsey currently lives in Smyrna with her twin sister. In her free time Lindsey loves spending time with her family and friends, playing basketball, watching movies, and going for walks outside.
Erin Dunphy, MHS, OTR/L
Erin joined the Kiddos’ Clubhouse family in October 2017. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a Minor in Biology from the University of North Georgia in 2015. Erin then went on to graduate with her Masters of Health Science in Occupational Therapy from Augusta University (formerly The Medical College of Georgia) in August 2017. Erin has aspired to be an occupational therapist since high school after volunteering for a week-long Christmas in July Camp for children with special needs in Fayetteville, Georgia. Her passion is working with patients to improve their quality of life by helping them reach their maximum functional independence in all daily activities.
Erin has experience working with pediatric patients in inpatient, school, outpatient, and community settings. She has worked with children with acquired and traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic conditions, cardiac conditions, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorders, autism, dyspraxia, and developmental delay. She has been a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association since October 2015. Erin is a huge advocate for evidence based practice and client centered care. Erin is Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) certified.
Erin was born in New Jersey, but moved to Peachtree City, Georgia around 4 years old with her parents and 3 older sisters. In her free time Erin enjoys volunteering with a wide array of organizations, spending time with family and friends, exploring outdoors including hiking and kayaking, running/working out, trying new foods, and drinking tea.
Jenny Lazansky, PT
Jenny Lazansky graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with her Master of Physical Therapy in 1999. She began her career in San Antonio working for the school system then transitioned to a hospital setting working with both children and adults. In 2002, she began working as a travel physical therapist working short term assignments in hospitals and clinics in Virginia, Connecticut and North Carolina. Jenny decided to settle in Atlanta in 2003 and began working in an outpatient clinic at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In June of 2013, she joined the Kiddo’s Clubhouse team. She has a wide experience of evaluating and treating children with developmental delay, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, torticollis, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease and other genetic and congenital diagnoses.
Jenny loves to learn and implement new techniques during physical therapy treatment. She implements Kinesio taping and neuro-developmental techniques as indicated with children. She also has experience with aquatic therapy. She enjoys working with children as well as implementing individualized treatments that are play-oriented while targeting strengthening, flexibility and development of new gross motor skills.
Jenny spent most of her childhood in Angleton, Texas and moved to San Antonio to attend college. She married her husband, Brett, in March 2004 and moved to the Alpharetta/Johns Creek in April of 2004. She has a son, Seth, and daughter, Riley. She enjoys running, hiking, going to church and spending time with her family and their dog, Sawyer.
Melisa Smith, DPT
More to come about Melissa!!
Tia Fortes Denkinger - MS, CCC-SLP
Tia Denkinger began her career as a speech pathologist in California. She left sunny California to enjoy the southern hospitality of Alpharetta, Georgia. Tia has worked with children who have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, hearing impairment, auditory processing deficits, speech delay, feeding and/or swallowing disorders, language disorders, and articulation disorders. Tia truly enjoys working with children of all ages.
Tia completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication Disorders. During her undergraduate studies, she became interested in neurological communication disorders. Tia’s interests lead her to graduate school, away from her native Florida, at the University of Arizona where she earned her Master’s of Science in Speech Pathology, in May of 2002. Tia has been a practicing pediatric speech and language therapist for over a decade.
In order to further her learning, Tia has participated in continuing education programs to expand her knowledge. These programs have included information regarding oral motor evaluation and treatment, teaching children with ASD, and the diagnosis and treatment of CAS. She received P.R.O.M.P.T. (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) training in October 2006. Tia has also been trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding and the Kaufman speech praxis method. She has been trained in treatment methodology for cognitive therapy and auditory processing. She has also attended a coursework sponsored by Down Syndrome Education International.
When Tia is not playing at the Clubhouse, she and her husband Brad love learning and exploring with their son, Brauner and their daughter, Marlowe.
