Children's Clinical Services Specialists
Our experts in Children’s Clinical Services bring together a variety of expertise to help children learn and grow.
Click on a name to view their professional biography:
Aaron Acosta ,MS, BCBA
Aaron grew up in Michigan and went to Western Michigan University for his undergraduate in psychology. He went on to complete his graduate work at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology specializing in applied behavior analysis. He has been working with individuals with special needs since 2008 and has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2016. Aaron has worked across different age groups ranging from early childhood to geriatrics and has helped people grow in language development, play skills, social skills, emotional skills, and independence in activities of daily living. Aaron strives to improve the lives of others and to promote independence.
Karma Ansbacher, CCC-SLP
Karma Ansbacher started her career in early intervention in Colorado working with young children at United Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. She has also worked in a hospital setting treating a diverse pediatric and adult population in rural Colorado. Karma is bilingual and most of the families she serves speak Spanish or live in bilingual homes. She spent 3 months studying Spanish in Guanajuato, Mexico and then returned years later for a year so her young children could learn Spanish as well. Karma is passionate about learning from and serving the Latin community in Denver. She has specialized training and interest in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and provides speech-language evaluation on the Diagnostic Team at RMHS.
Erica Bauer, OTR/L
Erica received her Occupational Therapy degree from University of Puget Sound in Washington state in 2000. She has had the opportunity to work with children from ages 0-21 with a variety of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, developmental delay, genetic disorders as well as children with sensory processing and feeding disorders. She has worked in schools, pediatric inpatient and outpatient rehab and private clinic settings, in addition to many years of experience working with the Early Intervention population. She received SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Test) certification in 2004 and is trained in SOS Feeding Approach and Beckman Oral Motor.
Erica Buller, MA, OTR/L
Erica received her Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy in 2016 from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She spent her early career in clinic-based settings working with children of all ages with a variety of needs, including ASD, ADHD, trauma, sensory processing disorders, and feeding disorders. She is trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding, Beckman Oral Motor, and Interactive Metronome. Erica is passionate about helping children learn and grow and working with families to support their child’s development.
Dylan received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Colorado State University and her Master’s in Early Childhood Education, with certification in Early Childhood Special Education, from University of Colorado at Denver. She has worked in home-based, center-based, and school settings, providing supports and intervention services to children with developmental delays and their families and teachers. She has training in various support strategies, including Hanen More than Words, RDI, DIR-Floor-time, Verbal Behavior, and PECS. She has had the privilege of working with JFK Partners, the Colorado Department of Education’s Autism Leadership Cadre, Denver Public Schools, Learning Journeys, and is now able to continue her passion of supporting families as a member of RMHS’s Children’s Clinical Team. She has two incredible sons and loves reading, dancing, Netflix, and knitting.
Krista Chiefa, PT
Krista has been a physical therapist since 1997, graduating Cum Laude from Florida International University, Miami, Florida. A part of her physical therapy curriculum included training in Hippotherapy, focusing on children with cerebral palsy. A Florida native, Krista relocated to Colorado in 2006, after working in Pediatric school based, Orthopedic and rehabilitative medicine settings, receiving training in joint mobilization, both manual and instrument therapeutic applications. Krista has been an Early Intervention physical therapist since 2007 and had the privilege of working at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX, during that time as a Senior Pediatric Physical Therapist where she treated a wide range of developmental disabilities in children birth through the age of 21, both outpatient and inpatient settings. She received training in aquatic therapy, Ponseti technique, wheelchair seating and power mobility, effective treatment of behavior in children with diagnoses of traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing, cognitive limitations and PTSD, as well as cranial vault measurement index for assessment of plagiocephaly, brachycephaly and schaphocephaly due to torticollis diagnosis. Krista’s goal is maximizing every child’s level of functional independence and her passion is torticollis treatment utilizing her manual therapy background to optimize treatment results.
Michelle Chrastil, MA, LPC
Michelle received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) Her Bachelor’s Degree was completed at Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado (CSU) in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Early Childhood Education. Michelle has experience providing infant and early childhood mental health services to clients in a multitude of settings. Michelle understands the importance of family support and has a therapeutic approach that is family centered and strength based.
Cecile Claussen, OTR/L
Cecile received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. After completing her degree, she moved to Colorado to work in early intervention. Cecile loves working with infants and toddlers in their natural environment. She is passionate about providing parent education and helping families meet their goals. She has completed training in infant massage, Beckman Oral Motor Protocol, and the SOS feeding approach.
