Who We Are
Rebecca Pokluda, MS, OTR/L, P.C., Director & Owner
Rebecca is the owner and clinical director of KidWorks Therapy Services. She started KidWorks Therapy in 1999. Rebecca has worked in therapeutic environments for over 23 years. Rebecca graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Biology from University of Texas and with her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University, completing her thesis on Sensory Integration. She has worked in various settings including adult and pediatric acute, rehabilitative, and outpatient care, as well as in aquatic therapy and hippotherapy. Rebecca specializes in pediatrics with expertise in early childhood intervention, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, vision therapy, and sensory integration. She has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:
- SPD Foundation Level I Intensive Mentorship - Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
- Administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing, including planning and implementation of appropriate treatment of sensory processing. SIPT Certification # 494
- Certified and trained to administer IM interactive metronome treatment.
- Advanced training in Therapeutic Listening / Sound Therapy. Certification # M22229
- Clinical Instructor affiliated with several Universities including: University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio , University of Texas in Austin , Texas Woman's University, and Austin Community College.
- Extensive training with self-regulation and social, emotional development and dysfunction, including Stanley Greenspan's Floortime Approach
- Certification in Stanley Greenspan's DIR®Floortime™ Model, Level B
- Research and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Participation in research related to up-dated standardization of BOT-2, a widely used motor assessment for school-aged children.
- Advanced training in Vision Therapy and Aquatic Therapy
- Advanced training in treatment of learning disabilities and ADHD including PACE
- PACE: Processing and Cognitive Enhancement
- Clinical Instructor affiliated with several universities including: University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio , University of Texas in Austin, Texas Woman's University, Tufts University, Xavier University, LSU Health Science Center, University of St. Augustine, and Austin Community College.
- Guest Lecturer at A&M University Graduate Speech and Language Program
- On faculty at Lone Star Continuing Education: Course instructor for post graduate education in Sensory Processing Disorder
- Neuro-feedback and EEG Feedback Certification through EEG Spectrum
In her spare time Rebecca enjoys soccer, trail-running, mountain biking, hiking and exploring, scuba diving, cave research and exploration, and enjoying friends and family.
Heidi Day, MS, OTR/L, Lead OT
Heidi was raised in Austin and received her MS in Occupational Therapy from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and also has a BA in Biochemistory from Baylor University. Her experience includes working with children from birth to adolescence with a variety of diagnoses including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as kids with fine motor and feeding difficulties. She presented her graduate work on a Spanish preschool assessment tool at the 2007 AOTA conference and enjoys working with the Spanish speaking population. She spent two weeks in Honduras volunteering her OT services at Casayuda, a school for children with disabilities. Since her time at Kidworks, she has also received additional training on the Floortime/DIR model. She has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:
- SPD Foundation Level I Intensive Mentorship - Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR
- Feeding Therapy using the SOS Approach, developed by Kay Toomey, PhD
- Get Permission Approach to Feeding by Marsha Dunn Klein, MEd, OTR/L
- Food Chaining
- NDT Oral Motor Feeding Workshop presented by Gay Lloyd Pinder, PhD, CCC-SLP
- Nutrition Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, presented by Elizabeth Strickland, MS, RD,LD
- iLs Certified (Integrated Listening Systems) Practitioner
- Interactive Metronome Provider
- Vision therapy - managing developmental visual deficits in children - Judy Hughes, O.D.
- Basic Course on the DIR/Floortime Model - Stanley Greenspan, MD
Her favorite occupations are traveling, eating Amy’s Ice Cream, watching baseball games at Wrigley Field, listening to live music in Austin, and hiking the greenbelt.
