Developmental Therapists

Kelly G., DTCS
Developmental Therapist/Communication Specialist

Location
Lake County First Steps (hybrid model alternates in person & virtual)

Meet Kelly, a remarkable, bilingual (Spanish and English) Developmental Therapist Communication Specialist who brings a world of expertise to the table. Her journey in the realm of child development is as impressive as it is impactful. Kelly’s educational foundation is rock-solid, with a Bachelor of Health Science in Communication Disorders earned from Governors State University. Her commitment to her craft doesn’t stop there; she furthered her credentials by obtaining a Certificate of Conductive Education in 2016, showcasing her dedication to ongoing learning and growth. Her journey into the world of child development began in a daycare setting, where she skillfully worked with children facing diverse developmental challenges. The training she received for her Conductive Education Certificate exposed her to the interdisciplinary nature of treatment, equipping her with the skills to tailor her approach to each child and family’s unique needs. As an added layer of preparedness, she’s CPR certified. Kelly firmly believes that therapy isn’t confined to the duration of each session but extends seamlessly into the child’s home environment. She also acts as a service coordinator for IL early intervention. Kelly’s dedicated to adapting activities continuously, ensuring that progress is a dynamic and ongoing process. One cannot help but be energized by her infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy, which she brings to every therapy session. Kelly’s goal isn’t just to make a difference; it’s to impact every facet of your child’s daily activities positively!

Michelle H., MS, DT
Developmental Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Michelle, a Developmental Therapist with an extraordinary wealth of experience spanning over two decades, dedicated to empowering children and their families. In 1998, she embarked on her educational journey at Purdue University Northwest, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Developmental Psychology—a pivotal milestone in her mission to impact young lives. Michelle’s quest for knowledge led her to pursue a master’s degree in Education from Calumet College of St. Joseph in 2008. Her journey began as a Service Coordinator in First Steps, but Michelle’s profound desire to work directly with children compelled her to transition into her current role as a Developmental Therapist. Her diverse skill set extends beyond developmental therapy, as she’s also an accomplished elementary teacher, seamlessly blending her expertise to introduce preschool readiness activities to young children who have transitioned out of the First Steps program. Throughout her career, she’s worked tirelessly with children who faced challenges in meeting developmental milestones, including those with Down syndrome, autism, delayed speech, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, and various other developmental hurdles. Michelle’s dedication goes beyond her profession; it’s deeply personal. Her own twins reaped the benefits of First Steps and Early Childhood programs. This personal connection fuels her unwavering belief that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. With grace and passion, Michelle is here to partner with you in the transformative journey of helping your child achieve their developmental milestones!

Vanessa J., DT
Developmental Therapist
(Supervisor for 1st year DTs & FS credentialing)

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Vanessa, an exceptional Developmental Therapist whose journey is nothing short of inspiring. In 2012, she proudly earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Governors State University. She’s fluent in Spanish, adding a unique layer of cultural inclusivity to her skill set. She is also CPR certified, ensuring the safety and well-being of the children with whom she works. Her journey with children began in 2008, providing her with invaluable teaching experience. As a developmental therapist, her unique ability to tailor activities for each child paves the way for learning through immersive play-based experiences. A natural-born leader, Vanessa has also taken on the role of supervisor and mentor for first-year developmental therapists. She firmly believes that creating engaging opportunities is the key to both mentoring other professionals and fostering holistic development in children. Vanessa’s personal journey adds a layer of empathy to her professional expertise. Her own children have benefited from the First Steps Program. Vanessa understands the challenges that come with everyday routines but also recognizes the immense rewards when a child reaches a milestone. She brings the perfect blend of professional prowess and personal empathy to her therapy sessions. Her friendly demeanor and boundless energy make her a beacon of positivity and hope. Vanessa eagerly awaits the opportunity to make a difference for your child and family!

