In our clinic or in your home, our expert pediatric therapists and clinicians bring a family-focused approach to the treatment of developmental delays, disruptive behaviors and social, emotional and cognitive issues.
Marlies Gramann, MA CCC-SLP, Associate Vice President of Services for People with Disabilities
Marlies received her B.S. in Neurobiology and Communication Disorders and her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Cincinnati. Her graduate fellowship focused on preschool children with autism, utilizing visual teaching and total communication approaches. Marlies has delivered lectures at the Illinois Speech and Hearing Association (“The Do’s and Don’ts of Co-treating Children with Autism”), staff in-services and at the Autism Healthcare Forum focusing on the therapeutic treatments used for children with autism. She is trained and reliable in the assessment of young children with autism through use of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. Continuing education includes topics such as the Kaufman Apraxia intervention, Floortime, Relationship Development Intervention, Sensory Integration, feeding therapies, The Impact of Gastrointestinal Disorders and Nutrition in children with special needs and as well as the Picture Exchange Communication System. Medically complex concentrations have focused on Neurological anatomy, etiology identification and related risks or impairments. She has been with JCFS Chicago since March, 2000.
Jennie Marble, MA CCC-SLP Director of Integrated Pediatric Therapies
Jennie completed her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology at Northwestern University and her undergraduate work with honors in psychology and linguistics at Pitzer College. Jennie's specific related interests include medically complex needs, neurologic deficits, and feeding and swallowing issues. Continuing education and advanced training includes pediatric swallowing disorders and nutrition including the Trans disciplinary (TR-eat) model, neuroscience, motor speech deficits, language processing, augmentative alternative communication and Autism Spectrum Disorder and interventions. Jennie is certified in infant touch and massage and trained in aquatic therapy. She has been with the JCFS Chicago since September 2007.
Jody B Miller, MA CCC-SLP, Clinical Supervisor
Jody received her B.S as well as her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She has been with JCFS Chicago since June of 2008. Prior to starting at JCFS Chicago, Jody's experience included working in the public school system with children with severe-to-profound disabilities. Jody's areas of interest include working with children with hearing loss and alternative and augmentative communication. Jody attended a two-week Auditory-Verbal Therapy training and practicum offered by Children's Memorial Hospital in the summer of 2009. he has also completed Level I and II PECS trainings and TEACCH training. Jody provides speech-language therapy services to children ages birth to nine years of age. Through her time at JCFS, Jody has also provided trainings on speech and language development and red flags, as well as language development and autism. She has also supervised speech pathology students in their final internships.
Megan Kowalski, Paraprofessional
Megan received her B.A. in Communication and Sociology from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. She has been with JCFS Chicago since January of 2007, working with the Early Childhood Autism Academy (ECAA) for 3 years, then joining our Integrated Pediatric Therapies program in 2010. Megan’s past experience includes case management and residential services for adults and children with severe-to-profound disabilities. Continuing education and training include ABA and Discrete Trial Teaching as well as additional interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Sensory Integration, Picture Exchange Communication Systems, various language eliciting strategies and training and extensive experience using the TEACCH method. She has also attended training through Early Intervention incorporating the use of everyday household items with children and their families during play and therapy.
Marci Kreiner, MS, OTR/L
Marci received her Masters of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has experience working in outpatient pediatric clinics, hospital settings and community mental health agencies where she designed social and life skills groups for children and adults with a variety of developmental, intellectual and mental health disabilities. Marci utilizes a combination of evidenced-based and creative sensorimotor strategies to increase client motivation, skill development, and overall family engagement in the therapeutic process. She has received specialized training in Yoga for the Special Child and Therapeutic Listening. Recent continuing education training also includes topics such as developmental disabilities, sensory processing disorders, social skills training, ADHD, family quality of life and coaching.
Marizela Linares, Paraprofessional
Marizela earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Lake Forest College. She has worked with many families and children in the Social Services field for over eleven years. She has worked with children with profound physical and developmental disabilities with an emphasis on children with (ASD) Autism Spectrum Disorder. Prior to working in IPI, Marizela worked as a T.A. in the Early Childhood Autism Academy through JCFS Chicago for two and a half years, which was based on the TEACCH method. Previous experience also includes work and internships at Laremont-SEDOL (Special Education District of Lake County), Arden Shore Child and Family Services and KGH Consultation and Treatment, Inc. In August 2010, Marizela began working in the IPI program as a skill building Paraprofessional. Currently, Marizela works with children and families in order to implement programs developed by certified IPI therapists. She sees clients in their homes, communities or on-site in the clinic. Some of the interventions she provides include: discrete trial, behavior management and modification, sensory integration, while also focusing on communication methods (i.e. oral, visuals, PECS), ADL’S (Assisted Daily Living Skills) and social skill building exercises. Marizela is also certified through the Illinois State Board of Education as a Paraprofessional and also bilingual being certified through Illinois Early Intervention Program, as both an Interpreter and Translator in English and Spanish languages. As a parent of three, she also strives to maximize the potential of each child and advocate for them alongside their families. Marizela has been with JCFS Chicago since February 2008.
Allison Liwanag, MS CCC-SLP
Allison graduated from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. She enjoys working with young children with motor-speech and language delays, and focuses on working with the entire family to promote healthy relationships by using global communication strategies, like gestures, baby sign language, picture exchanges, as well as verbal speech. Allison also works with adolescents on their reading and auditory comprehension, memory, and other school-related skills. She uses a combination of neuro-developmental play and structured language-based therapy to motivate children to communicate, learn, and be kids. Allison’s intern experience includes working at Southwest Cook County Cooperative Associate for Special Education, where she practiced therapies to help young adults with disabilities learn adaptive skills in order to live and work independently, and at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, which focused on infants with feeding aversions, bilingual children with Autism, and adolescents with head trauma. Allison has been working with IPI since August 2012 and works with children in both individual and group therapy.
Kristen Magee, MOT OTR/L
Kristen received her degree in Masters of Occupational Therapy with high honors from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She has experience working in acute care and inpatient rehabilitation hospital settings with a variety of ages and diagnoses ranging from orthopedic issues to neurological disorders. She also has experience working in the public school setting and outpatient/home health pediatrics addressing issues including fine/visual motor development, handwriting skills, sensory processing/self-regulation and ADLs. She is trained in the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum and the Sensational Brain program. Continuing education topics include Sensory Integration, pediatric taping and managing visual deficits.
Rebecca Russell, MOT OTR/L
Rebecca completed her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her undergraduate work in psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She served as an occupational therapist for Kindergarten through 8th grade in the Nashville public school system prior to joining the IPI team at JCFS Chicago. While getting her Master’s degree, Rebecca led a handwriting program for children ages 4-7, and a life skills group for young adults at a Down Syndrome achievement center. Rebecca also has experience with aquatic therapy, feeding therapy, and addressing fine motor and visual motor skills. Her continuing education includes functional vision and visual perceptual skills in the classroom. Rebecca enjoys working with kids of all ages, and using playful, creative, evidence-based strategies to address her client’s needs, as well as incorporating yoga and mindfulness into OT sessions for self-regulation.
Alison Vrakas, MS, OTR/L
Alison is an occupational therapist with a passion to help children participate in life activities at their highest potential. She enjoys collaborating with the client and family to make goals that will assist the child in their everyday activities while making it fun. Alison received her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her masters degree at Rush University.
Taylor Harris, MS, OTR/L
Taylor is a compassionate occupational therapist who enjoys helping families and children make improvements in their functional skills while having fun. Taylor has spent time in multiple settings, recently working with students at Keshet. Taylor received her masters degree at Tufts University.