Meet Our Team
Brittni Winslow, MS, OTR/L
Brittni Winslow received her master’s in occupational therapy from East Carolina University in 2011. She decided she wanted to become an occupational therapist while in high school and gained experience within pediatrics while working as a developmental therapist and volunteering at the Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center. Brittni has experience working with children having a variety of diagnoses such as Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, ADD/ADHD, developmental delays and Sensory Processing Disorders. She has a strong background in handwriting and fine motor skill development and published a thesis titled “The Effects of the Fine Motor and Early Handwriting Curriculum on the Fine Motor Skills of Preschool Aged Children.” Brittni has completed advanced sensory training through the Sensory Integration Certification Program, as well as trainings focused on reflex integration, the Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) approach, DIR/Floortime, and the SOS Approach to Feeding. Brittni became a co-owner of Emerge in January of 2018. Outside of work, Brittni enjoys exercising, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Clint, daughters, Brooklyn and Eleanor, and dog, Bailey.
Kelly Goad, MS, CCC-SLP
Clinical Director of Speech-Language Therapy
Kelly began working at Emerge – A Child’s Place in May 2010. Kelly graduated from the University of Florida with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2007. She has specialty training in PROMPT, Visualizing and Verbalizing, LiPS, DIR/Floortime, Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol, PECS, Social Thinking, Zones of Regulation, and the S.O.S. Approach to Feeding. By working closely with parents and other caregivers, Kelly strives to create an environment in which children’s speech and language skills are being stimulated and supported in the most effective way. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys being outdoors and exploring events and food around the Triangle. Kelly and her husband live in Durham with their dog, Gigi.
Katie Fletcher, MS, OTR/L
Clinical Director of Occupational Therapy
Katie Fletcher received her Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013. As an undergraduate student at Meredith College, Katie discovered the career of occupational therapy working as an applied behavioral analysis therapist for children with autism. Katie has experience working with children with Autism, Asperger’s, ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorders, learning disabilities, and motor planning disorders. She completed one of her graduate fieldwork placements at Emerge – A Child’s Place, before returning as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in the winter of 2014. Katie has completed formal education with the Sensory Integration Certification Program (SIPT). She also completed courses with the Vital Links program, focusing on primary movement patterns and positioning in therapy, as well as, DIR/Floortime education, Interactive Metronome certification, training with the Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) approach, and the SOS Approach to Feeding. Alongside the SOS Approach to Feeding, Katie has taken courses on feeding for the 6-16 month old, as well as, training with the Food Scientist adaptation to SOS. Katie has a focus in sensory processing, with a special interest in praxis, completing graduate research alongside faculty and colleagues where she examined children with and without dyspraxia, in order to establish test norms for children with motor planning difficulties. She also enjoys serving as Emerge’s Fieldwork Student Coordinator for the occupational therapy program. As Clinical Director, Katie enjoys connecting with families, and truly values the parent education she is able to provide to new clients and families. Outside of work, Katie lives with her husband, Heidi the dog, and Irene the cat. She enjoys, traveling, spending time outdoors, hiking, and biking. She also enjoys yoga, barre class, cooking, and reading.
Alexa Whitt, MOT, OTR/L
Alexa is a certified occupational therapist who lives in Raleigh, NC. She completed her Master’s in Occupational Therapy (MOT) at Worcester State University and she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Bridgewater State University. She is trained in the Handwriting Without Tears program, IEP development, and has completed extensive research in the areas of child development, sensory integration, and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Alexa has previously worked as a pediatric occupational therapist in schools, day cares, and homes, and she has also worked with adults in acute psychiatric and rehabilitation settings. She has experience in working with children with a variety of disorders including autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, psychiatric disorders, neurological conditions, and behavioral difficulties. Alexa is passionate about providing holistic, individualized therapy to children in need. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, paddle boarding, and spending time with her family.
