Director of Occupational Therapy Services: Kelli Halcomb
Kelli has worked as a registered Occupational Therapist with kids in both the school and outpatient clinic settings since 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences with a specialization in Child Development from Florida State University and her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Florida International University. She has worked with children with a variety of different diagnoses to ensure optimal participation in school, play, and self-care related activities. She has experience using Handwriting Without Tears, Keyboarding Without Tears, and Zones of Regulation programs. She loves collaborating with parents, teachers, and other therapists to ensure each child’s unique needs are being met across environments.
Director of Speech and Language Services: Kim Rush
Kim has been a speech-language pathologist for almost 20 years and has experience working in a variety of settings with both pediatric and adult clients including acute care, acute rehab, day rehab, outpatient, home care, and early intervention. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Communications Disorders in 2002 at Rush University in Chicago. Kim entered the field of speech-language pathology because of a strong desire to help those with disabilities. As a result of a personal family experience, she has a passion for working with the early intervention population. Kim has experience working with children with suspected apraxia of speech, receptive & expressive language delays, articulation & phonological disorders, and those on the autism spectrum. She completes regular trainings to ensure that she is delivering the best possible, up to date, evidence-based therapy. Kim is dedicated to helping her clients by implementing a multisensory approach to therapy in addition to collaborating with families, therapists, and teachers.
Director of Behavioral Services: Jolene LaPlaca
Jolene is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 20 years of experience providing Applied Behavioral Analysis in school, clinic, vocational, and residential settings. She earned a Master’s degree from Long Island University CW Post and a Bachelor’s degree from State University of New York Stony Brook. She completed advanced post-graduate ABA coursework at Florida Institute of Technology.
Through detailed assessment, Jolene identifies expectations and behavioral challenges in varied settings including at home, in the classroom, with peers, or at a vocational placement and works with clients and their families on implementing plans for behavior reduction. She uses ABA strategies in the treatment of avoidant or withdrawal behaviors related to diagnoses of depression and anxiety. She teaches self-management techniques to encourage individuals to become more independent in managing their own behavior to increase independence and self-esteem. Other approaches used to assist in teaching self-regulation skills include training in social skills, executive functioning, theory of mind, Zones of Regulation, and augmentative and alternative communication.
Kathryn graduated with high honors from the State College of Florida OTA Program in 2014. She is a member of the OT South Bay Forum, the Pediatric Interest Group and serves on the SCF OTA Program Advisory Board. She is experienced in utilizing the Handwriting Without Tears Program, Zones of Regulation and holds certifications in Therapeutic Listening and Astronaut Training. Kathryn enjoys collaboration between the therapist, caregiver and other members of the team to improve success for the child. She excels at making each therapy session motivating and creative.
Courtney has been working with children with Autism and related disabilities since April 2004. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and emphasis in Child Development. She has extensive training in augmentative communication specifically PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and Proloquo2go for the iPad. She enjoys attending trainings that focus on conducting Functional Behavior Assessments, developing behavior support plans and implementation. She has experience with implementing toilet training programs, social skills training, and successful feeding programs. Courtney has her teaching certification for Pre-K through 3rd grade and has a RBT certification.
Jessica is a graduate of Tennessee State University where she earned her Master of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2012. She has experience in a variety of settings including both private practice and school setting. Jessica has worked with various communication delays and disorders including: Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Articulation/Phonological Disorder, Auditory Processing, and Expressive/Receptive Language delays. Jessica enjoys working with children of all ages and helping them reach the best version of themselves.
Dana holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Sacred Heart University and earned certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in 2018. After recognizing very early on in her life that she greatly enjoys working with children, Dana and has eagerly pursued career opportunities that allowed her to follow her passion of supporting children and their families. She loves to make learning fun, motivating, and meaningful for the children she serves. As a mother of two adolescent children, Dana understands the complexity of navigating family life, and recognizes that the challenges faced by the children she works with inherently affect every member of the family, and as a result, earnestly works to provide parental support and training ultimately contributing to the most successful outcome for every member of the family.
Lauren is a graduate of Saint Leo University where she earned her Master of Education degree in Exceptional Student Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and graduate certificate in Communication Science and Disorders. Lauren has certification in Elementary Education K-6, Exceptional Student Education, and is Reading and ESOL endorsed. She previously taught grades K-2nd in Pasco and Manatee Counties. Lauren obtained her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She has experience working with pediatric and adult clients in outpatient and subacute settings. She has worked with clients with swallowing, feeding, articulation, phonological, language, voice, fluency, stuttering, and cognitive disorders. Lauren has experience implementing therapy with various Augmentative and Alternative Communication techniques, oral-motor exercises, and feeding approaches.
Bethany Rendemonti received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of South Florida and continued her educational journey, completing her master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She has conducted treatments in multiple settings, including inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, as well as the schools. Bethany strongly believes in the importance of making therapy sessions fun and engaging, while including the family in all aspects. Outside of the clinic, Bethany enjoys spending her time with her horses and multiple dogs.