Rebecca Pokluda, OTR, P.C. C/NDT, Director & Owner
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:
Foundation Intensive Mentorship - Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing,
including planning and implementation of appropriate treatment of sensory
processing. SIPT Certification # 494
and trained to administer IM interactive metronome treatment.
training in Therapeutic Listening / Sound Therapy. Certification # M22229
Lecturer at A&M University Graduate Speech and Language Program
Faculty at St. Augustine’s University in the Doctorate PT and Graduate OT
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.
Service Trainings to teachers, social workers, parents, nurses, and
educational specialists at
preschool, private and public schools, and foster care agencies.
training with self-regulation and social, emotional development and dysfunction,
including Stanley Greenspan's Floortime Approach
in DIR/ Floortime Model
and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
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
training in Vision Therapy and Aquatic Therapy
training in treatment of learning disabilities and ADHD including PACE
Processing and Cognitive Enhancement Certification
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.
Professor at The University of St. Augustine’s
in Neuro-feedback and EEG Feedback with Certification through EEG Spectrum
- 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, C/NDT, 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.
training and coursework includes:
- Extensive Training in feeding disorders
including: The Get Permission Approach by Marsha Dunn Klein
- Post Tongue Tie Revision Treatment
Approach to Feeding Therapy by Kay Toomey, Ph.D,
- Food Chaining By Cheri Fraker and Laura
- Debra Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and
- 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
- 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
Alison Deitsch, OTD, OTR/L,
Ali received a bachelor’s of science degree in Psychology from Boise State University. While at BSU, Ali worked as a researcher for the Center for Health Policy and is published author on two federally funded reports. She went on to receive a doctorate in Occupational Therapy from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Her doctoral research evaluated barriers and supports employment for young adults with visual impairments. She has clinical experience in outpatient pediatrics, adult inpatient rehabilitation, and low vision home health settings. Ali enjoys hiking, skiing, and running.
Ali has had additional training in:
- DiR/Floor Time Model
- Powerfully You: Compassionate Self-Regulation Curriculum
- Adaptations and environmental modifications for the visually impaired population
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.
Caeli Condit, OTD, OTR/L,
Caeli received her bachelor’s of science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University. She went on to receive a doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Baylor University. Her doctoral research evaluated how occupational therapy can play a crucial role in pediatric mental health and she has a passion for advocating for mental health in children. She has clinical experience in outpatient pediatrics and adult outpatient neuro rehabilitation.
Caeli enjoys painting, photography, writing, and exploring Austin.
Continuing Education courses include:
- What’s in Your Sensory Processing Assessment Toolbox?
- Introduction to DiR
Hannah Burks, OTD, OTR/L,
Bio coming soon!
Meranda Franklin, OTD, OTR/L,
Meranda was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University, with minors in Pre-Health and American Sign Language. Meranda continued her education at The University of St. Augustine, where she received her doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Her doctoral research included creating an occupation-based developmental play group for children birth to three years old, to implement in under-resourced communities. She has clinical experience in outpatient pediatrics, outpatient adult, acute care, and inpatient rehabilitation.
In her free time, Meranda enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends and family, and playing with her dog.
Continuing Education courses include:
- What’s in your Sensory Assessment Toolbox?
Sarah Glazer, OTD, OTR,
Bio coming soon!
Tracy Thottam, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech Therapy Lead
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
- Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (Joy Moeller)
- Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention (Debra Beckman)
- Introduction to DiR and DiR Floortime (Jeffrey
Tracy enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. She loves cats, vegetarian food, reading, warm weather, and jiu-jitsu training.
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
- Family Guided Routines Based
- Multiple workshops on speech, language, and sensory
intervention for kids ages birth-5
Language Acquisition in Autism: Echolalia to Self-Generated Language
- Improving Intelligibility in
Children with Apraxia and Dysarthria
- Beckman Oral Motor Assessment
- The Get Permission Approach to
Anxious Eaters/Anxious Mealtimes
- Feeding Therapy: A
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.
