Founded in 2011, PlayWorks Therapy encourages and enriches the lives of children by helping them achieve their fullest potential through our therapeutic services. We truly believe to make a significant influence on a child's development; we must provide care in a comfortable setting, as well as support and educate the parents and caregivers involved in the child's life. It is this same supportive attitude and thirst for learning that brings our team together to share, advise and learn from each other's professional and personal experiences. Read on to learn more about each team member's professional background, experience and personal story.
Amy Wechsler, MSW, LCSW, DT
From an early age, Amy realized her passion for working with young children, both with and without developmental differences. She spent many summers as a counselor and teacher’s assistant at Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association and working in pre-school/daycare settings.
Amy earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. During her time at the University of Illinois, Amy gained clinical experience interning at the Champaign County Juvenile Detention center conducting psycho-social groups for juvenile inmates. She also enjoyed volunteering at the Crisis Nursery.
After graduating, Amy continued her education at Loyola University Chicago where she studied social work and earned her Master's of Social Work degree in 2008. During her time at Loyola, she interned as a hospital social worker in the neonatal intensive care unit at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and as an outpatient therapist at Niles Family Services.
She began her career in Illinois Early Intervention following graduate school. Amy is a licensed clinical social worker and credentialed Early Intervention Specialist and Evaluator in both Developmental Therapy and Social Work. She specializes in treating children with neurodevelopmental disorders, anxiety disorders, sleep disturbances, and behavioral challenges. Amy uses her extensive knowledge of sensory processing, global development to guide her treatment style. Amy loves providing family support and teaching parents how to effectively support their child’s challenges.
In 2011, Amy proudly founded PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. It is her strong passion, creative energy, caring personality, and knowledgeable experience in the field that led to the creation of PlayWorks Therapy. Amy feels lucky to have parents who taught her the principles of hard work, entrepreneurship, respect, and standing up for what you believe in.
Amy loves mentoring therapists and is dedicated to ensuring all PlayWorks Therapy clients receive the highest standard of services. Integrated into the core values of PlayWorks Therapy, it is Amy’s mission to support a practice that provides intentional, high quality care to children and families by therapists who are exceptionally passionate and knowledgeable about the work they do.
Amy lives with her husband and three children in the northern suburbs. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, biking, and finding new restaurants.
Kimberly Shlaes, MAT, DT, CIMI
Director of Developmental Therapy Services
Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programming
Kim is a developmental therapist who loves working with children and connecting with families. Kim earned her Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Indiana University, her Master’s degree in Arts and Teaching from National-Louis University in Chicago, and holds a Type 04 State of Illinois Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood. Prior to her career at PlayWorks Therapy, Kim taught Pre-K for multiple Head Start programs around the city. It was during her tenure as a teacher that she learned about developmental therapy and recognized her passion for working one-on-one with children with developmental delays. She has experience working with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing concerns, a variety of genetic disorders, and global developmental delays. Kim loves developing a therapeutic relationship with the whole family and encouraging parents and caregivers to get involved in therapy sessions. In her spare time, Kim enjoys trying out new restaurants, spending time with family, exploring parks and street festivals, live music, and traveling.
Kim is a credentialed developmental therapist and evaluator with the Illinois Early Intervention program, and a certified infant massage instructor. As the Director of Developmental Therapy Services, Kim enjoys mentoring developmental therapists and providing collaborative support to the teams at PlayWorks Therapy.
Brittany Hill, MS, MSW, LCSW, DT
Director of Social Work Services
Brittany is a developmental therapist and licensed clinical social worker who enjoys helping children meet their individual needs while also supporting caregivers and families. Brittany earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She attended graduate school at Loyola University Chicago and Erikson Institute, earning her Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Child Development. Brittany’s experiences include working with children with generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, autism spectrum disorder, regulation difficulties/sensory processing disorders, and global developmental delays. Brittany also specializes in potty training and supporting children with toileting difficulties. She has a passion for developing meaningful relationships and strengthening the parent-child relationship. Brittany enjoys the collaborative and supportive nature of the PlayWorks Therapy team. She loves helping children reach their fullest potential while celebrating each success along the way.
Outside of work, Brittany enjoys listening to music, playing volleyball, visiting with family, and snuggling up with her two cats.
