Marilee Burgeson, MA, CCC-SLP, has been a Speech-Language and Hearing Consultant for the San Diego County Office of Education since 1987 in a 0-3 early intervention program. She has been instrumental in developing an Autism Services team model that is transdisciplinary and recognized by the State of California as an exemplary program. She also has a small private practice. She has continued to be a lifelong learner and is trained in ABA and is a Hanen trained speech pathologist.
Clinical Advisory Board
Michelle S. Connelly, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a licensed speech-language pathologist and member of ASHA and CSHA with over 25 years’ experience. She is the founder of Connelly Speech & Language Clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area. Michelle is the Director of the ATPF Early Intervention Screening Program in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Michelle has guest-lectured and presented at the county and state-wide conferences on a variety of topics related to communicative disorders. She has extensive training in the treatment of articulation and language disorders.
Michelle has received multiple awards from County (SCCSHA) and State (CSHA) professional associations for her commitment to consumer advocacy, professional development, and leadership. She has held Executive Board positions with the Santa Clara County Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the California Speech & Hearing Association throughout her career.
Kara Dodds, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed speech-language pathologist and a a member of ASHA and CSHA. She is a director of Kara Dodds and Associates, Inc. a private practice in San Diego and specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with Autism, Apraxia, sensory feeding disorders and in developmental delay. Dodds is the Director of the ATPF Early Intervention Preschool Screening Program.
A 2001 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, Helen began her law career in real estate and has worked at Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps, Chicago Title Company, and Hovey & Kirby. She has been advocating for her son since he was born with cerebral palsy and other disabilities in 2002. Helen and her husband, Chris Ghio, have been involved with ATPF since its inception in 2003. She previously served on several nonprofit boards of directors and is currently involved with various other nonprofit organizations. Helen has also been a mentor in ATPF’s Parent Mentor Program for several years. She joined forces with Cara Lucier’s firm in 2015.
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Co-director of the Music Therapy Center of California
Julie graduated with a Master’s in Music Therapy from Western Michigan University. She has completed training from the Center for Biomedical Training as a neurologic music therapy fellow from Colorado State University. She has been providing music therapy services to youth with special needs and retirees to the San Diego area since 2001. In 2004 Julie co-founded The Music Therapy Center of California (MTCCA), where she is currently vice-president and an internship director. Her research investigating the effects of music intervention on reducing agitation in hospice patients with dementia has been published in Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.
In her work with children with special needs, Julie co-authored the “In Harmony: Integrated Learning Program.” She is co-owner and co-founder of NoteAbilities, Inc., which produces “Kibbles Rockin’ Clubhouse” (a DVD series to teach social and communication skills to children with autism) and is co-host of “Autism Toolkit Podcast” a resource for parents, teachers, and therapists. Julie is a founding board member of Banding Together, a San Diego non-profit whose mission is to provide music experiences, mentorships, and instruments to youth with special needs. She has also been a guest on the KPBS Radio program “These Days,” KUSI, “Good Morning San Diego,” and Fox 5 News. She has presented locally and nationally for organizations such as Wayne County Speech and Language Association, Brandman University, La Sierra University, University of California San Diego, Western Michigan University, the Autism Tree Project Foundation, Kids Included Together, the Autism Education Network, and the American Music Therapy Association. Julie received the 2002 and 2012 Professional Development Grants from the Western Region American Music Therapy Association.
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Bobbi Hanna received her associate of science degree in occupational therapy in 1997. She has over twenty years of experience as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in private pediatric practices and school-based therapy in San Diego. She works with a diverse population of clients through early childhood into young adulthood.
Bobbi has extensive continuing education in support of Autism, Developmental Delays, Neuro-Developmental Approaches, Attention Deficit Disorders, and Learning Disorders. She is certified in iLs (Integrated Listening System), Advanced certification in Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome, RMT (Rhythmic Movement Training through Level III), AromaTouch Technique, and SOS Approach to Feeding.
Bobbi’s passion lies in the area of sensory integration, mindful thinking, life skills development, creating playful therapeutic environments, developing meaningful group interactions, and supporting the families she works with on a personal and community level.
Bobbi sits on the Clinical Advisory Board for the Autism Tree Project Foundation and is a volunteer Liaison for various ATPF programs. Bobbi is also a team member for the “Social Stories Spectrum Project” at the National History Museum in Balboa Park.
Bobbi has the privilege each summer to be an OT camp therapist at Camp Avanti, located in Avery, Wisconsin. This is a therapeutic camp for children set in a rustic environment that is led by occupational therapists from various countries, including the USA, Canada, England, and Australia.
