Meet the Playworks Team
We are very selective about the therapists we hire and each member of our team draws on their extensive experience and comprehensive professional training to individualize therapy for each child.
Our team is comprised of speech, OT, and PT professionals with a total of 75 years of professional experience. This ensures your child has access to a broad and deep set of expertise so they have the best chance of success.
Here’s a brief introduction to the Playworks team . . .
Our director, Patti Wilson, earned a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Arizona State University with a focus on early intervention. Before that, she earned a Bachelor of Arts from James Madison University in 1994. She is also trained in PROMPT therapy (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic targets), Beckman Oral Motor Therapy, the Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson Approach, and the Floortime model. Before Playworks, Patti practiced Early Intervention for 6 years in the private sector and 2 years in the Virginia public school system.
Clinical Director, Occupational Therapy
Becca is an Occupational Therapist who loves finding moments of connection and joy in her work with families and children of all ages. She is a DMV native who studied Early Childhood Education and Business at Skidmore College and received a Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. She has worked in a variety of pediatric settings including private clinics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, public and charter schools, and 0-3 early intervention services. She has training in Sensory Integration, the SOS approach to feeding, Interactive Metronome, reflex integration, infant massage, self-regulation, vision, Torticollis, and Kinesio taping. She has experience working with children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Anxiety, Developmental Delays, Brachial Plexus Injuries, feeding challenges, and NICU grads. Becca believes strongly in the power of play and relationships to help children build on their strengths and thrive in their daily lives. In her spare time Becca enjoys exploring new parks with her 1-year-old daughter and cooking from her CSA.
Katie is a DC area native and has over 30 years of experience as a pediatric physical therapist. She received a Masters of Science in PT from Sargent College of Allied Health Professions at Boston University. Katie has worked in acute care, outpatient therapy and early intervention. Katie has been certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment and has been a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. She has taken many continuing education courses in the management of cerebral palsy, kinesiotaping, casting/splinting, orthotics and the importance of play in development. She continues to have very close relationships with doctors and orthotists from her many years practicing at Children’s National Hospital in DC. She has experience treating children with torticollis, plagiocephaly, developmental delay, genetic syndromes, cerebral palsy, orthopedic injuries/conditions and NICU graduates. In her free time, she enjoys visiting the Virginia shores of the Chesapeake Bay and sailing, boating and eating crabs!
Sydney is originally from Grenada, Mississippi. She received both her Bachelors and Masters of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Mississippi. She completed her graduate externship at United Ability in Birmingham, Alabama where she gained clinical experience working with the pediatric population in both a preschool and outpatient clinic. She has clinical experience working with children with articulation, language, and developmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. Since joining the Playworks team, Sydney received a "crash course" in delivering therapy through a Telehealth platform :). She has excelled at using online resources and creative games while screen sharing with her clients. Sydney completed informal Floortime training and Social Thinking Curriculum training with Michelle Garcia Weiner in the Fall of 2020.
Talia received her Masters in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA and her Bachelor of Arts in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Talia has worked with children with a wide range of diagnoses in private practice and school settings. Talia brings particular experience working with children with sensory processing disorders and Autism using a developmental approach to therapy. She builds upon communication skills and a growing capacity for social language and problem solving by working up the developmental ladder. She has experience working with many client populations, including articulation and phonological disorders, fluency, hearing impaired, learning differences, Autism, sensory processing, and early intervention. Talia is passionate about treating a child on a highly individualized basis, involving the family and other professionals in the process as much as possible. She strives to make her therapy sessions high energy and fun to promote success in speech, language, and overall developmental growth.
Alex graduated from University at Buffalo in 2016, receiving her masters in Occupational therapy. Alex spent several years working in Buffalo, NY in multiple settings including school based early childhood education and long term care prior to working in another local outpatient clinic. She has experience working with a wide range of children with varying diagnoses, including sensory processing delays, ASD, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD, and executive function delay. Alex is passionate about working in a clinic based setting focusing on specific meaningful activities for each individual client and family needs. She strives towards an inclusive, fun, and creative space for child/family focused care. Alex is excited to collaborate with children and their families towards
Jillianne (Jill) is an occupational therapist originally from California. A California native, she received her Masters and Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from University of Southern California in 2015 and 2016 respectively. She has had experience working in pediatrics in the clinic, schools and in home setting with an emphasis on young children with developmental disabilities and feeding difficulties. Jill’s practice emphasizes the DIRFloortime approach with occupational therapy. She believes strongly in the power of relationship for child development and how it is strengthened in child centered play activities. Because of this, she emphasizes family and caregiver collaboration in her practice. She has additional training in feeding/oral motor therapy, neurodevelopmental treatment and sensory integration which has supplemented her therapy skills.
Kendis has been practicing speech language pathology since 1995 when she earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has extensive experience with articulation and language therapy with the preschool and school aged populations. Kendis has additional training in PROMPT (Propts for Restructuring Oral Motor Targets), Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program, and Therapeutic Strategies to, Help Children with Asperger Syndrome. Prior to returning to the States this summer, Kendis had been working in international schools where she gained experience working with diverse populations and teaming with physical and occupational therapists to provide maximum support to severely impaired clients. Kendis returned to Playworks after a 5 year tour overseas. Her last three years were spent in New Zealand working for an innovative program that addressed the needs of high-risk preschoolers with speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy and early intervention teaching all under one roof. This experience of co-treating across disciplines was an amazing learning opportunity and a valuable contribution to her twenty five years of experience in pediatric speech therapy.
Riah is a pediatric speech-language pathologist who loves helping individual clients find their own voices by looking at the whole picture for evaluation and treatment. She received her Bachelor of Arts in both Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Scripps College for Women in Claremont, CA, and her Masters of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. Riah loves working with children and their families to tailor evidence-based treatment strategies to a child’s preferences and family needs to provide functional communication goals. She has more than six years of experience with Autism spectrum disorder, executive function disorders, motor speech disorders, AAC (augmentative and alternative communication), early intervention, and feeding and swallowing. Riah loves using play to connect with client’s and to build relationships for collaborative success. When she’s not in the clinic, Riah is usually found outside enjoying nature with her own family or reading books. She loves camping, hiking, and investigating new playgrounds, National Parks, and trails.
Gabrielle "Gabby" Spinella
Gabrielle (Gabby) is a graduate of the Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received her bachelor’s degree. She is originally from Long Island, New York but lived in Charlotte North Carolina for a long time. She has experience working with autistic children. Gabby is skilled at addressing speech / language needs, social and emotional development, and improved executive functioning. She has clinical experience working on articulation, pragmatics, receptive and expressive language, and fluency. She has worked in early intervention, schools, home health, as well as rehabilitation settings. She is experienced with both in-person therapy and telehealth. She also has experience with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) which she incorporates into functional contexts within play and other forms of therapy. She believes therapy is not “one size fits all” and that each child is an individual with their own strengths, interests, and needs and highly values family integration in therapy.
Kristen received her Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. Though she’s a west coaster at heart, she has made her home in the DMV with her husband, 2 year old son, and oversized golden retriever. Kristen is passionate about working with children and their families to help each child reach their potential. She believes in child centered therapy that builds on each child’s individual strengths and interests. Kristen has experience working with clients from birth to young adulthood and has received training in sensory processing, feeding (including the S.O.S approach to feeding and Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Treatment), and modalities including the Interactive Metronome, Astronaut Training, Therapeutic Listening, and Integrated Listening Systems.