OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

  • Deanne Anderson, MS, OT/L, SIPT- Co-Director
  • Lauren Coughlin, MS, OTR/L, SIPT- Co-Director
  • Sarah Bengtson, MOT, OTR/L
  • Brooke Bochese, MOT, OTR/L
  • Kristen Sutton, MOT, OTR/L
  • Jessica Tuthill, BS, OTR/L
  • Carrie Carroll, COTA/L
  • Laurie Ekwall, COTA/L
  • Leah Cheshire, COTA/L
  • Leda O’Connor, COTA/L
  • Beatriz Lopez, COTA/L
  • Annette Auburt, COTA/L

SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY

  • Jenna Tellerico, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Haley Gustavson, MS, CFY-SLP
  • Christine Robinson, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Elisabeth Nicoletti, MS, CCC-SLP

PHYSICAL THERAPY

  • Rebecca Souza, RPT
  • Alex Drouin Cassidy, PTA
  • Caryn Brady

SKILLED COLLABORATORS 

  • Sue Carey, MS, OTR/L, SIPT (Ready Set Go, LLC)
  • Denise Santoro, RPT

ADMINISTRATIVE

  • Leda O’Connor, practice manager
  • Laurie Dupree, billing coordinator
  • Taylor Anderson, front office administrator

Occupational Therapy Staff Bios

Deanne Anderson, MS, OT/L holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Quinnipiac (College) University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University. She is currently studying for her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Hartford. Deanne is currently the program director for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT and an adjunct faculty member at Quinnipiac University. Her areas of specialty include neurological dysfunction, visual and cognitive impairment, executive dysfunction and educational advocacy. She has worked extensively with clients with neurological deficits. This includes feeding strategies, cognitive dysfunction, and visual, perceptual and motor dysfunction.


Deanne is a registered Advanced Therapeutic Listening practitioner. In addition, she is certified in Sensory Integration Treatment and Evaluation. She has worked in a variety of practice areas which include home health care, acute care, and rehabilitation across the age span. She brings over twenty four years of clinical and practice management experience to Creative Development.
Deanne has authored a chapter for a book on multidisciplinary rehabilitation and she has written several articles for OT Advance, the national magazine for the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Deanne is currently the Special Interest Section co-chairperson for the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association. Deanne has authored a chapter for a book on multidisciplinary rehabilitation and she has written several articles for OT Advance, the national magazine for the American Occupational Therapy Association.


Lauren Gillis Coughlin, MS, OTR/L earned her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from University of Hartford and she earned her post-professional Masters of Science degree in occupational therapy from Boston University. Lauren specializes her occupational therapy practice in pediatrics using a holistic, child-centered approach, utilizing the child’s inner motivation as a guide for therapy. Lauren believes in a family centered approach where parent/family carryover and participation is key to helping the child become more independent. She has experience working with children of all ages from infancy through age 21 and has worked in various private pediatric clinics, Connecticut Birth to Three, pediatric home care, various school districts and acute care settings. In addition to practicing for almost 20 years, Lauren brings over 10 years of practice management and clinical supervision experience to Creative Development.

Areas of research interest are autism and social participation; sensory integration; the promotion of normal development in infants and how development affects the child’s ability to effectively play and learn; and prevention of becoming a picky eater and feeding development. Lauren has provided both community consultations and several community presentations in these areas. She is also currently an adjunct faculty member for Goodwin University’s OTA program and teaches their pediatrics course.In addition, Lauren is an adjunct faculty member at Quinnipiac University. She takes pride in acting as the liaison for various colleges. Lauren supervises multiple Level II occupational therapy fieldwork students yearly. Teaching and collaboration with the community are extremely important to Lauren. She has assisted with developing many different collaborative community partners during the time Creative Development has been opened and feels that collaboration is vital to a child’s success in becoming independent.

She has co-authored a chapter on Therapeutic Listening in the Schools as well as written pediatric practice exam questions for the OT assistant national exam.Lauren is a registered Advanced Therapeutic Listening provider and is certified in sensory integration treatment and administering/interpreting the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT). 

Lauren is a registered Advanced Therapeutic Listening provider and is certified in sensory integration treatment and administering/interpreting the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).


