Click the tabs below to learn more about our licensed professionals

Management Team

Lena Thoresen, OTR/L & Kathy White, LMHC – Owners

Kathy and Lena’s compassion and visionary thinking helped to open Children’s Therapy Solutions, Inc.’s doors in 2004.  In order to fulfill that vision and help all people including those with no insurance or means to pay for services they needed, they lstablished a non-profit organization called Manatee Hope Inc.  Children’s Therapy Solutions Inc. now contracts with Manatee Hope Inc. to ensure everyone receives the help they need.  Lena and Kathy are passionate about children and believe each child must have at least one dependable adult in their lives that they can trust and open up to. They work hard to make Children’s Therapy Solutions Inc.  a place where all children and families feel safe and cared about in a truly sincere way.

kathy-whiteKathy, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, graduated with her Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Kentucky and has over 25 years of experience working as a Counselor. Kathy has been married for 37 years. She and her husband have 4 successful children. Her children are and have always been her passion. Proudly, they are all doing well, one a Pharmacist, the next an Electrical Engineer in the Air Force, A Medical Doctor and her youngest daughter Julia is a junior in Nursing School.  Kathy believes all individuals can achieve success and personal fulfillment. In her therapy, Kathy helps families find a balance between overachieving and underachieving. She believes families can adapt and make changes that will help children achieve their goals now and later in life.  She is a certified Parent Child Interaction Therapist (PCIT) and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.  Her strengths in the field include listening, motivating, establishing rapport, and helping individuals to be “their own therapist” and “to solve their own issues”.  In her spare time, Kathy enjoys boating, bike riding, horseback riding, reading, and working on charity events such as Manatee Hope.

lenaLena graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with her degree in Occupational Therapy.  She has over 20 years of experience in her field and has a strong desire to help people and work with “difficult and challenging therapy situations.” Lena has worked with many medically fragile children, premature babies, and a variety of families with a multitude of challenges. One of her specialties is working with babies who are diagnosed with Torticollis.  She has attended specialized courses in FloorTime, Hippotherapy, Sensory Integration, Reflex Integration, Neuro-Developmental Therapy and Aggression Control Training (ACT) among many other classes.  Lena is originally from Norway, speaks fluent Norwegian as well as brings a unique perspective into multicultural living.  Lena believes it takes as many adults as possible to help love and raise children. “Parents need all the support they can get, as well as children can never have too many people who love them and look out for them”. Lena enjoys spending time with friends/family, running, volunteering and traveling.

Megan Halliday, M.S., OTR/L – Director of Therapy

megan-pitstickMegan is the Director of Therapy at Children’s Therapy Solutions, Inc.  She obtained her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University.  Her love for children and helping families brought her into this field.  Megan has been with CTS since 2008 and has extensive experience in Sensory Processing Disorders, Handwriting Without Tears and academic based therapies, and feeding therapy utilizing the S.O.S. Feeding Approach.  She also has training in the Alert Program for self-regulation, FloorTime, and Brain Gym.  Megan connects with families and individualizes treatment to meet the family’s needs.  One of her specialties is problem solving difficult situations to create practical solutions to apply in the home setting to maximize progress.  Megan enjoys anything outdoors, volunteering with Junior League of Manatee County and other non-profits, spending time with family and friends, traveling, music, and watching sports (Go Rays!).

 

Psychologist

Wendy Blumenthal, Ph.D.

Dr. Blumenthal received her bachelor’s degree with honors from Emory University. Later, she received her Ph.D. from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, then interned at Brown University Medical School.  After moving to Georgia in 1986, Dr. Blumenthal worked as a staff psychologist for a head injury treatment program as well as a post-acute rehabilitation program.  The next year, she opened a private practice specializing in working with children, adolescents, and families.  After 28 years of practicing in Atlanta, Dr. Wendy as her patients refer to her, followed her dream of living by the beach on Anna Maria Island and joined Children’s Therapy Solutions in June, 2016.  Dr. Wendy does psychoeducational assessments for learning challenges and AD/HD as well problem-oriented psychotherapy.  Additionally, she specializes in working with children and adolescents experiencing medical disorders, trauma, anxiety, and high functioning autism.  A few years ago, Dr. Wendy founded the Sensory Friendly Foundation which aims to provide fun music and arts events for individuals experiencing sensory sensitivities.  In her spare time, she loves the beach, reading, spending time with her family, volunteering for Red Cross and volunteering as an official for the Odyssey of the Mind Florida and World competitions.   Please check her website for further information about Dr. Wendy at www.docwendy.com.