Kelly Scafidi, MSW, LCSW, DT
Kelly is a developmental therapist and licensed clinical social worker with a passion for working with children and families. She comes to PlayWorks Therapy with a diverse professional background. Her caring and outgoing personality allows children of all ages to have fun while learning. Kelly earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Eastern Illinois University and holds a Type 04 State of Illinois Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood. She taught kindergarten, first, second, and third grade while working closely with teachers’ assistants to modify curriculum for students with special needs. Kelly earned her Master of Social Work from the Jane Addam’s School of Social Work with a concentration in Mental Health. She has experience working in maternal-child support, medical social work, and residential settings. Kelly has gained significant experience working with infants and young children while working as a nanny for families in the Chicago suburbs. Kelly’s experience includes working with children with anxiety disorders, behavioral concerns, toilet-training difficulties, and global developmental delays.
Biking, boating, baseball, and yoga are just a few of her interests. Kelly enjoys spending time with her nieces, nephews, and dog.
Rachel Weiser, MS, DT
Rachel is a Developmental Therapist that enjoys working with children and their families to create positive therapeutic relationships. Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Families Studies with concentration in Early Childhood Special Education from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Rachel received her Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from Erikson Institute. Prior to her career at PlayWorks Therapy, Rachel taught in a variety of settings for six years. It was through her experiences teaching in Head Start and in daycare settings that Rachel first learned about developmental therapy. While at Erikson Institute, Rachel interned at the Pediatric Developmental Center providing support for the Early Intervention Socialization Group and home-based therapy. Rachel prides herself in her ability to take a global perspective to working with children and to always make therapy fun!
Outside of work Rachel enjoys practicing yoga, traveling and exploring new Chicago events.
Becky Clark, MS, DT
Becky is a developmental therapist who believes strongly in families as their children’s first and most important teachers. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Family and Community Services with a concentration in Family Studies from East Carolina University. During her undergraduate career, she studied in Finland for a semester, concentrating on their early childhood program and their parent/teacher partnership. Becky’s internship was completed at a primary school in Uganda, where she partnered with the agriculture teacher to implement various gardening methods. She moved to Chicago to obtain her Master of Science in Child Development with a concentration in Infancy and New Language Learners from Erikson Institute.
Becky has enjoyed working with children and families for over 15 years in a variety of settings ranging from a camp counselor, to an AmeriCorps middle school mentor, to an Infant/Toddler teacher for Early Head Start, to a facilitator at the Chicago Children’s Museum. She enjoys the more one-on-one dynamic of working with families in Early Intervention and is passionate about helping families see all the amazing, therapeutic things they are already doing for their child, and may not even know it! Becky is also a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, which can be an excellent tool for strengthening the child-caregiver bond, improving the ability to read the child’s cues, as well as for reducing physical discomforts in the child.
When Becky is not basking in the wonderful work dynamic at PlayWorks, she enjoys hiking/backpacking/camping, teaching herself to play the ukulele, and exploring all the many things Chicago has to offer.
Amanda Deligiannis, MSW, LSW
Amanda is a licensed social worker that loves helping children and families grow into their best selves. Amanda earned her Bachelor of Music Education from DePaul University School of Music. She taught music to children throughout Chicago in public and private schools as well as in group settings. During her teaching career she became passionate about education inequity as well as childhood trauma, which inspired her to complete a Master of Social Work from Loyola University. Throughout this time, she gained clinical experience interning for the Cook County Public Defender as well as in addiction treatment. Amanda also completed an internship as a medical social worker at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago supporting families while they experienced chronic illness, celebrations, and loss in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Amanda strongly believes that parents and children are the experts of their own lives and is passionate about working together to reach common goals. She has clinical interest in children with anxiety disorders, attachment challenges, regulation difficulties, and trauma. She especially enjoys collaborating with families to strengthen lasting child-parent relationships and discover ways to make daily experiences therapeutic. Amanda is certified in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics.
Amanda enjoys running and hanging out with her 17 year old cat. In her free time, you can find her at the orchestra, exploring Chicago’s food scene, or on her next adventure!
