Janis Bautz is the owner of BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She is married with four children and enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, and horseback riding in her free time. Her personal and professional experiences and education have led to her specialties in coordinating and supporting teams, advocating for children, and developing programs to better meet the needs of our incredible Playhouse families and their amazing kids!
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Humble. Grateful. Supportive.
What is the most interesting part of your job? I love that I have the ability to try new programs that may benefit our patients or inspire our therapists without having any administration above me to slow me down or limit what I can see we can achieve for our kids. I love being able to just give something a try and see where it goes!
What was your first job? My parents owned a beauty shop when I was growing up. I was a shampoo girl, a tanning bed attendant, and the towel washer...which is ironic because now as an entrepreneur (following in my mother's footsteps) I'm still wearing various hats and I'm not afraid to get my hands "dirty"....I also still wash the towels :)
If everyone is gifted in some way, what is your gift? Hiring GREAT Therapists with Incredible Positive Energy!
Bauer is one of our awesome therapy dogs! He likes to visit our kids to bring them some fun and joy as often as he can. He's very easy going and sweet. He enjoys long walks, ear rubs, and making kids and parents happy! In his spare time, he likes to play with his big brother Reggie.
Sheri Ireland-Berk is the Clinical Director of BDI Playhouse in Naperville and a Pediatric Physical Therapist. She completed her physical therapy degree from Ithaca College. She has extensive training and experience in NDT, infant massage, gait training, aquatic therapy and serial casting. Sheri enjoys painting, traveling, and spending as much time as possible on the beach. She loves working with children of all ages and especially enjoys working in the pool where she feels the benefits and results are "magical".
What is the best advice you have ever been given? A well seasoned pediatrician told me this when one of my own children was given a challenging diagnosis. "Imagine that your child is a tree. Don't make the mistake of climbing out onto the end of a limb to focus on one little unblossomed bud and think that represents all there is. Step back, take a look at the entire miraculous creation and celebrate that whole fabulous tree!"
If you had a full day free with no commitments and nothing on your to do list, what would you do with it? I would most likely spend my day with a child. We would have a tea party, bake cookies, play with play doh, paint or make some kind of big messy art project,take a long walk or play at the park, and read a few fun little books.
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? Nothing is more dangerous(and annoying) than a therapist who thinks she knows it all, is better than another, or has all the answers. There is always more to learn, the rules often change when science advances, and there is most definitely more than one way to help a child reach his fullest potential.
Olivia Arnos is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and a Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She enjoys running, cooking and spending time with family. She is passionate about facilitating language development in children, transition planning with adolescents with special needs, and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams!
What is the best advice you have ever been given? One of my clinical supervisors told me to look for a job that makes me uncomfortable. She said to examine the clinical areas I feel confident in, and reflect on the ones I struggle with. Then seek out a job that puts me in a position to constantly work with my weaknesses. The moment you stop learning is the moment you become complacent as a clinician, and you should never be complacent with your skills.
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? I learned early on from my aunt and uncle (parents of a child with special needs) that family members should always be in the center of your team. They know the child you're working with better than anyone else in the world. They understand a child's behavior, their fears, their communication "quirks", preferred activities, etc., and can help you navigate therapy tremendously. I like checking in with the parents I work with before every session just for that reason. Parents, to me, are just as important as any team member, and I believe every therapist should include them with decision making.
What makes you laugh? I adore puns! A pun is a guaranteed laugh for me :)
Jamie Blough is an Occupational Therapy Assistant @ BDI Playhouse. She received an Associate in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant from Fox College. She has previous work experience in childcare where she realized her passion for wanting to help more kids reach their full potential! She spends her free time with her two children and likes to stay active running and teaching spin class!
3 words to describe my personality: Playful, Resilient, Hardworking
Favorite Time of the Day: Bedtime! The end of the day is my favorite time when all the day's hustle and bustle has come to an end and I get to snuggle my 2 babies :)
Favorite Quote? "You are in charge of your own happiness!" and "Never stop learning, never stop growing!"