 

Occupational Therapy

Lena Thoresen, OTR/L

lena

Lena graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with her degree in Occupational Therapy.  She has over 20 years of experience in her field and has a strong desire to help people and work with “difficult and challenging therapy situations.” Lena has worked with many medically fragile children, premature babies, and a variety of families with a multitude of challenges. One of her specialties is working with babies who are diagnosed with Torticollis.  She has attended specialized courses in FloorTime, Hippotherapy, Sensory Integration, Reflex Integration, Neuro-Developmental Therapy and Aggression Control Training (ACT) among many other classes.  Lena is originally from Norway, speaks fluent Norwegian as well as brings a unique perspective into multicultural living.  Lena believes it takes as many adults as possible to help love and raise children. “Parents need all the support they can get, as well as children can never have too many people who love them and look out for them”. Lena enjoys spending time with friends/family, running, volunteering and traveling.

Megan Halliday, M.S., OTR/L

megan-pitstickMegan is the Director of Therapy at Children’s Therapy Solutions, Inc.  She obtained her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy at Eastern Kentucky University.  Her love for children and helping families brought her into this field.  Megan has been with CTS since 2008 and has extensive experience in Sensory Processing Disorders, Handwriting Without Tears and academic based therapies, and feeding therapy utilizing the S.O.S. Feeding Approach.  She also has training in the Alert Program for self-regulation, FloorTime, and Brain Gym.  Megan connects with families and individualizes treatment to meet the family’s needs.  One of her specialties is problem solving difficult situations to create practical solutions to apply in the home setting to maximize progress.  Megan enjoys anything outdoors, volunteering with Junior League of Manatee County and other non-profits, spending time with family and friends, traveling, music, and watching sports (Go Rays!).

Lorin Newingham, OTR/L

Lorin graduated with her degree in Occupational Therapy from Florida Gulf Coast University. She was brought into the field 12 years ago by her love for children and helping others. Her patience, kindness, and flexibility make her the great therapist she is. Lorin specializes in providing quality and skilled therapy for medically fragile children with various diagnoses. She has attended specialized courses in FloorTime, Therapeutic listening, Behavioral Tools, Myofascial Release (MFRI), Brain Gym, Vestibular (Astronaut) training, Pediatric Kinesiotaping, Pediatric Feeding (The Big Picture), and Yoga for Special Needs. Lorin likes to play kickball, rollerblade, go on mission trips, volunteer in the community, and go to the beach as an Anna Maria local.

Elizabeth Reinbolt, M.S. OTR/L

Elizabeth graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with her Master’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She was introduced to the field when her brother, who has autism, received Occupational Therapy at Children’s Therapy Solutions. Elizabeth then spent several years working with children with special needs prior to becoming an OT. Elizabeth is trained in PCM and her strengths are working with children with severe autism, medically fragile, cerebral palsy, and sensory difficulties. She oftentimes helps parents understand floor time play to help children engage with others and play more appropriately. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, hiking, and shopping.

Cara Jackson, MOT, OTR/L

Cara graduated from Colorado State University with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2016.  She was drawn to occupational therapy originally through volunteering at a summer camp working with children and teenagers with disabilities. She enjoys helping kids and families be able to do the things that are important to them. Cara has been working at CTS since 2016 and specializes in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) feeding approach. She also has experience in Brain Gym activities and behavioral tools. She is a creative and fun therapist that enjoys working with teenagers and food. Cara has lived in Bradenton for most of her life and enjoys going to the beach every chance she gets. Outside of her love for OT, she enjoys skim boarding, working out, sports, and spending time with family.

Christine Bruzek, MOT, OTR/L

Christine graduated with her Master in Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Florida. Prior to this, she attended the University of South Florida St. Petersburg for her Bachelor’s in Psychology. Christine was drawn to the field of occupational therapy by a desire to help others in creative ways. She values the role of OT in enriching a child’s development and is passionate about providing quality therapy that nurtures all kinds of abilities. Her strengths in the field are her compassion and playfulness. She has completed continuing education courses in school-based therapy and behavior tools training. In her spare time, Christine enjoys running, camping, and reading.

Heather Carpenter, MOT, OTR/L

Heather graduated from Adventist University of Health Sciences with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2016.  She was drawn to the field of occupational therapy from her passion for working to improve the lives of children with disabilities. Heather is a kind and compassionate therapist that believes family centered care is a key component of therapy and enjoys incorporating families into her session. Heather has attended specialized courses for Beckman Oral Motor protocol, Treating Torticollis, and Behavioral Tools Training.  She has 15 years of training and teaching martial arts to individuals of all ages and abilities and has achieved the rank of 3rd degree black belt.  Heather was born and raised in Florida, during her free time she loves going to the beach, boating, spending time with her family, friends, and two adorable dogs.

