Developmental therapy looks globally at child development to help children maximize success across domains. Developmental therapists consider all areas of child development, including cognition, language, social-emotional development, motor skills, behavior, and self-help skills as they work with families to craft a program that best supports the needs of each individual child. Developmental therapists work to identify areas of strength for each child and use these to build skills in areas of challenge. Developmental therapists are cognitive specialists that can assist families in helping children learn through play and within daily routines so that children may explore and learn confidently while gaining skills. Developmental therapists can also assist parents in managing behavior challenges to increase success throughout the day. All developmental therapists at Feeding Friends are certified Positive Discipline Parent Educators and are working toward an infant-toddler mental health level 2 specialist certification.
Natalie Case, DTS
Natalie Case has over 10 years experience working with children with a variety of developmental, physical, social/emotional and communicative delays, including ADD, ADHD, apraxia, anxiety disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, bipolar, communication/language delays, Down Syndrome, CP, CF, Prader-Willi, prematurity, SPD, spina bifida, g-tubes and trachs. Natalie uses developmentally appropriate play activities and toys, and will incorporate speech and language into all aspects of therapy. She also utilizes basic signs as a bridge to verbal communication.
Tara Frieden, DTS
Tara Frieden has worked with children of various abilities for over 17 years. Tara uses developmentally appropriate practices and includes all areas of development in her therapy sessions. She works with both English and Spanish speaking families, and has had experience with children with various diagnosis including Down Syndrome, ADD, communication disorders, SPD, Autism, hearing impairments, Epilepsy and moderate mental disorders and other medical needs. Tara is a certified Singing Time Instructor and teaches American Sign Language. Classes are available at Feeding Friends, please see www.tarafrieden.com for more information on the classes.
Colleen Kuehr, DTS
Colleen Kuehr believes that early intervention is the key to a child’s success. As a mother of two, who received First Steps, she sees the benefit of the program and how it helps bridge the gaps in a child’s development. Colleen has 25 years of experience working with young children as a teacher and Developmental Therapist. Colleen has worked with a variety of children including developmental delays, communication/language delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, Sensory Integration issues, behavior challenges, picky eaters, prematurity, ADD/ADHD, g-tubes and trachs. Currently, she is attaining a credential in Infant Toddler Mental Health. Colleen uses play-based therapy, rich language and positive communication strategies to help in the development of the whole child socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically.
Jennifer Melton, DTS
Jennifer Melton is passionate about helping all children be successful. She has been working with children for 20 years, and has a broad range of experience. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in educational psychology and a master’s degree in special education/applied behavior analysis from Ball State University. Jennifer has worked as a developmental therapist for Indiana’s First Steps Early Intervention System for the last ten years, and finds working with infants, toddlers, and their families a constant source of delight. Jennifer also works with preschool and school-aged children to assist with behavior success throughout the day at both home and school and has a particular interest in fostering positive behavior and relationships during mealtime. Jennifer has experience working with a variety of developmental, social, emotional and communicative challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorders, genetic syndromes including Down syndrome, prematurity, seizure disorders, sensory Integration issues, speech delays, bipolar, ADHD, anxiety, behavioral issues, picky eating, problem eating, and physical challenges. Jennifer has training in a variety of approaches including applied behavior analysis, Positive Discipline, sensory integration strategies, and Floortime because she realizes one size never fits all and works hard to tailor a program to the individual strengths and needs of each family she works with. Jennifer presents on a variety of topics including behavior management and inclusion strategies for daycares and preschools, parenting techniques, and mealtime behavior management. Along with Colleen Wasemann, Jennifer has developed and presents on The MPOS Method for managing mealtime challenges. Jennifer is currently completing her infant/toddler mental health specialization. In her spare time, Jennifer, her husband, and her three active and adorable boys love to spend time together creating, exploring, and discovering all that life has to offer.
Jessica Reeder, DTS
As a mother of a child who received services through First Steps, Jessica understands the obstacles that families face on a daily basis. She has seen the positive effects that early intervention can have on children. She enjoys getting to know each family and helping them achieve their child's goals. Jessica has over 12 years of experience working in a variety of educational and child development settings. Jessica began her career teaching in the public school setting as an English as a Second Language teacher and an elementary classroom teacher. She has experience working with a variety of developmental, social, emotional and communicative challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorders, genetic syndromes, prematurity, Sensory Integration issues, speech delays, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, behavioral issues, Dyslexia, and physical impairments.