Michele Parkins, Occupational Therapist
Michele Parkins is an Occupational Therapist specializing in working with children and families with Sensory Processing and Integration Disorder and challenges in social emotional development.
Michele is a fellow of Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, OTR and faculty of Sensory Treatment and Research Institute. She educates therapists from all over the country on treatment for sensory processing disorder following the STAR model. She is also SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Test) certified.
Michele advocates for all children and families impacted by Sensory Processing and Integration Disorder to help them and others to understand the impact of this disorder on social emotional functioning. She believes that challenges in sensory processing always lead to challenges in emotional regulation, developing and maintaining relationships and social skills. She has embarked on a journey to learn more to support children and families by engaging in Certification in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University. She is DIR certified and is faculty of Profectum Foundation where she educates therapists all over the world on social-emotional development and the DIR model.
Continuing her advocacy work, Michele is very active on social media and blogs about the impact of sensory processing challenges on regulation, relationships, and social emotional capacities. She also works with local schools and communities to create spaces for sensory lifestyles so all kids can benefit from enhanced sensory motor experiences.
Michele Parkins has advanced training in visual spatial capacities working closely with Serena Wieder, PhD, author of Visual Spatial Portals to Movement, Learning and receiving extensive visual spatial training working with developmental optometrists.
She co-developed a unique handwriting program – Connect Experience Write® – that highlights the importance of affective engagement in learning as well as sensory integration using music and movement to teach letter formation and pre-writing skills.
Michele Parkins is passionate about working with families and other therapists and she continues to do so as a clinician and educator. She also continues to provide consultation to schools as she has done for over 10 years. Michele is also a mother of two children with sensory processing differences . She uses her real life experiences to help her clients better understand the impact of SPD on family dynamics and relationships and the day to day demands of life with sensory processing differences.
Elizabeth Rice, Occupational Therapist
Elizabeth Rice is an occupational therapist at Great Kids Place. She is a specialist in Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and social-emotional development. Liz has advanced training and certification from the Sensory Treatment And Research (STAR) Institute, developed by Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, OTR. She is DIR/Floortime certified in social-emotional development through the Profectum Foundation. Liz is Interactive Metronome certified and trained in the use of Listening Programs including the Safe and Sound Protocol. She is also trained in NDT (Neurodevelopmental Treatment) using guided or facilitated movements as a treatment strategy to ensure efficient motor control and correlation of input from the tactile, vestibular and somatosensory receptors within the body.
Liz has experience working in the New Jersey public school system with students living with developmental delays, behavioral challenges, physical disabilities, and autism spectrum disorder. She designed a sensory and occupational therapy treatment room for a school district. Liz also has experience working with adult orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation populations at the Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation and JDT Medical Rehabilitation Center. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Liz worked with children on the autism spectrum as a special education teacher’s assistant in the DIR/Floortime based inclusion preschool at the Ben Samuels Children’s Center at Montclair State University.
She is a graduate of Kean University where she earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and graduated with honors. Liz obtained her Bachelor of Music from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford where she majored in vocal performance and has a strong background in theater and opera. Her time spent as a performer contributes to the creativity in her practice and therapeutic use of self.
Liz met Michele when her research group from Kean University helped conduct the pilot study for Connect Experience Write® (CEW), which Michele co-developed. The Kean research group sought to discover the efficacy of CEW, a handwriting program involving music and movement, with children who are non-writers. The research suggested that the CEW program improved the participants’ handwriting ability. Liz’s research group presented their data via poster presentation at the state and national levels for the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
AnnMarie Murphy, Occupational Therapist
AnnMarie Murphy is an Occupational Therapist with advanced training and certification from the Sensory Treatment and Research (STAR) Institute, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder. AnnMarie holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from American International College as well as a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Temple University.
Her primary research area focuses on the underlying neurological basis of Sensory Processing Disorder, and its relation to anxiety, internal and external stress, pain, and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. In 2018, AnnMarie co-investigated Exploring Relationships between GI Dysfunction, Sensory Processing, Parental Stress and Participation in Daily Occupations at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. To further her understanding of the body mind connection, AnnMarie is currently obtaining training in The Interoception Curriculum connecting body signals to emotion, and actions to regulate.
AnnMarie has also spent extensive time researching hyperacusis and misophonia, and the impact auditory hypersensitivities have on relationships and engagement in daily occupations. In 2019, AnnMarie co-authored Effectiveness of Noise-Attenuating Headphones on Physiological Responses for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, published in the Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience journal. AnnMarie is trained in Dr. Steven Porges’ Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) – focused on reducing stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, AnnMarie is interested not only in the understanding the neurobiology of sensory processing, but in the impacts SPD can have on engagement in occupations, social emotional development, parent stress, and family dynamics. To aid in her understanding, AnnMarie has received training in the Nurtured Heart Approach and anticipates completing DIR® Floortime™ certification in social-emotional development through the Profectum Foundation in 2021.