Melissa Svec, MSW, LSW
Melissa is a licensed social worker who is passionate about establishing solid therapeutic foundations that both children and families can prosper and grow on. Melissa is a Chicagoan born and raised who traveled to the wonderful cornfields of Iowa for both undergrad and graduate school where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Social Work from Saint Ambrose University.
Some of Melissa’s experiences include working with kids and families affected by a cancer diagnosis and utilizing trauma-informed care while working with children. Melissa believes every child and family is the expert of their own situation and as the social worker she is there to shed light on and enhance already existing strengths and gifts within each individual. As a therapeutic professional, Melissa loves interdisciplinary work and thinks there is so much to learn from other professionals who share a common goal of helping children and families. She is excited about the range of care provided at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. and cannot wait to grow as a clinician alongside such passionate and driven individuals.
In her free time, Melissa loves traveling to new places with friends, watching The Office, listening to true-crime podcasts and spending time with her incredible family.
Autumn Smith, MS, CCC-SLP
Director of Speech and Language Services
Autumn is a speech-language pathologist who enjoys creating meaningful relationships with her clients and families throughout the therapeutic process. Autumn earned her Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Upon graduation, she moved to Chicago to complete her clinical fellowship year with PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. and has enjoyed working with the dedicated team of therapists here ever since! Autumn has comprehensive experience working in the pediatric setting, including supporting children with speech and language delays, motor planning disorders, fluency disorders and feeding/oral motor concerns. She has a passion for supporting clients with childhood apraxia of speech to help them grow into successful, independent communicators. Autumn’s favorite part about working with the PlayWorks team is the collaborative and inclusive environment that she gets to be a part of on a daily basis. As the Director of Speech and Language Services, Autumn enjoys providing clinical supervision to each member of the speech and language team and supporting a collaborative environment for group learning.
Autumn is trained the PROMPT technique, Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets, which is a multidimensional approach to teaching the specific motor movements needed to produce accurate speech sound targets. This approach has been proven to be widely successful for children with motor planning disorders, such as childhood apraxia of speech. She has also completed the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol training and uses the Kaufman approach for children across the age span. Additionally, Autumn has completed the Get Permission Approach to Pediatric Feeding Intervention to support children with sensory aversions and/or oral-motor difficulties.
Autumn is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding and uses the program's four basic tenets to guide her feeding therapy sessions. SOS is a transdisciplinary program that specializes in assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties/refusals, including children with sensory aversions, limited or restricted diets, and children who struggle to transition between feeding milestones. Additionally, Autumn has completed the Get Permission Approach to Pediatric Feeding Intervention to support children with sensory aversions and/or oral-motor difficulties. This approach is based on the principles of establishing a trusting feeding relationship between child and caregiver to support successful mealtimes.
In her spare time, Autumn enjoys reading a variety of fiction novels, grabbing brunch at any of Chicago’s numerous patios, and visiting her family back in Wisconsin (especially her nephews!).
Therese Brown, MS, CCC-SLP
Therese Brown is a speech-language pathologist that brings her passion and creativity to therapy sessions. She loves building relationships with children and their families in order to help increase success and language development. Therese earned her Bachelors degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Indiana- Bloomington and her Masters degree at the University of North Texas. While attending the University of North Texas, Therese had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings including an elementary school, pediatric and adult clinics, and a skilled nursing facility. Following grad school, Therese returned home to Chicago and began her clinical fellowship with Playworks Therapy, Inc. Therese currently holds her certificate of clinical competence and is experienced in treating a variety of delays and disorders including speech and language delay, autism spectrum disorder, auditory processing disorder, fluency disorder, articulation and phonological processing disorder, and apraxia and other motor planning disorders. Therese loves incorporating arts and crafts and creative games into therapy sessions in order to keep clients engaged in the therapeutic process.
Therese enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves spontaneous trips and adventures. Depending on the season you’ll find her at the beach, cheering for her favorite sports teams, or checking out the endless opportunities for delicious food and drinks the city has to offer!
