Charity Higgins, MOT, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Owner

Charity has been working in the pediatric OT field since 2007. Since getting her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, she has worked in a variety of pediatric settings including private practice, daycare’s, public and private schools, and homes. Puttential, Inc. was created in 2009 with the vision of integrating Occupational Therapy and the game of golf. Later, in 2013, Kidz Therapy Zone was established to better serve clients sensory and developmental needs. The therapy clinic allows for greater Sensory Integration interventions and co treating with Speech and Language therapists. KTZ offers services in a warm, friendly, and positive environment. With continuing education in Sensory Processing and Regulation, Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome, Handwriting Without Tears, Vision Therapy and Reflex Integration principles, Charity and her colleagues treat children of all ages and skill levels with a holistic approach to maximize learning and development. Charity and her staff have a passion for helping children reach their highest potential.
Outside of KTZ, Charity enjoys watching her son play baseball, and helping her daughter make slime (she is a slime guru!).

Kristy Gillham, OTR/L

Kristy is a national and State of Florida licensed and certified Occupational Therapist. She completed her studies at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa and became an OTR/L in 1998.  Since certification, she has worked in both the pediatric and adult populations. Kristy has worked with children in a variety of settings including outpatient clinic, schools, daycares, and home health.  Kristy and her family moved to Florida from Illinois in July 2019.  She was previously early intervention credentialed in Illinois and has recently become credentialed to provide early intervention services in Florida. Kristy has experience and training in Handwriting Without Tears, Sensory Processing Disorders, Sensory Integration, Autism, and ADHD.  Kristy loves helping families and children improve their daily life and achieve their goals.

Samantha Stern, MS, OTR/L, SIPT

Samantha has worked as an Occupational Therapist for the past seven years in New York, and Washington, D.C. She decided to pursue her therapy passion and her love of warm weather (and Disney) in Florida this past year. Throughout her career, Samantha has worked in private sensory clinics, Early Intervention services, and in an inpatient hospital with the focus to aid families in understanding how to make all areas of their child’s life positive and supportive. Her post-graduate education has focused on sensory integration and feeding therapy as she believes these primary areas to be integral in development. She is certified in the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) which has allowed extensive knowledge in the sensory system and has taken the Sequential Oral Sensory Course which focuses on feeding techniques for the picky eater. Samantha thoroughly enjoys when the confidence shines in each child as they progress.

Mariela Rivera, COTA/L

Mariela completed her studies at Keiser University and became a COTA/L in 2011. Since earning her certification, she has worked solely with the pediatric population, providing services in an outpatient clinic, home health and in school settings. She is trained in Interactive Metronome, and the Handwriting Without Tears programs. Other continuing education courses have focused on Sensory Processing Disorders and Sensory Integration. She has a passion for the profession and for helping children make improvements that will undoubtedly change their life. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and the outdoors. 

Janet Gussow, COTA/L

Janet completed her studies at Keiser University and became a COTA/L in 2014. Since certification, she has worked exclusively with pediatrics in outpatient clinical settings and provided services to children with a variety of diagnoses. Prior to her accreditation, Janet worked as a preschool teacher and decided to change careers after experiencing the accomplishment her students made after receiving occupational therapy. Janet is trained and certified in Interactive Metronome, Handwriting Without Tears and has training in Sensory Processing Disorders and Sensory Integration. Janet is dedicated to helping others improve their quality of life. Janet enjoys spending time with family and serving the community.

Danelle Canavan, M.S. CCC-SLP

Danelle is a national and State of Florida licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Masters of Arts Degree in Speech and Language Pathology.
Danelle specializes in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental delays, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Articulation/phonological Disorders, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders, and Pragmatic Social Language Disorders.
Danelle hold a certification in Core Vocabulary, a therapy technique used to develop vocabulary and language in children who have limited verb skills. She is also certified in social thinking and zones of regulation which is an intervention program designed to enhance children’s social communication as well as their ability to self- monitor and regulate their emotions. Danelle’s goal is to provide evidence-based treatments so that your child develops effective communication skills. She looks forward to working with you and your child to meet their goals.

Sharon Ramkarran, M.S. CCC-SLP

Sharon considers herself a Florida native although she moved here from New York when she was 4 years old. She grew up in the Central Florida area and always maintained the desire to give back to her community. Sharon graduated from University of Central Florida with her Master's of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in 2011 and completed her Clinical Fellowship at a skilled nursing facility in St. Augustine, Florida. She has worked in both the pediatric and adult settings with various populations including: traumatic brain injury, strokes, dysarthria, apraxia, head and neck cancer, autism, Alzheimer's disease, and Down's Syndrome. She is licensed in Florida, a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association, and is certified in Vital Stim.

Sharon is currently pursuing a certification in feeding and swallowing to better serve her clients' needs. In September 2020, Sharon received the ACE award from the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association for completing 70 hours of continuing education within a 36 month period. This award is a formal recognition that is bestowed to those within the speech-language pathology and audiology fields that pursue professional learning that goes beyond an academic degree. It is a testament to Sharon's dedication towards providing the best, most current, and evidence based treatment approaches to her clients at Kidz Therapy Zone.

