Rebecca Pokluda, OTR, P.C., Director & Owner
Rebecca is the owner and clinical director of KidWorks Therapy Services. She started KidWorks Therapy in 1999. Rebecca has worked in therapeutic environments for over 25 years. Rebecca graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Biology from University of Texas and with her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Women’s University, completing her thesis on Sensory Integration. She has worked in various settings including adult and pediatric acute, rehabilitative, and outpatient care, as well as in aquatic therapy and hippotherapy. Rebecca specializes in pediatrics with expertise in early childhood intervention, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, vision therapy, and sensory integration. She has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:
- SPD Foundation Intensive Mentorship - Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
- Administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing, including planning and implementation of appropriate treatment of sensory processing. SIPT Certification # 494
- Certified and trained to administer IM interactive metronome treatment.
- Advanced training in Therapeutic Listening / Sound Therapy. Certification # M22229
- Guest Lecturer at A&M University Graduate Speech and Language Program
- Adjunct Faculty at St. Augustine’s University in the Doctorate PT and Graduate OT program
- Clinical Instructor affiliated with many universities including: University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio , UT Galveston, University of Texas in Austin, Texas Woman's University, Tufts University, Xavier University, LSU Health Science Center, Universityof St. Augustine.
- Community Service Trainings to teachers, social workers, parents, nurses, and educational specialists at preschool, private and public schools, and foster care agencies.
- Extensive training with self-regulation and social, emotional development and dysfunction, including Stanley Greenspan's Floortime Approach
- Certification in DIR/ Floortime Model
- Research and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Participation in research related to up-dated standardization of the:
- BOT-2, a widely used motor assessment for school-aged children
- SEE- Social-Emotional Evaluation Tool
- Advanced training in Vision Therapy and Aquatic Therapy
- Advanced training in treatment of learning disabilities and ADHD including PACE
- PACE: Processing and Cognitive Enhancement Certification
- Clinical Instructor affiliated with many universities including: University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, UT Galveston, University of Texas in Austin, Texas Woman's University, Tufts University, Xavier University, LSU Health Science Center, University of St. Augustine.
- Adjunct Professor at The University of St. Augustine’s
- Trained in Neuro-feedback and EEG Feedback with Certification through EEG Spectrum
- Kinesiotaping certified
- Postgraduate studies in Vision Therapy and Vestibular Rehabilitation
- In the process of obtaining "Certification of Neurodevelopment Treatment"(CNDT)
In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys trail-running, mountain biking, hiking, and exploring scuba diving, and cave research and exploration.
Elizabeth Darwin, MA, CCC-SLP,, Assistant Clinical Director
Liz Darwin is a native Austinite. She received both her bachelor's degree and master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Liz has been practicing as a speech- language pathologist for over 25 years and looks forward to her job every day! Through the years, Liz has focused on oral-motor and feeding for the infant through young child, cleft palate and cranio-facial, severe articulation disorders, mild-severe language disorders, Down syndrome, and autism. She has practiced in early childhood facilities, served as the director of Capitol School of Austin, and in private practices. Liz loves working with the families and includes them extensively in the therapy sessions. Liz incorporates both traditional therapy techniques, as well as oral-motor and oral- respiratory techniques for children with underlying oral-respiratory difficulties. In addition, she has extensive experience with premature babies, bottle-feeding, breast feeding and tongue-tie revision. She has presented over the years at professional conferences to local professionals and at preschools on topics such as recognizing speech and language delays, oral-motor and feeding identification and treatment and ways to support language development. When not working, Liz loves spending time with her boys, family, her dog, listening to live music and practicing yoga.