Kelly Callahan is a Physical Therapist at BDI Playhouse Orland Park. Kelly received a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Illinois-Champaign, and a DPT degree from Northwestern University. Kelly works in both the clinic and the aquatic setting for BDI. Kelly enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children, especially near the water.
Dana Bukala is a Physical Therapist Assistant at BDI Playhouse. She has a Bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Illinois State University and an Associate's degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant from College of DuPage. Dana provides outpatient, aquatic and gymnastics therapy. As a former gymnast, circus performer and coach she enjoys seeing the smiles of success in this challenging environment. She is married with two children who keep her busy with their athletic and music activities. Dana is motivated by each child achieving new skills that bring confidence which carries over into their daily world.
Maggie Lord is an Assistant Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist at BDI Playhouse Children's Therapy. She has a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Health and a Master's Degree from USC in Occupational Therapy. In her free time, Maggie enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and soaking in the outdoors. She practices both in the clinic and aquatic settings for children with a variety of ages and abilities. Maggie strives to make BDI a place where play and learning come together in a creative way to help kids grow and gain independence in the activities that are most important to them and their families.
What is the most interesting part of your job? The most interesting part of my job is the variety that each kiddo brings into each therapeutic activity. Each day and each child is unique, and boy, do we have some fun while we learn, laugh, and explore what our bodies and minds are capable of! It never ceases to amaze me just how playfully creative each kid's approach towards a craft, a piece of food, or their own shoes can be!
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to stop learning and growing themselves! We encourage our kids to achieve new things each day, but that magic fades when a therapist forgets to remain client centered or gets stuck in a rut with activities. Therapists should strive to be as persistent towards learning to better their treatment and practice!
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: I am often described as enthusiastic, creative and understanding!
Madeline Connor is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Augustana College, as well as a minor in Spanish, and her Master's degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She is married with one son and one fur baby. She enjoys playing the guitar, crafting, spending time with her family, and being by the lake. She knew from the start of her education that she had a passion for working with children. She enjoys learning all she can in order to engage and bring out the best in her client's. She loves working here at BDI and the fabulous staff!!
What is the best advice you have ever been given? "Be the first to be able to laugh at yourself, and don't take yourself too seriously"
If everyone is gifted in some way, what is your gift? I like to turn anything into a song or rhyme! My coworkers will probably get one stuck in their head sometime ; )
What makes you laugh? When one of my kiddos makes a joke or tells me a good pun!! Everyone could use more funny in their day!!
Lori Cullotta is an Occupational Therapist at BDI Playhouse. She received her Bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago and her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from Rush University. She loves collaborating with team members to create fun, new, and effective methods to address deficit areas that are presented within this setting.
What was your first job? I was a Dairy Queen ice cream creationist! Who could ever turn down a job that offers ice-cream and toppings???
What is the best advice you have ever been given? Never to be too strong, stubborn, or proud to ask for help.
If you had a full day free with no commitments and nothing on your to do list, what would you do with it? I would paint (either one of the many white rooms in my house) or if I was feeling more creative to make my own masterpiece. When I needed a break... I would have a good old fashion tickle session with my kids. Nothing wraps up the day better than sweet smiles and the sounds of innocent giggles.
Sue Curry is our office manager who coordinates our office procedures for both our Orland Park and Naperville locations. She is the first voice and first face many families see at BDI. Sue has a Master's Degree in Counseling and is married with two adult daughters. Sue loves biking with her husband, the Chicago Blackhawks, and eating out in new restaurants! Sue's gift is communication and people skills. She loves interacting with the families who come to BDI and enjoys making them feel welcome and sure that they have the right appointment time!
What is your favorite quote? "To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone." Reba McEntire
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received? "Thank you for listening and caring" . I never take for granted that someone is brave enough to share their heart with me. That they can do that with me is a compliment to my character.
What would people be surprised to know about you? NOTHING! I'm an open book, often sharing my life story with whoever gets in line behind me at the Jewel! Oversharer? Probably.