Maeva Alexander - MSP, CF-SLP
Maeva Alexander joined the Kiddos' Clubhouse team in September of 2017. She has been working with children from various ages, grades, and abilities over the past 10 years as a child care provider, Teacher's Assistant, After School Tutor, Research Assistant, Graduate Clinician, and Speech-Language Pathologist. These varied experiences have encouraged her to enjoy the creativity in helping children explore and learn to communicate with the world around them. Maeva is passionate about early intervention and collaborating with parents and other professionals to provide quality services for each individual child.
Maeva earned her Bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Intercultural Studies from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN. She continued her education and earned her Masters of Speech Pathology (MSP) from the University of South Carolina. While working amongst an established cochlear implant program in Columbia, SC throughout her graduate school experience, Maeva gained invaluable expertise in the auditory and communication development of children with hearing devices and systems. Maeva is currently pursuing her Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS) certification in Auditory Verbal Therapy.
Maeva has experience working with children and young adults who present with challenges resulting from developmental delays, stuttering, apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, feeding aversions, and articulation disorders.
Maeva was raised in Tucker, GA and enjoys spending her spare time learning through books, podcasts, and traveling. She thoroughly enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and nature walking with her black Labrador dog, Basco.
Christin Smith - MEd, CCC-SLP
Christin has been working with young children since the age of 15. It began with summer jobs and has eventually led to becoming a licensed Speech Language Pathologist. Her love of children and their innocence is what fuels her passion to make a difference in the lives of special needs populations.
She has worked in the public school system and within a private clinical setting. During that time, she has gained valuable experience with diagnoses of autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hearing loss, as well as working with developmental speech and language delays, feeding/swallowing disorders, apraxia, and articulation disorders. She enjoys working closely within a collaborative team setting in order to learn from others, and maximize the potential of the children she works with.
Christin obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in 1999, and then continued on to Valdosta State University, where she received a Master’s of Education in Communication Disorders in 2000. Upon graduation, she became clinically certified by the state of Georgia and through the American Speech and Language Association.
In addition to learning from other disciplines such as occupational therapists and physical therapists, Christin has also attended continuing education courses related to feeding aversions and disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, apraxia, and sign language. Christin received P.R.O.M.P.T. (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) training in August 2007. Christin has also attended courses on the Kaufmann speech praxis method. She has also been trained in Beckman Oral Motor techniques.
Christin was born in Atlanta and grew up in Roswell. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and loves Auburn football! She participates in triathlons and spends her free time swimming, biking and running!
Mandy Buffington - MS, CCC-SLP
Mandy Buffington graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2005 with a Master’s of Science degree in Communicative Disorder, Speech Language Pathology. After graduation, Mandy moved to Georgia from Louisiana. She worked in the Fulton County School System for 6 years. In the school system, Mandy was responsible for establishing therapeutic goals and objectives, implementing goals and techniques in individual and group therapy. She was also responsible for Individual Education Plan meetings with parents, caregivers, teachers, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists. Mandy mentored five Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) members in Speech Language Pathology throughout her career in Fulton County Schools. Mandy also has experience with the assessment and treatment of special needs children in the clinical and home health setting. In the home health setting, Mandy worked with the Babies Can’t Wait Program for Early Intervention.
Mandy has worked with special needs children with various disabilities such as significantly developmentally delayed, chromosomal abnormalities, Cerebral Palsy, Apraxia of speech, Autism, Down syndrome, and Language delayed. She attended continuing education courses specializing in Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices such as the Dynavox Series 5. She also has experience utilizing and programming Proloquo, which is Augmentative and Alternative Communication Device for IPAD users. Mandy has also been trained in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and PROMPT which is an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. The technique is a tactile-kinesthetic approach that uses touch cues to a patient’s articulators (jaw, tongue, lips) to manually guide them through a targeted word, phrase or sentence. Mandy has attended Continuing Education courses specializing in Autism, Apraxia of Speech, Feeding Disorders, Workshops for People who Stutter, Auditory Processing Disorders, Early Language Development Strategies, and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Mandy enjoys co-treating with various professionals to gain additional therapeutic knowledge. She also enjoys attending continuing education conferences to acquire new strategies and skills addition to working with the families for the patient plans of care. Mandy enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends, traveling, reading, and running.