Emily Hefft, MOTR/L
Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas and a Master’s of Occupational Therapy from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Emily began been working at KidWorks following her internship in the Spring of 2009. Her experience includes working in out-patient settings with children of various diagnoses such as sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, autism, and fine motor difficulties. Her goal is to be a positive influence on others and make the lives of children and families better. During her time in San Antonio, Emily was involved in various volunteer programs for children with developmental delays including wheelchair basketball and swimming programs. In addition to working with children, Emily enjoys watching live music, spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, cooking, and shopping. While at Kidworks, she has received training in: Sensory Processing Disorder, DIR/Floortime techniques, vision therapy techniques, therapeutic brushing, kinesiotaping, and self-regulation programs. She has completed post graduate advanced training/certification in the following areas:
- Basic DIR/Floortime Competancies:
- Overview of the DIR ® Model and Floortime™ Principles
- DIR 201: Promoting Basic Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities
- Emily is pursuing an Intermediate level certification of the DIR/Floortime model. DIR 202: Promoting Higher Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities
Kara Hyatt, COTA
Kara was born and raised in Austin. She received her certification as an Occupational Therapy Assistant from ACC and is currently completing her academic core work for consideration into a graduate Occupational Therapy program. During her time at KidWorks, Kara has gained experience in the DIR/Floor Time approach, Sensory Integration, vision therapy techniques, therapeutic brushing and self regulation programs. Kara enjoys scuba diving, hunting, traveling, and spending time with her husband, family and friends.
Brenna Culley, MOTR/L
Brenna was born in Austin, Texas and raised there with her younger sister. She attended the University of Texas Tech, where she was involved in many school organizations and received her Bachelors of Allied Health Sciences. She continued her occupational therapy education in Lubbock, Texas attending the University of Texas Tech Health Science Center (TTUHSC), where she received her masters degree in Occupational Therapy. Growing up Brenna has always had a strong dedication and passion to work with children. Throughout her graduate school career, Brenna gained a lot of hands on experience working with a vast extent of disabilities and cultures. She has completed four clinical rotations, where she has worked in the inpatient setting in rehabilitation and trauma hospitals as well as the outpatient pediatric setting. In the inpatient setting she has experience working with neurology and orthopedic teams with a crossover to specialty areas (burn/trauma, wound care, orthopedics, and cardiology). Brenna has also treated a wide variety of pediatric patients including feeding, sensory, neurological, developmental delayed, and orthopedic patients. Outside of work Brenna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, listening to live music, going to the lake, wakeboarding, and traveling. She also enjoys spending time with her beloved cat who has the neurological condition Cerebellar Hypoplasia that was rescued while living in Lubbock.
Joni Friedrich, MS, OTR/L
Joni is a Texas native who received her MS in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in Boston, and also has a BA in Social Work from the University of Texas. Her experience includes working with children who have a variety of diagnoses including Sensory Processing Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, fine motor challenges, Autism and Muscular Dystrophy. She was elected as the AOTA student delegate from Tufts University for the 2010 AOTA conference and won a scholarship to study occupational therapy in Oxford, England. Prior to studying occupational therapy, Joni gained experience with children as a personal care attendant for children with disabilities through the Texas CLASS waiver program, at Child Protective Services, Easter Seals Central Texas, and Refugee Services of Texas. Joni is the Director at Large for Alison’s Hope for hearing, a 501c3 non-profit which helps people with hearing loss acquire needed hearing aids and devices, she is also a certified CarFit Technician. In her spare time Joni enjoys traveling, reading, swimming and most importantly, spending time with her three AMAZING godchildren, her family and her friends.
Lisa Ricketts, OTL
Lisa is an Occupational Therapist at Kidworks Therapy Services part time and during the summer months. Every day she learns something new from the children she works with and their families. She works alongside expert therapists who train her to do her very best. Lisa is full time Occupational Therapist at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired since September of 1994. She studies the impact visual impairment has on the other senses and overall development.
Alana Frazier, MOT
Alana was raised in Virginia where she obtained her undergraduate degree in biology at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, now Randolph College. After her marriage, she moved to Saint Augustine, FL. She received her Master of Occupational Therapy with honors from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Alana began working at KidWorks after completing her final internship there in 2012. She is excited to be part of the nurturing, supportive community she has found at KidWorks and in Austin. In her free time, Alana likes to crochet, cook, read, and spend time at home with her husband and pets.