Lauren Daniels, MS, OTR/L; Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Lauren has worked as a direct provider in Early Intervention programs in Colorado and Illinois. She has also spent time in clinic-based services as well as a specialized school for young children with autism. She has experience in implementing TEACCH strategies and Pivotal Response Training to families and classroom teachers. She is a SOS (feeding) trained therapist. Lauren obtained her Master’s Degree of Science in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University.
Jodi Dooling-Litfin, PhD; Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Jodi has worked as an interventionist and diagnostician with children with a variety of neurobehavioral disorders since she was first licensed in 1997. She has worked in varied settings, including hospitals, community-based nonprofit organizations, universities and community-based clinics, directing programs, supervising and training, as well as providing direct services. Jodi has been a member of the Children's Clinical Services Team (formerly the Assessment & Consultation Team) since 2006 and is currently the Director of RMHS Child & Family Programs. She earned her PhD from Colorado State University and completed a pre-doctoral internship in the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Child Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Ashley Hahn, PsyD; Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Ashley has worked within diverse multimodal approaches which allows for knowledgeable intervention strategies and psychological assessment across a variety of populations. She views collaboration with ancillary professionals as a key component to the success of clients. Ashley earned her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis on childhood and adolescences, from Adler University.
Melisa Keller, OTR/L
Melisa Keller has worked within the pediatric community in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, home health, and Early Intervention. She loves the home setting and understands the importance of parent education and training in supporting the development and growth of their child. She has received training related to autism spectrum disorders, Beckman Oral Motor, Handwriting Without Tears, and introduction to DIR Floortime Model. Melisa obtained her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Sarah Lewis, PT
Sarah received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatric home health, the preschool setting and Early Intervention throughout Colorado. Her specialty is working with children who have delays in motor milestones. She has specialized training in treatment for Down Syndrome, and has received training in Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) which is a hands on approach to improve movement patterns. Sarah’s passion is helping families find ways to improve their child’s mobility to explore their world.
Yulia Liptsena, MS, CCC-SLP
Yulia received her BS in Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver and MS in Communication Disorders and Sciences from the University of Oregon. She is a Russian bilingual SLP and has experience working with children with a variety of needs and diagnoses. Yulia has a background working in home health, school, and hospital settings with children and adolescents. She loves working with toddlers and their families to support them with communication in their natural environment.
Leah Martin, SLP
Leah Martin is a Bilingual (Spanish) Speech Language Pathologist, who received her Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a Colorado native, who spent the majority of her 20+ year career serving children birth to 18 in Phoenix, AZ and New Orleans, LA. Service environments have included schools, private clinics and home and community-based settings. Leah has worked with children with a wide range of ages and disabilities, yet she is most passionate about working with the Spanish speaking community and has a strong interest in early intervention and autism spectrum disorders. Leah has recently been accepted into ASHA’s spring 2021 Leadership Development Program. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown providing services in the area of early intervention at RMHS.
Annessa Martinez, BCBA
Annessa began working with children with developmental disabilities as a service coordinator in November of 2013. She worked with assisting families and coordinating services for children enrolled in Early Intervention. Annessa received her Registered Behavior Technician certificate in August of 2016. Her role on the Children’s clinical team is to provide behavior services to children with a variety of diagnosis including autism spectrum disorders. Treatment objectives range from language acquisition, social skills, behaviors of concern, and daily living skills. Annessa received her BS in Mass Communication from Colorado State University-Pueblo. Currently she is working towards a Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis through Ball State University with an expected graduation date of December 2016. She plans to obtain her Board Certified Behavioral Analysis (BCBA) certification following graduation.
Amanda Mills, MOT, OTR/L
Amanda is a Colorado native and moved to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University before returning to obtain her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University. She has worked in pediatric outpatient clinic and home settings in private practice and is seeking to specialize in feeding therapy and infant massage in the early intervention setting.
Dawn Mumey, ECSE
Dawn received her Bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, where she majored in Psychology and Early Childhood Development. She received her Master’s degree from the University of Denver in Educational Psychology and Early Childhood Special Education. Dawn has committed her career to working with very young children with special needs and in supporting and advocating for parents and caregivers of this unique population. She had the fortune of receiving her training in Transdisciplinary Play-Based Assessment and Intervention developed by Dr. Toni Linder, as well as being Dr. Linder’s graduate research assistant. Dawn worked in public education as a member of the Denver Public Schools Child Find team as well as a special educator supporting young children in mostly full inclusion classrooms. Dawn is a native of Denver and loves her laid-back life spending time with her family and her dog, Bear.
