Meet Our Team

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, Universityof 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 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
  • Bottle-Feeding
  • 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


Brenna Culley, OTR,


Brenna was born in Austin, Texas and raised there with her younger sister. She attended the University of Texas Tech, where she was involved in many school organizations and received her Bachelors of Allied Health Sciences. She continued her occupational therapy education in Lubbock, Texas attending the University of Texas Tech Health Science Center (TTUHSC), where she received her masters degree in Occupational Therapy. Growing up Brenna has always had a strong dedication and passion to work with children. Throughout her graduate school career, Brenna gained a lot of hands on experience working with a vast extent of disabilities and cultures. Brenna has experience treating a wide variety of pediatric patients including feeding, sensory, neurological, developmental delayed, and orthopedic patients. Outside of work Brenna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, listening to live music, going to the lake, wakeboarding, and traveling. She has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:

    • Autism, Asperger's, Sensory and ADHD- John Taylor, Ph.D
    • Mind On The Move-Analysis of Movement from an NDT Perspective-Gail Ritchie, OTR,C-NDT
    • Basic Course on the DIR/Floortime Approach-Stanly Greenspan
    • Vision Screening and Vision Rehab Therapy-Laurie Chaikin
    • iLs Certified (Integrated Listening Systems) Practitioner
    • Advanced Intensive Mentorship: Diagnosis & Treatment of SPD L1

Kara Struhall, COTA,


Kara was born and raised in Austin. She received her certification as an Occupational Therapy Assistant from ACC and completed her BA at Texas Woman's University. Kara is currently completing the prerequisites for the master's bridge program at TWU. During her time at Kidwork's, Kara has gained experience in several areas including therapeutic brushing and self-regulation programs. In addition to her love for working with children and their families, Kara enjoys scuba diving, traveling, being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Kara has completed advanced training in the following areas:

  • Sensory Integration
  • DIR Flooretime
  • Aquatic Sensory Integration
  • ILS Listening Systems
  • Vision Screening and Vision Rehab
  • Autism, Asperger's, Sensory and ADHD


Alexa Thibodeaux, OTR,


Alexa was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. During college and after graduating, Alexa worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist under the guidance of a school psychologist. It was during her time as an ABA therapist that she was first introduced to both pediatric therapy and occupational therapy. She received her master of occupational therapy degree at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Her clinical experience includes rotations in acute inpatient and outpatient psychiatric hospitals, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, orthopedic outpatient therapy, skilled nursing facilities, acute care (intensive care unit), inpatient rehabilitation, and here at Kidworks! Alexa is dedicated to fostering positive relationships and learning experiences with her clients and their families. In her free time, Alexa enjoys exploring Austin, attending live music and theater performances, cooking, traveling, yoga, dancing, and establishing roots in her new Texas community.

  • Basic Course on the DIR/Floortime Approach-Stanly Greenspan
  • Tips and strategies for working with children with autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities             
  • Reasoning with Unreasonable People

Carrie Comstock, OTR,


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 the acute care on the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units (NICU)
  • Mentoring under Rebecca Pokluda, OT
  • DIR/Floortime Training
  • NDT Training 
  • Advanced Intensive Mentorship: Diagnosis & Treatment of SPD L1

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 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.

Alaney Maurin, OTR,


Alaney was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She graduated from the University of Louisiana Lafayette with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology-Exercise Science.  She received her master of occupational therapy degree from The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences here in Austin.  Her clinical experiences include rotations in inpatient, acute/neuro, mental health, outpatient/home health pediatrics, the NICU and here at Kidworks!  While at Kidworks, she has received training in the following areas:

  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • DIR/Floortime techniques
  • Self-regulation programs
  • Therapeutic brushing
  • Vision therapy techniques

Alaney is dedicated to creating a fun, positive, safe environment for her kids so they reach their ultimate potential in life.  In her free time, Alaney loves spending time with her family, friends and dog Bennie, cycling, attending festivals, listening to live music and hiking the Greenbelt.  

Terri Sejnowski, OTR/L,


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

Joni Friedrich, OTR,


Joni is a Texas native who received her masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in Boston and her bachelors degree in Social Work from the University of Texas Austin. During her time at Tufts, Joni won a scholarship to attend Oxford Brookes University enabling her to extend her masters program by studying occupational therapy in Oxford England. Her experience includes working with children who have a variety of diagnoses including Sensory Processing Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, fine motor challenges, feeding and oral motor challenges, Autism and Muscular Dystrophy.