Andrew Klein, MS, OTR/L
Andrew received his inspiration to become an Occupational Therapist while participating in a 10-month volunteer project in Tel Aviv, Israel. During that time, he assisted children with cerebral palsy in outdoor athletics and mobility programs, and discovered a passion for working with children with special needs. He graduated with his Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University, and spent the first 5 years of his career working as a pediatric OT in New York City. Andrew is trained extensively in the DIR®/Floortime™ methodology, and believes that each child’s individual differences can serve as their greatest strengths. Andrew also supports childhood development and sensory processing utilizing the programs and techniques in which he is well trained, including Therapeutic Listening®, Handwriting Without Tears®, The Wilbarger Therapressure Protocol (brushing), The Zones of Regulation®, and Interactive Metronome®. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing guitar, fencing, exploring North Carolina with his wife, Emma, playing and cuddling with their baby, Nora, and petting Seth, the cat.
Anna Housman, MS, CCC-SLP
Anna is a North Carolina native, originally from Winston-Salem. From a young age she always knew she wanted to work with children. During her junior year of high school her mother mentioned some of the job openings posted at the local hospital for speech-language pathologists. After reading the job descriptions, Anna knew there was no other profession for her. She completed her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at UNC-Greensboro in 2011 before moving on to complete her graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013. Prior to joining Emerge, Anna worked in both Durham and Wake County Public Schools with students ranging from kindergartner to high school in mainstream and self-contained classrooms. During this time she worked largely with, and discovered her passion for, working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She has experience working with children with varying intellectual disabilities, stuttering, articulation and expressive and receptive language delays and disorders. Anna has attended conferences and received training in PROMPT, Visualizing and Verbalizing, DIR/Floortime,The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol, The Zones of Regulation, Interventions for Word Retrieval, and the SOS Approach to Feeding. In her free time Anna enjoys spending time with her husband and her two dogs, taking numerous pictures of said dogs, sewing, knitting, reading, and antique and thrift store hunting.
Brooke Brees, MS, OTR/L
Brooke is a Michigan native who moved to North Carolina in August 2012. After falling in love with the field of occupational therapy during her years as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, she received her master’s degree in occupational therapy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan in August 2012. Prior to being a part of the Emerge family, Brooke worked in early intervention in Wake County where she developed skills working with children from birth to age 3. Brooke joined the Emerge team in June 2013. It is her passion to work with children with special needs and sensory processing difficulties and their families in order to help each child become as successful in their daily lives as possible. Brooke is certified in Interactive Metronome, has been trained in the Zones of Regulation, and has attended numerous courses regarding sensory processing. She loves helping children with social skill development and has co-lead the group Social Sleuths since the Fall of 2014. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside, cooking, and exploring the Raleigh/Durham area with her husband, Alex.
Erica O’Connor, MS, CCC-SLP
Erica, a New York native, moved to North Carolina and began working with Emerge – A Child’s Place in August 2013. Erica received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in May 2013 from Teachers College, Columbia University. The path that led Erica to Emerge is unique. Erica graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Psychology and then worked in the media and entertainment industry in New York City for 8 years. After volunteering at a clinic for children with developmental disabilities, Erica was inspired to change careers and get her Master’s degree. During graduate school, Erica completed clinical field placements at a Head Start preschool program, and the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. At CERC, Erica discovered a passion for working with children on the Autism Spectrum and received instruction on the Social Thinking treatment framework. After joining Emerge, Erica received training in PROMPT, DIR/Floortime, Visualizing and Verbalizing, PECS, The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol, C.A.R.E. and additional training in Social Thinking. Erica aims to help each child she works with reach his or her individual potential to communicate effectively. In her free time, Erica enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, yoga, reading and travel.