Meghan Grant is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She received her Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Southern Illinois University. She is trained in the SOS approach to feeding, PROMPT, the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, and is also certified in Hippotherapy. She is married with three young children, and enjoys baking, reading, yoga, playing games, and spending time with her family. Meghan loves working on a multidisciplinary team, and considers herself fortunate to be able to work with such incredible kids and their families.
What is your favorite quote? Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see a shadow. ~Helen Keller
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Thoughtful, positive, playful
What is the most interesting part of your job? I love that when you work in pediatrics, each day is different. Children have such remarkable little personalities and have the power to teach us new things every day. There is something so rewarding about learning from the kids we work with, and it's fun to help celebrate their successes along the way. I particularly enjoy joking with others that I get to "play" everyday at my job!
Jennifer Ervin is an Office Administrator at the Orland Park office who has many years of experience in office administration along with a Bachelor's Degree in HR and Psychology. She has two kiddos of her own, one boy (a baseball player) and one girl (a gymnast), who keep her very busy outside of work! Her favorite things are country music, the outdoors, inspirational sayings and essential oils! She also loves to cook, grill and the Cubs!
Jana Ford is the Executive Assistant to our Chief Encouragement Officer. She comes BDI bringing many years of multi-tasking and executive assistant experience which we are extatic to have her on board. Jana and her husband of 15 years have three girls Hailey, 14, who loves volleyball, Peyton, 9, who loves being on a tumble and trampoline team and our newest addition Avery, who is full of life at just 14 months old. As if being a mom of three and joining our team wasn't enough one of her true passions lies in designing spaces accompanied by her degree in design.
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Creative.Empathetic.Optimistic
If you had a full day free with no commitments and nothing on your to do list, what would you do with it? My happy place is definitely on the water. I enjoy being out on our boat with my family doing water-sports such as tubing, kneeboarding or skiing that is where I’m most happy.
What inspires me? Helping others, especially those who can’t help themselves.
Jessica Frederick received an Associate’s degree in applied science and is working as a certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. She is married with two teenage boys and enjoys watching her sons compete in football, basketball and track, cooking and baking, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the outdoors. She has over 16 years experience working with children of all ages and their families. Jessica truly loves and enjoys working with children and the collaboration of all disciplines at BDI. Her passion is to help children reach their fullest potential to be successful at home, in the classroom, and in the community.
What is your favorite quote? "Be yourself, everyone else is taken."
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Empathetic, Agreeable, Cheerful
If everyone is gifted in some way, what is your gift? I believe I can get along with anyone. I feel I can engage my kiddos and earn their trust to make the most of our time together. I can make almost anything feel fun or get my kiddos to laugh.
Keishla M. Gonzalez-Acosta is a Physical Therapist at BDI Playhouse. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Human Biology, a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from A.T. Still University. Keishla enjoys spending time with family, traveling, taking pictures, and baking in her free time. At the age of 15 years old she began teaching baby ballet classes and knew her passion was working with children and their families. She loves to incorporate dance as a therapeutic tool, not only because of its physical and social benefits, but also because everyone should experience the joy of dancing regardless of age or ability.
What is your favorite quote? "Celebrate the little things". I believe sometimes we are so focused on the final goal that we forget to enjoy everything that happens in between.
What would people be surprised to know about you? I make to-do lists for almost everything. I love when I get to cross out an item when its done, LOL.
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? Losing the desire to continue to learn. Our field, as many others, is in continuous change. We have the responsibility to keep learning to provide the best care.
Myrna Groves is a member of our office staff. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois. After years working for Nestle in sales, being a preschool teacher assistant and raising her two children, Myrna loves getting to know our families and watching our kiddos thrive! If you don't see her in the Naperville office, she is probably at Zumba or on the beach!
What is your favorite time of day and why? My favorite time of day is right before sunset...AT THE BEACH! The sky turns gray with pink and purple and the sand and water gets a steel blue/gray cast on it. It makes me so happy and calm. Oh, did I mention the dolphins usually are around then too, sigh!
What is the most interesting part of your job? Meeting the new families that come to BDI and watching the magic happen. I have been on the office staff for seven years and watched us grow in Naperville from 3 to 20 therapists and watched kids grow and do things they had been told might not happen. I love watching our therapists work their miracles!
