About Us


The NPDDF was founded because Chicago is home to some of the strongest educators, practitioners and leaders utilizing relationship-based therapies in the industry. It is time to step up and lead the nation on these issues. Additionally, relationship-based therapies are being challenged by insurance companies, doctors and families due to a “lack of evidence.” This is not factually-based reasoning and the NPDDF will lead the conversation by sharing the latest research and work utilizing these interventions. Frankly, children, families and those that have dedicated their careers to them deserve this forum.

The founder of the National Pediatric Developmental Differences Forum Lorell Marin, is a Special Educator, Developmental Therapist, and Social Worker at LEEP Forward, Inc, a developmental pediatric therapy clinic in Chicago.

Lorell Marin, MST DT

As the Executive Director and Founder of LEEP Forward, Lorell holds a Masters of Science in Teaching degree and a Masters of Science in Social Work. She is also a credentialed Developmental Therapist in the state of Illinois. She has an advanced certificate in DIR/Floortime and a certicate as a Developmental Therapist from Profectum. She also is completing her Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. Lorell Marin founded L.E.E.P. Forward when she saw a gap in the services for children with special needs aged 3-5 once they aged out of early intervention. Lorell deeply believes in the potential of every child and focuses on the relationship model to support the children, families and therapists of L.E.E.P. Forward. Before founding L.E.E.P. Forward and becoming the mom of 2 girls, she enjoyed challenging extreme sports like skydiving, bungee jumping, plane gliding and running a marathon.


The NPDDF Advisory Council

The NPDDF Advisory Council is comprised of thought leaders from a variety of industries which all play a role in establishing the Forum as the leading event for the advancement of relationship-based therapies.

The 2017 Advisory Council includes:

Lorell Marin, MST, DT, Executive Director – LEEP Forward, Inc.

John Janowiak, President – Professional Education International

Sherri Cawn, MA, CCC-SLP, Co-Owner – Cawn-Krantz and Associates

Jordan Sadler, MS, CCC-SLP – Northwestern University

Cesar Ochoa, MD, Director of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics – Rush University

Richard Solomon, M.D., Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrician – Founder of PLAY Project

Diane Selinger, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice

Michaja Prendergast Johnson, M.S., OTR/L, Owner – Prendergast Pediatrics

Benny Delgado, DT, President – Illinois Developmental Therapy Association

Brian Walls, Strategic Advisor and Parent – COEX Partners

Hannah Newman, MSW, LCSW, Director of Mental Health – LEEP Forward, Inc.

Trina Becker, Continuing Education Administrator – Illinois Speech-Language Hearing Association

Lisa Murray, Assistant Executive Director – West 40 ISC #2

Keena Sims, Project Coordinator – Early Intervention Training Program

Elena Martinez, Medical Biller and Parent – LEEP Forward, Inc.

Michelle Klein, Marketing Director – Professional Education International

Thomas Wallace, Director of Operations – LEEP Forward, Inc.