While at Kidworks, she has received training in:

  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Feeding therapy
  • DIR/Floortime techniques
  • Vision therapy techniques
  • Therapeutic brushing
  • Self-regulation programs

Prior to working as an occupational therapist, Joni gained experience with children as a personal care attendant for children with disabilities through the Texas CLASS waiver program, at Child Protective Services, Easter Seals Central Texas, and the Refugee Services of Texas. Joni is on the board for Alison’s Hope for hearing, a 501c3 non-profit which helps people with hearing loss acquire needed hearing aids and devices. In her spare time, Joni enjoys traveling, reading, swimming and most importantly, spending time with her husband, new baby and three AMAZING godchildren family and friends.

Beth Bacon, OTR,


Beth Ann was born and raised in Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in the 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
  •         trauma       

    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.

Rachel Arata-Maiers, OTR,


Rachel grew up in San Antonio, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University. After moving back to San Antonio she worked in ABA and child mental health. She received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Her experience includes working in pediatric outpatient and acute/inpatient settings. Rachel has experience with a variety of diagnoses such as: Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Fine Motor Delay, General Weakness, Cytomegalovirus, Erb's Palsy, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease, and Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. 

Advanced training has included: 

  • Clinical Instructor’s Certification 
  • Self-Regulation in Children
  • Multi-Component Treatment of Food Selectivity 
  • Intervention for Feeding and Eating: Occupation-Based Theory 
  • Evaluation and Intervention of Eating and Feeding 
  • The Pediatric Brain: Functional Neuroanatomy 
  • Practical strategies for treating complex pediatric feeding disorders 

When not working with children, Beth enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, playing with her pets, and enjoying Austin. 

Emily Bales, OTR, PRN Therapist


Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas and a Master’s of Occupational Therapy from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Emily began been working at KidWorks following her internship in the Spring of 2009. Her experience includes working in out-patient settings with children of various diagnoses such as sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, autism, and fine motor difficulties. Her goal is to be a positive influence on others and make the lives of children and families better. In addition to working with children, Emily enjoys watching live music, spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, cooking, and shopping. While at Kidworks, she has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:

  • DIR/Floortime Competancies through the Intermediate level certification
  • SPD Foundation Level I Intensive Mentorship - Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
  • iLs Listening Systems: Practitioner Training Course
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Introduction to Neurodevelopmental Treatment Strategies
  • Approach to Treatment of the Baby 0-3 years

Mackenzie Meredith, MS, CCC-SLP,


MacKenzie is a native Austinite. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Go Frogs! At TCU she majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minored in Child Development. During this time, she traveled to Australia and the UK to observe and learn about Speech Language Pathology around the world. MacKenzie was an intern at KidWorks and fell in love with the clinic and staff.  Mackenzie discovered a passion for feeding and oral motor therapy while interning at KidWorks under Liz Darwin and, has since, deepened her education in these areas. Following graduation, we welcomed MacKenzie back to her hometown and to KidWorks Therapy Services!

Post-graduate training that MacKenzie has attended include:

  •     Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy by Joy Moeller, BS, RDH
  •     Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)  is a program used to correct breathing, swallowing, and chewing disorders, normalize freeway space, help stabilize the bite, and eliminate noxious oral habits. Ask about her Thumb Sucking Program for children 3 and older.
  •      SOFFI Method: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants by Erin Sundseth Ross, PhD, CCC-SLP
  •      Supporting Parents Feeding Preemies: It’s Not Just About Intake by Catherine Shaker, MS, CCC-SLP
  •      Reasoning with Unreasonable People by Martin M. Anthony, PhD, C.Psych., ABPP
  •      Introdction to DIR and DIRFloortime by Jeffrey J. Guenzel, ICDL, CEO

  .  Additionally, she is a strong advocate for teaching Core Vocabulary to her young language learners! She was very excited to lead our Summer Preschool KidTalk Program in 2016.In her free time, MacKenzie loves to hang out with her Chihuahua, "Chuy," eat unique foods, be a social butterfly, and cheer on the TCU Horned Frogs.

Molly Hamill, 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 loves being a part of the KidWorks team as the teaching environment continues to feed her passion for learning every day in the clinic.

Since beginning her career, Molly has attended the following training:

  •      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.
  •     Marsha Dunn-Klein “The Get Permission Approach.”
  •     Continuing mentoring through KidWorks therapists for feeding and oral-respiratory development.

In her free time, Molly enjoys exploring Austin, running or paddleboarding at Town Lake, relaxing at Barton Springs Pool, and hiking the Greenbelt.

Katie Gandy, MS,CCC-SLP,


Katie grew up in North Atlanta, Georgia. After taking one introduction class in speech-language pathology at The University of Texas at Austin she found her passion in empowering kids and families through speech pathology. She then went on to get her Master's degree in speech-language pathology from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Katie has gained experience with variety of ages and diagnoses, especially working with children ages birth to three years old in language, feeding, and children on the autism spectrum. Katie loves being part of such of a great team and clinic and enjoys the collaborative and supportive atmosphere of KidWorks. In her free time she enjoys participating in CrossFit, skiing as much as possible, playing with her nieces and nephews, and being with her husband and wonderful community Austin has provided.