What makes you laugh? Honestly just about anything. I can find humor in just about everything...maybe not right when it is happening sometimes lol but you have to not stress so much. My favorite is when I start crying from laughing too hard. Laughing is my therapy!
Amy Hart is an Occupational Therapist at BDI Playhouse Children's Therapy. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology from Gordon College and a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from Rush University. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, going on outdoor adventures, and playing in an adult recreational soccer league. She loves to see when children experience joy as they begin to live life more fully.
Sherry Harter is an office administrator.
What would people be surprised to know about you? I have a Black Belt in Tai Kwon Do and a number of Fitness Certifications which will soon include 200 hr Yoga.
If everyone is gifted in some way, what is your gift? My sense of humor and being the calm in the storm.
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received? A friend told me that if they were in their final days, they would want me at their bedside to make them laugh and feel joy. I promised I would come if I could have their jell-o.
What is your favorite quote? “People make plans, God laughs.”
Jessica B. Keenan is an Assistant Clinic Director and Speech Language Pathologist. She attended Northern Illinois University for her Bachelor's degree and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for her Master's degree. She also has a minor in Spanish, a certificate in Bilingual and Multicultural affairs and is an Early Intervention provider. She provides a variety of speech, language, and feeding services including speech therapy in the pool. She specializes in feeding therapy, both oral motor and sensory based. Ms. Jessica is married with one baby and two fur-babies. She enjoys spending time with her family, building furniture, traveling, and exercising. Her passion is working with children and helping them blossom into the best communicators and eaters as well as providing education to parents through the multiple classes BDI has to offer!
What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote of all times is "Life is the art of drawing without an eraser" by John W. Gardner and we have the most beautiful examples of this every day at work!
What is the best advice you have ever been given? Never stop learning. Every day I learn something new whether it is from something I read or from a kiddo, parent, or coworker that I am working with. The opportunities to learn are endless and I take each and every new piece of knowledge and I add it to my little toolbox (noggin)!
What was your first pet? I have grown up with dogs and cats, however, my first every furbaby is a goldendoodle named Harvey. He is the most unique pup in the sense that he will do everything from DOGA (yoga) alongside of me to perching on the top of the sofa to watch some TV!
Robin Kolar is a Physical Therapist at BDI Playhouse. She received her Physical Therapy Degree from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Robin is married with three children and very much enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys exercising and doing yoga, participating in activities at the church she attends, and she has done volunteer work in many places including Chicago, South Dakota, and Haiti. Robin is grateful for the opportunity to work, play, and spend time with the children at BDI Playhouse. Robin appreciates each child’s unique gifts and struggles. It is her joy to assist the children and their families in celebrating these gifts and working through their struggles so they can leave feeling confident in themselves.
What is your favorite quote? "If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together." African Proverb.
What was your first job? Besides many babysitting jobs, I also was a Lifeguard at a neighborhood pool and worked on an Assembly Line at Crest Photo Lab. This was in the dark ages when you still took your film to the store to get it developed.
What is the most interesting part of your job? Each child that comes to the clinic is unique with their own physical and emotional needs. It is up to me to put the pieces of their uniqueness together so that we can form a relationship based on trust and compassion. which will equip the child to reach their own full potential.
Ruby Loera is a member of our Naperville office team. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Spanish for Professional Use from Augustana College. In her free time, you’ll probably find Ruby engaged in either a book, enjoying one of her many adult coloring books, or working on a puzzle. Ruby is all about seeing our kiddo’s progress and working through their struggles. She is a prospective OT student, ready to help each child reach their full potential with confidence and strive.
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Earnest, Fulfilling, Passionate.
If you had a full day free with no commitments and nothing on your to do list, what would you do with it? I would spend the whole day cuddled up with some Mexican hot chocolate in bed watching movies with a coloring book for self-therapy. Then give my eyes a break from the screen by reading a book and drinking some tea.
