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. Here’s a brief introduction to our team.
Jillianne Tahara, OTD, OTR/L
Patti Wilson, MS, CCC-SLP
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.
Marie-Christine Kemp, OTR/L CIMI
Clinical Director, Occupational Therapy
Marie-Christine has been a pediatric Occupational Therapist for over 27 years. She is thrilled to join Playworks to build the OT program! Marie-Christine believes strongly in the power of collaboration between speech therapy and occupational therapy through play when working with children. She has worked in many pediatric settings over the years including NICU, Early Intervention, private practice and pre-school/school aged educational programs. Her certifications include infant massage instructor, early interventionist, youth fitness instructor, sensory impairments, Handwriting without Tears certification and Interactive Metronome provider. Marie-Christine has specialized training in oral motor/sensory feeding difficulties, early developmental delays, sensory processing disorders, self-regulation and motor skill challenges.
Erin Warden, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Erin is a pediatric speech language pathologist with a passion for early intervention and complex communication needs. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science and Disorders from Kansas State University, and a Master’s degree for Speech Language Pathology from the University of Missouri. Erin has experience in both the educational and private practice settings. She has training in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) teaching strategies, which she enjoys incorporating into play-based and functional contexts within therapy activities. Erin has experience treating children with a wide variety of developmental language and articulation disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, Apraxia, language delays, social communication deficits, articulation and phonological disorders, and oral motor disorders. She incorporates individualized strategies such as AAC devices, visuals, sensory input, gross motor movement, and child-preferred topics/activities to make therapy sessions enjoyable and successful for clients while building communication skills. Erin’s ultimate goal is to help children reach their full potential while working alongside families to ensure success in all settings!
Stephanie Dudley, OTR/L MOT
Stephanie is originally from Cincinnati Ohio where she grew up with a passion for athletic competition. She then attended Saint Louis University (SLU) in Missouri, a school steeped in history that emphasizes a philosophy of service to others. Stephanie graduated from SLU in 2014 with a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Shortly after she moved to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas where she was able to work with children and their families from diverse cultural backgrounds by providing OT services in an outpatient setting. When she moved to Virginia she had the opportunity to provide OT services for students in a school setting. Stephanie is so excited to bring her experience and joy for this profession to Playworks and continue learning and growing.
Talia Feldman, MEd, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
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.
Karena Pham, MA, OTR/L
Karena is an occupational therapist that has over 10 years experience working in a number of pediatric OT settings including school, home, clinic and children’s rehabilitation hospital. She has worked with children from ages 0-21 with diverse diagnoses and developmental, behavioral and sensorineural needs. Because of her extensive experience with young adults with disabilities in transitional programs, Karena brings a broad based perspective and aims to maximize functional independence and self-determination in all her clients, even the youngest of them. Using her knowledge of current evidence-based practices and collaborative treatment planning, Karena utilizes a variety of tools and methods to help each client reach their goals. An integral aspect of Karena’s approach in therapy is having detailed and comprehensive evaluation to establish a clear understanding of the child’s strengths and weaknesses to build from. Laughter and silly songs are crucial aspects, too!
Karena grew up in California and graduated with her Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She has advanced training in sensory integration intervention, neurodevelopmental treatment in infants, feeding and oral motor development, and is a school-based Assistive Technology Specialist.
Alex Koller, MA CCC-SLP, ATP
Clinical Director, Speech Therapy
Alex is a pediatric speech language pathologist who has experience working with those children who have complex communication needs in the school, home, and outpatient setting. She received her Bachelors of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Arts in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh.
Her passion for those with complex communication needs led her to pursue an additional certificate as an Assistive Technology Professional. Alex has helped many clients express themselves using Alternative and Augmentative Communication through the evaluation and prescription of high and low tech communication systems. She is a LAMP (Language Acquisition through Motor Planning) Certified Professional with additional training in Beckman Oral Motor and PECS Level 1 (Picture Exchange Communication System).
Alex works to help each family recognize their important contribution to their child's speech and language development so that each client can confidently and successfully communicate!
Kendis McAden, MS CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Kendis McAden 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.
Sydney Reid, MS, CF-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
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.
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.