Outside of Great Kids Place, AnnMarie is an Adjunct Professor, Level II OT Fieldwork Supervisor, and Doctoral Capstone Research Advisor at Temple University. Her role at Temple is to assist Occupational Therapy doctoral students on their journey towards specializing in various aspects of the field. AnnMarie volunteers at a peer-socialization group, Peers at Play, promoting safe and effective play strategies for children with and without developmental delays.
Amanda Newchok, Occupational Therapist
Amanda Newchok is a passionate occupational therapist with eighteen years of experience working with the pediatric population. She is a specialist in Sensory Processing and Integration Disorder, certified in the evaluation and treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder by the Sensory Treatment and Research Institute.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy and her advanced Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management. She specializes in the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder, and ADHD; developing sensory-based supports for individuals with varied sensory, behavioral, and social emotional needs. She also has vast experience treating individuals with many other physical and cognitive disabilities.
She has practiced in a wide-range of settings including public school, private school, private practice, and Early Intervention. Within these therapeutic settings, Amanda has placed an emphasis on treating the whole child and highlighting the importance of collaboration as part of a team with the family at the fore front. Amanda has advanced training in a variety of sensory-based treatment interventions including Listening with the Whole Body, the Alert Program, myofascial release, and oral motor/respiratory stimulation. She is also co-creator of a sensory regulation framework for individuals with self-regulation challenges, on which a research study is currently being conducted at a private school for children with autism. Amanda will be participating in the STAR Institute Level 1 Mentorship program in the spring of 2019.
Carrie Davis, Occupational Therapist
Carrie Davis has been practicing occupational therapy with children since 2000. She received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in psychology and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University. She is a specialist in Sensory Processing and Integration Disorder and social emotional development, certified in the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) and soon to be certified in the evaluation and treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder by the Sensory Treatment and Research Institute.
Carrie has worked in both school settings and in private practice. She uses an approach that is informed by her knowledge in sensory processing, the importance of relationships and play (founded in her certification in social emotional development in the DIR model), mindfulness and yoga.
Carrie is certified in Interactive Metronome (IM), Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) and the DIR model to social emotional development. She is completing a 200-hour certification in yoga instruction, as well. She co-developed a unique handwriting program – Connect Experience Write® – with Michele that highlights the importance of affective engagement in learning as well as sensory integration using music and movement to teach letter formation and pre-writing skills.
Carrie lives with her husband, two sons and a dog. Both sons have sensory processing difficulties. Her knowledge on this personal level also informs her work as an occupational therapist.
Leslie Salmon, Occupational Therapist
Leslie has been practicing Occupational Therapy in pediatrics for 8 years. She received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Seton Hall University. Leslie is a specialist in Sensory Processing Disorder, certified in the evaluation and treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder by the Sensory Treatment and Research Institute. Leslie has also continued her training in a variety of sensory-based treatment interventions through courses including The Zones of Regulation and Listening with the Whole Body. Since receiving her degree, she has worked with children of varying ages and ability levels throughout different settings, including public schools, Early Intervention and private clinics.
Laura Baldwin, Social Emotional Development Coach
Laura holds a master’s degree in Clinical and School Counseling. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Integrated Listening Systems’ Safe and Sound Protocol, ILS Focus System Intervention, and has completed training in The Nurtured Heart Approach. Additionally, Laura is a certified life coach and provider of Autplay Therapy, a play therapy and behavioral therapy-based approach for treating developmental disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorders, and autism. Laura is currently working towards her certification in Cosmic Kids Yoga and broadening her understanding of more commonly known interventions by training to be a Registered Behavior Technician in an effort to bridge the gap between behavioral and developmental methodologies.
For over 18 years, Laura has been providing support and services to individuals with social-emotional, and developmental weaknesses in both school and private settings. She demonstrates advanced knowledge in the areas of child development, developmental and behavioral assessments, social skills, DIR® Floortime™, Crisis Prevention Safety Care Intervention, visual-spatial capacities, and MNRI®. Her experience has provided her with many opportunities to work alongside leading professionals, to train and coach educators, families, first-responders, and medical personnel in developmental methodologies, positive behavioral support systems, and individual differences.
One of Laura’s most notable achievements was working alongside Profectum’s Faculty, including leaders in the fields of medicine, mental health, education, related services, technology, and creative arts, to assist in the creation of the Profectum Profectum Parent Toolbox – a free resource that encourages and supports parents in building their own toolbox of strategies, ideas, and hands-on techniques to help foster interactions with their child.