What is your favorite quote? Dr. Seuss; "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Rebecca MacKenzie is an Occupational Therapist at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy. She received her Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary University. She spent a few years working with children with Autism in the school setting focusing on community living and self-help skills with part time work performing in-home ABA Therapy. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, crafting new projects, cleaning and organizing, traveling, and enjoying the great outdoors hiking and running. Rebecca loves the sense of teamwork and positivity that BDI has to offer, along with creating enjoyable interventions to make learning fun.
What was your first job? Besides the occasional babysitting job, my first sense of a real job started in 7th grade when I began assisting my neighbors run a toddlers gymnastics and calisthenics class for an organization we were a part of. Guess you can say I have always worked with kids!
What is the best advice you have ever been given? I spent some time in a nursing home during graduate school where a woman told me “Never leave the house or go to bed angry”. You never know what road lies ahead, so cherish every moment you have with the ones you love!
Reenie Parrish is the Continuing Education Workshop Coordinator at BDI Playhouse. Reenie received her bachelors in Science at the University of Illinois with a business minor. She is an energetic working mom of twin toddlers and has been a long time friend of BDI, she is ecstatic to finally be a part of the team. Reenie is a board member of a twin mom organization in DuPage County and an active member of her church. She loves nothing more but to take her boys out for fun adventures as long as she has coffee in hand.
What makes you laugh? I like to find the joy and laughter in my own mistakes and then ask myself "What the heck were you thinking?" I live to laugh and love to make others laugh.
What would people be surprised to know about you? That my real name is Marena (now) but I go by Reenie. However my real "real" name isn't even Marena. I didn't find out until college that the name on my birth certificate was "MarLena"... No Worries, all has been corrected once I married my husband in 2011.
What is your favorite time of day and why? Nap Time! Kids need a nap and momma needs time to re-energize.
Jade Pellerito is an Occupational Therapist at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish from Loyola University Chicago and a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University. Jade has always loved working with children and believes that there isn’t a bad mood that can’t be cured by the joyous laugh or smile of a child. She believes that children are the most honest, loving, and genuine people, and helping them strive to live their best lives is what makes her the happiest.
Favorite Quote? “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? Try to find something beautiful in every moment.
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? Not looking at the whole picture. As occupational therapists, it’s our job to look at the whole puzzle, not just the pieces that are missing. Those empty spaces can be filled with hard work, dedication, and bravery. There isn’t one word or diagnosis that can define a person – therapists should want to know the whole story behind a child and their family in order to provide the best quality of care possible.
Lauren Reed is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Augustana College as well as her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Northern Iowa. She is a big dog lover, enjoys kayaking, camping, and board games. She loves working with children of all ages and has a passion for helping kiddos achieve their smallest goals through endless fun.
If you had a full day free with no commitments and nothing on your to do list, what would you do with it? I would catch up with old friends at a local restaurant for hours or play with my next door neighbor's dogs.
What was your first job? I was a sales associate at Gap back in high school and throughout college and grad school.
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? Being afraid to ask for assistance. We have so many wonderful and well educated therapists here who are always willing to lend a helping hand or answer any questions. It doesn't matter the discipline, title, etc because collaboration is extremely important for children to reach their goals.
Reggie is a Certified Therapy Dog. He loves coming to "work" at BDI Playhouse to play with the kids while assisting the therapists. In his free time he loves playing catch, going for walks, and getting belly rubs from his family!
Kristen Santoro is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She received her Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as a minor in Spanish from Augustana College. She received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Northern Iowa, and has also received special training in the area of Selective Mutism. In her free time, Kristen enjoys crafting, running, planning social events with her family and friends, playing board games, spreading positivity, and making people laugh! Kristen finds joy and purpose through bettering the communicative abilities of children, and she is driven by her creative energy to develop therapy approaches that are unique to each child she works with!
What was your first job? Throughout my high school years, I was a nanny and an age group gymnastics coach. Hooray for finding a grown up career and workplace that allow me to pursue my passions for working with children and jumping on trampolines!
