Dawn has been working with students with autism, their parents and caregivers, educators and other professionals for the past fourteen years. Her experience includes teaching students in a classroom setting, providing 1:1 ABA therapy in homes and schools, providing training and consultation to parents and caregivers, and providing training and consultation to teachers in educational settings. Dawn has three children and moved to Florida from Wisconsin 2003. She earned her Master’s degree in Education from Concordia University. Dawn continued her education in applied behavior analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology and became a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst(BCaBA) in 2008, and a BCBA in 2015. Dawn also has an A.A. in Healthcare Business Services.
“I am looking forward to working with each new client and being part of the team. I will work diligently to help every child reach their full potential.”
Hannah Catalan, RBT, Clinical Manager
Hannah joined the Play on Words team in February 2015. She previously worked as the youth/sports Director for the YMCA and has brought that spirit of teamwork to Play on Words. Families enjoy Hannah's warmth and dedication to her profession. Hannah has her bachelor's degree in Health, and is currently pu
pursuing certification as a BCaBA.
Executive Director-Tara Mills Cortopassi, M.A., M.S., BCBA, CFY-SLP
Since earning her master’s degree in Special Education, from the California State University, Sacramento, Ms. Cortopassi has worked as a behavior analyst. Her passion for the past 20 years has been helping children with autism spectrum disorders and their families, previously in Northern California and now in South Florida. She has a proven track record in assisting clients to live their best life and providing families with a trusted resource and reliable professional who is current on all new theories and innovations as related to autism spectrum disorder. In 2015 Ms. Cortopassi earned a second master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of South Florida. The combined educational background of being a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, Florida Certified Special Education teacher, and a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist, gives Ms. Cortopassi a unique perspective when working with children with ASD. One of less than 400 similarly degreed professionals in the world, Southwest Florida is privy to have such a dedicated and informed individual working on behalf of ASD families. Ms. Cortopassi has presented original research at both the California Applied Behavior Analysts Annual Convention and the Applied Behavior Analysts International Convention. She is also a co-author on two systematic reviews published by the Campbell Collaboration: Effectiveness of Adult Employment Assistance Services for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Pre-Graduation Transition Services for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Effects on Employment Outcomes
What makes us different: At Play on Words, we understand that each child is an individual who deserves a custom-designed ABA program, one to meet his or her specific needs. We know that simply reducing maladaptive behaviors isn't enough, but rather, teaching functional replacement behaviors that include communication skills, self-help capabilities, crucial play and social time, is not only warranted, but should be demanded of any ABA program. Here at Play on Words, we provide a diversified and sound program of proven strategies to alleviate some of the day to day stresses that families are facing. Rather than simply focusing on reduction of maladaptive behaviors, our philosophy is to provide true replacements based on the function of the behavior. This can be in the form of communication, using the principles of Skinner's verbal behavior, or play skills, or self-help skills. Our staff of certified behavioral associates knows that every behavior a child exhibits serves a purpose. We love to share in our clients' successes and have enjoyed seeing families attend gatherings and social events, something many had thought not possible. We are able to provide 1:1 behavior assistance in your school setting, where our professional associates can give you added assurance that your child is receiving the utmost highest standard of care while pursuing academics. Give us a call or send in a note of inquiry to find out what we can do for your child today.
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