Advanced training and coursework includes:
- Extensive Training in feeding disorders including: The Get Permission Approach by Marsha Dunn Klein
- Post Tongue Tie Revision Treatment
- SOS Approach to Feeding Therapy by Kay Toomey, Ph.D,
- Food Chaining By Cheri Fraker and Laura Walbert
- Debra Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention
- Debra Beckman Deep Tissue Release
- Extensive training in oral-motor and oral-respiratory work including: Assessment and Treatment of the Rib Cage, Levels 1 and 2 by Rona Alexander, MS, CCC- SLP and Assessment and Treatment of Children with Oral Motor Feeding/ Swallowing and Respiratory Challenges by Rona Alexander, MS, CCC-SLP
- NDT Training: Multiple Neuro-Developmental Courses
- Myofascial Release courses
- Hanen Training
- Multiple workshops on auditory processing and language disorders
- Tube Weaning through Thrive with Spectrum
- In the process of obtaining "Certification of Neurodevelopmental Treatment" (CNDT)
Terri Sejnowski, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Lead
Terri was born and raised in Austin, Texas and obtained her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Sciences along with a teacher certification from Texas State University. She has a strong passion and dedication for working with children and has experience as a pre-school teacher as well as a high school educator. She received her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 2017. While at the University of Texas, Terri participated in a research program called Go Baby Go which is a design and outreach program that provides modified ride-on cars to children birth to age three who experience limited mobility. Her goal with the program is to bring a chapter to Austin in 2018. Her clinical experiences include rotations in acute inpatient pediatrics and adults, acute adult neurology, early childhood intervention and outpatient pediatrics at KidWorks. In addition to working with children and families, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, camping, traveling and listening to live music. She has received training in:
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Therapeutic Brushing
- Social-Emotional Development in Young Children
- Handwriting without Tears
- Self-Regulation Programs
- The Road to Reading Literacy Program
Carrie Comstock, OTR, Therapeutic Staff Development Coordinator
Carrie was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Science followed by her Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida. While in school she completed an undergraduate thesis focusing on college students with learning disabilities. Carrie’s passion for pediatrics led her to early in her career seek out opportunities to become an expert in pediatric needs, both for the child and the family.
These experiences include:
- Volunteer coordinator for Special Olympics Young Athletes Program
- Clinical rotation in outpatient pediatric therapy
- Clinical rotation in acute care on the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units (NICU)
- Mentoring under Rebecca Pokluda, OT
- DIR 101: Introduction to Floortime Course
- Pediatric NDT Intensive Handling Course
- Level 1 Intensive Mentorship at STAR Institute for SPD
- Low Vision Conference: Navigating Services for Students with Reading Disabilities
- Pediatric Orthotic Symposium
- The Get Permission Approach to Anxious Eaters/Anxious Meal Times
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Current Understanding and Treatment
- The Heart of Learning: Using Relationships to Create Safe Learning Environments
- Leveraging Understanding from Emerging Adults with Developmental Learning Disorders in Guiding Occupational Therapy Practice
- TBRI 101 Trust Based Relationship Intervention
Reasoning with Unreasonable People: Focus on Disorders ofEmotional Regulation
Her goal is to create positive relationships and learning experiences with her clients and to serve as a resource for families. She is thrilled to be a part of the KidWorks Therapy team that will continue to foster her skills and expand her knowledge!
In her free time, Carrie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, live music, yoga, baking, exploring Austin, and paddle boarding.
Ariana Cristino, OTR,
Ariana was born and raised in Illinois. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Masters of Arts degree in occupational therapy. Her clinical experience includes rotations in outpatient hand rehabilitation, pediatrics, and mental health. Ariana believes in taking a holistic approach to therapy and is dedicated to fostering therapeutic relationships with her clients and their families. Her post-graduate training includes the following:
The Alert Program for All by Sherry Shellenberger and MarySue Williams
AOTA COVID-19 & OT Online CE Series
In her free time, Ariana enjoys cooking, biking, yoga, and traveling.
Beth Bacon, OTR,
Beth Ann was born and raised in Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Wittenberg University in Ohio. After working in nonprofit management, Beth Ann earned her Master of Occupational Therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Early in her career, Beth Ann focused in pediatrics. Most recently, she developed a passion for incorporating the use of the outdoors & nature to assist with self-regulation. Over the years she has had training in:
- NDT handling
- Sensory feeding
- The Listening Program
- Handwriting Without Tears
- Sensory processing
- Vision processing therapy
- Self-regulation programs
- Anxiety disorders
- TAR Institue for Sensory Processing Level 1 Advanced Intensive Mentorship
In addition to working with kids and their families, Beth Ann enjoys going on family hikes, attending art openings, live music, and most of all spending time with her two young children.