Claire Hacker, MS, CCC-SLP
Claire is a speech-language pathologist who enjoys positively impacting the life of a child and their family. Claire received her Bachelor of Art in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Indiana University and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee. Claire completed her clinical fellowship year at a pediatric clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee where she gained experience working with children with a variety of speech and language delays, fluency disorders, and motor planning disorders. Upon completion, Claire moved to Chicago to be close to her family and friends. What Claire loves about PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. is being part of a supportive and collaborative team with a clear passion for the work they do!
In her spare time, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends, baking, and cheering on her favorite teams – the Chicago Cubs and the Tennessee Volunteers!
Sarah Lydon, MA, CCC-SLP
Social Media Coordinator
Sarah Lydon received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Central Michigan University and her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Kent State University. After graduating, Sarah spent three years working as a public school SLP in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to her full-time school job, she spent many weekends working at both a rehabilitation hospital and a skilled nursing facility. Prior to working at PlayWorks, Sarah and her husband moved to Denver, Colorado, where she was employed at a private therapy clinic focusing on speech, language, and feeding therapy. It was at this clinic that Sarah began to further develop her passion for working with children with feeding difficulties and childhood apraxia of speech, among other speech/language impairments. Because of the variety of settings Sarah has worked in, she has gained experience with a wide variety of speech and language needs, including articulation/phonology, fluency, motor planning disorders, craniofacial abnormalities, developmental disorders, syndromes, and alternative augmentative communication.
Sarah is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding, which is a transdisciplinary program used for assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties. She uses many aspects of this program when evaluating and working with “picky eaters” and children with oral motor difficulties impacting feeding.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys frequenting Chicago’s many restaurants and patios, traveling back to Michigan to visit family, snowboarding (though she’ll have to get used to the Midwest hills), cheering on the Detroit Red Wings, and relaxing with her husband and their crazy cat, Arthur.
Ana Burgoon, MS, CCC-SLP
Assistive Technology Coordinator
Ana comes to PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. from Michigan, where she earned both her Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Science with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Grand Valley State University. She gained experience in variety of settings throughout her graduate program, including an elementary school and a skilled nursing facility, and completed her externship at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Ana has clinical interests in language delays and disorders, phonological delays and disorders, articulation disorders, hearing loss, autism spectrum disorder, and various genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome. Ana is certified in Visual Phonics.
Ana and her husband are fortunate to have a strong support system, so they can often be found spending time with those that they love (including their new nephew!).
Being a speech-language pathologist allows Ana to combine her love of science with her love of language and learning. She enjoys shaping therapy sessions into highly motivating and communication-rich experiences for children. Ana also values working with parents and feels privileged to have a career that is rewarding, ever changing and fun!
Kelsey Martin, MS, CCC-SLP
Kelsey is a speech-language pathologist who is passionate about fostering meaningful relationships with clients and their families in order to create an environment that promotes child development. Kelsey joins the PlayWorks team following completion of her Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University and her Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning from Northwestern University.
Throughout her graduate program, Kelsey gained experience working with a large variety of pediatric client types including those with difficulties in the areas of speech, language, voice, fluency, oral-motor and feeding. She has worked in various settings across the Chicagoland area, such as the Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language and Learning (NUCASLL), a multidisciplinary pediatric clinic, an elementary school, and a preschool classroom. As a new member of the PlayWorks family, Kelsey is most excited to collaborate with the company’s incredible team of professionals in order to provide the most client-centered approach to treatment.
Having grown up in the Chicagoland area, Kelsey is an avid Chicago sports fan who can often be found cheering on her favorite teams, specifically the Cubs and Blackhawks. Kelsey also enjoys spending her free time singing along to her favorite music, attending Broadway shows and concerts, checking Chicago’s many restaurants off her list, hanging out with her three sisters, or taking a quick trip to the suburbs to see her parents and their family's golden retriever, Riley.
Jackie Donahue, MS, CCC-SLP
Jackie is a speech-language pathologist who enjoys building relationships with families and children in order to help them achieve developmental milestones and communicate effectively at home and in the community.
Jackie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Sciences, and Disorders from the University of Iowa and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from St. Ambrose University. Upon graduation, she moved back to Chicago to be near her family and begin her clinical fellowship at a pediatric clinic in the Chicagoland area. Jackie has several years of experience working with families to support their child’s speech and language skills as well as feeding and oral motor development.