Carla K., MEd, DT
Developmental Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Carla, an amazing Developmental Therapist whose journey in education is impactful. Her pursuit of excellence led her to a Master’s degree in Special Education from Purdue University in 2015, following her earlier achievement of a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2011. Her thirst for knowledge knows no bounds, as she aspires to earn her PhD in Child Psychology. Carla’s has served as a special education teacher, kindergarten teacher, reading and math interventionist, and case manager for individuals with special needs. Her passion for empowering children and their families has truly flourished. She firmly believes in the transformative power of support and intervention, knowing that with the right guidance, every child can reach their full potential. Carla’s heart has always been with Wee Care Therapy, as both of her children benefited from therapy services. In addition to her rich educational and professional experiences, she is CPR certified, ensuring the safety and well-being of the children she serves. Carla’s therapy sessions are a celebration of enthusiasm and positivity. She firmly believes in infusing fun into learning and celebrates every ounce of progress. Her commitment to open communication and strong dialogue establishes a deep rapport with all the families she serves. Having dedicated her life to working with children, Carla is genuinely thrilled to witness your child’s remarkable growth as a testament to her unwavering dedication to the betterment of young lives!

Carolyn L., DT
Developmental Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Carolyn. She may be new to developmental therapy, but she is a seasoned veteran who is passionate about caring for and advocating for children. She is a 1992 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She spent six years working in elementary education. This experience gave her unique insight into what children need to find success in those crucial first years of school. After staying home to help raise her own four children, she reentered the Early Childhood field as a teacher working with children aged 0-3 for the past 12 years. It was in this role that Carolyn found her calling, and the passion for working as a developmental therapist grew roots in her heart. As a lead teacher, she gained significant hands-on practical knowledge that allowed her to work effectively with children aged 0-3 with a wide range of needs. All of this helps inform her approach to therapy, which could be characterized as a collaborative relationship with families to meet the individual and unique needs of their child through developmentally appropriate play-based activities that help their child become the best version of themselves. She also has significant safety training experience, including pediatric first aid, AED, and CPR certification. Carolyn is excited to be part of Wee Care Therapy and looks forward to partnering with you in your child’s journey to becoming all that they can be!

Kathleen (Kate) M., MS, DT
Developmental Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps

Meet Kate, a dedicated Developmental Therapist who earned her Master’s degree in Child Development with Infant Specialization from the prestigious Erikson Institute in 2002. As a testament to her outstanding leadership qualities and extensive expertise, she holds the distinguished role of Lead Developmental Therapist at Wee Care Therapy. Her passion for early intervention has been a constant, and she has been providing developmental therapy with First Steps since the inception of her journey. Her dedication is deeply personal, as her adult child, a NICU graduate, personally experienced the transformative benefits of early intervention. Her career path has been guided by a heartfelt belief that the first three years of a child’s life have the most profound impact on their lifelong development. Her vast experience encompasses a wide range of diagnoses, including autism, Down syndrome, prematurity, hydrocephaly, cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, and much more. Kate is CPR certified, ensuring the utmost safety and care for the children she serves. She enthusiastically pursues new research and strategies through continuous professional development. In her therapy sessions, Kate embraces a nurturing, intuitive, play-based approach, combining sensory-based strategies with the DIR/FloorTime model, ensuring that every child’s unique needs are met. She places a strong emphasis on involving the entire family in therapy, creating a holistic and inclusive environment where smiles, hugs, giggles, and accomplishments are celebrated with boundless joy. Kate eagerly anticipates the opportunity to be part of your child’s remarkable growth!

Hope M., DT
Developmental Therapist

Location
Lake County First Steps & Porter, Newton & Jasper First Steps as needed

Meet Hope, a compassionate Developmental Therapist who proudly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Olivet Nazarene University in 2023, a testament to her unwavering commitment to the field. What sets Hope apart is her comprehensive knowledge, underscored by a biology minor that equips her with a deep understanding of various disorders and conditions. Hope’s journey took a pivotal turn during her internship with a parent education program. There, she had the opportunity to work closely with children aged zero to three, many of whom faced developmental delays. This hands-on experience allowed her to not only plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities, but also involve parents and caregivers in the process. Her approach is designed to ensure that progress extends beyond therapy sessions, promoting meaningful carryover in the child’s everyday life. Rest assured, Hope is CPR certified, prioritizing the safety and well-being of the children she serves. Her philosophy in therapy is rooted in meeting the child precisely at their current level of development and tailoring interventions to align with their individual needs and interests. Her journey is a testament to her commitment to making a meaningful impact while infusing every session with the joy of learning and growth. With a deep-seated belief that therapy should be enjoyable and engaging, Hope is thrilled at the prospect of guiding your child toward their fullest potential!