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 co-founders of the National Pediatric Developmental Differences Forum are Lorell Marin and Erika Larson,both Special Educators and Developmental Therapists 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 Bachelor’s degree 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. 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
Erika Larson, M.Ed. DT
As the Program Director and Parent Liaison of LEEP Forward, Erika Larson holds a Master’s degree in Special Education, a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Theatre Studies and is a credentialed Developmental Therapist in the state of Illinois. She has an advanced certificate in DIR/Floortime and ran a thriving developmental and educational therapy business in the northern suburbs before merging her business with LEEP Forward. She has been working with families in their homes for the past 12 years and is often asked to consult with parents around the topics of development, education and best parenting practices. She specializes in helping children on the autism spectrum, those with ADHD, developmental delays and general anxiety and depression. Also a mom of two precocious boys, Erika is a true “problem solver” and adores helping parents find solutions so that “every day can be a good day.”
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 2016 Advisory Council includes:
Lorell Marin, MST, DT, Executive Director – LEEP Forward, Inc.
Erika Larson, M.Ed., DT, Program 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.