Jackie is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding and has taken additional course work to better support families with feeding concerns such as failure to thrive, limited diets due to oral-sensorimotor or oral motor difficulties, and other feeding transitions (i.e. transitioning to a bottle). She is passionate about using a multi-disciplinary approach to improve feeding skills and make mealtime an enjoyable experience for both the child and family! Jackie is also trained in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), which is a type of assistive communication used to support kiddos who are minimally verbal. She works with both the child and parents to teach PECS and encourage effective communication skills across many environments.
After work Jackie enjoys trying new restaurants around the city- especially those with patios that her dog Wilson can enjoy too! When not in Chicago, her and her husband enjoy traveling to different countries to try new foods and meet new people.
Emma Baime, MS, CF-SLP
Emma is a speech-language pathologist who is passionate about supporting her clients’ communication by building strong relationships with them and their families. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she completed both her Bachelor of Science in Human Communication Sciences and her Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning at Northwestern University. Emma has provided pediatric services in the areas of speech, language, fluency, social communication, literacy, and learning disabilities.
Emma is delighted to return to PlayWorks Therapy after completing a clinical practicum here during her graduate program. Through the Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning (NUCASLL), she also completed clinical rotations focusing on autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia and learning disabilities, and fluency disorders. Additionally, she has worked in Chicago Public Schools where she gained experience providing teletherapy services to a wide variety of pediatric clients. Emma is dedicated to getting to know her clients and their families so she can help children meet their unique communication needs.
During her free time, you can find Emma playing board games with friends and family, doing Pilates, singing along to showtunes, or attempting to cook new dishes.
Jennifer Brown, MS, OTR/L
Director of Occupational Therapy Services
Jen is an occupational therapist with a passion for helping children realize their full potential and strengthen families through collaborative therapeutic intervention. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jen taught preschool and kindergarten for three years during which time she realized her passion for working one-on-one with children with developmental differences. Following, she earned her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Temple University in Philadelphia. Jen has worked in various therapeutic settings and especially enjoys working with children with feeding concerns, sensory processing difficulties, and fine motor delays. As the Director of Occupational Therapy, Jen enjoys mentoring new clinicians and collaborating through a team-based approach to treatment.
Jen is certified in Therapeutic Listening, a specific sound-based intervention that is embedded in developmental and sensory integration, and the Beckman Oral-Motor Protocol for oral motor strengthening. Jen also has extensive experience with the Astronaut Training program, Handwriting Without Tears, the SOS Approach to Feeding, and reflex integration. As a former teacher, Jen has a multitude of experience with school-related OT concerns, such as executive functioning, grasp, fine motor delays, and cognitive deficits.
In her spare time, Jen enjoys exploring the city's many farmers’ markets and eateries, reading a good book, staying active, and spending time with her nephews.
Natalie Machado, MS, OTR/L
Assistive Technology Coordinator
Natalie is an occupational therapist who is passionate about forming positive connections with children and their families. Natalie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to attending occupational therapy school, Natalie spent several years dancing for companies and teaching dance to children ages 2 to 18. It was during these years that she realized her passion for working with young children and decided to become an occupational therapist to help children reach their full potential. Natalie earned her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Throughout her time in graduate school, Natalie used her knowledge of movement to enhance her work, completing rotations in Early Intervention, pediatric clinics, and acute care settings. Natalie particularly enjoys treating kids with sensory processing and motor planning concerns. Natalie loves combining her creativity, knowledge of movement, and love for working with children into a single career!
Originally from the suburbs, Natalie is thrilled to be back in Chicago after spending nine years in Wisconsin. During her free time, you can find Natalie exploring the city, dancing, or taking as many yoga classes as possible. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, cheering on the Badgers, and spoiling her golden retriever, Dahlia.
Robyn Geist, MS, OTR/L
Continuing Education Coordinator
Robyn is an occupational therapist who strives to enhance children’s participation in meaningful activities while also collaborating with families. Robyn joins PlayWorks after earning her Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her undergraduate career, Robyn worked as an in-home Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist for young children with autism. Through this experience she realized her passion for working collaboratively with children and their families in their natural environment.