Juan Nieto-Quinterio, COTA

Juan Nieto-Quinterio is a COTA with 3 years experience working with the pediatric population. He grew up in Venezuela and is a bilingual Spanish-English speaking therapist. Juan graduated from Florida State College at Jacksonville. He is completing training in the Handwriting Without Tears program and will soon be a certified HWT specialist. Juan joined the OT field after discussing career options with his sister who is a Speech Language Pathologist. After she told him about Occupational Therapy he went into the field and found out he loved working with kids and making a difference in their lives. His strength in addition to assisting with handwriting is making progress with intense behaviors. In his free time he plays soccer, tennis, guitar, and enjoys traveling!

Eleonora Salustri, MOT, OTR/L

Eleonora graduated from Barry University with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2017.  She was drawn to the field of occupational therapy through her volunteer experiences at a variety of pediatric sites.  Eleonora is a creative and compassionate therapist who uses her strengths to aid children in reaching their fullest potentials.  Eleonora was born in Rome, Italy and is fluent in Italian.  She enjoys spending her free time outdoors paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, and exercising.

Danielle Slaughter, COTA/L

Danielle graduated from Keiser University with her Associates of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2014.  She was drawn to the field of occupational therapy to make a positive impact on children’s lives.  Danielle is a fun and driven therapist who strives to make’s her children as independent as possible. Danielle has 2 1/2 years of experience working with children in home health and the outpatient setting.  She has attended specialized courses for Handwriting Without Tears. In her free time, Danielle enjoys playing tennis and going to the beach with friends and family.

Amanda C, M.S., OTR/L

Amanda graduated with her Master of Science degree from Eastern Kentucky University.  She had a desire to help others which led her to Occupational Therapy.  She has completed continuing education courses in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorders, Myofascial release, and other behavioral interventions.  She feels her strengths in her field are in working with children with Autism, children with multiple disabilities (CP, seizure disorders, and visually impaired).  Amanda and her husband are foster parents and enjoy serving the community in this way.  In her spare time she plays with her children, participates in church activities, and serves with non-profit organizations

 

 

Speech Language Therapy

Jordan Stewart, M.A. CCC-SLP

Jordan graduated from the University at Buffalo, SUNY.  Jordan was brought into this field by her desire to find a career that combined her communication skills and teaching with her passion to help children with special needs.  She also holds a teaching certificate, graduated Summa Cum Laude.  She is a driven speech language pathologist with success in attaining childrens’ speech/language goals through enjoyable and imaginative customized therapy activities that naturally transfer to their daily environment.  Jordan is knowledgeable about current evidence-based research findings and effective diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.  She has experience in providing group and individual therapy in school and private settings to students ages 1-21.  Jordan also has a working proficiency of Spanish and uses it with some of her Spanish speaking clientele.  In her spare time she enjoys jet skiing, exploring beaches, reading, watching documentaries, playing tennis and traveling.

Alissa Belmont, M.S. CCC-SLP

Alissa earned her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of South Florida. She interned in Hillsborough County Elementary School’s and practiced speech therapy with children under supervision at the USF on-site clinic. She was brought into the field by her enthusiasm for language and love for being creative with kids. Alissa has a personal goal of earning an ACE award that is given to SLPs who earn 70 hours of continuing education within 3 years. She loves being creative and making every session full of opportunities to communicate and support language learning. In her spare time she likes to relax at the beach, read, write, cook, and try DIY art projects. Alissa often encourages parents to read to their children to increase their exposure to language every day.

 

Jessica Mullins, B.S. SLPA

Jessica is a Speech Language Pathology Assistant with her bachelors from Indiana State University.  She will be attending graduate school in the fall of 2015.  She decided to pursue speech language pathology because of her love and compassion for individuals with developmental delays.  She has over 9 years of experience working with individuals of all ages who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Jessica has traveled to Africa where she taught English to children and adults in local villages.  She likes to ensure that families are well informed of their child’s goals and educates them on therapeutic materials which can be used at home.  In her spare time, she likes to go to the beach, shop, travel, and spend time with friends and family.

