Occupational Therapists

Molly Armstrong-


Dana Chalfin: I have experience working with children impacted by a wide variety of diagnoses affecting development. I have a strong background in the areas of neurological and visual dysfunction. Fine motor, feeding, self-help, vision, and sensory issues are frequent areas of focus within my therapy sessions. I view myself as a team member with the families that I serve and will provide information and activities which are fun and practical to incorporate into family routines to help you help your child achieve their greatest potential.

Melissa Clifford-I have been an occupational therapist for 14 years,
primarily working in early intervention and in the school system for the last 6 years. I’ve helped children with many diagnoses to include but not
limited to autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, feeding concerns, genetic syndromes, orthopedic conditions and sensory integration concerns. I became a mother this past year to a baby girl. I love spending time with her and being a mom.

Carla Cockrell: I have 12 years pediatric experience with extensive continuing education in sensory integration and early intervention. I use play-based treatment activities to address developmental delays and sensory processing issues to help infants and young children maximize their potential. I also provide home programs (sensory “diets” and play-based activities) to reinforce treatment goals. I enjoy and respect young children, and I feel priveledged to work with them. I also have 10 years experience as a mother! Comfortable with: I am comfortable working with young children who have sensory processing disorders, feeding/oral-motor difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, attention/learning difficulties, prematurity, visual impairment, and children who have developmental delays without a specific diagnosis.

Tyla Hudon: I really enjoy my job and find it very rewarding. I try to make therapy as fun as possible! I keep families involved and will spend time answering questions and educating families on ways they can help their child reach their fullest potential. I am a strong team player, since this is critical for your child to reach his/her maximum potential developmentally. I am comfortable with a wide range of diagnoses. I have and continue to attend several continuing education courses to keep me up to date on current therapy practices. I have attended neuro-developmental treatment (NDT), sensory integration (SI), oral-motor/feeding, visual, and splinting courses to improve my skills as an occupational therapist. I will make appropriate recommendations if adaptive equipment and/or other specialists are needed. I am also the proud mother of a child with Down Syndrome. I prefer non-smoking environments. Thank you!

Wendy Jennings- I have been a pediatric occupational therapist since 1992. My training has focused upon sensory integration,oral sensory aversion, oral motor/ feeding delays, and upper extremity/ fine motor intervention. I have worked in various setting including pediatric outpatient, in-patient, NICU, home health, feeding clinic, and preschool special education. I am additionally a parent of a former preemie who experienced reflux, feeding, and sleeping issues! Parent and sibling involvement are encouraged in therapy as I feel it is important for the child to feel safe and comfortable. Therapy should be fun, goal-directed, and a learning experience for everyone involved! I am always open to any service delivery or treatment approach. I also welcome any questions from families who are involved in the therapist selection process. My current work schedule is Monday through Wednesday between the hours of 7:30 am- 4:00 pm.

Allison Jonas:  I have been an OT for over 8 years and found my passion in pediatrics for the past several years. I am a mom of two First Steps graduates and look forward to serving you with the same amazing care my family received. I encourage family involvement in my therapy sessions. It is my goal to meet each child’s goals while making therapy a fun experience. I have experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses including (but not limited to)autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay, CP, ADHD, ADD, Down Syndrome, and sensory processing disorder. I also have a lot of experience with children with low tone and improving fine motor skills. Please feel free to call me prior to selecting a therapist to speak with me. Thank you!

Pam Nance-

Paula O’Connor: I love working with children and their families, and have made it the focus of my career during the past 19 years. I am a mother of 3 young children and value the importance of making therapy fun and part of your daily routine. I enjoy working with other team members to provide your child with the highest quality therapy intervention and home program. I have a wide range of experience working with children who have diagnoses including but not limited to developmental delay, cerebral palsy, prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, ventilator dependency, autism, sensory processing disorder, seizure disorder, down syndrome and other genetic syndromes, head injury, brachial plexus injury, feeding disorder, visual impairment. I pride myself on maintaining the highest quality of skills through continued education and networking with colleagues. Please call or e-mail me if you have any questions. Thank you.

Marci Penner: I believe my 19 years experience as an occupational therapist working in adult rehab and pediatrics and being the mother of two young adult children are my greatest strengths. I am a strong child and family advocate and will do whatever it takes to help your child. I believe that parents know their children the best and I’m always open to their comments and insight as it relates to your child’s progress. My areas of expertise include sensory dysfunction and related sensory disorders, oral/motor and feeding concerns, self help and adaptive difficulties, prematurity, Autism and related spectrum disorders, genetic diagnoses and general developmental delays. I welcome frequent phone calls and communication between visits. Please feel free to call me prior to choosing me as your child’s therapist or to discuss specific scheduling needs.

Jane Safrin: I have over 10 years experience working in a hospital setting with medically fragile children and am comfortable working with g-tubes, ventilators and tracheostomy tubes along with other medical devices. My areas of expertise include oral motor and sensory/feeding concerns, increased and decreased muscle tone, premature infants, developmental delay and chromosomal abnormalities. I also have experience treating children with sensory concerns, and children on the Autism Spectrum. I believe that communication with the entire team is crucial to the progress of your child. I have two children of my own, and feel that being a parent has helped make me a better therapist. I have worked over 6 1/2 years on the Eligibility Determination team, so I am extremely familiar with the eligibility requirements and with assessing and treating the whole child. I have many years of experience, but have LOTS of energy and feel like I’m still a kid too! I look forward to working with your child and your family!

Dena Tackett-I have experience treating the pediatric population in the school system, in the outpatient environment and have spent the last 13 years working in the First Steps system.  I have a wide range of experience working with diagnoses including but not limited to: feeding/oral motor delays, prematurity, developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, a variety genetic and chromosomal disorders, head injury, spina bifida and visual impairment.  I have extensive training in oral motor and feeding issues as well as sensory integration.  As a mother of 3 young children (8, 5, & 5 months) I understand the need to make therapy fun and family focused.  I love working with families and helping children reach their full potential!!

Mona Youngblood-

Cheryl Wolfert– Cheryl is an O.T. who has been practicing pediatric O.T. for 30 years.  She has worked in a variety of settings including Pediatric Hospitals, Schools and Homes.  She has worked for First Steps for 20 years in several Indiana counties.  She is comfortable with a wide range of diagnosis.  She has had additional training in Sensory Integration and Feeding.  She is comfortable with medically fragile children in their home environments.  She has 3 daughters and lives in Fishers, IN.