Volunteer Executive Director & ATPF Co-Founder
Since 2003, Dayna Hoff has transformed the autism community in San Diego and the Bay Area through her role as Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of the Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF). ATPF, which Dayna founded with her husband, Todd, when their son, Garret, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 ½, is the only autism foundation in the region that focuses on combining the three areas of Research, Early Intervention, and Programming. ATPF provides more than 20 free programs and services to the community and has invested $3.2 million back into the community under Dayna’s leadership.
Joel’s art at the age of five was well beyond his years.
He always has a pencil in hand. When Joel turned eleven, he started painting, soon to follow, was putting his art on note cards and starting his business “Joel’s Vision Arts.”
Sandi Anderson had been an active Autism Tree Project Foundation volunteer since its inception nine years ago. She and her husband, Jeff, have two adult sons on the autism spectrum. Her many years of experience advocating, homeschooling, and special needs training in academics, health, and life skills enable her to encourage others in their journey with a vast resource of connections and creative solutions. Sandi is a founding member/chairman of Jeremiah's Ranch, a group home community established in Fallbrook, CA.
Rebecca Barron, a native of Los Angeles, California, earned her B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from San Diego State University, with an emphasis in Meetings and Events. Rebecca has over four years of experience in the hospitality industry. Rebecca joined the ATPF team in September 2017 and is the organization’s Operations Manager. Barron assists Lisa Kaufmann in overseeing each of our 20 programs along with running the daily operations of the ATPF office, producing all fundraisers and program events, maintaining ATPF daily social media and managing all ATPF website updates and manages over 200 interns and volunteers. She works directly with Lisa Kaufmann, ATPF Director of Development, and Caitlyn Hunter, ATPF Director of Financial Operations.
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.
Serenitie Buyse is applying to medical school and has spent the past year working as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Epilepsy Division at UCSD Hospital. Serenitie and Michael L. Levy, MD, Ph.D., Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery Children’s Hospital-San Diego (CHSD) and Clinical Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, have initiated ATPF’s Early Intervention Preschool Screening Longevity Study to review early intervention screening data from 2006 onward. This study aims to analyze, review, and publish the effects these early intervention screenings have had on the developmental tracks of children who have not tested within normal limits. Additional goals of ATPF through this study are to receive grants which will help establish the creation of a role to further educate our families on the next steps they need to take to ensure their children are getting the tools they need to meet all of their developmental milestones.
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.
Helenghio.com | 619-222-8300
Kelly Greene is part of the ATPF Founders Committee and owner of Kelly Greene Design (www.kellygreenedesign.com). She had been the ATPF Graphic Designer & Art Director since the inception of the foundation ten years ago. Kelly has created most of the foundation's essential collateral materials and continues to serve ATPF in our marketing and branding efforts.
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.
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.
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.
Jon Hickey is the ATPF Co-Director for the USD Mentor Program and has been married for 13 years to his wife Fran Pritchard, also Co-Director. They have two boys, Lawson currently 12, who was diagnosed with PPD NOS / ADHD at the age of 5. Shortly after receiving their son's diagnosis, Jon found a way to support the autism community with his skills.