Jessica Tuthill, BS, OTR/L earned her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from the University of New Hampshire and comes with over 15 years of clinical experience in a variety of settings including; acute care, subacute care, school systems,  and private clinic. She has a passion for treating the pediatric population with experiencing in treating children ages birth to 21.  She has worked in school systems and in the private clinic settings with a motivation to help all children attain their highest level of independence across all contexts.  Jessica has experience in collaborating with a variety of professionals within the community in order to provide her clients with a multi-disciplinary approach.  In addition to treating part time in the clinic, Jessica has helped to educate school professionals and local physicians on the importance and role occupational therapy  and its impact on the development for children with varying abilities. 

Jessica is interested in the promotion of development with infants which goes back to her experience in treating pre-term infants in the NICU.  She has experience in treating picky eaters and helping children to expand their food repertoire through a multi-sensory approach to feeding therapy.  Jessica is a registered Therapeutic Listening practioner and has taken extensive courses to assist children with sensory processing disorders. 

Jessica has a passion for the development of future occupational therapy practitioners and has taken various level one and level two therapy students  from nearby accredited occupational therapy programs.


Sarah Bengtson, MOT, OTR/L earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Bay Path University. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Southern Connecticut State University. Sarah enjoys working with the pediatric population using a holistic approach to best provide for her clients and families. She  collaborates as part of a transdisciplinary team to ensure carryover and generalization of skills for her clients. Sarah also represents Creative Development, LLC within a variety of community settings by working with clients in their homes, school, or other community programs. She has experience completing evaluations for durable medical equipment and assessing the home for modification. She has experience with children of all ages and with a variety of diagnoses such as sensory processing disorder, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, developmental delay, various genetic syndromes, and Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as children who have difficulties with feeding, social skills, and self-regulation. She has experience working with a variety of programs or protocols within her sessions and is certified in Therapeutic Listening. She has become a mentor to OTR and OTA students, providing supervision and guidance during their clinical fieldworks. In her free time, she enjoys playing hockey, cooking, and taking her dog on hikes.


Brooke Bochese, MOT, OTR/L earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University. With a focus on holistic medicine, Brooke explored both pediatric and older adult populations within outpatient rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychosocial group therapy settings. During her time as a student, she also adopted her mantra that “everyone has their own lens to view life, so it is important to embrace the diversity within each viewfinder.” This particularly guided her as she found her way to be an occupational therapist at Creative Development, LLC where she works with children and adolescents of varying abilities to gain the appropriate tools and strategies they need to independently participate in their daily activities. Brooke greatly values the importance of the little moments as they impact the bigger day to day activities.

Focusing on the little moments began during Brooke’s dancing career at All the Right Moves Dance Studio in Norwich, CT.  Brooke pursued active roles in the dance studio, from dancer to student assistant to being a teacher for children ages 3-6 years old. Whether it was successfully landing a pirouette turn herself, helping a friend learn how to shuffle-ball-change, or encouraging a young dancer to stand on stage during recital, those moments mattered to her. Brooke’s dance experience and occupational therapy experiences further developed her interest in expression, movement, and living for the little moments in life. Brooke became certified in Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, which allows her to combine her skills as an occupational therapist and as a dance teacher to assure children and adults of all abilities can learn and enjoy the freedom of movement and expression that dance brings. She is also certified in Therapeutic Listening. Brooke continues to spread light to her clients and students with a goal to let them lead a more creative, more confident, and more independent life.


Kristen Sutton, MOT, OTR/L received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University, and then went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Bay Path University. During her graduate studies, Kristen completed her clinical rotations in both pediatric outpatient (including Creative Development, LLC) and skilled nursing facility settings. Kristen has experience working within the public school systems, and has worked for multiple school systems as an Occupational Therapist, including New Haven, West Haven, and East Haven public schools. She also has experience working in the ABA environment as well as working closely with ABA therapists. Kristen has experience working alongside a multidisciplinary team to provide evaluations and assist in developing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) as well as 504 Plans.  


Kristen has worked with a wide population of children, ranging from preschool to high school aged students, as well as with a variety of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy, visual impairments, social impairments, and sensory processing disorder. 


