Meet Our Team

In-home & Clinic-based Occupational Therapy

Shelly Sears - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Shelly Sears, MS, OTR/L

Shelly Sears is a Chicago-based pediatric occupational therapist and lead therapist at Chicago Occupational Therapy. She is a Michigan native and earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Western Michigan University. After graduating from Western Michigan University, Shelly moved to Chicago to begin her career as a occupational therapist specializing in pediatrics.

Shelly has extensive experience working with a range of different populations, including, but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, and trauma in various settings including home, school, and in clinic. Her specialties through continued education programs include Handwriting Without Tears and several sensory integration specializations. As a clinician, Shelly is committed to learning her client’s unique needs, placing on an emphasis on parent training, and advocating for the child’s best interests. She has strong belief in a holistic team approach and collaborates regularly with other medical and academic professionals. Shelly is passionate in growing a child’s independence to have them believe in their own potential.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Amanda Cortese, MS, OTR/L

Amanda Cortese is a Chicago-based occupational therapist who specializes in pediatric services. Before moving to the city, Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degree with high distinction from Indiana University. She then went on to pursue her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Indiana University. In her years of pediatric experience, Amanda has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy, coordination disorders, fine and gross motor delays, executive functioning deficits, and more.

To provide the most comprehensive level of care for her clients, Amanda regularly collaborates with speech, feeding, and ABA therapists. Amanda loves being an OT because occupational therapy is based on facilitating a person’s participation in all the things that are important to them, whatever that may be. She gets to make a difference in the daily lives of all of her clients.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Rebecca Prosser, MS, OTR/L

Rebecca Prosser is a California native who recently relocated to Chicago. After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University in Early Childhood Education, she taught preschool for several years before returning to school. After graduating from California State Dominguez Hills with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, she combined her love of education and working with children and families and began her career as a pediatric occupational therapist.

Rebecca has an extensive history working with children with a variety of abilities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorders (SPD), fine and gross motor delays, genetic conditions, physical disabilities, and more. She enjoys working with a great multidisciplinary team to provide holistic, quality care.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Taylor Reckert, MOT, OTR/L

Taylor Reckert is a Chicago-based pediatric occupational therapist. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Eastern Michigan University. Taylor has known she wanted to be an occupational therapist and work with children since high school.

In her years of pediatric experience, Taylor has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), executive functioning deficits, developmental delays, and more. She has also earned her Early Intervention Certification which allowed her to gain experience in working with children ages 0-3.

Taylor loves being an OT because she gets the opportunity to help people participate in the things they need and love to do. She can help people live to their fullest potential and become successful in their daily lives.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Valerie Brunso, MS, OTR/L

Valerie Brunso is a pediatric occupational therapist. Valerie earned her Bachelor’s degree with highest distinction from Indiana University. She then went on to pursue her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Indiana University.

Valerie has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, coordination disorders, fine and gross motor delays, executive functioning deficits, and more. She also has a wide range of experience working with children in school-based and clinical settings.

Valerie enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with the multidisciplinary team of speech, feeding, and ABA therapists in order to provide the most comprehensive care for each child.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Kathryn Carrier, MS, OTR/L

Kathryn is a Chicago-based pediatric occupational therapist. She earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Indiana University. Throughout her years of experience, she has worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, early intervention, and medical settings.

Kathryn works with children to address a wide range of needs including, but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, fine motor challenges, gross motor challenges, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, and executive functioning deficits.

Kathryn values the opportunity to work with parents to ensure generalization of skills through consistent home practice and communication. As a part of a multidisciplinary team, Kathryn also enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with the team of speech-language pathologists and behavior analysts to provide the most comprehensive level of care for every child.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Rachelle Halbrook, MS, OTR/L

Rachelle Halbrook is a pediatric occupational therapist. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Missouri – Columbia, otherwise known as Mizzou. Rachelle is a Missouri native from St. Louis, and upon graduation, made the move to Chicago to begin her career at Chicago Occupational Therapy.

Rachelle has experience working with a wide variety of children, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), cerebral palsy, spina bifida, executive functioning deficits, fine and gross motor delays, as well as other neurological, orthopedic, developmental, and behavioral conditions.

Rachelle has been passionate about working with children from a young age, and is committed to putting her clients and their families first, in order to help them grow and reach their greatest potential. At Chicago Occupational Therapy, she enjoys the opportunity to work collaboratively with other medical and academic professionals, including speech-language pathologists and behavioral analysts, in order to provide holistic and client-centered care. Rachelle’s favorite part about being an OT is experiencing the joy alongside her clients when they reach a new height or achieve a goal that they have worked so hard for.

Elana Monahemi, MS, OTR/L

Elana Monahemi is a pediatric occupational therapist who earned her Bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Master's of Science degree in occupational therapy at Columbia University in New York.

Before returning home to the Chicago area to begin her career as a pediatric clinician, she gained a wide range of experience in various settings including, but not limited to, private practice, preschool, outpatient rehabilitation, and hospital-based settings. Her pediatric experience includes working with children with autism, developmental delays, sensory processing challenges, arthrogryposis, dyspraxia, cerebral palsy, executive functioning deficits, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and more.

Elana values a family-centered approach to therapy and the ability to collaborate with children and their families to develop individualized treatment plans to promote progress in daily occupations.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Paige Evans, MS, OTR/L

Paige Evans is an occupational therapist with years of experience working with a range of clients from children to adults. She earned her bachelor's degree at Indiana University and her master's degree at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia.

Paige has worked in multiple settings including private practice and inpatient settings. As a pediatric clinician, Paige has experience working with a variety of learners including children with diagnoses of autism, ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and more.