 

Debbie Meissner M.S., CCC-SLP

Debbie joined Children’s Therapy Solutions after working for Manatee County Schools for 35 years. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and her Masters degree from Florida State University. Debbie has vast experience working with a variety of ages and disorders. She has extensive experience working with children having autism, language based reading disorders, mental health, ADHD, stuttering, voice, language and speech disorders. She participated many years on the cleft palate team through Children’s Medical Services. Debbie has also been an adjunct professor for Nova University. She enjoys keeping current with latest therapy trends earning ACE awards from the American Speech Language-Hearing Association. Debbie finds working with her clients and their family to be very rewarding. She truly believes that it takes a village to raise a child.

Michelle Andrzejewski MS, CCC-SLP 

Michelle received her B.S. and M.S. in Speech Language Pathology at Purdue University. At Purdue, she was a research assistant for a lab that was researching early predictors of autism spectrum disorders. She became a Speech-Language Pathologist because of her passion for working with children. She moved down to Florida two years ago and has loved getting to know the area. Michelle currently also works in the school setting with students from kindergarten through 5th grade. She loves to combine literacy skills with articulation and language goals. Almost all of her therapy sessions include reading a book. In her free time, Michelle enjoys kayaking, going to the beach, and playing games with her family and friends.

Caitlin Kellogg, M.A. CF-SLP

Caitlin earned her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She always had a desire to become a part of a field that would allow her to help make a positive impact in the lives of those in need, and speech has given her just that. Caitlin had the opportunity to complete a 14-week internship at Children’s Therapy Solutions and is happy to return to Florida joining the speech therapy team full time. Caitlin strives to make her therapy sessions enjoyable, creative, individualized, and let’s not forget…FUN! She aims to make differences in the lives of her clients one day at a time. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, cooking/eating (let’s be honest!), music, and simply just trying new things!

Morgan Wood, M.A. CF-SLP

Morgan’s enthusiasm and love for children lead her to earn a Masters of Arts in speech language pathology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in speech language pathology and audiology from The University of Akron. Morgan’s clinical internships allowed her to work closely with children with hearing loss, autism, speech delays, and language difficulties. She is currently completing her clinical fellowship at CTS and couldn’t be happier to be here. She is eager to provide evidence-based therapy to her clients to increase their overall communication. Morgan enjoys reading, going to the beach, and spending time with her friends and family.

Alessandra Huertas, B.A. SLPA

Alessandra earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of South Florida. She has more than 5 years of experience working with individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental delays. She has worked with children in other settings as well for example, teaching piano at a private school. She wanted to pursue a career where she can teach, be creative, and help make an impact in other people’s lives. Alessandra was born in Peru, but grew up in California since she was 6 years old. She moved to Florida for college and fell in love with this state. She became certain about pursuing a career in speech language pathology after seeing the positive impact it had on her younger sibling first-hand. Now her desire and passion is to help children and their families just as her family was helped. Being bilingual she can help a broad range of children and families! In her free time she loves relaxing at the beach, painting, going to the movies, acting, traveling and exploring new places.

Courtney Addington, M.S. CCC-SLP

Courtney earned her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University. She currently has more than 5 years of experience in settings that include: Skilled Nursing Facilities, Educational Service Center Preschools, Public Elementary Schools, Outpatient Clinics and Home Visits.  She pursued a career in Speech and Language Pathology due to her passion for working with children.  She is adamant about staying up to date on the most current research to provide evidenced-based treatments. She enjoys using fun, creative, activities and incorporating literature into therapy sessions to keep children engaged and to maximize speech and language opportunities. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, swimming, reading and exploring new cities and beaches.

Andres Gordillo, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andres, “Mr. G,” graduated from the University of South Florida with his Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology.  He is trilingual and provides services in both Spanish and English. As a recipient of the 5th cohort grant from the Department of Education, his studies related to listening and spoken language in culturally and linguistically diverse children who are deaf or hard of hearing earned him additional certification as an Early Intervention Hearing Specialist. He worked as a school-based speech-language pathologist for 1.5 years. His background led him into the field. Andres grew up in Ecuador and came to America when he was 14 years old. Having grown up with a cousin with Down syndrome he noticed the lack of resources for treatment first-hand there. His goal now is to open his own clinic in Ecuador and make a difference in other countries too! In his spare time, Andres likes playing the guitar, soccer, running, and traveling.

Jessica Fanning M.S. CCC-SLP

Jessica received her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cincinnati and her Masters of Science in Speech Pathology at USF. She has been working as an SLP for over 7 years, in which she has worked with a variety of patients in schools, private practice, homes, and Skilled Nursing Facilities. She was inspired to become a Speech Therapist due to the vast variety of settings she could work in. During her free time, Jessica enjoys traveling, going to the beach, spending time with friends and family, and playing in a kickball league.