Baliey Bowlen, OTR,
Bailey was born and raised in Southeast Texas. She has two sisters, one of whom has Down syndrome, which has inspired her to want to work with people with special needs. While attending Lamar University for her undergraduate degree in Health, Bailey discovered the field of occupational therapy and knew it was exactly what she wanted to do. She went on to obtain her Masters of Occupational Therapy at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Following graduation, Bailey began working in the pediatric outpatient setting, where she became passionate about play-based therapy that promotes development and socialization with peers. Bailey is excited to be a part of the KidWorks team where she can continue to help kids master the occupation of play. Over the years she has completed training in:
- The SCERTS Framework--Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Supports
- Trust-Based Relational Intervention
- Sensory Processing
- Self Regulation Programs
- Handwriting Without Tears
Molly Wheeler, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech Therapy Lead
Molly was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Spanish. She received her Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas in Speech-Language Pathology. Molly interned at KidWorks during her time at UT and started working as a speech-language pathologist assistant during her final year. Molly completed her master’s thesis by carrying out a parent training program for children with sensory feeding disorders. Molly’s passion for cooking and sharing experiences over meals carries over into her work at KidWorks as she helps selective eaters and their families find enjoyment in mealtimes. Molly and Liz teach a parent feeding series aimed at providing parents of selective eaters with tips for implementing structure and routines around food and mealtimes at home in order to eliminate stress and find joy as a family at the table.
Since beginning her career, Molly has attended the following trainings:
· Marsha Dunn Klein “The Get Permission Approach”
· Marsha Dunn Klein “Anxious Eaters”
· International Association of Orofacial Myology Level I course: Understanding the Orofacial Complex
· Rona Alexander “Assessment and Treatment of Children with Oral Motor, Feeding/Swallowing, and Respiratory Function Challenges: Children with Neuromuscular Involvement”
· Beckman Oral Motor Protocol: Assessment and Intervention
· Introduction to NDT: The Basics for Pediatric Therapists
· American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention to learn about the latest research in the speech and language field.
· DIR training to further support her application of the clinic’s framework in her treatment sessions.
· Attended the virtual Responsive Feeding Conference 2020 to learn from experts in the area of selective eating including child psychologists, gastrointestinal doctors, speech pathologists, authors, and dietitians
In her free time, Molly enjoys running, paddle boarding at Town Lake, exploring new restaurants, and traveling to mountains.
Angela Schneider, MS, CCC-SLP,
Angela was born and raised in North Texas. She
received her bachelor’s degree from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas and
her Master’s in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas.
In graduate school, she completed training as a Pediatric Aural Habilitation
specialist and her early work experience was in a deaf education preschool.
Angela spent a year working at an international school in Chiang Mai, Thailand
and 5 years working in early intervention home health in Los Angeles,
Angela is fluent in Spanish and proficient in American Sign Language.
Additional training and expertise include:
- Hanen certification
- DIR Floortime training
- Melodic Based Communication Therapy
- Family Guided Routines Based Intervention
- Multiple workshops on speech, language, and sensory intervention for kids ages birth-5
- Natural Language Acquisition in Autism: Echolalia to Self-Generated Language
- Improving Intelligibility in Children with Apraxia and Dysarthria
- Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention
- The Get Permission Approach to Anxious Eaters/Anxious Mealtimes
- Feeding Therapy: A Sensory-Motor Approach
- Integrated Treatment of Feeding, Speech, and Mouth
In her free time, Angela enjoys traveling and exploring with her husband and two boys, cooking and baking, and curling up with a good book.
Tracy Thottam, MA, CCC-SLP,
Tracy grew up in Houston, TX. She has been a speech language
pathologist for over 15 years. At UT-Austin, she earned a bachelors in
Communication Sciences and Disorders and a masters degree in Speech Language
Pathology. Tracy has practiced speech therapy at a sensory integration clinic, as
a home health care provider, and for 10 years as a school-based speech
therapist. After becoming a mother, Tracy became interested in pediatric
feeding therapy. She is experienced with bottle feeding, breast feeding, the
transition to/through solids, and tongue and lip ties. She is especially
passionate about infant feeding and supporting caregivers during that
challenging time. Tracy has helped
children with a wide range of needs and abilities, including speech
articulation, expressive and receptive communication deficits, cleft palate,
Down Syndrome, Autism, and stuttering. Tracy integrates traditional therapy
techniques with special attention to oral-motor, oral-respiratory, and sensory
needs. Tracy’s training and coursework includes:
- Bottle-feeding and breastfeeding
- The SOFFI Method: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants (Erin Sundseth Ross)
- Complex Feeding Challenges and Feeding Tube Dependency (Heidi Moreland and Jennifer Berry)
- Treatment for Feeding, Speech, and Mouth (Diane Bahr)
- The Get Permission Approach to Anxious Eaters/Anxious Mealtimes (Marsha Dunn Klein)
- Treatment Strategies for Feeding and Swallowing (Rona Alexander)
- School-based therapy services, IEP’s, special education
- Addressing needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations
- Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (Joy Moeller)
- Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention (Debra Beckman)
- Introduction to DiR and DiR Floortime (Jeffrey J. Guenzel)
Tracy enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. She loves cats, vegetarian food, reading, warm weather, and jiu-jitsu training.