Post-graduate training that Katie has attended include:

  • Orofacial Myofuncational Therapy by Joy L. Moeller, BS, RDH
    • Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is a program used to correct breathing, swallowing, and chewing disorders, normalize freeway space, help stabilize the bite, and eliminate noxious oral habits
  • Extensive Training in feeding disorders:
    • Beckman Oral Motor Protocol by Deborah Beckamn
    • Pediatric Swallowing and Feeding by Catherine Shaker
    • Feeding and Swallowing in the NICU by Karin Mitchell
    • Sensory feeding training by Melanie Potock.
  • Multiple workshops on speech and language in the birth-three population
  • Introduction to DIR and DIR/Floortime Approach by Jeffrey J. Guenzel
  • Multiple workshops on pediatric language and articulation therapy


Julie Gilchrist, MS, CCC-SLP,


Julie grew up on the east coast in a small town in New Hampshire. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of New Hampshire, and received her Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She went on to receive her Master’s in Speech Pathology at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Driven by her passion to explore new areas, she moved to Austin to complete her clinical fellowship working in an intensive inpatient facility for children and adolescents with severe behavioral challenges. She then moved to the beautiful mountains of Jackson Hole, WY for a year, working in a pediatric outpatient facility and continued to develop her skills. Her experience includes:

  • Working with children and adolescents on the autism spectrum, Down syndrome, expressive and receptive language disorders, articulation disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, ADHD, ODD, TBI and a variety of other diagnoses.

  • Implementing a variety of augmentative communication systems with children who are nonverbal in order to give every child the gift of communication.

  • Advanced training  in pragmatics, social cognition, theory of mind and utilizing concepts from Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking program.  

  • Trained in feeding disorders (oral motor and sensory feeding disorders)

  • Trained in DIR Floortime therapy for increasing engagement and building long lasting and trusting relationships with all clients.

She has been back in Austin and a part of the KidWorks team for 2 years where she has continued to develop her skills as a therapist. In her free time, Julie enjoys outdoor activities, exploring all that Austin has to offer, and spending time with her family, friends and 3 dogs



Lexi Smith, MA., CFY-SLP,


Lexi was born and raised in Houston, Texas and received a bachelor’s degree in retail merchandising and a business foundations certification from the University of Texas at Austin. She then realized that she wanted a career where she could serve and interact more with others, so she returned to UT Austin where she received a Masters Degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders with a  focus on speech-language pathology. Lexi interned at KidWorks during her final year in graduate school at UT and started her clinical fellowship as a speech-language pathologist at KidWorks shortly after. She enjoys being part of such a supportive environment at KidWorks and getting to learn more about the children she gets to work with every day. Lexi is interested in all areas of communication difficulties with a special interest and training in:

  •         Stuttering
  •         Feeding Disorders
  •         Administration and interpretation of Modified Barium Swallows
  •         DiR
  •         Hanen Parent Training Programs
  •         Ingersoll and Dvortcsak Teaching Social Communication to Children with Autism  

When she is not at KidWorks, Lexi enjoys hiking the Greenbelt, walking her dog, Leia, around Austin, attending sporting events, strength training, and trying all the new restaurants around Austin!

Meredith Ansel, MA,CCC-SLP,


Meredith is originally from New York City and graduated with a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She received her M.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The University of Texas at Austin and has worked for the schools and a private practice since 1998. Meredith came to Kidworks in January 2014. Meredith's extensive training includes:

  • P.R.O.M.P.T. Certified
  • Hanen Parent Training Programs,
  • Michelle Garcia-Winner's Social Thinking Curriculum,
  • Interactive Metronome

Meredith has presented social skills training to schools and parent groups in town. She enjoys working with children with motor speech disorders, apraxia, children who stutter, processing disorders, language difficulties, and pragmatic difficulties. When not working, Meredith enjoys spending her time with her husband (a.k.a. The Soup Peddler) and daughter, as well as hiking, biking, reading, crocheting, dancing and cooking.   

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, California.

Angela is fluent in Spanish and proficient in American Sign Language.

Additional trainings  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

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 since 2006.  She earned both her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from UT-Austin.  After graduation, Tracy worked at a pediatric clinic in Torrance, California where she learned about sensory integration therapy.  She was a school-based speech therapist in Austin for 10 years and served students from Pre-K through high school.  She is excited to join the KidWorks Therapy team to serve children with a variety of communication difficulties. Tracy’s training and experience includes:

  • School-based therapy services, IEP’s, special education, and culturally and linguistically diverse children and families

  • Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy with Joy Moeller

  • Beckman Oral Motor Therapy with Debra Beckman

  • Introduction to DiR and DiR Floortime by Jeffrey J. Guenzel

 She has two daughters and enjoys family time with them and her husband.  She loves animals and vegetarian food, and enjoys reading, warm weather, and jiu-jitsu training.  