Jaclyn Jewett, MS, OTR/L
Jaclyn was born and raised in Ohio, where she also completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Walsh University in 2012. Jaclyn then continued on to complete her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Milligan College, in Tennessee. During this time, Jaclyn had the opportunity to work with children with a variety of developmental disorders in the school and outpatient settings. Jaclyn completed her graduate level pediatric clinical rotation at Pediatric Therapy Network, a sensory clinic in Torrance, California. While there, Jaclyn was able to gain experience working with children with sensory processing disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Intellectual Disabilities, and many others. She has now completed formal trainings in the Zones of Regulation curriculum, Pediatric Yoga for OT, Child Adult Relationship Enhancement, the Stanley Greenspan Floortime Professional Course, and many others related to sensory processing and integration. Outside of work, Jaclyn enjoy almost all outdoor activities, especially hiking and biking, singing, playing volleyball, and learning new things!
Janet Marron, MED, CCC, SLP
Janet is a speech and language pathologist with experience in articulation therapy, apraxia of speech, language disorders, cleft palate speech, speech and language delays and autism spectrum disorder. She is trained in PROMPT, Hanen It Takes Two to Talk, Lindamood Bell Programs – Visualizing and Verbalizing, Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LIPS), Kaufman Speech-To-Language Protocol, Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding with focus on infants and special populations, Picture Exchange Communication System, Floortime Method, Story Grammar Marker, Talk Tools Oral Placement Therapy for Speech Clarity and Feeding, Social Thinking Curriculum, and Zones of Regulation.
Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Janet completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Idaho followed by a master’s degree at Drexel University. She and her husband moved several times within the US settling in Durham in the early 1990’s. Janet completed a master’s of education degree in Communication Disorders at NC Central University and has found her passion providing pediatric speech and language therapy to her delightful clients. She strives to make therapy fun while maintaining a high standard for using research-based therapy strategies.
Kristina Graven, MS, OTR/L
Kristina is a California native who completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Saint Mary’s College of California in 2014. She then went on to earn a Masters in Public Health from Northumbria University in Newcastle, England. Kristina received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill and she is excited to be back at Emerge after completing one of her graduate fieldworks here. Kristina has experience as a pediatric occupational therapist working with children in day cares, schools, and their home. Kristina has worked with children with a variety of disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Kristina is trained in the Handwriting Without Tears Program and has completed research in the areas of emotional regulation based curricula for preschool aged children and hyper-responsive sensory features. Outside of work, Kristina enjoys playing and coaching volleyball, yoga, traveling, and cooking.
Laura Strenk, MS, CFY-SLP
Laura grew up in North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill for her undergraduate education. There, she majored in Psychology and spent 3 years working with children who were deemed “at-risk” for a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her senior year, Laura conducted research and completed an Honors thesis titled “The Relationship between Imitation at 12 months and Language and Self-Regulation at 42 months.” Through these experiences, Laura discovered the field of Speech-Language Pathology and developed a passion for working with children with communication needs, particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Laura graduated with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018 and accepted a position with Emerge – A Child’s Place beginning in June 2018. Laura has had clinical experience working with children with craniofacial disorders, traumatic brain injury, fluency disorders, ASD, intellectual disability, speech-sound disorders, expressive/receptive language delays, and other developmental delays and disorders. Additionally, Laura has received formal training in PROMPT. Laura enjoys working with children because it allows her to be flexible and creative when designing goals and therapy activities. Laura is highly committed to providing children from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of communication disorders access to the most current and effective evidence-based practices. In her free time, Laura enjoys traveling, baking, reading, and spending time with both her two cats (Ashe and Lexi) and her fiancé (Laura will be getting married April 2019!).
Lauren McCoy, MS, OTR/L
Lauren grew up living in many different states, but now considers North Carolina to be home. She recently joined the Emerge- A Child’s Place team in November 2016 and is thrilled to be back after completing one of her graduate fieldworks here. Lauren received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from East Carolina University in 2015 and began her career as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in Wake County Public Schools. Lauren has always enjoyed working with children and received her inspiration to become an Occupational Therapist from her mom, who is also an OT. She has clinical experience working with children with sensory processing disorder, Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Developmental Delay, and Intellectual Disabilities. In addition to joining the Emerge team, Lauren also got married in the fall of 2016. In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her new husband and their dog, Sadie.
