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.
Riah Ellis, M.S., CCC-SLP
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.
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, CCC-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 Tahara, OTD, OTR/L
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.
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.
Becca Berick, MOT, OTR/L
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.
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!
Alex Young, MS, OTR/L
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 achieving their individualized goals!
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.