Paul Salyers, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Paul found an interest in language rehabilitation and communication disorders after working in a brain injury rehabilitation unit in Atlanta, GA in the 1990s. He studied Speech and Language Pathology at Georgia State University, graduating with a M.Ed. in 1996. After working in long-term care rehabilitation, Paul started working at Children’s Hospital of Denver in 2001, working in the outpatient clinic with children of all ages, as well as in the rehabilitation unit of the hospital for children with acute head injury. Being fluent in Spanish (from former college studies and working in Paraguay, SA for two years in the Peace Corps), in 2005 Paul began working with children and families in the Denver area whose primary language is Spanish. Providing family-centered speech therapy in an environment where language and cultural differences are key components of service provision has been a key focus of practice for Paul since that time.
Andrea Simpson, MS, BCBA
Andrea is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with extensive clinical, research, and educational experience in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Andrea received her Master’s in Educational Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis from Georgia State University and has been a BCBA since 2014. Andrea has specialized training in the assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior, and she serves as the editorial assistant for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Andrea is passionate about ensuring the use of evidence-based procedures to improve the quality of life for children, families, and communities.
Kristine Strayer, MA, CCC-SLP
She then earned her MA in Speech-Language Pathology in 2007 at the University of Northern Colorado in order to specifically help others with their communication. She began her career working in a pediatric rehabilitation facility for four years, loving working with other disciplines and a variety of diagnoses. She has been doing Early Intervention since 2008 and loves the home setting and the opportunity to build strong relationships with families. She also has experience doing Child Find evaluations and loves the variety of therapy and evaluating. She feels lucky to be able to do a job that so functionally helps others and loves seeing the connection that happens in families when children progress in their communication skills. Kristine loves to continue to develop her own skills as a therapist and loves working with a team that continues to be challenged and learn from each other.
Vittoria Strub, MA, CCC-SLP
Vittoria received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Colorado State University in 2001 and worked at the Community Centered Boards of Larimer and Adams counties within the residential, supported living and service coordination departments. She received her Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011 and has worked in the early intervention setting, various outpatient clinics in Colorado and the inpatient/outpatient setting of a children’s hospital in Arizona. She has a passion for working with young children and their families and finds supporting them in their natural environments to be most rewarding. Vittoria has specialized training in feeding and swallowing disorders, including the SOS Approach to Feeding, Talk Tools – Therapeutic Feeding, and the Beckman Oral Motor program. Additionally she has special training in autism spectrum disorders, craniofacial disorders, is PROMPT certified, and a certified adult and child yoga teacher.
Clare Summers, MA, OTR/L
Clare has been a pediatric occupational therapist since 1990. She received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She trained and worked at the Ayres Clinic where sensory integration therapy was developed. She has taught courses on assessment and treatment of sensory integration difficulties in children and presented at several national conferences. Clare moved to Colorado in 1997 and worked for many years at Children’s Hospital Colorado where she participated in multidisciplinary teams and worked with children with a variety of developmental disabilities, especially autism spectrum disorders and behavior difficulties. Clare has been working in early intervention since 2015 and enjoys working with families in their homes and the community.
Lynzie Thorpe, M.S., CCC-SLP
Lynzie received her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology at the University Nevada, Reno (UNR). Her Bachelor’s Degree was also completed at UNR with a focus on Speech Pathology and Audiology with a minor in Developmental Disabilities. Lynzie has experience in a multitude of settings such as, public schools, outpatient clinics, and home health care. She has provided services to children and adolescents with a variety of developmental and speech/language delays. Lynzie understands the importance of a family centered program while utilizing patient’s individual strengths in order to promote success.
Lindsay A. Washington, PhD; Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Lindsay previously worked as an in-home therapist for the University of Washington Autism Center and has been a member of several interdisciplinary teams during her time working with children and families. She has received focused training in the Early Start Denver Model, which is an empirically supported intervention model for young children with autism. Lindsay is also actively involved in research projects focused on improving quality of life for individuals on the spectrum. She earned her Master’s Degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany. Lindsay also completed a 2-year Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Postdoctoral Fellowship at JFK Partners.
Emily Wilde; Speech Language Pathologist
Emily is certified in Clinical Competence and Interactive Metronome for Pediatrics and Adults with vast knowledge in private pediatric clinics. Having almost ten years of work experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a variety of organizations, Emily understands and is able to focus on providing a positive and enriching environment for patients. Emily has her BA in Communication Disorders and a MA is Speech- Language Pathology both from the University of Northern Iowa.