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. Hannah has her bachelor's degree in Health, and is currently pursuing certification as a BCaBA.
Joanie Levine, BCaBA, Behavior Consultant
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. Beginning in 1998 Tara has helped children with autism spectrum disorders and their families, previously in Northern California and now in South Florida. 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.
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
At Play on Words, we know that each child is an individual and 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 skills, play and social skills, is not only warranted, but should be demanded of any ABA program. Play on Words provides in-home ABA services to children ages 18 months to 18 years old. Rather than simply focusing on reduction of maladaptive behavior, our philosophy is to provide true replacement behaviors 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. We know that every behavior a child exhibits serves a purpose, and we believe appropriate replacement behaviors can be taught. Imitation and language are the foundation of all learning. From there, we teach self-help skills, play and social skills, help with academics, and community outings. We are also able to provide 1:1 behavior assistance in your school setting. 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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