Shanece Solomon, MS. CCC-SLP,
was born and raised in Louisiana. She graduated from the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology
and Audiology. While in school she worked as an applied behavior analysis (ABA)
therapist where she became passionate about autism spectrum disorder. She then
received her Master of Speech Language Pathology degree from the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette. Shanece is passionate about the speech pathology field
and loves being a part of the KidWorks team! When Shanece is not at KidWorks
she enjoys cuddling with her puppy, traveling, and exploring Austin with her
Her interests and post-graduate experience includes:
- School-based therapy, IEP’s, special education
- PROMPT certified
- Fluency (stuttering) childhood and adolescents
- Early intervention (birth to 3)
- Feeding disorders
Tina Hetherington, MS. CCC-SLP,
Tina grew up in Houston. She attended the University of Texas for her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She continued her education at Texas Christian University, where she received her master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Tina recently moved from Dallas, where she gained clinical experience working in Early Childhood Education. She believes strongly that the child's caregiver is their best teacher and strives to equip children and families' with the tools and strategies they need to help their child grow to their fullest potential. In her free time, Tina loves to travel and eat great food.
Since beginning her career, Tina has attended the following courses:
· PROMPT Level 1
· DIR Floortime 101
· "Making Sense of Sensory" with Cari Ebert, MS, CCC-SLP
· Behavioral Feeding Course by Melanie Potock, MS, CCC-SLP
· Courses on Autism Spectrum Disorder
· Marsha Dunn Klein- “The Get Permission Approach”
· Diane Bahr-Integrated Treatment of Feeding, Speech, and Mouth Function in Pediatrics
Tracy Camille, CFY-SLP,
Tracy is originally from the Chicagoland area. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Communication Sciences with a minor in Linguistics from Northwestern University in 2012. Using her special interests in feeding, child development, and music, she nannied and worked for music non-profits while based out of Seattle, WA. Missing working with infants and parents full-time, she returned to school to better serve families as a resource for communication and feeding development. She graduated with her master's of science from Syracuse University in 2020 and is thrilled to join the Kidworks team in her clinical fellowship year. Tracy loves working with children with all areas of communication needs. She has had specific experience and training from her time at Kidworks in the following areas:
· Feeding Disorders
· Articulation Disorders
· Sensory Processing Disorders
When not at KidWorks, Therapy Services, Tracy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her dog Daisy. She plays french horn, loves to garden, and loves traveling!
Nicole Enas, DPT,
Nicole is an Austin native who briefly spent time in College station while attending Texas A&M where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Art. After Undergrad, she explored the medical field before finding physical therapy and working towards admission in a PT program. She moved to San Antonio to attend the University of the Incarnate Word where she received her Doctor of physical therapy degree.
While in grad school her clinical experience included outpatient orthopedics, adult outpatient neuro rehabilitation, acute care (cardiopulmonary and oncology
units), and her favorite rotation was 16 weeks in a pediatric outpatient clinic. During the pediatric clinical rotation, she worked both in the clinic, where she focused on treating infants with torticollis and plagiocephaly, as well as other children. She was also excited to be able to travel to a nearby school district for school based physical therapy during this rotation. After graduating she volunteered at a hippotherapy clinic, working with primarily pediatric patients, until starting at KidWorks Therapy!
She loves learning from the kids, from the amazing therapists around her, and from additional courses, to continue to learn and improve her skills in pediatric PT. Areas of interest and additional training include:
· Torticollis: Etiology and Implications for development by Cindy Miles, PT, Ph.D., PCS, CNDT (online)
· Lectures at American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting including:
· Applying a movement system approach to the pediatric patient
· Cerebral palsy Syndromes: Neuromotor Development, Ambulation Function, and Developmental Trajectories
· Creative Movement and Play Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
· Trunk Control in Children with Neuromotor Deficits: Assessment and Intervention
· During her pediatric clinical rotation, she also attended an intro to DIR-Floortime course
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and their 3 dogs, reading, watching movies, and spending time outdoors on hikes with the dogs, exploring new restaurants in Austin, and spending time on the lake!