 

Mental Health

Kathy White, LMHC

kathy-whiteKathy, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, graduated with her Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Kentucky and has over 25 years of experience working as a Counselor. Kathy has been married for 37 years. She and her husband have 4 successful children. Her children are and have always been her passion. Proudly, they are all doing well, one a Pharmacist, the next an Electrical Engineer in the Air Force, A Medical Doctor and her youngest daughter Julia is a junior in Nursing School.  Kathy believes all individuals can achieve success and personal fulfillment. In her therapy, Kathy helps families find a balance between overachieving and underachieving. She believes families can adapt and make changes that will help children achieve their goals now and later in life.  She is a certified Parent Child Interaction Therapist (PCIT) and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.  Her strengths in the field include listening, motivating, establishing rapport, and helping individuals to be “their own therapist” and “to solve their own issues”.  In her spare time, Kathy enjoys boating, bike riding, horseback riding, reading, and working on charity events such as Manatee Hope.

Virginia Gibala, M.A., LMHC 

Virginia is a bilingual mental health counselor who graduated with a Master of Arts degree from Webster University.  She has over 10 years of experience and believes that mental health is necessary to be healthy in other areas of our lives.  Virginia is very empathetic with her clients which makes them feel understood.  She also works well with parents and often gives them ideas for home carryover of counseling strategies.  In her spare time, Virginia likes to go on trips with her family, exercise, and spend time with friends.

Sarah Allan

Physical Therapy

Janine Ward, PTA

Janine attended Newberry College where she played basketball and received her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education before attending Keiser University to receive an Associate’s degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Janine is a former high school basketball coach and has always worked with and had a love for children. She loves working with children with special needs and her strengths include orthopedic therapy. Janine enjoys spending time with her son and being a part of a youth non-profit organization.

Lauren Geraldson, DPT


Lauren attended the University of Florida to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology before attending Nova Southeastern University to receive her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.  Lauren has always had a passion for working with children and realized she wanted to work in Pediatrics specifically during her internship at Children’s Therapy Solutions.  Lauren is active in her community as a member of The Junior League of Manatee County.  In her spare time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends.

Heather Davis, PTA

Heather graduated from South University with her Associate’s of Science for physical therapy assistant in 2016.  Heather was drawn to the field of physical therapy due to her passion for working with children with disabilities.  She began her career later in life after raising two children of her own. Heather is a patient, caring, and creative therapist who enjoys motivating her patients to succeed. In her free time, Heather enjoys off-roading in the family jeep and going to the beach.

Karrin Scully, M.S., PT

Karrin received her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Miami School of Medicine.  She has over 19 years of experience in treating orthopedic injuries, premature infants, and medically fragile children in a variety of settings including schools, homes, and clinics.  In her spare time, Karrin enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.

Administration

Mia Perez: Billing Specialist/Authorization Specialist

Mia has been with Children’s Therapy Solutions since May 2016. She was born and raised in Bogata, Colombia and moved to Florida in 2000. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. Mia enjoys working for CTS because of the care, love, and dedication that CTS has for the kids in the community. In her spare time, Mia enjoys running and watching family movies with her kids.

 

Ruleidy “Ru” Ortega: Receptionist

Ru is originally from Long Island New York and has been working at Children’s Therapy Solutions since 2016. She loves working at CTS because it gives her the opportunity to help others. When she is not working, Ru enjoys spending time with her two beautiful daughters and wonderful husband.

 

Alicia “Ali” Amezcua: Office Coordinator

Ali began working at Children’s Therapy Solutions in 2017 and enjoys working here because it is a family oriented facility with compassion for the community. She is an adventurer who loves swimming, zip-lining, mountain climbing, nature activities, traveling, parasailing, and snorkeling. Her goal is to visit every state in the U.S- so far she has been to 16 so she has 34 to go!

 

Hayley Purdy

Hayley was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and attend Jackson State College where she received her associates degree. She has 10 years of experience working in medical billing. She is a positive and energetic team member that makes a difference in the lives of children and their families here at CTS. In her spare time she enjoys being on the water, spending time with her friends, family, and pup Kimber.

Jennifer Brandon: Administrative assistant

Jen was born and raised in Florida and has been with CTS since June 2017.  As a young teenager Jen volunteered at CTS for their summer program working with kids with disabilities.  Jen is currently in school at State College of Florida working towards her Occupational Therapy Assistant degree with a projected graduation date of 2019.  Jen is happily married and has a little boy of her own.  In her free time Jen enjoys singing, traveling, and attending concerts.

Rose: Receptionist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation


News & Events