What is your favorite time of the day and why? The morning! I have always been a morning person. When I was young, my parents would bribe me with a half stick of gum or a tootsie roll if I could entertain myself quietly and let them sleep until 7:00 am. I am my most energetic and productive self in the morning, and I love to maximize my hours of daylight!
What is your favorite quote? "Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.”
Jenn Sparano is a member of our office staff at our Naperville/Aurora clinic. She has a degree in Business Administration from MacCormac College.
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Bubbly, Energetic, Benevolent
What is the best advice you have ever been given? Nap when your baby naps, because once they turn 16 you will never nap or sleep again
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received? Your son has the most giving of hearts, he must get that from you. My son has made sure that anyone he saw that needed milk at lunch, he would go and buy them milk and let them know to pay it forward some day.
Alyssa Stevens is a Physical Therapist at BDI Playhouse Children's Therapy. She received her Bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Marquette University. She is passionate about building relationships with patients and their families and hopes to make therapy sessions enjoyable for everyone she serves. She enjoys running and cycling with her husband and tries to convince her dog on a regular basis that hiking and kayaking are fun.
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received? One day in Tennessee I was working with a kiddo that had A LOT of extra energy and her caregiver commented that I had the patience of Job. It is an HONOR to receive a biblical compliment in the bible belt!
What is your favorite quote? Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice. - Bob Goff
What would people be surprised to know about you? I've been lucky enough to represent the United States during international triathlon races!
Amy Stumpf is a Speech & Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She has Bachelor's (2008) and Master's Degrees (2010) in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Illinois State University. She is married to a wonderful Occupational Therapist and has 2 sweet girls at home who are growing up too fast! Amy is passionate about building speech and language skills, helping children overcome feeding difficulties, and training parents to help their children grow at home. She feels so blessed to be able to provide speech therapy services to the children at BDI and loves collaborating with the other wonderful therapists who work here!
What is your favorite quote? "Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic." - J.K. Rowling
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received? A client's family let me know they felt like I was the first therapist to truly listen to them and their frustrations. It humbled me and reminded me that I am here to listen as well as provide therapy. As a speech therapist I feel like I have to talk all the time, but sometimes just listening to my clients and their families can be just as therapeutic.
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to try to do this job alone. My fellow co-workers are invaluable to me and daily teach and push me to be a better therapist. I've learned from experience that it is incredibly hard to not have other therapists to see and talk to every day who I can bounce ideas off of, get advice from, and learn from. I love the community here at BDI!
Karin Sweeney is an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal Communication and Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Speech and Language Pathology. She enjoys reading, swimming, and spending time with her husband and three children. She is passionate about facilitating early language development, social language skills, and collaborating within a team to maximize a child’s communication potential.
What was the first pet you ever owned? Our family embraced Elvis the parakeet for a few months. When Elvis the parakeet had sung his last song, a fitting tribute was needed. When his shoebox service was held in the backyard, we sang "Return to Sender, Address Unknown."
What is the greatest compliment you ever received? My greatest compliment came with an unexpected phone call from my daughter,Kathleen. "Surprise, Mom, I am starting school for Speech Pathology in Madison next week!!" WHAT? My heart skipped a beat! Kathleen had discovered her passion for helping kids communicate. She wanted to be like me!
What is the most interesting part of your job? When you see the first flicker of accomplishment in the eyes of a child, whether it is a tiny step or a giant leap we are all thrilled! At BDI Playhouse, we look for "Points of Light" everyday.
Ann Taylor is a Clinic Director and has worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in pediatrics for 18 years. She graduated from South Suburban College with an Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. She is certified in the Therapressure brushing protocol and has attended numerous continuing education courses specializing in pediatrics including autism, sensory processing disorder, visual perceptual and visual motor processing, behavior challenges and functional positioning and play. She loves working with children and is always ready for a challenge. Ann’s goal is to help each child achieve his or her highest potential through fun and play. In her free time, Ann enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children.
What is the greatest compliment you have ever been given? The greatest compliment I have ever been given is that I remind people of my mom. My mom was my idol and a true inspiration to everyone she met. To be told I'm like her is the greatest compliment to get. :)
What is your favorite quote? "Work hard then play twice as hard" and "Don't sweat the small stuff."
