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.

Jacob C

Physical Therapist

Jacob CJacob earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Quinnipiac University in January of 2016. He has worked in a variety of pediatric settings including Early Intervention (EI), the school system as well as hospital-based and private outpatient clinics. Jacob is certified in Neurodevelopmental Training (NDT) and has had formal training in Stanley Greenspan’s DIR Floortime approach. Jacob has worked with infants all the way to early adulthood and has worked with a variety of diagnoses including but not limited to: Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Developmental Delay, Torticollis, Plagiocephaly, Spina Bifida, Hypotonia, Chromosomal Abnormalities, and Genetic Disorders. In his free time, Jacob loves to play with his 3 dogs, play basketball, spend time outside and go fishing. Jacob was born and raised in Chicago and has two older sisters.

Colleen S

Operations, Billing, and Management

Colleen SColleen is an enthusiastic and dynamic leader with over 20 years  of Operations, Billing, and Management experience.  She received her undergraduate and Masters in Business Administration degrees from DePaul University, concentrating on Finance and Strategic Leadership. She believes that making connections with people and building relationships with children are key to creating a solid foundation for learning and growing.  Colleen enjoys traveling, gardening, and exploring new restaurants with her husband and two children.

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.

Brittney H

Occupational Therapist

Brittney HBrittney received her undergraduate degree in  Kinesiology from Michigan State University in 2017 and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from American International College in 2020. Brittney has experience working with a variety of children including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), learning disabilities, and developmental delays. She is passionate about making a difference in the daily lives of all of her clients through using a client-centered approach, evidence-based practice, and working with a multidisciplinary team to give her clients the best and most well-rounded care. In her free time, Brittney enjoys spending time with friends and family doing outdoors activities, baking, and walking her dogs.

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.

Jasmine D

Speech and Language Pathologist
Jasmine DJasmine, is a passionate speech and language pathologist who is committed to providing therapeutic services to help children meet their full potential. She received her Bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University and her Master’s degree at Marquette University, where she discovered her passion for working with children with a variety of communication disorders in both group and individual settings. She has experience in articulation and phonological disorders, receptive and expressive language disorders, social communication disorders, feeding disorders, and literacy. She believes that collaborating with families and other professionals is a crucial component to providing effective services. She loves to make children smile and laugh to support them as they progress towards achieving their goals.

Kristina M

Speech Language Pathologist

Kristina MKristina received both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Marquette University. She joined Step Forward Therapy as a Clinical Fellow to continue her passion of working with children. Kristina completed her externships in a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation facility and in the Milwaukee public schools. She enjoys working closely with families and helping children become confident communicators. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her two dogs, Allie and Lola, and watch college basketball.

Jenny J

Speech Language Pathologist

Jenny JJenny J. is a Clinical Fellow Speech-Language Pathologist licensed in the state of Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Saint Louis University. During her practicum, she interned mainly in pediatric settings through her university clinic as well as external pediatric clinics and at a middle school. She also has adult experience in a skilled nursing facility and a hospital setting. Jenny has experience providing individualized and group therapy in clinic and preschool settings, as well as providing Early Intervention services in home settings. She has skills in the evaluation and intervention of children with various communication disorders such as receptive and expressive language, phonology, articulation, fluency, and pragmatics. She has a passion for serving the pediatric population and values developing positive relationships with everyone she works with, especially her clients and families. In her free time, she enjoys working out and spending quality time with her friends.