Occupational Therapists

Natalie Machado, MS, OTR/L

Director of Occupational Therapy

OT Assistive Technology Coordinator

Natalie Machado

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! As the Assistive Technology (AT) Coordinator, Natalie enjoys making sure that children have access to the tools and devices that they need to succeed. She loves helping children find the right technology or product that increases progress towards their developmental goals!

Originally from the suburbs, Natalie was thrilled to return to 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 Wisconsin Badgers, and spoiling her golden retriever, Dahlia.

Caroline Stevens, MS, OTR/L

Student Education Coordinator

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 and therapeutic group programming, Caroline realized that she was interested in working with children with disabilities in one-on-one 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. Caroline has experience working with children with medical complexity and neurodevelopmental disabilities through previous work and volunteer experiences. As the Therapy Resource Coordinator at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., Caroline enjoys making sure that our therapy materials, books, and games are accessible for therapists for use to facilitate the growth of children's skills and provide support for families.

When not at work, Caroline enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and riding bikes along the lake!

Rachel Sitzmann, MSOT, OTR/L

Rachel Sitzmann

Rachel is an occupational therapist who is passionate about supporting her clients growth and development by addressing the whole child and family experience through collaborative therapeutic intervention. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and Minor in Psychology from the University of Iowa. Rachel’s love for working with children and their families, comes from her own experience as the sister of a child with disabilities. Her passion for supporting children in reaching their highest potential continued to grow throughout her undergraduate studies and in roles providing one-on-one care to children with unique needs. Rachel went on to complete her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Lewis University. She has experience working with children with neurological disorders, ASD, sensory processing disorders, developmental delay, and medical complexity through previous clinical internships and direct care positions. She enjoys working with children of all ages, and has a special interest in treating children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, and those who are navigating sensory processing, self-regulation, and motor planning challenges.

Rachel is delighted to be a member of the PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. family! She highly values the collaborative aspect of the organization, particularly the emphasis on building meaningful relationships with children, caregivers, and team members. Rachel feels incredibly grateful to be a part of such a rewarding profession and is eager to work with each child and family in meeting their unique needs and goals!

In her free time, Rachel enjoys running around the lake, reading a good book, exploring local restaurants, and spending time with family and friends. As a new Chicago resident, Rachel is having fun exploring all the city has to offer!

Anna Parker, ODT, OTR/L

Anna Parker is an occupational therapist who strives to foster fun, meaningful, play-based therapy to increase independence and confidence in her clients. In early elementary school, Anna recognized her passion for assisting individuals with disabilities and has since sought out every opportunity to volunteer and work with this population. Anna is passionate about working with children with varying abilities to enable them to reach their goals. She values collaborating with other therapists and families to ensure the greatest success for her clients.

Anna is from Naperville, IL and graduated with her BA in Psychology from Wheaton College. She then attended Rush University in Chicago to receive her doctorate in occupational therapy. Through both her volunteer experiences and clinical rotations, Anna gained experience working with children with Down syndrome, neurological disorders, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, ASD, and developmental delays. She could not be more excited to be working at PlayWorks Therapy!

When not in the clinic, Anna enjoys going for long walks and runs on the lake, cooking and baking, and spending time with family and friends.

Ariana Michel, OTD, OTR/L

Ariana is an occupational therapist who strives to create a safe, inclusive, empowering, and fun environment where clients can thrive and reach their full potential. She is passionate about providing neurodiversity-affirming care for children and their families and is committed to supporting children from a strengths-based, relationship-based, and collaborative lens.

A graduate of Tufts University with a degree in Child Study and Human Development, with a concentration in Atypical Development, Ariana has worked as an Early Childhood Educator in infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms. She enjoyed working with young children to promote positive developmental outcomes and was so inspired by her experiences in the classroom and passion for supporting children and families, that she went on to earn her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. She has experience in various settings including schools, inpatient rehabilitation, mental health and outpatient pediatric settings. Ariana also has experience working with neurodivergent children, children with developmental delays, sensory and motor challenges as well as with children with a variety of musculoskeletal, orthopedic, and neurological impairments. She completed her doctoral capstone at a pediatric clinic utilizing the DIR Floortime approach. Additionally, she completed projects focused on neurodiversity-affirming practice and on nature-based occupational therapy. Ariana values collaborating with other disciplines to provide holistic treatment and is thrilled to be a part of the dedicated team at PlayWorks Therapy!

When not in the clinic, Ariana enjoys being outside, exploring new places, completing jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with family, friends, and her cats.