Kristen continues to expand her knowledge in the field of occupational therapy by engaging in continuing education courses specific to pediatrics, end enjoys working closely with families to develop home programs and ensure carryover of skills gained within the clinic. She enjoys incorporating brain gym and metronome activities within her therapy sessions, as well as providing the “just right challenge” for her clients to promote success. 
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband and (soon to be) two sons.

Sue Carey, MS, OTR/L (Get Set Go-OT, LLC), graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Rehabilitation Services from Springfield College, in Springfield, MA, and a Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University, in San Jose, California. Sue has had the privilege of working as an occupational therapist with both adults and children in a variety of settings since 1992. Sue spent her early years as a therapist working on a Rehabilitation Team primarily supporting adults and teens recovering from traumatic brain injury. It was at this time she developed an in interest in how the brain learns and is able compensates for injury and differences. Following this time, Sue had the opportunity to work as a seating and positioning specialist, supporting professionals in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Idaho and Montana. It was here that her interest working with younger children was fostered, so in 2000, Sue went to work for Marin County office of Education where she worked with children birth to teens, including those with complex medical issues, children with Autism, children with Speech and Language disorders, children with learning disorders and children with sensory processing differences.

Sue believes that it is essential to work with clients and their families to understand their challenges at home, in the community and school environments. She also takes time to have the family be a part of creating solutions and to include the child is a part of daily goal setting when appropriate. She believes that the clinic experience should be a safe place to practice skills that can foster greater independence outside of the clinical setting. Sue feels that supporting a child’s goals with a home practice program or ‘homework’ is the best way to bring the skill into life outside the clinic. Sue has enjoyed continuing her education taking classes in visual perceptual rehabilitation, Neurodevelopmental Treatment, self regulation, sensory integration and handwriting to name a few. Sue is Sensory Integration and Praxis certified, a Therapeutic Listening Provider and has worked with the Handwriting Without Tears Program since 2000. Working with families as a whole to empower children to use their strengths, embrace their challenges and use both to become their best selves is what she hopes to achieve each day.


Carrie Carroll, COTA/L obtained an associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Goodwin College in 2011. She has a broad background working with children, as well as the geriatric population. She worked as a daycare/preschool provider, a licensed patient care assistant at Ct. Children’s Medical Center and a paraprofessional in the public school system just to name a few. She supported children of all ages with varying disabilities, such as physical, behavioral and educational before embarking on her career path as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. She has worked with children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Autism, sensory impairments, and other developmental delays in both public school and private practice. She also has worked in multiple Rehab and SNF facilities helping individuals regain function and activities of daily living. She enjoys working with the pediatric populations in all areas and settings.

She has attended various educational seminars to further her knowledge and special interest with helping children with feeding difficulties or “Picky Eaters”. Other areas of interest include assisting children with challenging fine motor deficits and emotional dysregulation, by incorporating “Handwriting without Tears and “Zones of Regulation” into therapy sessions.

In 2013, Carrie became and continues to be a mentor to new and upcoming COTA graduates by supervising and providing guidance throughout their fieldwork studies.


Laurie Ekwall, COTA/L holds an associates degree in occupational therapy from Becker Junior College in 1985. She has 18 years experience in the field working with a variety of clients including traumatic brain injury, geriatrics, acute care, and working with the pediatric population with extensive health issues in the hospital setting. She took time away from her profession to stay home with her two daughters. During this time she took a position in the primary classroom of their Montessori school working with 3-5 year olds and eventually took a position working in the toddler room. She joined Creative Development 6 years ago and is happy to be back practicing occupational therapy in the clinical setting.

In 2015 Laurie completed a year long study with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and received her Health Coaching Certification. She decided to become a Health Coach to fulfill her passion for working with children and their parents to adopt a healthier lifestyle by providing guidance and inspiration to help shift their behavior to healthier habits by making step by step changes to their diet and lifestyle. She embeds her health coach certification into her every day practice at Creative Development.


Leah Cheshire, COTA/L holds a Bachelor’s degree from Keene State College in Health Promotion and Communications, and an Associate’s degree in Chemical Dependency, December 2000.  After working in the teaching, health fitness, mental health and therapy settings for 14 years, she decided to expand her education by obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Goodwin College, December 2014.  