Breena is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. She received her Master’s Degree at the University of Redlands and has been in private practice since 1999. Breena specializes in pediatric speech and language disorders. She is experienced in multi-disciplinary approaches and works directly with occupational therapists, physical therapists, dentists, orthodontists, ENTs, physicians, and psychologists to deliver comprehensive treatment to benefit the patients and their families. Breena’s approaches used in therapy include a variety of oral-motor techniques from Talk Tools, PROMPT Therapy, and Kaufman method to treat children with apraxia and other oral motor impairments. Breena is also trained in a variety of Myo Functional Therapy methodologies and Breathing techniques (Buteyko). She is currently in the process of pursuing her certification in Myo Functional Therapy. Her philosophy is that children who enjoy their therapy sessions become active and focused participants in the learning process of new skills and motor function. She is also very active in the ATPF community, Breena helps with training all of our interns and volunteers on how to work with our autistic community.
Dr. Michael Levy, Chief Neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital of San Diego Division of Pediatric Neurological Surgery and the University of California San Diego Division of Pediatric Neurological Surgery. With 24 years of medical practice, Levy's current hospital appointments also include LAC-USC Medical Center Los Angeles and USC University Hospital Los Angeles. He has served as Clinical Instructor, Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, and Associate Professor with Tenure of Neurological Surgery – all for the University of Southern California School of Medicine, as well as a Residency Program Director for the Division of Neurological Surgery at UC San Diego. Dr. Levy has been actively involved with ATPF since 2003.
Dr. Alysson Muotri has been the Chairman of the annual ATPF Neuroscience Conference since it launched in 2015. Dr. Muotri earned a BSc in Biological Sciences from the State University of Campinas in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Genetics in 2001 from the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil. He moved to the Salk Institute as Pew Latin America Fellow in 2002 for postdoctoral training in the fields of neuroscience and stem cell biology. He has been a Professor at the School of Medicine, University of California in San Diego since 2008.
His research focuses on modeling neurological diseases, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, using human induced pluripotent stem cells. His lab has developed several techniques to culture human neurons and glia for basic research and drug-screening platforms. He has received several awards, including the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, NARSAD, Emerald Foundation Young Investigator Award, Surugadai Award from Tokyo University, Rock Star of Innovation from CONNECT, NIH EUREKA Award among others.
Co-director of the Music Therapy Center of California
Angela is a board-certified neurologic music therapist, songwriter, and co-owner of The Music Therapy Center of California. She received her master’s degree in neurologic music therapy from Colorado State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education/Music Therapy from Wartburg College.
She is a director at ATPF for phase 3 preschool music inclusion training. Neve launched a music therapy company serving over 250 clients that later partnered with speech therapists. She has been working as a music therapist for over seven years in the San Diego area with children, teenagers, and adults with autism. She has published several products, including the In Harmony program, an educational product targeting speech and social skills through music. She also serves as the music director for the DVD series for kids with autism “Kibbles Rockin’ Clubhouse,” which was launched this year.
As a sibling of a brother with special needs, Angela has seen the power of music in making changes in her brother Luke’s life and is dedicated to bringing that passion to the clients and families that she serves.
Dr. Jean Novak is a bilingual professor in Speech Pathology and was the 1st Department Chair of the Communicative Disorders & Sciences Department at San Jose State University. She is a clinical supervisor for speech pathology graduate students in assessment and therapy clinics for children with speech, language, and communication disorders. She is Director of the Bilingual Toddler and Preschool Screening Project, which is funded by the Autism Tree Project Foundation. The screening project provides students with training and offers the community a needed service.
Director & Founder of ATPF Mommy, Daddy & Me Playtime Group
Dr. Jennifer Oke, Ph.D., has been a clinical child psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of autism spectrum disorders with over 29 years of relevant experience. Dr. Oke participated in research in the areas of Pivotal Response Training (PRT), Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), parent training, language development, social interaction and social skills training under the supervision of Laura Schreibman, Ph.D. Her doctoral dissertation focused on sibling groups to educate children about the disorders, give children an opportunity to share their experiences, and teach children strategies to facilitate interaction with their sibling. She received pre- and post-doctoral training at the San Diego Regional Center that provided her with extensive experience with a wide clinical population. Dr. Oke was also a board member for the San Diego Chapter of the Autism Society of America for 4 years.
Dr. Doris A. Trauner has served as Interim Chair of the Department of Neurosciences as well as Chair of the Health Sciences Faculty Council, Vice-Chair of the Department of Neurosciences, and Chief of Pediatric Neurology at UCSD.
Widely recognized and respected for her academic leadership, Dr. Trauner has held a joint appointment in Neurosciences and Pediatrics since 1977. Her research emphasizes the cognitive consequences of conditions that alter brain development early in life. These include both structural and metabolic disorders affecting the developing brain. Her study subjects include children with neurodevelopment, genetic, and metabolic disorders.