Nicole Karingada, MS, CCC-SLP
Nicole began her career as a speech pathologist in Kentucky. She got married and moved to the snowy land of Cleveland, Ohio where she worked at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. Nicole joined Kiddos Clubhouse in August 2014. She has worked with children who have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, hearing impairment, auditory processing deficits, speech delay, feeding and/or swallowing disorders, language disorders, and articulation disorders.
Nicole completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Kentucky, where she earned a Master’s of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May 2011.
In order to further her learning, Nicole has participated in continuing education programs to expand her knowledge. These programs have included information regarding oral motor evaluation and treatment, and teaching children with ASD and Down syndrome. She received P.R.O.M.P.T. (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) training in 2013 and recently completed Beckman Oral Motor training.
When Nicole is not playing at the Clubhouse, she and her husband Jith love traveling the world to see family, cooking up new recipes together and being outdoors.
Jocelyn Priester, M.S. BCBA
Jocelyn received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Central Florida in 2001. While completing her undergraduate course work, she developed a passion for teaching children and adolescents with autism and other related disabilities by working in an early intervention school program and residential settings. These experiences motivated her to further her career in the field and to pursue a Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis through Florida Institute of Technology.
Jocelyn is a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), with experience in multiple settings, such as, residential, school, and home-based settings. Since 2000 she has worked with individuals who exhibit challenging behaviors at home, in the community and in school environments. Jocelyn has over 10 years of experience conducting functional behavior assessments, writing behavior support plans and conducting trainings for staff, parents and teachers. She is skilled in developing and implementing behavioral programs for kids and adolescents with various disabilities to teach and maintain social, play & leisure, communication, and adaptive skills. Since moving to the Atlanta area, more than 7 years ago, her focus has been in providing home and school consultations while working closely with families and other therapists in maintaining behavior support plans and collaborating as a team in order for the child to reach their learning potential.
Jocelyn was raised in Central Florida and lived there until she moved to the Atlanta area after graduate school. She is married and has two young sons, Luke and Jackson. She enjoys reading, playing tennis, traveling and spending time with her family.
Crysta Reddock, M.Ed., BCBA
Crysta joined the Kiddos' Clubhouse team in February, 2014. She has been working with children with special needs for over 10 years as Teacher’s Assistant, Teacher, Teacher Specialist, Home Therapist, and Behavior Analyst. Crysta first became involved in serving kids with special needs while working on her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Oglethorpe University. In 2001, she began providing ABA home therapy under the consultation of BCBA’s in the Atlanta area. Her love for this work inspired Crysta to pursue a Master’s in Special Education from Georgia State University and a BCBA from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Crysta taught in Atlanta while working on her BCBA in a classroom of students with autism. She moved to Virginia in 2009 and taught for another 2 years. Upon receiving her BCBA in 2011, Crysta moved into a Behavior Analyst position with the Virginia Beach School System. Crysta moved back to the Atlanta area in 2013 and returned to doing home therapy for kids with autism and other special needs.
Crysta is experienced in developing and implementing behavioral programming for clients with challenging behaviors at home, in school, and in the community. She has worked with kids and adolescents from ages 2-22. Crysta has extensive experience with the IEP process and school consultations.
Crysta is from Knoxville, Tennessee (Go Vols!) and moved to Atlanta for school. She, her husband Craig, and their dog Haskell, enjoy spending time together, trying new restaurants, and traveling to new places.
Jessica Peterson - ABA Therapist
Jessica has enjoyed working with children since high school. She begin working in daycare centers, After-School programs, and volunteered tutoring for elementary and middle schools at the age of 16. These opportunities has fueled her passion to make a difference in the world and inspired her to work with special needs.
