Heather Lynn Boerner, MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH

Heather Lynn Boerner, a pediatric speech-language pathologist with over 15 years’ experience in the field is founder and creator of Chatty Child™. Heather  treats children who have a wide variety of needs, and has gained experience in many therapeutic settings including: hospitals, schools, sensory gyms, and homecare settings.

Specialties include: apraxia of speech and PROMPT services (a technique used to improve the movement and coordination of oral structures for speech); oral motor and feeding therapy; augmentative and alternative communication (AAC); autism; medically-complex populations; articulation; auditory processing; and, speech and language delays.

Chatty Child creates a personalized care program for each client that takes into account the child’s interests, strengths, current level of functioning, and future goals. We strive to empower the child, the whole family, and the caregivers to become positive vehicles of change within the child’s life. We strive to provide personalized, creative, and effective care to maximize each child’s communication abilities.

Heather Lynn Boerner graduated with high honors, New York University with Masters of Arts in Speech Language Pathology and Minor in Education. Heather is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Teacher of Speech and Hearing Disabled Students, State of New York. Heather is trained in PROMPT Level 2, Sounds in Motion, Zones of Regulation and DIR-FCD Model.

Gianna Cioffi, MS ED / Arts Integration Specialist

Gianna Cioffi is a teaching artist who specializes integrating arts into curriculum to create more inclusive learning experiences. She has worked as an actor, choreographer, and director for a variety of theatre companies in New York City.

In 2011, Gianna graduated with a dual degree in Theatre and Communication Disorders from SUNY New Paltz. She holds her MS ED  in Theatre Education from The City College of New York and is a New York State certified k-12 theatre teacher. Gianna is trained in Sounds in Motion, DIR-FCD Model and Orton Gillingham.



Casey Kapotes, MS, OTR/L

Casey Kapotes is a pediatric occupational therapist who works in multiple settings with children of all ages. Casey graduated with a Bachelor in Psychology and minor in Counseling from Villanova University and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Kean University. Casey holds licensure in both the state of New Jersey and New York.

Casey has a variety of experience in multiple settings including public and private schools, outpatient and inpatient adult rehabilitation, outpatient pediatric, and acute care. Casey believes in using a collaborative, holistic, client-centered approach to guide treatment while also keeping activities fun for the child. Casey believes treatment should include a multi-sensory approach to help children develop their functional skills. Casey’s experience includes treating children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Developmental Delays, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. When Casey is not working, Casey has her private pilot’s license and enjoys flying to new places in the Northeast with her family and friends!

Anne R. Karpel-Freilich, MS, CCC-SLP, TSHH

Anne R. Karpel-Freilich comes to us with more than 40 years clinical experience with children from birth through adolescence.  In addition to her many years of private practice, she has served at two major universities in the New York Metropolitan area as clinic director, building the student clinics and working to create their practicum programs.  Throughout her years of practice, she has served as a consultant to hospitals, home care agencies and the Department of Education of the City of New York.

Anne has developed expertise in the areas of neonatal and toddler feeding skill development, phonological and language acquisition with children presenting on the autistic spectrum, as well as normally developing school age children exhibiting a myriad of speech and language delays.  Her expertise extends to all areas of speech and language development as well as social skills development.  Her techniques of therapy and relationship development with clients have proven successful for hundreds of children throughout her years of practice.

Anne graduated with high honors from Teachers College at Columbia University  with a Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology.  She is licensed by the State of New York and holds permanent certification as a Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped. Anne is also trained in NDT, Hannen, Sounds in Motion and Level 1 PROMPT (a technique used to improve the movement and coordination of oral structures for speech).

Allison Levin, MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD

Allison Levin is a licensed speech language pathologist and holds the New York State Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities initial certificate. She received her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Boston University and holds licensure in the states of New York and New Jersey.

Allison has worked with individuals of all ages in a variety of settings, including hospitals, subacute rehabilitation, early intervention, sensory gyms, and outpatient clinics, but has found her passion with working with children. Allison loves to collaborate with families and the entire interdisciplinary team. She strives to treat the child from a holistic perspective in order to help each child reach their maximum potential. She has experience working with expressive and receptive language disorders, phonological/phonemic awareness, play skills, articulation disorders, apraxia/dysarthria, and feeding/swallowing disorders.

Eleni Lyssikatos, MS, OTR/L

Eleni Lyssikatos is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist working with children of all ages in multiple settings. Eleni gained experience and knowledge through fieldwork rotations including inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, schools, sensory gyms, and orthopedics. Her master’s thesis during graduate school focused on Mental Health, specifically individualized coping strategies and self-regulation mechanisms, which she incorporates in treatment sessions. Eleni’s background and experience allows her to provide holistic services while creating a fun and playful environment for children. Eleni has experience treating children with various diagnoses including Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Congenital Disorders, Developmental Delays, Learning Disabilities, Seizures, Sensory Processing Disorders. She creates individualized treatment plans to improve skills related to gross and fine motor, visual perceptual, visual motor, strength, endurance, social participation, and self-care. Eleni believes in helping children overcome obstacles, no matter how big or small, to reach their greatest potential.

Melia Nacario, PP-DPT, MS

Melia Nacario has been practicing pediatric physical therapist for more than 10 years. She has experience working in different settings such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, out-patient clinics, sensory gyms, schools, and early intervention home care. She holds a Masters in Special Education focusing on Autism and Children with multiple disabilities from the University of the Philippines. She is a member of the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association (NDTA) focusing on children with neuromuscular disorders. She graduated with her Doctorate for Physical Therapy from the University of Montana.