Liz Darwin, MS, CCC-SLP, Assistant Clinical Director
Liz Darwin is a native Austinite. She received both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Her master’s degree is in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Liz has been practicing for over 20 years and looks forward to her job every day! Since graduating, Liz has focused on oral-motor and feeding, cleft palate and cranio-facial, severe articulation disorders, mild-severe language disorders, Down syndrome, and autism. She has practiced in early childhood facilities, served as the director of Capitol School of Austin, and in private practices. Liz loves working with the families and includes them extensively in the therapy sessions. She has presented over the years at professional conferences, local professionals and at preschools on topics such as Oral-Motor and Feeding, Facilitating Language, and Augmentative Communication. In addition, she has offered multiple workshops to families to support in developing their child’s language and feeding. When not working, Liz loves spending time with her teenage boys, going to live music and practicing yoga.
Courses that Liz has attended include:
- SOS Approach to Feeding Therapy by Kay Toomey, Ph.D
- Food Chaining By Cheri Fraker, Laura Walbert
- Get Permission Approach by Marsha Dunn Klein (in conjunction with the Food Chaining workshop)
- Assessment and Treatment of the Rib Cage, Levels 1 and 2 by Rona Alexander, MS, CCC-SLP
- Debra Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention
- Neuro-Developmental Training 5-Day Baby Course
- Neuro-Developmental 3-Day Training
- Hanen Training
- NOMAS training by Majorie Meyer Palmer
Sarah Tidmore, MS, CCC-SLP
Sarah is a native Austinite who received her graduate and undergraduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Communication Disorders and a minor in Early Childhood Intervention. While receiving her graduate degree, Sarah had the opportunity to partner with the Greater East Texas Community Action Program of Head Start and the Austin Independent School District’s Extended School Year Program. She has served individuals with articulation, fluency, expressive and receptive language disorders, swallowing, and oral motor concerns, and is very experienced and has an amazing talent for working with and treating children on the autistic spectrum. Sarah is a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and licensed by the state of Texas. She has received PROMPT training, a multidimensional approach to speech disorders. Sarah has also received training through Talk Tools, a muscle based approach to speech clarity and oral coordination. Through her time partnering with KidWorks Sarah has gained experience in the Floor Time approach and sensory integration. Last summer, Sarah had the opportunity to go to Zambia Africa and work with Family Legacy Missions International, an organization that serves and supports AIDS orphans and their families, an experience that increased her love and respect for children around the world. She has always loved kids and has been motivated by her own challenges with dysfluency as a child to pursue her career as a speech therapist. Sarah is looking forward to new opportunities and continuing education with KidWorks. She looks forward to meeting you and your child.
Mary Monckton, MS, CCC-SLP
Mary grew up in the Chicagoland area and has lived/worked in 4 states: WI, IL, CO, and now TX! She received her graduate degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. The majority of Mary's experience is with children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and she is fluent in American Sign Language. She has special training in "See the Sound" Visual Phonics program and certification in Radiant Child Yoga. Mary has attended workshops combining Yoga, literacy, speech and language and she has assisted in implementing a Yoga Ed program for elementary students. She loves to read and practice Yoga in her free time.
Jennifer John, MA, CCC-SLP
Jennifer was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin. She attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison and majored in Communicative Disorders (Go Badgers!). Upon completing her bachelor degree, Jennifer moved to Minneapolis, MN to pursue a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Minnesota. She received post-graduate advanced training in the SOS Approach to Feeding, a feeding therapy program developed by Kay Toomey, PhD. She is also a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and licensed by the state of Texas. Through her partnership with KidWorks, Jennifer has also received additional experience and training on the Floortime/DIR model. Jennifer has experience working with children of all ages with a variety of diagnoses, including articulation disorders, fluency disorders, resonance disorders, expressive and receptive language disorders, pragmatic/social skill deficits, oral motor weakness, swallowing deficits, and feeding difficulties. Jennifer loves exploring Austin with friends, painting pottery, and singing!