Leah has been working at Creative Development since 2014 in both clinic and aquatic therapy settings. She enjoys working with children and adolescents with a focus on developing their independence with play, self care, and learning.  Leah continues to enrich her learning with continued education classes as a member of both The American Occupational Therapy Association and Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association. 

Her sessions focus on purposeful sensory, cognitive and physical activities that have meaning and therefore promote change.

Outside the clinic, Leah enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, as well as running, yoga, dancing and traveling to new places.


Leda O’Connor, COTA/L and Practice Manager, earned her associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Goodwin College in 2017.  She has a broad background working with the adult and geriatric populations as a Certified Medical Assistant & Medical Biller for 12 years, in both the hospital and private practice settings. She also has 10 years’ experience working with children, as a paraprofessional in an elementary school setting. Leda has worked with children and adults with Autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, developmental delays, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorders, and various other impairments that affect daily participation. Leda has clinical experience in the mental health field, and also provides clients with skilled aquatic occupational therapy. Leda enjoys being able to utilize her wide range of education and experiences while working with and caring for children and their families at Creative Development. Leda is a member of the OTA advisory board for Goodwin University, and is an NBCOT member. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, camping, and reading.  


Beatriz Lopez, COTA/L earned her associates degree in health sciences from Goodwin College in 2013 and graduated from Goodwin College as a certified occupational therapy assistant in 2015 with Deanne and Lauren being her teachers and mentors. Beatriz is a bilingual Spanish speaking professional who has 10 years of professional experience working in women’s health, as a Medical Assistant, prior to going into occupational therapy. Beatriz’s fieldwork experience consisted of school system in a non traditional setting at a preschool working with children within the ages of 3-5 years old, and at a Hospital in Mental health acute setting, patients age ranging from adolescence to geriatric. Beatriz has worked with children with Autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and various impairments that affect daily participation, with Creative Development being her first official employment since August 2015. Also Beatriz has worked per Diem at Natchaug hospital serving the mental health community. Beatriz believes mental health is a part of the holistic medicine, and loves to serve the pediatric population, in collaboration with other therapists and the caregivers of the clients.


Speech and Language Pathology Staff Bios

Jenna Tellerico, MS, CCC-SLP  received both her undergraduate degree and a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. Jenna has experience working with children ages infancy-21 from her on campus and off campus practicums at Southern, including her placement at Creative Development. Jenna has been working as a full-time speech language pathologist at Creative Development since graduation. Jenna enjoys working with the pediatric population, specifically with children who have developmental language disorders, motor speech disorders, social language deficits, as well as with children on the Autism Spectrum. Jenna enjoys working and collaborating with other members of the transdisciplinary team as well in regards to children with complex needs. Specialized skills include being level 1 PROMPT trained and AAC training with LAMP Words for Life. Jenna embeds AAC into her therapy sessions with clients when needed. Jenna also collaborates with parents and other team members to promote the best continuity of care and generalization skills.


Haley Gustavson, MS, CFY-SLP received both her undergraduate degree and master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. During her graduate studies, she completed her practicums at Southern’s clinic, the Woodbridge public school system, and with the adult population at a skilled nursing facility.  Haley has experience working with children of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, motor speech disorders, and those with hearing and visual impairments. Her approach to treatment offers a variety of strategies, evidence-based support, and personal experience to promote communicative success. Haley feels that a compassionate and creative approach to treatment provides a supportive environment for growth. She strives to integrate families into the intervention process to promote generalization of therapy strategies to every day life.


Christine Robinson, M.S., CCC-SLP earned her Bachelors degree and her Masters degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of New Hampshire. She has over 15 years of experience working as a pediatric speech and language pathologist and began her career working in school districts in New Hampshire. She then began working for a pediatric outpatient clinic before working for a rehabilitation hospital where she was part of the pediatric feeding team. This experience gave Christine the opportunity to work with occupational therapists performing and analyzing modified barium swallow studies as well as implementing feeding therapy. Christine enjoys working with children of all ages and abilities and has completed numerous continuing education courses including Lindamood-Bell Phoneme Processing Program for Reading, Spelling, Speech (LiPS),  Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V), Kaufman Speech to Language for Apraxia (K-SLP).  Christine has a passion for working with children diagnosed with motor speech disorders and using creativity in her therapy sessions. 