Melia loves working with children. She believes that with the right approach, every child can achieve their full potential.



Alyssa Parks, MS, OTR/L

Alyssa Parks is a licensed occupational therapist who has worked in a diverse array of clinical settings, including: pediatrics, geriatrics, acute care, community-based mental health, and hand therapy. She graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a B.S. in Psychology and NYU Steinhardt with an M.S. in Occupational Therapy. She enjoys working with her clients and their families to develop fun and creative interventions to meet their individual goals. Alyssa strongly believes that interventions must be patient-centered and strength-based in order to facilitate the most functional improvement. She uses a multi-sensory approach and incorporates the child’s interests and hobbies in order to promote intrinsic motivation and skill development during therapy sessions. 

 Alyssa currently works with school-aged children and older adults, helping them achieve independence in their activities of daily living despite impairments. She has experience working with individuals with Autism Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Dyspraxia, Anxiety, Depression, as well as a variety of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. During her master’s program, Alyssa conducted research on the benefits of flexibility and adaptability on quality of life. She also specializes in sleep hygiene and published an article on how these interventions can positively impact sleep quality for patients and caregivers alike.

Isabel Salazar, MS, OTR/L

Isabel Salazar is an occupational therapist (OT), who is dedicated to providing high quality care to children and families in the field of pediatrics. Isabel earned her Master’s of Science at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York where she did a Specialization in Early Intervention (EI) pediatric therapy. She works with children in schools, in the home, and is currently training for specialized occupational therapy in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting. Isabel serves on the Board of Directors for the National Perinatal Association (NPA), where she helps to promote advocacy and research for prenatal and postpartum care. Isabel authored a NICU Cuddler Guide, posted on NPA’s webpage, which provides foundational education to develop volunteer baby cuddling programs in hospital NICUs and nursery units. Isabel provides therapy with principles of motivation-based learning, guided self-growth, and problem solving to achieve goals through play and activities. Isabel is a big proponent of sensory interventions to promote physical and emotional regulation, and help to provide an optimal state for development and growth. She has experience working with a wide range of children with special needs, including various neuromuscular, sensory, and learning disabilities. Isabel has a passion for working with children and families, and truly believes she can learn something every day to improve her practice. In her free time, Isabel enjoys singing, yoga, and practicing French and Spanish.

Alessia Vitale, MS, CF-SLP, TSSLD

Alessia Vitale is a clinical fellow in speech-language pathology. She was an intern and administrator at Chatty Child as she completed her Bachelor of Arts from CUNY Queens College, before earning her Master of Science at Baldwin Wallace University.

Alessia has experience working in clinic, school, and homecare settings with toddlers through young adults. Her experience includes working with clients with a variety of communication disorders, developmental disabilities, and learning disabilities, as well as with neurodivergent populations. She enjoys collaborating with her clients’ families and multidisciplinary team to create individualized therapy plans. Alessia has a strong passion for incorporating neurodiversity-affirming practices through strengths-based approaches into all of her therapy sessions.

In her free time, Alessia enjoys reading and being outdoors.

Jennifer Willard, MS OTR/L, CIMI

Jennifer Willard is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor with over 10 years experience working with infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout New York City. Her diverse background includes working in hospitals, private homes and within the NYC public school system where she still works full time.  Jennifer has experience working with children with a variety of neuromotor and sensory based disabilities with resulting functional delays in the following areas:  fine motor skills, visual perceptual and visual motor skills, sensory integration and regulation, motor planning and self-care skills.  Her training in multiple techniques allows her a well-rounded approach to addressing these areas. As part of her holistic treatment protocols, Jennifer is diligent in educating families on ways they can best support their children in the home (and school environment when applicable) for maximum ability and functional independence. This may include using remediation activities, as well as compensatory strategies.

Jennifer also teaches Infant Massage as an adjunct service to families for children with disabilities. She has a particular interest in teaching the parents of children with Down syndrome and parents who have adopted children -- two populations for whom infant massage has particular therapeutic value. Benefits include supporting bonding, attachment and trust, decreasing colic, relieving gas and constipation, supporting improved sleep patterns, improving appetite, improving the ability to self-calm and integrate sensory information and to support more functional muscle tone and motor development.

Jennifer is now providing comprehensive services at Chatty Child Speech Therapy, including evaluation, treatment and consultation through her own private practice, First Connections Count.  She also accepts children with RSA’s from the DOE (outside of District 2) and children mandated for center-based occupational therapy through the NYS early intervention program.

Jennifer graduated with awards from Columbia University’s Master of Science Program in Occupational Therapy.  She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) and Infant Massage USA (IMUSA). Jennifer is also trained in Zones of Regulation.

Casey Kapotes, MS, OTR/L

Amelia Huckel-Bauer is a New York City based actor and teaching artist with a BFA in Acting from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and a Master's in Educational Theater from Steinhardt School of Education, NYU.  Amelia teaches at The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute and she is also a company member and teaching artist for Emit, a company that creates work for learners of all kinds around NYC. Amelia worked as a remote health coach for Noom, before joining the team at Chatty Child. She lives in the Bronx with her husband and two children.