Amreen Ali, DPT, PCS,
Amreen attended the University of Texas El Paso where she received her Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She has worked extensibly in both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings, where she has gained expertise working with patients across the lifespan from infancy to adulthood with various traumatic, neurologic, and orthopedic diagnoses. In addition, Amreen has worked exclusively with the pediatric population in both acute and outpatient settings. Her experience includes work in the neonatal intensive care unit with term and pre-term infants with developmental delays and feeding complications. She has also worked with high-risk infants, performing screening assessments and providing resources and education to family members. Her advanced training coursework includes:
· Theory, Practice & Clinical Application of TMR TOTS- Level 1
· Therapeutic Evaluation and Treatment of Toe Walking (Pediatric Equinus Gait)
· Infant Treatment based on NDT Principles
· If You Can’t Breathe, You Can’t Function
· Lectures at American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting including:
· Assessment of Infants with Congenital Muscular torticollis and/or Cranial deformation
· Creative Movement and play interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
· Early Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy to Promote Engagement, Plasticity and Family Well-Being: Opportunities and Challenges in an Era of Promise and Scarcity
· Are We Underserving the Pediatric Ankle? Supporting Development through a Multi-System Approach
Amreen aspires to continue to growing as a physical therapist, always learning something innovative and giving back to her patients and community by helping them achieve their goals and be successes. In her spare time, she likes to paint, spend time with her family and friends, travel, and learn about different cultures and cuisines.
Jill Ciomperlik, PT,
Jill was born and raised in the Texas Panhandle. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at Texas A&M University and her Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman's University in Dallas. Following graduation, she moved to Austin and worked in a hospital, outpatient, aquatic, and wound care clinic settings. After her children were born, she stayed home with them and worked part-time as the director of a preschool ministry. Through these experiences, she discovered how much she enjoys working with children, and decided to combine her love for kids with her physical therapy background to transition into pediatric therapy. She loves the team-oriented, nurturing environment at KidWorks and is excited to be incorporated the DiR philosophy into her practice.
Areas of interest and specialized training include the following:
· Evaluation and treatment of the pediatric patient
· Physical therapy for children with autistic spectrum disorders
· Assessment and treatment of infants and children with torticollis and plagiocephaly
· Pediatric NDT intensive Handling Techniques
· DIR 101 overview of the DIR Model and DIR Floortime Principles
· Don’t Wait For Gait! Therapeutic Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Gait.
· Infantile Torticollis…A softer gentler approach (Webinar)
Treatment of the Baby and Young Child
In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, camping, and traveling
Jeanette Hutchinson, Bookkeeper,
-Crystal Castillo, Clinic & Accounts Manager,
Crystal was born and raised in Harlingen, TX. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human and Family Development with a concentration in Early Childhood from The University of Texas at Austin. Crystal enjoys working with children of all ages and has been with KidWorks for over 12 years. Crystal is dedicated to providing the highest service possible to the families of KidWorks Therapy Services.
In her spare time, Crystal loves playing softball, watching sports, dancing, listening to music, watching movies, and, most importantly, hanging out with friends, family, and her dog.
Shelbi Falcon, Assistant Accounts Manager,
Shelbi was born in Dallas,TX and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana. She recently moved to Austin TX in March of 2017 to pursue her education. She is attending the College of Health Care professions and is working on her Bachelors in Health Care Management. Shelbi has a passion for all children and particularly children with special needs.
Shelbi is using her passion to insure that each child's receives their insurance benefits in order to quickly and efficiently begin intervention. She believes that all children are unique and deserve a chance to blossom at their full potential. Shelbi looks forward to getting to know your family and child!
In her spare time she
enjoys making memories with her daughter, fishing, sunbathing, hanging
out with her family, music, walking her dog, and enjoying all types of food.
Makayla Hurlbut, , Front office coordinator
Makayla was born and raised in Dripping Springs, TX. Makayla comes to KidWorks with 5 years of experience in the medical field. She has worked with children since high school through summer camp programs, then became a Child Development center teacher for newborns/infants to 2 years of age. She then worked for a physical therapy office in Dripping Springs that allowed her to continue her learning experience as she participated and worked with children in their sessions. Her love and passion for helping children continues to grow on a daily basis.
In her spare time, she loves playing with her dog Tucker, fishing, hunting, camping, going to the beach, playing softball, cooking/baking and spending time with her family.
She can’t wait to greet and get to know you and your kiddos!
Marshmellow Pokluda, Clinic Pet Therapist,
Melly was a 15-year-old Spitz-that was a valuable member of the KidWorks Team. She provided that special brand of emotional support that only pets can provide. We miss her weekly and keep her spirit with us when treating the children: laid-back, approachable, lovable!
If you are looking for a therapy or companion for your child, local groups include:
Austin Dog Alliance
It is important that your child’s companion be trained through a highly skilled company for the safety of your child, the animal, and our community.