Anne is an educational remediation therapist specializing in reading, spelling, and writing instruction for students with dyslexia, language disorders and/or school underachievement. The mission of her business is to help students of all ages identify and overcome their difficulties, so they can succeed in school and access their full potential. Her passion is twice exceptional learners – how we get bright students to access their potential, simultaneously embracing their challenges.
She has taught K-12, university and adult learners on 3 continents and accumulated 30 + years of teaching experience. Her master’s degree in Counseling Exceptional Children at Wright State University and becoming an Associate Member of The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators has honed her skills to provide diagnostic, prescriptive, structured, sequential teaching with direct, explicit instruction. All this in a multi-sensory learning environment where learning is fun, flexible, and fueled by the student’s educational and emotional needs, not a program or curriculum.
Anne provides tremendous personal empathy. As an educator, she can help guide your family through some potential pitfalls and become an advocate for you. She has been where you stand now. As a parent to three exceptional young men, she can see down the track you are on and wants to offer you help.
Maureen A Johnson, OT
Maureen is owner of Alaska OT Services, LLC, a BBB Accredited Business. She holds a degree in Occupational Therapy that she received from the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center in 1986. She is licensed in the State of Alaska, and is Nationally Board Certified in OT.
Before starting her own practice, she worked as an occupational therapist (OT) in a variety of adult & pediatric settings, including inpatient neuro-acute & rehabilitation, NICU, home health care, geriatrics & early intervention. With a special interest in sensory Integration / sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, she successfully completed the Sensory Integration Certification Program sponsored by USC/WPS, as well as Level II HPOT (Hippotherapy) and will often utilize Hippotherapy (using the horse as a therapy tool) in her treatment strategy.
Maureen practiced in Peoria and Chicago before moving to Alaska in January 1990 to work at Providence Alaska Medical Center. She was born and raised in La Salle, IL with 4 older brothers and a younger sister. She met her husband, Matt, upon arrival in Anchorage while working a three month traveling position. They have been blessed with three wonderful children: Michael, Elizabeth and Julia; as well as two dogs and two cats. Spare time is often spent at their cabin in Homer, skiing or fishin on their boat.
Annette Leier, M.Ed., OTR/L
Annette is OT licensed in the State of Alaska and Nationally Board Certified in OT. She is the owner of Ability Occupational Therapy and has been with the Ability Group since its inception. Annette received her Bachelor of Science in OT from the University of North Dakota in 1980, and a Master's of Education degree with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education from University of Alaska Anchorage in 2000. She has over 35 years’ experience in treating babies, and children, with a variety of developmental and neurological disabilities. Annette has experience with indigenous populations in South Dakota and throughout Alaska. She has diverse experience in early intervention, school based setting, and private practice including mentoring and consulting with colleagues within these settings. Annette's clinical practice emphasizes parent collaboration thought out the treatment process.
Annette has special love for treating motor impairments and feeding and eating difficulties. Annette is a Certified in providing the AHA (Assisting Hand Assessment) and the Mini-AHA (Mini-Assisting Hand Assessment). She had NDT Basic, Baby NDT Certified, and NDT Advanced Upper Extremity course work, Pediatric IM Certified, Therapeutic Listening trained, has advanced level clinical course work in feeding and eating, praxis, sensory processing, joint mobilization, and Cranio-Sacral level I & II courses. Annette was presenter in 2011 at the Alaska OT conference relating to feeding and eating. Annette has served on the AkOTA Board as Vice-President and President.
Annette has lived in Alaska since January 1985, and especially enjoys the long summer days gardening, fly fishing, rafting, and biking.
Carolyn Michaud, OTD, OTR/L
Working under Annette Leier
Carolyn was born and raised in Pennsylvania with 1 older sister. With an adventurous spirit, she moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 2006 to complete her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and an Associates degree in Human services with a focus on substance abuse. There, she met her husband and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 2010.
Carolyn wanted to help people using a holistic approach and obtained a doctorate in occupational therapy that she received from Creighton University from Omaha Nebraska in 2018. She has completed research focusing on current evidenced based treatment for children who have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and presented research findings at the 2018 AkOTA conference. Carolyn participated in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) fellowship program and am excited to continue making a difference in the lives of families and children.
Carolyn has lived in Alaska since August 2004 and loves backpacking, camping, biking, sewing, and gardening.
Jessica Williams , MS, OTR/L
Working under Annette Leier
Jessica is an OT licensed by the state of Alaska, and nationally certified by the National Board for the Certification of Occupational Therapists. Jessica received her Bachelor of Science degree in the field of Child Development from Purdue University in 2005 and was awarded a Master of Science degree in the field of Occupational Therapy in 2009. Since 2010, Jessica has worked in the field of pediatrics, practicing OT in the school environment as well as privately. She is certified in Interactive Metronome, Therapeutic Listening and has taken course work in DIR/Floortime. Jessica has experience working with children with a variety of developmental disabilities. Jessica’s clinical practice includes a strong emphasis on collaboration with families.
Jessica has lived in Alaska since 2010, and currently lives in Anchorage with her husband, Chet, and their dog, Tink. In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, and especially enjoys being outdoors.
Cara Leckwold, MA, CCC-SLP
Cara has been an SLP for 31 years. She is the owner of Children’s Speech Therapy Services and has been with the Ability Group since its inception. After graduating from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, she traveled to Newfoundland, Canada to work for the James Paton Memorial Hospital and the Newfoundland Children’s Rehabilitation Centre. Her interest in AAC and Assistive Technology was sparked when she requested, and received, an Apple II E with Adaptive Firmware Card, a Unicorn Board, and the PCS Reproducible Symbol Library. After seeing the potential for increased access with these tools, coupled with the use of battery interrupters and switches made from pie plates, she was hooked!
