About - Step Forward Therapy
Arlington Heights Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Group Therapy and Pre-School
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Meribeth C

Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist

Meribeth COwner and founder of Step Forward Therapy Inc., Meribeth Cassidy is passionate and dedicated to helping children succeed.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Movement Science, and she received her Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Throughout her career, Meribeth has worked in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and private practice.  Meribeth specializes in the assessment and treatment of disorders affecting a child’s ability to function in their daily lives.  Her expertise is with children ranging from early childhood through young adults with a variety of challenges including, but not limited to: autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, developmental delays, cerebral palsy (CP), sensory processing disorders, behavior and social issues and impulsivity.  Meribeth is fluent in American Sign Language, which she utilizes in therapy sessions with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as with children who benefit from multi-sensory instruction.

​Meribeth co-authored an article in collaboration with Susan Cahill and Carrie Holt, entitled “Collaborating with Teachers to Support Student Achievement Through Early Intervening Services”, which was published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention. While working in the schools, Meribeth was honored with the position of Department Chair for the Occupational Therapy department. Within this role, she was responsible for scheduling, training and providing mentorship across the department. She continues to be involved in mentoring programs for occupational therapists through the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Michele C

Clinic Director and Speech Language Pathologist

Michele CMichele has been with Step Forward Therapy since June 2017. She received her Bachelors’ of Science degree in 2003 and her Masters’ of Science degree in 2004, both from Marquette University. She earned her Certificate of Clinical Competence upon completion of her Clinical Fellowship in 2005.  Prior to joining the SFT team, Michele previously worked in the Illinois Public Schools as well as another private clinic.  Michele specializes in articulation/phonological processing, cleft lip and palate, pragmatic language and multi-lingual language development. Michele believes it is integral to develop a relationship with each child’s team and family to provide an understanding of speech and language development as they help support the child’s development and continued success.

Jackie J.

Administrative Director

Jackie is an experienced healthcare professional and brings 23 years of expertise in medical billing and management. She received an Applied Science Degree in Healthcare Office Management from Harper College. Jackie’s current endeavor at Step Forward Therapy is helping families with their healthcare benefits and provides assistance in attaining the medical care their loved one’s need. During her free time, Jackie spends time with her family, friends and two dogs. Additionally, she enjoys baking, playing video games with her son and watching quirky reality tv shows.

Claire S

Occupational Therapist
Claire SClaire received her Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from Xavier University. She has had experience working in the pediatric realm of occupational therapy throughout her years being in school. She completed her Level II placement working primarily with children with cerebral palsy (CP) and worked a year at an OT camp for children with sensory processing difficulties. Claire enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, staying active outdoors, and cooking with her family in her free time.

Jenny K

Occupational Therapist

Jenny received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in Biological Sciences, and received her Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011.  Jenny has experience working at a therapeutic day school for students and adults with autism diagnoses serving many Chicago area school districts.  Jenny has a strong background working with a collaborative team consisting of BCBAs, Social Workers, Speech Pathologists and other academic specialists to support the success of children in multiple settings.  Jenny has a strong interest in sensory integration, sensory-based feeding concerns, and vision.  In addition to being a therapist, Jenny is a mother to a young, active toddler.  In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities with her family including camping, gardening, and winter sports.

Rachel G

Occupational Therapist
Rachel GRachel received her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in Rehabilitation Services, and she received her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from Midwestern University. Rachel joined Step Forward Therapy following her doctoral coursework, in which she completed a fieldwork rotation in the clinic setting. Through her studies and volunteer experiences, Rachel has developed a passion for helping children with a variety of diagnoses to reach their full potential. Rachel has a strong interest in working with children to address their self-care skills, sensory integration, social-emotional regulation, and cognition. In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as crocheting. 

Jillian K

Occupational Therapist
Jillian KJillian received her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Grand Valley State University and received her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from North Central College. Jillian’s passion and dedication for working with the pediatric population started from a young age and continued throughout her schooling years completing both clinical placements in a school setting and a pediatric outpatient clinic. Jillian joined Step Forward Therapy after completing her studies and is looking forward to growing as a compassionate and adaptable therapist. Jillian plans on continuing her learning by attending seminars focusing on sensory integration, reflexes, and handwriting. In her free time, Jillian enjoys spending time with her close friends and family, playing with her golden retriever, Jersey, and trying new restaurants throughout the suburbs.

Mary M

Occupational Therapist

Mary M

Mary is an Occupational Therapist at Step Forward Therapy. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences and Minors in Family Studies and Psychology from the University of Missouri. She received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Elmhurst College. Mary has treated a variety of pediatric diagnoses and challenges including but not limited to: Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, gross and fine motor delays, global delays, motor coordination delays, visual motor deficits, behavior disorders and so on! She is an Early Intervention Provider and certified in Myofascial Release, Therapeutic Listening and reflex integration. She continues to take courses to best provide the most clinically sound and evidence based treatments to her clients. Mary is passionate about building meaningful relationships with her kiddos and their families to foster a collaborative, positive therapeutic experience for everyone! She believes that with the right approach, every child can feel empowered to be successful in all aspects of their daily lives. In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time with her friends and family, especially near the water.

Lauren K.

Speech Therapist

Lauren K. received her Bachelors of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences, with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University-Bloomington; and received her Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Concordia University-Wisconsin. Lauren joined Step Forward Therapy following completion of her clinical placements and coursework. Over the course of Lauren’s studies, she has had opportunities to work with children and adults through early intervention, preschool, middle school, high school, pediatric private practice, and outpatient hospital settings. She values the idea that life and learning is about progress, not perfection; and believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. In her free time, Lauren enjoys exploring new restaurants and places with her close friends and family and playing outside with her rescue dog Sargeant.

Amanda M.

Speech Therapist
Amanda is a speech language pathologist who is excited about and dedicated to helping people communicate successfully. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Amanda has experience with a variety of disorders and diagnoses including receptive/expressive language, articulation, fluency, social/pragmatic language, voice, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome, and more. She spent her clinical fellowship year working with the ASD population, specifically with nonverbal children who utilized AAC systems and devices including LAMP Words for Life, TouchChat, andProloquo2Go. She continues to learn and advocate for her clients and their families, and believes that everyone has something to say. In her free time, she likes to go rock climbing and try out new restaurants with friends and family.