What is the biggest mistake a therapist can make? I feel the biggest mistake a therapist can make is not collaborating with other professionals, being inflexible and not being open to learning new things. Learning and bouncing ideas off of my co-workers helps to keep therapy fun and exciting for the kids I treat. Not all therapy sessions go as planned...sometimes you just have to make what works, work! :)
Allie Travnik Hammond is an occupational therapist at BDI Playhouse. She attended the University of New England where she received a bachelors degree in occupational science with a minor in psychology as well as her masters degree in occupational therapy. Allie loves crafting and spending time with her family and puppy. She is passionate about collaborating between OT, PT and ST and integrating goals from other disciplines within her treatment sessions. Allie truly loves her job and adores hearing her client's laughter echo in the gym!
Sheila Trout is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BDI Playhouse. She has worked in a variety of settings with adults and children, however particularly enjoys working in an interdisciplinary setting such as BDI. She enjoys collaborating with other therapy disciplines to provide services to benefit the “whole child”. A few of her areas of interest are oral-motor, feeding, and motor speech disorders. She has a quest for learning and seeks opportunities to learn from others and participate in continuing education. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband and 4 daughters, church activities, golf, exercising and finding new healthy recipes.
What is my gift? I think I have the gift of empathy. I believe this lends itself well when dealing with the parents of my clients. I am able to view things from their perspectives and give lots of grace!
What is something you wouldn't have guessed about me? In high school ( and secretly today) I was a "metal head" as my husband likes to tell people.Some of my favorite bands were Van Halen, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Triumph, and Pink Floyd (those are the ones I'm willing to admit)!
What was my first job? At 15 I worked an overnight shift (9-5) at Old Town Donuts in St. Louis. Funny how times have changed... I would never let my teenager work that shift today! I guess I know when my obsession with donuts started!
Andrea Turnell is a Physical Therapist at BDI Playhouse. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Human Performance from Iowa State University. Andrea received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from A.T. Still University. Her ongoing training includes orthotic management, NDT, gait, hippotherapy, and aquatic therapy. Andrea enjoys working with families to provide treatment in a way that incorporates each child's specific needs. She believes that every session should be fun to encourage improved learning and carryover. In Andrea's spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as being outdoors.
Ann Wilke is a Physical Therapist at BDI Playhouse. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She is married with a son and a daughter. She loves the joy and innocence that not only her children bring to her life, but all the kids at BDI bring! Becoming a mom, keeping up with the latest treatment strategies, and working with a great team of therapists at BDI have helped her develop as a therapist. She looks forward to seeing her BDI patients and families each week!
What is the best advice you have ever been given? Create your own toolbox when working with children. Do not pick one tool or approach to treat every child, but have a toolbox full of tools to create a unique treatment plan for each child.
What is your favorite time of day and why? My favorite time is when everyone in the house first wakes up. The kids are still half asleep and snuggly. It is the calm before the storm!
What makes you laugh? The blatant honesty of my children and the children I work with at BDI. I never know what will come out of their mouths!
Megan Wilkison is an Occupational Therapist at BDI Playhouse Children's Therapy. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois and a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from Concordia University Wisconsin. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and agility training with her Australian Cattle Dog, Penny. Megan has over a decade of experience in working with children with intellectual disabilities and is excited to bring her passion to BDI Playhouse to help children reach their highest potential.
Use three words to describe the best characteristics of your personality: Organized, thoughtful, and dedicated
What is your favorite quote? It always seems impossible until it's done - Nelson Mandela
What would people be surprised to know about you? I used to train chickens! Yes, you can train chickens to do simple tasks and tricks. I had the opportunity to work with animals in high school and when I was presented with the opportunity, I said why not!
Lindsey Arellano is a speech-language pathologist at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy. She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and attended Illinois State University to achieve her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Lindsey is married with 3 fur babies and a baby boy on the way. In her free time, she enjoys visiting her family, playing board games and spending time outdoors. She has always had a passion for working with children and enjoys every opportunity she has to help individuals reach their unique goals!