Front Desk Manager
Dan is a native Durham resident. He did the majority of his grade schooling at Carolina Friends School in Durham and graduated from The University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Film Studies.
In his downtime, Dan is a semi-professional photographer with published works. When he is not busy taking pictures you can find him going to movies, attending the theater, reading comics, playing video games and trying any of the new trendy restaurants that have sprung up in our area.
Dan says. “My favorite thing about working at Emerge is the people. From my amazing team of therapists and aids to the wonderful families that attend our clinic, my day is packed with one-on-one interactions that I’ve never get tired of. On top of that, seeing kids come into our clinic and improve and conquer the challenges they face in life really moving. While I enjoy seeing the same faces week-after-week, seeing our patients’ graduate is an amazing thing to be a part of.”
Deb Van Deman
Deb graduated with a B.A. in Recreational Therapy from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. She delighted in teaching spirited Kindergartners for four years and facilitated a pre-k science class at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, before starting a family. She has an amazing daughter, her husband, and two wonderful teenage grandsons. Returning to the work force, she became an office manager in a busy Chiropractic clinic that continued for almost 20 years. Her desire to be near family took her on a journey to Durham in 2012 where she was happy to discover Emerge! Here she attends to the many needs of the clinic, the children, and the therapists as well. Deb loves to read historical fiction, enjoys needlepoint and likes to taste-test (with gusto!) the various restaurants in and around town.
Rachel is native to the Queen City of Charlotte, and moved to Chapel Hill in 2014 to complete her undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill where she graduated with a B.A. in Biology and minor in Cognitive Science. She loved the triangle area so much that she decided to stay here after graduation as she works towards attending Occupational Therapy school. Rachel began volunteering at Emerge in 2016 and continued to volunteer with group therapy sessions until she was hired onto the Emerge team as a therapy aide in May of 2018. When not at Emerge, Rachel also works as a research coordinator for UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine indulging in her love for science. In her free time she loves to spend time with her wonderful pets Timmy and Franklin (Go Heels!), exercising, baking, and exploring nature.
Joan comes to Emerge-A Child’s Place with eight years of experience working as an officer manager in an occupational therapy setting. She is a graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan College with a B.A. in Theater. She lives in Durham with her husband Alan, and her daughter Virginia Gayle, a senior at Jordan High School. Her son John Alan attends Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Joan’s hobbies including sewing and embroidery and caring for her two beloved dogs, Lucy and Freedom. She also is the liaison between the church and preschool at Resurrection United Methodist Church.
Bonnie J Hacker, MHS, OTR/L
Bonnie has dedicated a lifetime to helping children and their families. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida in 1975 and a Masters of Health Science in Pediatric Occupational Therapy in 1978. Since 1978, Bonnie has practiced in the Durham-Chapel Hill area. Initially she was part of the Division for Disorders of Development and Learning, a training and diagnostic center associated with the University of North Carolina. During that time, she was awarded the Cordelia Myers Writers Award by the American Occupational Therapy Association for her two-part series on Single Subject Research, published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Bonnie has co-authored three books: Pediatric Assessment: A Guide for Therapists, The Carolina Curriculum for Infants with Special Needs, and The Carolina Curriculum for Preschoolers with Special Needs.
Bonnie has attended numerous continuing education courses in sensory processing/integration, autism, cerebral palsy and behavior. She is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment, Sensory Integration & Praxis Tests, Integrative Listening Systems, Advanced Therapeutic Listening, and Interactive Metronome.
Bonnie founded Emerge-A Child’s Place in March, 2001 in order to provide services to more children in the Triangle area, to train therapists to provide skilled and caring services and to develop a fully equipped state-of-the-art clinic. In September 2011 that dream was fully realized with the opening of the new, 6500 sq. ft. facility on University Drive in Durham.
Bonnie has two grown children. When not working, Bonnie enjoys spending time with her grandson, creating art, reading, and traveling.