Melissa Lammer, MS, CCC-SLP, PRN
Melissa spent her first 25 years in Chicago then moved to Minneapolis with her husband where she spent another 25 years and raised 2 fun-loving girls. Melissa has plenty of drive left and is ready to explore Austin while continuing her passion as a Speech/Language Pathologist. She earned both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences in Illinois (1995) and has dedicated her career to serving a wide variety early childhood and school-aged children.
Melissa believes that integrating the whole body through motor, sensory & cognitive approaches along with family involvement is the most successful combination to help clients reach their speech/language goals. Melissa enjoys motivating kids through fun and engaging hands-on activities and has established a strong, trusting bond with her families. Melissa still loves her job, has plenty of experience, and enjoys life!
Melissa has been trained and gained experience in the following areas:
Facial Reflex Integration
Sensory Processing Integration
SOS Approach to Feeding
Visualizing and Verbalizing
Brain Gym Exercises
Zones of Regulation
Strong family, client, and staff collaboration
Several workshops over several years
Molly Wheeler, MA, CCC-SLP,
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
- 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
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
In her free time, Molly enjoys running,
paddleboarding at Town Lake, exploring new restaurants, and traveling to
Morgan Hagan, MA, CCC-SLP,
Bio Coming Soon!
Susan Holler, MS, CCC-SLP,
Bio coming soon!
Sydney Hecht, MS, CCC-SLP,
Bio coming soon!
Carla Moore, PT, C/NDT, PRN
Carla was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She became
a “Texan” upon attending the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston,
Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy. Her initial work experiences included working
in a variety of acute hospital settings in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Carla and her husband and their 2 daughters
moved to Austin in 1989. Following their
move, Carla pursued her desire to focus on specializing in pediatric physical
therapy. Since that time, she has worked in Austin with children of all ages
and disabilities in pediatric clinical outpatient settings and as a school-based therapist at the Texas School for the Deaf. Carla has been working at
KidWorks Therapy Services since 2009. Her
area of focus is infants and young children, but she welcomes and enjoys
working with children of all ages.
Carla’s therapeutic approach includes direct handling with each child to
facilitate optimal alignment and movements. Carla also includes other
intervention strategies, as indicated, for individualized treatment sessions.
She has a personal interest in the vestibular system, and how it impacts our
ability to function and move.
Incorporating vestibular input through movements and positioning is often
considered as a part of her therapy sessions. Carla’s ultimate desire for each
child is to help them achieve their individualized maximum functional
potential. Parents are very much a part
of the decision-making process regarding their concerns and desired goals for
In keeping with my desires to focus on pediatric therapy
these many years, I have attended and completed the following pediatric
Post Graduate Courses/Certifications Include the Following:
2018: Completion of
the 261 hours “NDT/Bobath Certificate Course in the Management and Treatment of
Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Neuromotor Disorders”, receiving “Certification
of Neurodevelopmental Treatment” (CNDT)
2019: Completion of the
80 hours of the Neurodevelopmental Association “Advanced Baby Course”.
2006: Completed 15
hours of post-graduate physical therapy coursework from Texas Women’s
University in Houston and earned “Certificate in Advanced Pediatric Therapy”
from Texas Women’s University
Continuing Education Courses Include the Following:
- “Torticollis and Plagiocephaly: Assessment and Treatment of
Infants and Children Impact on the Movement System of Infants and Beyond” by
Cindy Miles, PT, PhD. PCS, CNDT
- “Vestibular and Oculomotor Rehabilitation for Children” by
Rose Marie Rine, P.T., PhD.
