Michaelann Gabriele, OTD, OTR/L
Michaelann Gabriele, OTD, OTR/L received a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Before pursuing her Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Doctorate at the University of Southern California, she spent 4 years teaching English to children in Italy near her husband’s hometown. In practice, Michaelann has specialized in the areas of sensory integration and autism in clinic and school-based settings. She is certified in the administration of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests and is an active member of the Occupational Therapy Association of California’s Autism Committee. Additionally, she has developed expertise in clinical documentation through her doctoral work and as a faculty member of the USC Mrs. TH Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. With a background in clinical research through Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, Michaelann has supported many research projects on child development and therapeutic interventions through participant recruitment, data collection, and data analysis. Michaelann and her husband are raising their two daughters in a bicultural/bilingual home. To relax, she likes hiking with her family, cooking and trying delicious foods, travelling, attempting to boulder, and an occasional good book.
AnjaLi Carrasco Koester, OTD, OTR/L received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She first became passionate about meaningful activities for children when working in a pediatric residential home. After working there for a few years in San Francisco, she earned her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. Then she moved to Los Angeles in order to pursue her Occupational Therapy Doctorate from the University of Southern California while specializing in sensory integration in children with hearing loss and/or cochlear implants. AnjaLi is motivated to disseminate information to parents of and practitioners who work with children with hearing loss and sensory integration difficulties. AnjaLi has consulted for families, professionals, and organizations in Los Angeles area as well as internationally. She is happy to work on field testing, pilot testing, and normative data collection for Evaluation in Ayres Sensory Integration (EASI), which is developing an internationally applicable assessment for children aged 3 to 12 years. AnjaLi is proud to be a member of the Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI), which is developing a curriculum for a Certificate in Ayres Sensory Integration. In her spare time, AnjaLi enjoys attempting hikes rated “very easy” with her husband and two children, creating fusion Indian/Mexican food, and sewing.
Tamara Mitchell, MA, OTR/L
Occupational Therapy Coordinator
Good to Grow Program Coordinator
Tammy Mitchell, MA, OTR/L graduated from USC in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After discovering occupational therapy, she was eager to continue with schooling to earn a Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy in 2005 from the same university. She has experience in mental health and neurological rehabilitation, but an internship at Center for Developing Kids sparked her love of working in pediatrics. Tammy has been involved in several programs at Center for Developing Kids, including the Good to Grow program, as a group leader for Kids Connection social skills groups, and as a camp director for the Sunkids summer program. She is certified in administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT). Tammy grew up in a suburb of Chicago, but loves living in warm and sunny Southern California. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and friends, going to see movies, sewing, trying out new restaurants, and snuggling with her dog, Dexter.
Shawn Aminirad, OTR/L, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015 with a B.A. in English and Social Welfare. He then worked for three years at a private education company, which led to his true passion: pediatric occupational therapy! He received his Master’s degree in 2021 from the University of Southern California. Shawn’s calling as a pediatric occupational therapist was clear to everyone around him, as he was always a high-energy, fun-loving person who could get along well with kids. He has experience in pediatric occupational therapy in settings including early intervention and clinic-based. In his free time, you can find Shawn walking his dog, making silly sounds, playing some kind of game, or relaxing with his wife and son.
Shelley An, MS, OT/L received her Bachelor of Science degree at Purdue University and her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. She has practiced pediatric occupational therapy in a variety of settings including center-based, schools, and Early Intervention. She enjoys working with kids of all ages and feels privileged to play a small part in a child’s journey to reach their potential. Originally from Stone Mountain, GA, she has lived here the past 12 years and enjoys gardening, reading, and most of all spending time with her family and dog.
Michelle Knight, MS, OTR/L graduated from Pomona College in 1999 with a BA in psychology. She received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound in 2003. Her previous pediatric experience includes home based and school based practice. Michelle was born and raised in the Pasadena area, but has also lived in Edinburgh, Scotland and Tacoma, Washington. Michelle loves music, and has been involved in orchestras, choirs, and drum and bugle corps. She has played the bass for over 20 years, and has been a member of several local community orchestras. She once played in Carnegie Hall. Michelle is certified in Therapeutic Listening, is SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Test) certified, and has an advanced practice certification in feeding and swallowing.
Shela Ma, MS, OTR/L
Shela Ma, MS, OTR/L graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UCLA and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She had her first exposure to pediatric occupational therapy while volunteering at CDK, and she is excited to be back as a therapist! She values building positive relationships with children and their families, and she loves seeing children grow in their self-confidence. Her previous employment and fieldwork experiences include early intervention, outpatient pediatric clinic, orthopedic, and psychiatric settings. In her free time, she enjoys reading, visiting coffee shops, spending time in nature, and dabbling in creative projects such as painting and ceramics.
Zoë Pontius-Courtney, MS, OTR/L graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and she received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2016. Zoë has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist since graduating and has experience working with children of all ages in outpatient clinic, school-based, and home-based settings. Zoë’s favorite part of being an OT is the opportunity to get to know the child’s unique interests and strengths, and to help them grow toward their full potential. In her free time, Zoë enjoys arts and crafts, hiking, camping, gardening, and playing with her dog.
Juhi Vora, OTR/L
Juhi Vora, OTR/L was born in India and came to Southern California when she was 3 years old. She completed her undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Southern California, completing a progressive B.S. to M.A. program in Occupational Therapy in 2018. Juhi chose to pursue the profession of occupational therapy because she values the creative, person-centered, and holistic care that the field embodies. Juhi completed her second Level II internship at the Center for Developing Kids in August 2018 where she fell in love with the interdisciplinary care provided to the wonderful families of CDK by the dedicated therapists and transitioned into employment following the completion of her internship. Juhi loves spending time with family and friends, playing with her dog, crafting, and exploring LA.