Robyn returned to University of Wisconsin-Madison to complete her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. She completed rotations in various settings including pediatric mental health and outpatient clinics. Throughout graduate school, Robyn worked in a research lab studying motor skills and brain development in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Robyn loves that her career is a continual learning process where she can make a lasting impact in children’s lives.
As the continuing education coordinator, I enjoy my role of researching and coordinating courses for our interdisciplinary team to support our global approach to therapy and further our clinical skills. It's so fun to be part of a field that is constantly evolving and full of new learning opportunities as well as part of a team that strives to be the best therapists they can be! Originally from Minnesota, Robyn is excited to start exploring her new home of Chicago. In her spare time she can be found exploring new restaurants, staying active outdoors, rooting for the Badgers, and hanging with friends.
Caitlin Chociej, MS, OTR/L
Caitlin is an occupational therapist who is passionate about creating positive relationships with children and their families and enriching participation in meaningful activities. Caitlin earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from SUNY Geneseo in New York. Following continued babysitting and volunteering experiences, including a trip that took her to Tanzania where she spent time teaching English and assisting with daily care at several orphanages, she went on to pursue her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in Boston.
During her graduate studies, Caitlin gained experience in various settings, including pediatric mental health and skilled nursing facilities. Before relocating to Chicago, she worked in the Early Intervention and preschool settings to enhance participation and independence of children with developmental delays and autism spectrum disorder. Caitlin loves that her career allows her to positively impact the lives of others while continually growing as a therapist.
As a transplant from the New York countryside, Caitlin is excited to immerse herself in Chicago’s culture through trying new restaurants, seeing live music and comedy shows, and experiencing art and theater life. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time laughing with friends.
Kristen McManus, MOT, OTR/L
Social Events Coordinator
Kristen is an occupational therapist who values creative treatments, imaginative play, and a strong therapist-family relationship. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Health from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She then received her Master of Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in Houston, Texas. Kristen previously worked in outpatient pediatric services in San Antonio, Texas, where she treated a high proportion of children from military families. She has worked with children with various diagnoses, including cerebral palsy, Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and developmental delay.
Kristen has experience with assistive mobility and self-care devices, particularly for children with physical disabilities. She also has used the Handwriting Without Tears and SOS Approach to Feeding in her practice. As an occupational therapist, she values independence in all areas of a child’s life, from play to self-care to education!
As the social events coordinator, I enjoy getting our wonderful team together for some fun! As our name implies, "play works," and that is the same for us adults! I also love organizing ways to give back to our supportive community, through volunteering, fundraising, and advocacy events. Kristen is excited to be back in Chicago after participating in a clinical here in 2017. She loves exploring the city, trying new restaurants, taking strength-training classes, and watching college football. Growing up in Texas has given her exposure to many cultures and lifestyles, a love for the summer, and a preference for spicy foods!
Caroline Stevens, MS, OTR/L
Therapy Resource Coordinator
Caroline is an occupational therapist who is passionate about working with children and their families to support growth and development in their everyday life. Caroline received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. While volunteering with various community organizations to provide adaptive sports/therapeutic group programming, Caroline realized that she was interested in working with children with disabilities in 1-1 and small group settings. Caroline completed a year-long fellowship focused on interdisciplinary care for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities while earning her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Caroline enjoys working with children of all ages, especially with children who are learning to regulate their sensory habits in order to play, learn, and grow alongside their family and peers.
As the therapy resource coordinator at PlayWorks, I enjoy making sure that our therapy materials, books, and games we use are accessible for therapists for use to facilitate the growth of children's skills and provide support for families. Caroline has experience working with children with medical complexity and neurodevelopmental disabilities through previous work and volunteer experiences. When not at work, Caroline enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and riding bikes along the lake!
Amy Sauers, PT, DPT, c/NDT
Lead Physical Therapist
Assistive Technology Coordinator
Amy is a physical therapist who is passionate about using fun and creative ways to help children get stronger and improve their motor skills to better play and move in the world. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Wheaton College and then her doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Central Florida. After graduating, Amy began her career working with children with a variety of diagnoses and adults with neurological impairments. In just a few years, she realized her passion was working solely with children. Over the past several years, Amy has worked with children of all ages and skill levels with a wide variety of diagnoses including: hypotonia, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, torticollis, Down syndrome, developmental coordination disorder, toe walking, autism spectrum disorder, seizure disorders and a wide array of genetic conditions, medical complexities, and neurological impairments. Amy loves using her creativity and knowledge to cater each session to the individual child, while collaborating with the other disciplines to help each child reach their own goals and achieve milestones.