Lauren Pfieffer, MS, CCC-SLP
Lauren Pfeiffer was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She completed her Bachelors degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. She then went on to the University of North Texas to receive her Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology. After graduating, she worked for a company that provided home based therapy for adults and children in the Dallas area. Soon, Lauren felt the urge to spread her wings, so she decided to move to Austin, Texas where she joined the KidWorks team. She enjoys getting out and exploring all that Austin has to offer with her dog and best friend, Hotch.
Kelly Zinna, CFY
Kelly grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She studied elementary education at Indiana University and taught kindergarten for two years. While working as a teacher, Kelly developed an interest in speech-language pathology. She moved to Texas and completed her master's degree at University of Texas at Dallas. The program in Dallas offered many opportunities for clinical experience with various communication disorders. Kelly evaluated and treated children with receptive and expressive language disorders, social communication deficits, motor speech disorders, articulation disorders, and feeding disorders. Settings include a small group intervention program, public school, outpatient clinic, and Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation. A supportive feeding program for young children gave Kelly valuable experience in assessment and treatment of children with feeding disorders as well as Beckman Oral Motor therapy. Kelly also worked as a nanny while attending school, broadening her knowledge on early language development. She is thrilled to be part of the KidWorks team and looks forward to enhancing her skills with the DIR/Floortime model. Kelly enjoys running, yoga, cooking, live music, Cardinals baseball and new experiences in this amazing city!
Carla Moore, PT
Carla received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Her initial work experiences included working in a variety of acute hospital settings with adults. Following her move to Austin 20 years ago, Carla pursued her desire to practice pediatric centered physical therapy. She has worked both in clinical settings and as a school based therapist at the Texas School for the Deaf. Carla enjoyed working with children of all ages at the School for the Deaf. She also enjoyed the exposure to American Sign Language and the opportunity to develop beginning skills in "signing".
Carla completed 15 hours of post graduate physical therapy at Texas Women's University in Houston and earned the "Certificate in Advanced Pediatric Therapy from Texas Women's University in 2006. Course work at TWU included:
- Pathokinesiology which focused on Gait Analysis
- Pediatric Neuroscience, with a personal study on the vestibular system
- Pediatric Outcome Measures
- Motor Behavior in Pediatrics
- Musculoskeletal Issues in Pediatrics
Other continuing education workshops have included:
- Sensory Defensiveness and Related Problems by Patricia Wilbarger
- Vestibular Activation: Therapeutic Movements to Optimize Physical, Social and Cognitive Occupation by Mary Kawar
- Kinesiotaping Fundamentals and Kinesiotaping in Pediatrics by Audrey Yasukawa and Trish Martin
- Ready Bodies, Learning Minds by Athena Oden
- Evaluation and Treatment of the Clumsy Child by Dr. Barbara Connolly
Carla's interest in the vestibular ("inner ear") ssystem and the important role it plays in motor development led her to KidWorks Therapy services in May of 2009. In her spare time, Carla enjoys behing "Nana" to her two granddaughters, jogging with her husband and gardenings.
Carla considers it a privilege to work with each child that comes to her and desire to work with parents and caregivers in a team approach.
Lindsey Waddell, DPT
Although a native Austinite, Lindsey relocated to New Orleans to earn her Bachelors in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Tulane University. She then moved to Florida to attend the University of Florida for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. While in graduate school, she had the opportunity to work extensively in research involving children with spinal cord injury and muscular dystrophy. After graduating in May 2009, she worked for 2 months in Ecuador at a non-profit clinic providing physical therapy to under-privileged children. Upon returning to Austin, she began working in pediatric home health where she gained experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, Corpus Callosum agenesis, seizure disorder, and developmental delay. She has received continuing education on Autism and Spanish for PTs, and looks forward to learning much more in her career at KidWorks.
Greer Flittner, MS, CRC, LPC-intern
Under the LPC supervision of Diana Garza Louis, LPC, LMFT, LSOTP, RPT
Greer is a nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor-intern who specializes in child and family counseling. She graduated with her Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling from Georgia State University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Business from the University of Tennessee. Greer's master's level practicum was completed at Floortime Atlanta where she was able to study the DIR/Floortime Model extensively. She continued to work for Floortime after completing her master’s degree and had the opportunity to complete a yearlong DIR/Floortime training course. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies, Greer worked with children on the Autism spectrum in a caregiver capacity, which has given her a unique understanding of the interworking and complexity of the family system.
