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.
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.
Brandy Bentley, PT, DPT
Brandy received her Physical Therapy degree from the University of Colorado Anschutz (formerly Health Sciences Center) with her Masters in 2005 and Doctorate in 2006. She is a Denver native and has had the opportunity to work with children aged 0-21 and has worked in both the Denver Public School system as well as Early Intervention through various agencies both in Denver and New Jersey. She has also spent time working with therapists and other health professionals in Nicaragua and Bolivia. She has worked with children who have a wide range of diagnoses such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, and Developmental Coordination Disorder.
Erica Buller, MA, OTR/L, BPC
Erica received her Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy in 2016 from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN and attained advanced certification in pediatric occupational therapy from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2021. Erica has experience working with children of all ages in both clinic- and home-based settings with a variety of diagnoses and needs, including autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing concerns, feeding disorders, trauma, genetic conditions, and developmental delays. She is is trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding, Beckman Oral Motor Protocol, and Interactive Metronome. Erica is passionate about providing child- and family-centered intervention and collaborating with other providers to best support children and their families.
Melissa Callaghan OTR/L
Melissa received her occupational therapy degree from Colorado State University in 2017. She has had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings including outpatient pediatrics, developmental preschools, and in the home working with children of all ages, from a variety of different backgrounds, and with diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, developmental delays, sensory processing disorders, and emotional regulation difficulties. Melissa has her certificate in Ayre’s Sensory Integration program. She enjoys spending time with her dog, baking cookies and cupcakes, and being outside.
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.
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.
Kaitlin Cruickshank, MHSOT, OTR/L
Kaitlin has worked in various pediatric settings including outpatient clinics, early intervention, and in schools. She has further training in sensory integration, autism, feeding (ARFID), Handwriting Without Tears, and hippotherapy. She enjoys building relationships with both clients and their families and helping them meet their goals. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and from Georgia Regents University (formally Medical College of Georgia) with a Master of Health Science in Occupational Therapy.
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.
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.
Carli Menzel, PT, DPT
Carli received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University in Philadelphia PA in 2016 after receiving at BS in Kinesiology from Pennsylvania State University in 2013. She has experience in treating children and adults of all ages in outpatient and school settings. She moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado 4 year ago and enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog, Mojo. Carli is passionate about providing the highest quality care to the families here in Denver.
Laura Moran, ECSE, Visual Impairment Endorsement
Originally from Tucson AZ, Laura has made her home in beautiful Colorado and she has never taken that for granted. She loves all that nature has to offer and enjoys hiking, biking, swimming and just sitting outside on her deck with her two dogs Ryder and Franny and her cat Mia. She has been in the special education field for most of her career. She was a special educator with Aurora Public Schools for 20 years and then at the Anchor Center for children with visual impairments for four years. The field of Early Intervention has always been close to her heart. In 1997, while working at an elementary school in Tucson, Laura worked with several children who were in a Head Start program there. She instantly fell in love with the idea of specializing in this area. She went on to earn her ECSE and then Visual Impairment endorsements. Laura is honored to partner with many wonderful families and staff over the years.
Laura Mongold, M.Ed.
Laura received her Master’s of Education Degree (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Special Education from Kent State University in Ohio. She began her career at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio working with in-patient children between the ages of birth through 5 years with a variety of medical diagnoses and developmental delays. After 9 years in the hospital setting, Laura began supporting the developmental needs of children and coaching families within their homes and was trained as a certified PLAY Project Consultant in 2012. Laura became an Assistant Director at the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, supervising the home-based Early Intervention program in Columbus, Ohio. She recently moved to Colorado and is looking forward to experiencing new adventures with her husband and dog. Laura’s continued passion is empowering and coaching families on ways they can enhance their child’s development through play, fun, and everyday activities.
Grace Sanders, MS CCC-SLP
Grace received her BA in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder and her MS in Communication Disorders from Eastern Washington University. After an Early Intervention internship in Massachusetts, Grace returned to her home state of Colorado and began working with children through home health agencies and the public schools. She has experience working in both elementary and preschool settings and is excited to continue serving families and children in Denver. Grace has experience working with autsim spectrum disorder, language delays, speech sound disorders, and augmentative and alternative communication.
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, IMH-E® Infant Family Specialist
Kristine 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. In 2021, earned the CoAIMH Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health® as an Infant Family Specialist. This Endorsement is one of the most comprehensive efforts in the country to identify best practice competencies at multiple levels and across disciplines and offer a pathway for professional development in the infant, early childhood, and family field. 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.
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.
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.
Abby Williams, MA, CCC-SLP, IMH-E® Infant Family Specialist
Abby is a bilingual (English-Spanish) speech-language pathologist, who has worked as a direct service provider in early intervention since she earned her master’s degree from Western Michigan University in 2018. Prior to pursuing her master’s, Abby worked for several years as a preschool teacher in Southern Spain, where she learned to speak Spanish fluently. Abby has experience with bilingual speech and language development, American Sign Language, augmentative and alternative communication, autism spectrum disorder, and trauma-informed interventions. She is an endorsed Infant Mental Health Family Specialist through the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health.
Emma Fleisher, MA, CCC-SLP
Emma received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2018. She has previous experience working in recreational therapy programs, home health settings and within the public schools where she worked with children of a wide range of ages and disabilities. Emma has specialized experiences and training in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, speech-sound disorders, language development, and use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Emma prioritizes a relationship focused approach to therapy and is excited to support Denver families.