Elisabeth Nicoletti, MS, CCC-SLP earned her undergraduate degree at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY and her master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University. Elisabeth has experience working with individuals aged infancy to 70 years old from her practicums at Southern, in the Bristol Public School System, and at Rehabilitation Associates, Inc. Elisabeth has been working as a speech and language pathologist at Creative Development since graduation. Elisabeth enjoys working with the pediatric, young adult and adult populations. In addition, she works in the public school systems on a multi-disciplinary team. She has experience with children who present with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, motor speech disorders, expressive and receptive language disorders, pre-school fluency disorders, and social language deficits. In addition, she has experience working with adults with dysarthria and cognitive linguistic communication disorders.

Elisabeth works closely with members of multi-disciplinary teams and parents to support the best continuity of care across all environments. She has a passion for helping individuals perform functional life skills (e.g., preparing meals, making a bed, etc) at the clinic, schools, and within their homes. Moreover, she has experience in low and high tech augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. She has training in AAC programs, such as LAMP Words for Life and ProLoQuo2Go.


Physical Therapy Staff Bios

Rebecca Souza, RPT — BIO COMING SOON


Caryn Brady, MS, PT earned her Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy, as well as her post-professional Master of Science degree in physical therapy at Northeastern University, and has been practicing physical therapy for more than 20 years. She has treated diverse populations from toddlers to geriatrics, including orthopedic and neurological diagnoses. She has worked with adolescents with low tone, traumatic brain injury, extensive spinal surgeries, and general orthopedic injuries. She assisted with the collaboration and development of an adaptive sports program with a Boston rehabilitation hospital (AccesSport America and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital) for which she was recognized with Partners in Excellence awards. She also volunteered for a season with NEHSA adaptive ski program, skiing with a wide age range of clients. She enjoys a multidisciplinary approach and collaborating with speech and occupational therapists to meet the needs of her clients. She is eager to direct her knowledge base toward a more exclusively pediatric population. Caryn has 2 children, with whom she enjoys hiking, skiing, swimming, and many other physical activities.


Alex Drouin Cassidy, PTA/L earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Rehabilitation with a minor in Psychology and concentration in Working with Children and Adolescence from Assumption College. She worked several years at the Gengras Center, a private special education facility, during which she won CAPSEF Educator of the Year. There, she was inspired by the students she worked with to pursue further education in physical therapy. Earning a 4.0 from Springfield Technical, Alex knew she wanted to continue to work with children. She joined the Creative Development team in 2018, where she works closely with children, their families and caregivers; sharing knowledge and resources to ensure each child’s success. Strengthening muscles, enhancing coordination and improving overall mobility with age appropriate and play-based techniques, she strives to make movement natural and fun. When not at work, Alex enjoys keeping an active and healthy lifestyle by hiking in the White Mountains and training for her next race.


Administrative Staff Bio

Laurie Dupree, billing coordinator is responsible for claim management for clients, billing, preparing invoices, and processing payments. In addition, Laurie continuously works with the insurance company to ensure proper payment and reimbursement for Creative Development’s clients. She has been working at Creative Development since 2011.


Leda O’Connor, COTA/L and Practice Manager, earned her associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Goodwin College in 2017.  She has a broad background working with the adult and geriatric populations as a Certified Medical Assistant & Medical Biller for 12 years, in both the hospital and private practice settings. She also has 10 years’ experience working with children, as a paraprofessional in an elementary school setting. Leda has worked with children and adults with Autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, developmental delays, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorders, and various other impairments that affect daily participation. Leda has clinical experience in the mental health field, and also provides clients with skilled aquatic occupational therapy. Leda enjoys being able to utilize her wide range of education and experiences while working with and caring for children and their families at Creative Development. Leda is a member of the OTA advisory board for Goodwin University, and is an NBCOT member. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, camping, and reading.  


Taylor Anderson, front office administrator