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 18 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 12-year old son, Hayden and another son, Parker, who is 10. Brett is involved in Cub Scouting as a Cubmaster and 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!
Nell DeVore - MHS, OTR/L
Nell DeVore graduated from Davidson College in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She received her Master of Health Sciences degree in Occupational Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1997. Following graduation, Nell was employed at the Backus Children's Hospital at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, GA from 1997-2000. She moved to Atlanta in September 2000 and began working at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Scottish Rite campus.
While at Backus Children's Hospital as well as Scottish Rite, Nell provided assessment and treatment in the NICU, PICU, and general pediatric inpatient units. She also worked in the outpatient clinic, and was a member of the Therapeutic Feeding Team. The team provided assessment and treatment for feeding and swallowing disorders. While a member of this team, Nell conducted oral-pharyngeal motility studies for both inpatient and outpatient cases. In September 2002, Nell began working at Northside Hospital as a member of the Neonatal Developmental Team. She provided assessment and treatment to patients in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and served on the NICU Follow-Up Clinic team in conjunction with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Nell is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor through the International Association of Infant Massage.
She is married to Brett and has two children, Hayden and Parker. She enjoys playing tennis, walking, & spending time with her family and friends.
Lindsay van den Heever- MS, OTR/L
Lindsay has always wanted to have a career working with children. Even as a young child she would pretend to play school and “teach” her younger brother and she always loved babysitting. While in college she spent her time working at daycares just to get more experience and spend time learning more about children. After doing observation hours at Kiddos’ Clubhouse back in 2007, she was absolutely sure that occupational therapy was the right career path for her. She attended Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia and earned her Bachelor and Master's degree in Occupational Therapy. Since then she has worked in pediatrics, which is her true passion. Before coming to Kiddos’ Clubhouse in 2012, she worked in a different outpatient clinic, home health, and in the school system. Lindsay is certified in therapeutic listening and has completed other courses that have focused on behavior, sensory integration, handwriting, and visual processing.
Lindsay was born in Ohio and was raised in the North (moving around to several different northern states). She moved to Georgia 10 years ago and has loved the much warmer weather! She recently married her husband Danie, in June 2013. They live in Cumming Georgia with their two cavalier king Charles spaniels, Max and Ellie! Some of Lindsay’s hobbies include, playing tennis, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.
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, Georgia 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 while she pursued her graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
She has had further continuing education training in Beckman Oral Motor strategies, sensory integration techniques, Therapeutic Listening, NDT handling strategies, Handwriting 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!
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.
Melissa 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.
Lindsey Mueller Hall - MS, CCC-SLP
Lindsey Hall has been practicing for over 10 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist. During that time, she has helped a diverse group of children reach their fullest potential through speech-language therapy. She has extensive experience with children with feeding and swallowing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, Down syndrome, auditory processing disorders, language disorders and delays, articulation disorders, and global developmental delay among others. Lindsey enjoys collaborating with families, professionals and therapists to provide a holistic approach to therapy and child development.
Lindsey received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Georgia and a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University. She is certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association and is licensed in the state of Georgia. Lindsey is continually developing her practice through continuing education. She is trained in P.R.O.M.P.T. (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets), The S.O.S. (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding, the Beckman Oral Motor Program, and the Kaufman approach to childhood apraxia of speech. In 2013, she developed Voice-O-Meter, an app available for Apple devices, as a tool to help individuals of all ages to visualize and modulate their vocal volume.
Lindsey lives in Brookhaven with her husband, Todd, and two young sons, Henry and George. She enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants, UGA football and spending time outside with her family and basset hound, Tilly.
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 issues. 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 is currently attending Florida Institute of Technology to earn her BCBA . Alix joined the Kiddos' Clubhouse team in November 2014. She was born and raised here in Atlanta and currently lives in Sandy Springs with her fiancé Paul. Outside of the Clubhouse, you can find her drinking sweet tea and enjoying time with her family and friends.
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.
Ashley Horton - Medicaid Coordinator
Ashley comes to Kiddos’ after working in an Internal Medicine office for 6 years. From her first day in the medical field, she enjoyed fulfilling the needs of patients and their families. Kiddos’ has allowed Ashley to take that passion one step further by allowing her the opportunity to work with great families, who have extraordinary kids. While in the Clubhouse, Ashley coordinates all things Medicaid as well as the scheduling for the occupational, physical, and speech therapists. She grew up and still lives in Roswell. Ashley married her husband, Jamie in 2010 and she enjoys playing tennis, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends (including her Weimaraner Duchess)!