- “Rib Cage: Focus on
the Rib Cage for Improvement in Respiration, Phonation, Postural Control and
Movement (Level 1)” by Rona Alexander,
- “Contemporary NDT Treatment of the Baby and Young Child” by
Suzanne Davis Bombria, PT, CNDT
- “Vestibular Activation: Therapeutic
Movements to Optimize Physical, Social and Cognitive Occupation” by Mary Kawar
- “Kinesiotaping Fundamentals and
Kinesiotaping in Pediatrics” by Audrey Yasukawa and Trish Martin
- “Ready Bodies, Learning Minds” by
- “Evaluation and Treatment of the
Clumsy Child” by Dr. Barbara Connolly
- “Pediatric Vestibular Rehabilitation”
by Gaye Cronin, OTD, OTR
- “Treating the Child with Hypotonia”
by Barbara Hypes, PT
- “Analysis of Movement from an NDT
Perspective” by Gail Ritchie, OTR
- “NDT and Myofascial Release” by
Gait Ritchie, OTR
In her spare time, Carla enjoys time
with her husband and “spoiling” their 4 grandchildren. Outdoor activities are a favorite, including
bike rides and hikes with the grandkids.
Carla considers it a privilege to
work with each child that comes to her at KidWorks. She considers children to
be her best teachers! Carla supports the
“team approach” for each child and desires to work closely with parents in
supporting their child’s progress.
Carla Moore, PT, CNDT
Jasmin Pena, PT, DPT,
Jasmin was born and raised in El Paso, TX. She earned her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Athletic Medicine from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy from The University of the Incarnate Word. Before becoming a PT, Jasmin worked as a respite care provider for families with children with special needs, as a part-time physical education instructor for a middle school special education class, and as an Administrative Assistant for the non-profit organization, Kinetic Kids, in San Antonio, TX which serves to provide the opportunity for children with special needs to participate in sports and recreational activities. She loves teaching her clients creative ways to stay active, participate in sports and recreational activities, and helping others define themselves by their uniqueness rather than their diagnosis. Specific areas of interest are: gross motor and infant development, hypermobility syndromes, orthopedic injuries & rehabilitation, Kinesiotaping and developmental Coordination & Neurological disorders
During her free time, she enjoys exploring the parks and trails of Austin with her husband, traveling to visit family, and volunteering with the Special Olympics.
Jasmin’s clinical experience and coursework includes:
- Torticollis: Etiology and Implications for development by Cindy Miles, PT, Ph.D., PCS, CNDT
- DIR-Floortime 101
Katie Shoup-Simpkins, PT, DPT,
Katie was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She
received her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from The University of
Tennessee at Knoxville and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Tennessee State
University in Nashville. Her graduate research systematic review consisted of
comparing the efficacy of hippotherapy and aquatic therapy on postural control
in children with Cerebral Palsy. Prior to working at Kidworks, Katie worked at
a pediatric outpatient clinic in El Paso, Texas and had clinicals in pediatric
outpatient, pediatric home health, adult outpatient, and adult inpatient
rehabilitation. In her free time, Katie enjoys baking, walks, and hanging out
with her husband and 2 golden retrievers, Lana and Archer.
Katie has had additional training in:
- Introduction to Neuro-Developmental Treatment
for Pediatrics (Jane Styer-Acevedo, PT, DPT, C/NDT)
Nicole Enas, PT, 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
· Trunk Control in Children with Neuromotor Deficits: Assessment and
· 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!
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 14 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 Malibu.
Shelbi Falcon, Assistant Accounts Manager,
Shelbi was born in Dallas, TX and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana. She received a Bachelors in Health Care Management from the College of Health Care Professions. 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.
Caitlyn Johannessen, , Front Office Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Elisha Shamim, Office Assistant,
Elisha is a Student at the University of Texas at Austin, Majoring in Psychology BA and minoring in Kinesiology and Health Education. She completed an independent study project with a Physical Therapist at Scottish Rite Hospital where she created a PT game they continue to use today. After shadowing multiple settings and disciplines, she has moved interest from PT and is now on the OT track in hopes of helping kiddos reach their sensory needs! She has grown up caring for kids of all ages and abilities and is so excited to be working in such a positive healing environment. Elisha is also working on becoming a certified yoga teacher– combining her love for the mind and the body!
In her free time, Elisha loves exploring Austin markets, new food, hiking, crafting, and connecting with friends and family!
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.