Jessica begin working as a Behavior Analyst since 2006 in private centers. She has worked with ages ranging from 2 -21 with a variety of disabilities. She has experience in Adaptive GAA Assessments, Community Base Intervention Training, implementing behavior plans, assisting with Functional Analysis, and assisting with transitions from private centers into public schools. Her main focus is working as a team to provide greater success for each child. Jessica is currently attending Florida Institute of Technology to become a BCBA.
Jessica was raised in New York and moved to Georgia in 1997. She is married to her husband Ken, they also have two sons named Kenai and Kameron, and a dog named cookie. Some of her hobbies are, Reading, Traveling, spending time with family and friends, community activities, music, and volleyball.
Alix Tillem Johnson, M.A., BCBA
Alix has always been interested in working with young children. She began her career by interning at a clinic in Atlanta working with children diagnosed with autism and social skill deficits. Since this experience, Alix has provided ABA therapy for children diagnosed with autism in an in home setting and school setting since 2010 as well as worked within an inclusion model in preschools in the Atlanta area for almost 3 years. She has experience in developing programs, implementing behavior plans, and teaching a variety of developmental skills. Alix is passionate about early intervention and collaborating with other professionals to provide the best care for all children.
Alix received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and completed her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Maryland-College Park. She also earned her BCBA from Florida Institute of Technology. Alix joined the Kiddos' Clubhouse team in November 2014. She was born and raised in Atlanta and currently lives in Sandy Springs with her husband Paul and chocolate lab Bosco. Outside of the Clubhouse, you can find her drinking sweet tea and enjoying time with her family and friends.
Deepika Sharma, MS, BCBA
Dee joined the Kiddos’ Clubhouse family in October 2016. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Applied Clinical Psychology from the University of South Carolina-Aiken in 2007. While she was getting her Masters, she provided ABA services for children with autism spectrum disorders and she did her thesis on early indicators of autism which ignited her passion for helping people with developmental disabilities. She moved to Atlanta and started providing ABA therapy to children with various developmental disabilities in the home and community setting. She got board certified and worked as a school consultant where she developed and monitored behavior support plans for children with challenging behaviors and provided training to the schools. At this point, she wanted more experience with adults with challenging behaviors and she worked as a crisis behavior analyst for over 5 years where she led the overall behavioral supports to clients and staff working in the Georgia Mobile Crisis Support program for the state. She developed, modified, and trained staff to implement behavior support plans and safety plans for individuals in crisis mode and severe maladaptive behaviors. During this time, she decided to get her license in professional counseling having seen so many individuals with dual diagnoses where both a behavioral and clinical treatment model would work well and she became a licensed professional counselor. She enjoys attending behavior and counseling conferences to keep up with the latest research.
Dee enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, traveling, doing yoga, going out to dinner and concerts when she’s not at the Clubhouse.
Lisa Broussard - Insurance Coordinator
Lisa has been with Kiddos’ for 7 years. She has been in the Medical Billing/Practice Management arena for 20 plus years. Her experience is in Family Practice, OB/GYN, and Therapeutic Medicine . She takes pride in her work and the ability to be of service to man. Her joy comes in the success and growth of others. Lisa is a native of Louisiana. She is a 1992 Graduate of Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA. Lisa enjoys, Church Fellowship, traveling, movies and dinner out. She currently resides in Lawrenceville, GA. She has one son, Anthony.
Nicole Breland - Medicaid Coordinator
Nicole joined Kiddos' Clubhouse in August of 2017. Nicole is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Business with a focus in Healthcare Management. She knew at a very young age that she wanted to be in the medical field. Soon after high school Nicole began studying to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. She worked at nursing homes with the elderly, then received her medical assistant certification in 1996. Since then she has moved on to the medical administration realm by earning her CPAR (Certified Patient Account Representative) and CMIS (Certified Medical Insurance Specialist) certifications in 2004.
Nicole was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio then moved to Atlanta in 1996. She enjoys volunteering at the local SPCA, raising kittens, reading & writing, trying new restaurants and writing reviews for Yelp. Nicole currently lives in Cumming with her husband, one son, Coby, a daughter, Nakaya and two feline babies named Majik and Mimi.