Diana J.Goodwin, MA, CCC-SLP

Diana comes to us with a wealth of knowledge with national and international undergraduate/graduate school training and then 30 years of hospital based outpatient clinic experience at Baycare. She has a love for language whether it’s establishing the first few words, exploring preliteracy skills to promote reading proficiency, teaching English to adults or regaining lost language skills following a stroke. She trained with a pioneer in pragmatics and has retained that interest in the importance of social skill development in the ASD population by establishing social skills groups. She likes to use a combination of the latest tech, currently incorporating the use of Forbrain in her therapy, and good old fashioned common sense, such as parent participation, to maximize progress.
To help her daughter with her growing family, Diana and her husband recently moved from the Tampa area to Davenport. She also enjoys aerobic gardening, gourmet cooking, flower designing, biking and caring for her furry babies, including 2 rescue doxies.;

Naiceli A. Almaguer, M.S, CCC-SLP

Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist (Spanish)

Naiceli is a bilingual certified Speech-Language Pathologist who recently graduated from Florida International University with her Masters in 2019. Since then she has worked in a pediatric private practice setting in Miami, where she gained experience providing speech therapy in both English and Spanish. Naiceli has a big passion for working with children. Her favorite areas of Speech-Language Pathology are: receptive and expressive language disorders, social communication, speech sound disorders, and literacy.
Naiceli enjoys learning new concepts and techniques and looks forward to gaining even more knowledge about different areas in her field. She is committed to giving her patients engaging, effective, and evidence-based therapy in an effort to help them reach their highest potential. Most importantly, Naiceli loves giving back to her community and helping little ones find their voice.

Hyeda Querino MS-SLP

Trilingual Speech Language Pathologist (Portuguese/Spanish)

Hyeda is a trilingual Speech Therapist who is licensed in the State of Florida. She obtained her BA in Speech Therapy and Audiology from UNIVALI in Brazil (2001), and later her Masters in Communication Disorders from UNESP in Brazil (2011). During graduate school, Hyeda earned the title of Specialist in Voice and Dysphagia. She has a vast amount of experience with both adults and children, with experience working in private clinics, schools, hospitals as well as higher education teaching. In 2017 Hyeda obtained another Bachelor's degree this time in Nursing. In addition to being a speaker and researcher, she has training in a variety of specialized areas (vocal disorders, feeding, dysphagia, oral motor therapy techniques, image exchange communication system (PECS), alternative communication and augmentative devices). She is also certified by the Lee Silverman Therapy Program.
Hyeda and her family have lived in Florida for 3 years. She loves spending time with her children. Together they enjoy going to the movies, theater, museums and shows. In addition, they are all passionate about reading and learning.

Mallory Creekmore, M.eD, ITDS

Mallory graduated from Capella University with a Masters in Early Childhood Education in 2013. Mallory earned her Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist certificate in 2014 and provides Early Intervention services to children in their homes and schools. She has experience as a teacher both in a traditional private school and a special needs school setting. She also works with a variety of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum disorders, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, speech delay, and other related disabilities. She is excited to be a part of the Kidz Therapy Zone team and has a passion for children.

Susan Mayton, ITDS

Susan is a certified Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS), with 25+ years’ experience in Early Childhood service. She has served as Social Worker, Home & Center Based Teacher/Lead Teacher, Program Director, COO, and Independent Contractor. Her favorite role has always been Early Educator/Family Mentor. She considers it an honor to be invited into a home and trusted to support the family as their child’s best teacher, developing interventions that will shape a young child’s love for learning.
Susan has a BSW degree in Clinical Social Work from SUNY Albany; and, a special certificate Masters in Early Education Visual Impairment from FSU. She has worked with children experiencing a range of DD, such as Cerebral Palsy, ASD, Down Syndrome, Communications Disorder, Cognitive Delay, Motor Delay, Medical Fragility with Delay, Vision Impairment & Blindness. She believes that the best teaching begins with the best evaluation, and so has pursued extra training in this. Together with a team, she published a family friendly process for evaluating young children with DD, and trained this process to teachers and evaluators throughout Florida under contract with the Florida Department of Education. This has led to her special passion for working with children who are coping with highly unique challenges, calling for innovative teaching strategies.
Susan is inspired and humbled on a daily basis by her very own superhero, her son Joshua who lives joyfully, while coping with Tuberous Sclerosis!

Emily Garratt, ITDS

Emily is from the UK and comes with over 20 years of Early Intervention experience.
In 2017, Emily graduated with a BA honors in Early Childhood Education & Special Education which further added to her knowledge. She has spent the last 16 years supporting and advising early intervention families, professionals and colleagues in the field of special needs. She has worked alongside Multi-Disciplinary teams to provide support and training. Her training and background have provided invaluable support, knowledge, resources, and strategies to support all those involved with the child and family. Emily's training includes behavior strategies, autism, visual supports, sensory processing and attachment disorders.
After moving to sunny Florida, Emily gained the Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist Certification to continue her work with children and families within her new community. Being a mum of two boys keeps her busy but in her free time, she has a passion for baking. Especially desserts, biscuits (cookies) and cakes.

Shelley Lisko, Office Administrative Assistant

Shelley is a native of Orlando. As a “graduate” of twelve years of homeschooling, proud Navy wife and a recreation therapist she is excited to be part of the Kidz Therapy team.

Shelley likes porch sitting and odd looking dogs.