She prioritizes parent involvement throughout the therapeutic process in order to help children reach their full potential and generalize important skills outside of therapy sessions.

Rebecca Prosser - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Heather Daly, MS, OTR/L

Heather is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in working with diverse patient caseloads, including children with neurological, developmental, behavioral, and sensory processing diagnoses. Before starting her career in Chicago, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Michigan University.

In her years of clinical experience, Heather has developed expertise in creating individualized, client-centered treatment plans for every child based on their unique learning style and needs. She has worked in a variety of pediatric settings, including private practice, in-home, and schools. As an occupational therapist, she is a strong advocate for the field and enjoys the opportunity to provide educational resources for parents and professionals in other disciplines.

Nikki Lynch - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Nikki Lynch, MS, OTR/L

Nikki Lynch is a pediatric occupational therapist at Chicago Occupational Therapy. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Nikki completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her master’s degree at Rockhurst University. Prior to working at Chicago Occupational Therapy, she worked as a paraprofessional in Blue Valley School District.

Nikki has experience working with children with Down Syndrome, autism, and developmental delays in school and outpatient settings. When treating a client, she takes a multidisciplinary approach, collaborating with the child’s behavioral therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, physician, or any other professionals working with the child. This helps her get a better picture of the child and provide the best possible treatment. She also values learning about what interests her clients and implementing that directly within sessions to make treatment more enjoyable and motivating.

Giselle Cazares - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Giselle Cazares, COTA/L

Giselle Cazares is Chicago-based pediatric occupational therapist assistant. After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Xavier University in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Giselle provided in-home therapy as an ABA therapist for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She then went on to earn her occupational therapist assistant certification at Fox College in Bedford Park, Illinois.

Prior to becoming a COTA/L, Giselle gained a wide range of experience in multiple settings, including outpatient rehabilitation, preschool & elementary schools, and hospital-based settings. However, working with children has always been Giselle’s top priority. In fact, before joining Chicago Occupational Therapy, Giselle excelled as an ABA therapist at Chicago ABA Therapy. With experience working with a wide range of clients, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory and processing challenges, and developmental delays, Giselle is excited to utilize her skills to meet the unique needs of each child she serves.

As a bilingual Spanish and English speaker, Giselle has provided therapeutic services to a number of multicultural populations. And, as part of a multidisciplinary team, Giselle appreciates the ongoing communication that exists between behavior therapists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, and the families. This ensures that each kiddo receives optimal individualized and comprehensive care to help them reach their full potential.

Samantha Duff - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Samantha Duff, OTD, OTR/L

Samantha is a pediatric occupational therapist at Chicago Occupational Therapy (COT). Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Samantha completed her bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University and received her doctorate in occupational therapy from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. After graduating, Samantha moved to Salt Lake City, UT to begin her career as an occupational therapist specializing in pediatrics.

Samantha has worked in a variety of settings, including outpatient pediatrics, inpatient rehabilitation, and home health settings. Her pediatric experience includes working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, chromosomal abnormalities, developmental delays, and more.

Prior to joining COT, Samantha has worked on multiple multidisciplinary teams and values communicating and collaborating across disciplines to provide the most effective and evidence-based care for kiddos and their families. Samantha firmly believes that a child’s most important occupation is play, and is always looking for new and creative ways to facilitate skill acquisition and learning through play-based interventions that challenges and empowers children.

Ashley Sturgeon - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Ashley Sturgeon, OTR/L

Ashley is a Chicago-based occupational therapist at Chicago Occupational Therapy (COT). Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree at Southern Illinois University and her master’s at Elmhurst University. During her master’s program, Ashley completed her Level II fieldwork at COT where she created and implemented individualized treatment plans for kiddos and their families.

Ashley has extensive experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory processing difficulties, developmental delays, and other diagnoses in a variety of therapeutic and recreational settings, such as outpatient rehabilitation, in-home, and teletherapy.

Ashley has a passion for working with children and is dedicated to cultivating strong relationships with kiddos and caregivers to ensure family-centered care. She values interdisciplinary collaboration in its ability to meet the unique needs of each child she serves and help them reach their full potential.

Samantha Holzschu - Chicago Occupational Therapy

Samantha Holzschu, OTR/L

Samantha is a pediatric occupational therapist at Chicago Occupational Therapy (COT). Samantha earned her bachelor’s degree at Purdue University and her master’s at Western Michigan University.

Samantha has worked in a range of settings, including inpatient rehabilitation, therapeutic day school, and outpatient pediatric care. Her pediatric experience includes working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, visual motor deficits, sensory regulation difficulties, and more.

While completing her master’s program, Samantha’s passion for the field of OT led her to start her own podcast, advOcaTe, where she invites fellow occupational therapists and other medical professionals to explore niche areas of practice within the field of OT. Samantha values ongoing communication between clients, team members, and caregivers to provide the most comprehensive and individualized care to the kiddos she serves.

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Innovative Care Plans - Chicago Occupational Therapy
Innovative Care Plans

Our team of therapists creates personalized care plans that target individual occupational therapy goals and incorporate every child’s unique learning style.

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Multiple Therapeutic Settings - Chicago Occupational Therapy
Multiple Therapeutic Settings

Chicago Occupational Therapy provides in-home and clinic-based therapy, as well as services at CST Academy, the practice’s therapeutic preschool-style program.

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Free Information Packet - Chicago Occupational Therapy
FREE Information Packet

Contact our office to request free information about Chicago Occupational Therapy including significant details about our program, team members, and more.

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