Amy is also certified in neurodevelopmental treatment which has enhanced her ability to provide therapeutic handling in treating children with neurological impairments. She also has extensive experience in adaptive equipment evaluation, orthotics recommendations, and kinesiotaping. Amy is excited to begin collaborating with the amazing Playworks Therapy team and begin adding physical therapy to better help address the needs of the children that walk through these doors.
Recently moving back to the Midwest after several years spent in both Florida and Colorado, Amy is enjoying slowly exploring the city, spending time with family and enjoying running, biking and playing with her husband and toddler.
Perry brings a diverse background to her role at PlayWorks Therapy. A passion for operational management and anthropology combine to create an excellent administrative backbone in this company. She is thrilled to be a jack-of-all-trades, using every opportunity to keep the company running smoothly and progressively. Coming from the worlds of both consulting and retail management, Perry is enthusiastic about client relations: striving for consistency, accessibility, and reliability. Perry is a great person to have on the “front line,” as she is able to comfortably approach and interact with parents, caregivers, and children with ease, and she has a passion for being the friendly face of PlayWorks.
In her hours away from the office, Perry keeps herself occupied with plenty of books, beach volleyball, hitting the gym, and furthering her pursuit of an education in anthropology and museum design. She loves good food and good company, even if that company is her two cats.
Administrative Director and Intake Coordinator
Kyle comes to PlayWorks straight from Los Angeles. Born and raised in Chicago, Kyle graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University with a BFA in acting. He has managed an acting studio, a café, and even worked as a real estate appraiser. Kyle enjoys visiting new restaurants, going to the famers market, and seeing plays with his wife – and you might catch either of them on TV as well.
He loves being able to juggle the caseloads of the amazing therapists and ensure that every email is responded to as fast as possible, like a video game. He is thrilled to be working behind the scenes here at PlayWorks Therapy helping others achieve their goals.
Insurance and Billing Specialist
Aimee has always been passionate about all things pediatrics! She attended Medical Billing school in 2010, and has been in pediatric medical and therapy billing ever since. She even took some time getting RBT certified and working with kids with Autism doing ABA therapy.
Aimee has lived in Phoenix, Arizona most of her life, but has always loved the snow and seasons. So with that being said, she decided to take the big move to Chicago in 2018 with her little chihuahua mix, Maxene, to start new adventures. She loves photography, and always has her camera in her hand.
Aimee loves to take on new challenges and help clients with whatever they may need, making their lives as easy as possible. She’s excited to grow with PlayWorks Therapy and is glad to be a part of the family!
Billing Specialist and Insurance Officer
Susan earned her B.A. in Art History from the University of Michigan and her Master's in Arts and Teaching from Loyola University Chicago. After teaching kindergarten and gifted children, the devoted mom took time off to raise her own three children.
Susan's focused, dedicated and thoughtful personality leads her to take on many roles. She gained business and administrative experience as the secretary and treasurer of RDR Productions, a 30-year-old corporate video production company based in Northbrook, IL, owned by her husband David. In addition to maintaining her duties at RDR Productions, she has been an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer and has run her own business, To Life Fitness, for the past 10 years. Susan, or as her husband has nicknamed her ‘Buff,' uses her sweet and encouraging ways, along with intense workouts such as interval training, to whip her clients into shape.
Her prior experience working in small business settings is critical to the success of PlayWorks Therapy, where Susan is responsible for administration and client billing. She finds joy in working closely with her daughter, Amy, and is thrilled to play an essential role in PlayWorks Therapy's continued growth.
Susan does not see herself slowing down anytime soon and plans to continue supporting all of the family businesses, and of course spending as much time as possible with her grandchildren. One thing is for sure though–her morning coffee is a must!
When the Detroit native finally takes a break from being the busy bee she is, you can find Susan cooking, gardening, reading, watching movies, or trying out the latest new gourmet restaurants in town.