Cara returned to the US to work at Programs for Infants and Children, followed by the Special Education Preschool program in the Anchorage School District. In 1996, she opened a private practice, specializing in AAC and Assistive Technology (AT). She has presented at statewide and national conferences.
Nancy Lovering, MS, CCC-SLP
Nancy Lovering has been a speech-language pathologist for 32 years. She is the owner of Speech Language Therapy Services, LLC and has been a member of the Ability Group since its inception. She received her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Arizona University and began working for Children's Rehabilitation Clinic (CRC) in Tucson, Arizona. At CRS Nancy worked directly with physicians and other therapists by providing therapy and consultations during specialty clinics serving children from across Arizona and Mexico. In addition, she travelled to the Navajo and the Tohono O'odham reservations to provide both assessment and treatment to children. After moving to Alaska in 1989 she worked for the Anchorage School District for 4 years before deciding to open her own practice.
She specializes in working with children with feeding and swallowing disorders. She also works with children of all ages with speech and language delays and disorders including apraxia of speech, neurological based communication disorders and cleft lip and palate. Nancy contracts with Kids Corps Head Start to provide preschool based speech and language services for over 25 years. In addition, she contracts with Alaska Regional Hospital to provide modified barium swallow studies.
She is active in her national and state professional organizations and is a member of several committees that address professional issues.
Megan Humphrey, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Working under Nancy Lovering
Megan is a Seattle transplant who has lived in Alaska since 2000. She and her nine year old son enjoy playing outside, riding bikes, going on adventures, and generally finding humor and joy in almost everything they do. Megan is an SLP devoted to accessible learning and communication environments for all kids.
Anna Spilker, MS, CCC-SLP
Anna Spilker is a speech-language pathologist and owner of Articulate Speech and Language Therapy, LLC. She recently joined the Ability Group after twelve years experience in clinical, non-profit, interdisciplinary and school-based settings. Anna graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2006 continues her university affiliations through occasional post-graduate research and clinical supervision. Anna has worked with children who experience a variety of developmental disabilities and communication needs and has specific interests in motor speech, social/pragmatic language, and collaborative treatment with related healthcare and educational disciplines. Anna participated as a long-term fellow in the Alaska Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program, an interdisciplinary leadership-training program for professionals supporting children and families who experience autism and related developmental disabilities. Anna strives to provide family-centered care, involving parents in setting and working cooperatively towards communication goals. She finds fulfillment in empowering children through recognizing their communication potential.
Anna is an active member the Alaska Speech and Language Hearing Association and serves as the editor for the association’s newsletter. She is also a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association Special Interest Group 12: Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Anna is thrilled to be a new member of the Ability Group and to benefit from mentorship and collaboration with so many talented professionals!
Molly Thompson has been a speech-language pathologist for over 33 years. She is the owner of Pediatric Speech-Language Services and has been with the Ability group since its inception. A spouse of a retired Air Force member, her work followed Air Force postings for many years. She has worked the entire age spectrum: Special Ed preschool at Minot AFB, ND, nursing homes in Lubbock, TX and Programs for Infants and Children in Anchorage. She went into private practice in 1991, thoroughly enjoying the collaboration with families in the speech and language treatment of their children.
Molly specializes in the treatment of language and speech disorders in Down Syndrome, childhood apraxia of speech, developmental language disorders and neurological-based speech and language disorders. She has presented locally and nationally on speech-sound disorders, language and play skills in Down syndrome and strategies in the treatment of language learning disorders. She is certified in PROMPT© and LSVT-LOUD Pediatric ® . PROMPT© is one of many techniques Molly incorporates in the treatment Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
LSVT-LOUD Pediatric ® is an intensive protocol using voice for the the treatment of certain speech disorders in those with cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. Molly is a strong believer that making therapy fun increases the learning curve.
Molly enjoys mentoring and advocating in the profession. She is currently on the board of the Alaska Speech-Language Hearing Association and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Coordinating Committee for Special Interest Group 1 , Language, Learning and Education. She is a 2015 recipient of the ASHA Fellow reward.
Molly is a grandma of three delightful young people. Give yourself plenty of time if you ask about them.
Sandra McKinnis, M.A., CCCSLP is a speech language pathologist in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska. For over 41 years she has successfully helped children and adults with all types of communication disorders improve their oral motor, speech, language, fluency, cognitive, reading, writing and math skills. She has worked in outpatient rehabilitation, public school and private practice settings.
Sandy has extensive training and experience in the treatment of speech and language disorders, language processing disorders, language/learning disabilities, motor speech disorders including apraxiaand dysarthria, cleft lip and palate, brain injury, stuttering, and cognitive communication disorders. Parent/care giver training is an integral part of the individualized therapy program she creates for each of her patients/students. Active engagement is key to her approach and she uses play, games, hands-on manipulative activities, construction projects, and fun communication activities with her students/patients.
Sandy is the author of the Processing Programand Grammar Processing Program .She is the creator of the patented Easy Eye Tracker Reading Tool and author of the Guided Decoding Strategies. Sandra has created and taught two 3-hour credit classes through the University of Alaska: The Language of Play, and,Concept Based Instruction in Communication, Reading, Writing, and Math.
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