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 son, creating fusion Indian/Mexican food, and sewing.
Jeni Alsaybar, MA, OTR/L graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education Studies. Jeni has always enjoyed working with children, serving as a previous preschool student teacher, behavioral therapist, and volunteer at a pediatric clinic. These experiences led her to further her education in Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California, where she received her MA in 2015. Jeni’s professional interests include sensory integration, feeding, and school-based therapy. She also discovered a new professional interest in acute care, and serves the adult population at a nearby hospital on some weekends. In her free time, Jeni likes staying active, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Sydney Bessner, MS, OTR/L, graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2013 with a B.S. in Human Development and a minor in Education. Sydney has always had a passion for working with children, previously spending her summers as a camp counselor, including for those with special needs. Sydney also worked as a preschool teacher prior to receiving her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2017. Naturally, Sydney gravitated towards the pediatric setting during her fieldwork experiences, including rotations at a sensory integration pediatric clinic, an overnight camp for children with disabilities, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Sydney’s professional interests include sensory integration, feeding therapy, early intervention, and mental health. When she isn’t working, you’d likely find Sydney at an LA Kings game, or cooking, traveling, or hiking with her husband.
Holly Charlton, MS, OTR/L has over 30 years as an occupational therapist with the past 14 years specializing in pediatrics at Center for Developing Kids. Previously, her career has afforded her to pursue her interest as a mental health clinician and a program director for an occupational therapy assistant program in Los Angeles. She has advanced training in pediatrics with a diverse caseload of varying diagnoses and disorders. Holly utilizes a variety of intervention approaches including, sensory integration, developmental, the Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support (SCERTS) model. She has completed the Certification Program in Sensory Integration that includes competency in administration of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. She has been involved in the CDK’s highly successful early intervention program Good to Grow, since it began in 2008. Holly’s varied past involvement in social skills groups, summer programs, school-based therapy, and fieldwork coordinator, and weekly parent education inservices has provided continual career success and satisfaction. On the home front, Holly is a mother of grown children and enjoys her role as a grandmother while still caring for her youngest who is a junior in high school. Although spending time with her husband and family takes priority in her free time, Holly also enjoys Jazzersize, hikes, and oil painting.
Angie Earnhardt, MS, OTR/L grew up in North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where she received both her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. As the daughter of two special education teachers, Angie, from an early age, was interested in working with children with special needs. After being employed for two years in the Tallahassee, FL public schools, Angie relocated to Glendale, CA where she discovered Center for Developing Kids. After working there several years, she decided to take some time off to focus on raising her own children. As of 2016, she is happy to be back at CDK and is looking forward to collaborating with the CDK team and once again, working with children and their families. When Angie is not at work she enjoys local hikes, live music and comedy with her husband, trying new vegetarian recipes with her daughter, and soccer, soccer, and more soccer with her son!
Kaylee Finnigan, MOT, OTR/L is originally from southern California and completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, San Bernardino with a BA in Psychology and Human Development. She went on to obtain her Master of Occupational Therapy degree at Colorado State University. Kaylee completed her Level II Fieldwork at CDK and was lucky enough to be hired on as an OT. She has always had a passion for working with children and is excited to work with the awesome families and team at CDK. When Kaylee is not at work she is looking for any opportunity to get outdoors or is testing out a new recipe on her husband.
Dana Fox, OTR/L graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2001. Dana has served as the program coordinator for the Kids Connection social skills program and has co-directed the Sunkids summer program. She enjoys working with the children and their families and has had the great pleasure to watch many grow and learn new vital skills since she began working at Center For Developing Kids in 2002. Dana is married with no children but does have 3 cats. In the hours she is not working she enjoys bowling, fishing, camping, cooking, and painting.
Caitlin Ito, OTD, OTR/L, was born and raised in Hawai’i on the island of Oahu. She first moved to California to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California, and has been in Los Angeles ever since. She graduated from USC in May 2015 with her Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy, and is currently completing her Clinical Doctorate degree at USC as well. Caitlin has always had a passion for working with children, and her professional interests include sensory integration, feeding therapy, and neurodevelopmental treatment. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys exploring California’s beaches and mountains with friends, engaging in any and all food related activities (i.e. eating, baking, and yelping), taking photos, making jewelry, and dancing hula/tahitian. Although Hawai’i will always be home, Caitlin has fallen in love with the Pasadena area and CDK. She is extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to complete her clinical doctorate at CDK among such gifted and supportive therapists, and looks forward to meeting and working with the children and their families.
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.
Jenna Kobara, MA, OTR/L
Jenna Kobara MA, OTR/L, graduated from San Diego State University in 2011 with a BS degree in Child and Family Development and a minor in Spanish. She has always been passionate about working with children and was first introduced to occupational therapy by CDK’s co-founder Ann Hyde. During college she volunteered at CDK to learn more about the profession. CDK’s collaborative team and family-centered approach was very inspiring and it helped her realize that this was the profession for her. Jenna has traveled to Ghana to work with children with special needs and had the opportunity to improve her Spanish while studying abroad in Chile. She continued her education at the University of Southern California (USC) and graduated in 2013 with a M. A. in occupational therapy. While at USC, she participated in the Training Occupational Therapy Specialists (TOTS) grant program, which provided her with mentoring and specialized training in early intervention and school-based occupational therapy. Jenna could not be more excited to come full circle from being a volunteer to becoming a pediatric occupational therapist at CDK. Jenna has fallen in love with CDK’s mission, values, and its supportive environment. She is looking forward to working with all the children and their families! Her professional interests include early intervention, school-based therapy, and sensory integration. Jenna likes snowboarding, traveling, trying new foods and restaurants, spending time with friends and family, and playing with her two doggies, Milo and Kuhio.
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.
Carley Wade, MS, OTR/L, graduated from San Francisco State University with her Bachelor of Art in Child and Adolescent Development in 2014, then in 2016 she graduated from San Jose State University with her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Carley was first introduced to the field of occupational therapy when she was in elementary school. As a young child, Carley received occupational and physical therapy services at Center for Developing Kids. The care she received at the clinic inspired her to become an occupational therapist. Carley later volunteered for Center for Developing Kids and Play to Learn Center (Glendale Adventist Medical Center), which further fueled her passion for OT as well as working with children and their families. Carley has previous experience working as an associate teacher at an early education center, and completed her Occupational Therapy Internship at a local school district. Carley’s professional interests include, sensory integration, early intervention, and feeding therapy. Carley feels truly honored to be a part of the Center for Developing Kids team, as she understands firsthand how Center for Developing Kids heartfelt, celebrative, and client-centered treatment can positively impact the lives of children and their families.
Though Carley attended university in Northern California, she was born and raised in the Pasadena area and always planned to move home when it came time to start her career. During her free time Carley enjoys hiking, baking, crafting and spending time with family and friends.