Carla Moore, PT,


Carla received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Her initial work experiences included working in a variety of acute hospital settings with adults. Following her move to Austin in 1989, Carla pursued her desire to practice pediatric centered physical therapy. She has worked both in clinical settings and as a school based therapist at the Texas School for the Deaf. Carla enjoyed working with children of all ages at the School for the Deaf. She also enjoyed the exposure to American Sign Language and the opportunity to develop beginning skills in "signing".

Carla completed 15 hours of post graduate physical therapy at Texas Women's University in Houston and earned the "Certificate in Advanced Pediatric Therapy from Texas Women's University in 2006. Course work at TWU included:

  • Pathokinesiology which focused on Gait Analysis
  • Pediatric Neuroscience, with a personal study on the vestibular system
  • Pediatric Outcome Measures
  • Motor Behavior in Pediatrics
  • Musculoskeletal Issues in Pediatrics
  • Other continuing education workshops have included:
  • Sensory Defensiveness and Related Problems by Patricia Wilbarger
  • 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 Athena Oden
  • Evaluation and Treatment of the Clumsy Child by Dr. Barbara Connolly
  • Pediatric Vestibular Rehabilitation by Gaye Cronin, OTD, OTR/L
  • 3 Day Intensive on 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
  • Pediatric NDT Certification

Carla's interest in the vestibular system and the important role it plays in motor development led her to KidWorks Therapy services in May of 2009. In her spare time, Carla enjoys being "Nana" to her 4 grandchildren.

Carla considers it a privilege to work with each child that comes to her and desires to work with parents and caregivers in a team approach.

Lindsey Ramirez, DPT,


Although a native Austinite, Lindsey relocated to New Orleans to earn her Bachelors in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Tulane University. She then moved to Florida to attend the University of Florida for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. While in graduate school, she had the opportunity to work extensively in research involving children with spinal cord injury and muscular dystrophy. After graduating in May 2009, she worked as a physical therapist for 2 months in Ecuador at a non-profit therapy clinic working with children.  Lindsey has been working in pediatric physical therapy professionally since 2009 and began her career at KidWorks in 2010.  She has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:

  • Movement, Rhythm and Sequencing: Getting the Beat for Children with Sensory, Emotional and Motor Challenges-Lise Gerard-Faulise MS, PTR/L, BCP
  • Scoliosis Management in Pediatrics presented by Texas Physical Therapy Association
  • Effective Evaluation, Assessment, and Treatment of Pediatric Toe Walking presented by Liesa M. Persaurd, PT, MPT, PCS
  • Pediatric Myofascial Release sponsored by John F. Barnes, PT
  • NDT and MFR for Children with Neurological Disabilities presented by Barbara Hodge, PT, C/NDT
  • Pediatric Vestibular Rehailitation-Gaye W. Cronin, OTD, PTR
  • Physical Therapy Management of Children with Progressive Neuromuscular Disorders Across the Life Span-presented at American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting
  • Spanish for Physical Therapists-offered by American Physical Therapy Association
  • A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Management of Children and Adolescents Who are Obese and Overweight-present at American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting
  • Introduction to DIR/Floortime Approach-presented via video lectures from Stanley Greenspan

Outside of KidWorks, Lindsey enjoys spending time with her family and spending time outdoors,  especially running trails all over the country.

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 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

    In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, camping and traveling.

    Jeanette Hutchinson, Bookkeeper,

    Jeanette comes to KidWorks with 15 years in the medical field. She was previously an Infrastructure Engineer at Seton Healthcare Network. Jeanette is originally from Baytown, TX where she attended Lee College. Jeanette moved to Austin 16 years ago; she loves being a resident of Austin and enjoys the refreshing spirit of the city. In her spare time Jeanette enjoys trail-running, hiking, cooking, being involved with local charities in the community and spending time with friends, family and her animals.

    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 10 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. 

    Lisa Phillips, Front Office Coordinator,


    She is originally from the Midwest, Ft. Dodge, Iowa.  She moved to the Central Texas area to be near her five siblings.  Lisa has been married to her husband, Gary, for over 20 years and they live in Buda, Texas.  They have two boys, both graduates of Jack C Hays High School.  Her background is in real estate and Early Childhood Education.  She directed pre-school for 13 years prior to joining KidWorks.  She holds a CDA Associate for Early Education.  She is a registered trainer with the Texas Trainer Registry to instruct/train early childhood teachers and directors. For fun, Lisa likes going to the movies with her boys, watching Green Bay Packer football and spending time with friends and family.

    Lisa looks forward to meeting your child and family and assisting with making your experience with KidWorks seamless and positive!

    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

    • Divine Canines

      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.