Greer relocated to Austin, TX and continues to practice under the DIR/Floortime methodology which is a Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based Approach used to strengthen engagement, communication, and emotional growth. Greer focuses on neurological disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as mood disorders, specifically Anxiety, ADHD and Depression. She also addresses developmental delays, attention and impulsivity issues, and other emotional adjustment problems or behavioral concerns. Greer helps children build social skills and increase their emotional awareness through group and individual sessions. In her free time she enjoys exploring Austin, kayaking, yoga, and keeping up with her two dogs, a rescued Rottweiler mix and her accomplice, a Chihuahua. Greer is looking forward to building a relationship with you and your family.
Kimberly Bird, LMFT-S, LPC-S
Kim has been working therapeutically with children, families and couples for over 19 years. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Child & Family Studies from West Virginia University and her Masters degree in Family Science from Virginia Tech and State University. She has worked in various settings including public /private schools, county agencies, law enforcement victim services and outpatient clinics. Her experiences have included provision of marriage and family therapy, child and adolescent therapy, parenting, play therapy, multi-family and adolescent groups. Kim has a specialization in working with families with members who have a developmental disorder, trauma related issues, and mood disorders. She has completed training/certification in the following areas:
- TX board approved Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor
- TX board approved MFT/LPC, Clinical Supervisor (lic # 4810/15836)
- Certified Elementary Teacher (1-8)
- Certified Special Education Teacher (Pre-K-12)
- Training and practice in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Training and practice in the treatment of trauma, anxiety and mood disorders
- EMDR level 1
Kim provides individual supervision and facilitates supervisory groups for intern or associate practitioners working on their LPC and/or LMFT licensure through the DHS Texas State Board of Examiners.
Jeanette Hutchinson, Clinic Operations Manager
Jeanette comes to KidWorks with 15 years in the medical field. She was previously an Infrastructure Engineer at Seton Healthcare Network. Jeanette is originally from Baytown, TX where she attended Lee College. Jeanette moved to Austin 16 years ago; she loves being a resident of Austin and enjoys the refreshing spirit of the city. In her spare time Jeanette enjoys trail-running, hiking , cooking, being involved with local charities in the community and spending time with friends, family and her animals.
Crystal Castillo, Assistant Manager & Accounts ManagerCrystal was born and raised in Harlingen, TX. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human and Family Development with a concentration in Early Childhood from The University of Texas at Austin. Crystal has enjoyed working with children of all ages both as an intern at KidWorks and through volunteering at Esculeta De Alma in Austin, TX. In her spare time, Crystal loves playing softball, watching sports, dancing, listening to music, watching movies, and, most importantly, hanging out with friends and family.
Valerie Herbst, Clinic Associate
Valerie was born in San Angelo, TX and has lived in Austin for over 19 years. She has worked in the medical field for over 10 years with the main focus of providing great customer service and family oriented care. She is currently a full time student working on receiving a degree in Psychology. She enjoys spending quality time with her daughter, working with her foundation that provides items for needy families in the Austin area, and enjoys singing karaoke with her friends and family. She enjoys providing assistance when needed in order to allow the staff to care for the children of KidWorks Therapy Services.
Marshmellow "Melly" Pokluda, Clinic Pet Therapist
Melly is a 8 1/2 year old Spitz-mix. She is a valuable member of the Kidworks Team providing that special brand of emotional support that only pets can provide.
- Advanded Pet Therapy training through Austin Dog Alliance
- Melly is a graduate of Taurus Training, a superior training facility in Austin, TX
- Melly is a super laid-back, approachable, lovable, and popular member of our staff
In her spare time, she enjoys trail-running and soccer games with Rebecca, playing tug-of-war and fetch, and just chillin' out.