MEET THE TEAM
JENNIFER RAPP was born in Rhode Island. Her family found their way to Miami when she was only one year old. Since then Miami has been home. With a background in Early Childhood Education, her career began at a local private day school teaching Early Childhood. Her absolute favorite- two year olds! As life would have it, a very special student introduced her into the world of Autism. From that day on, she knew what she needed to do. Under the guidance and training of The Lovaas Institute, Jennifer spent 10 plus years working privately providing Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to private clients, all while continuing her career in Education. As a director of an Early Childhood school in Miami Beach, Jennifer was able to share her skills as a leader and administrator. The Missing Peace has always been a dream of Jennifer’s. Today, The Missing Peace, is who we are because of the incredible team we have built. Each and everyone of us, give everything we can to helping each client reach their full potential. Our mission is quality- we strive to be the best. When Jennifer isn’t working (which is never!) you can find her spending time with her family and friends, and traveling.
NATALIE ABKARIAN MOT/L, INPP is a bilingual pediatric occupational therapist, a proud mother of 2, and a native South Floridian. She completed undergraduate studies at Florida International University and received her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She was chosen as the sole recipient in her graduating class of the distinguished Chancellors Award for “the student who best exemplifies the characteristics of scholarship, leadership, integrity, humanity, and loyalty to the profession”. After graduating, she continued to pursue a specialized certification in neurodevelopment and reflex integration. Natalie has practiced in a variety of clinical settings and has a wealth of pediatric experience. Most recently she has practiced as a concierge therapist providing one on one intervention to children across Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Passionate about child development and the importance of play, Natalie uses a gentle child-led therapy style to build authentic relationships with her clients and their families. She also strongly believes in building a multi- disciplinary team in order to guarantee a whole child approach to intervention. She has formed professional relationships with some of the best clinicians in the community and is known to engage the expertise of doctors and therapists of different specialties to meet the unique goals of her clients. Natalie’s vision in joining The Missing Peace team is to provide multi-faceted, in depth developmental evaluating and treatment of underlying developmental areas such as reflex maturation, gross/fine motor development, sensory integration, vestibular processing, and visual motor skills in order to provide children with the foundational skills necessary for them to reach their best potential.
Making a difference one 'peace' at a time.
SARAH HASLETT is a Florida state licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Pennsylvania State University, then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Miami University of Ohio. She moved to Miami, Florida to begin her professional career as an SLP. Sarah has experience working in the public schools within Broward and Miami-Dade County with students who have a variety of speech and language needs. She has worked with and supported students in Pre-Kindergarten programs all the way through high school aged students. Sarah has a passion for helping children grow in their communicative abilities. Sarah is excited to bring her positivity and passion for speech and language to the clients, families, and the team at The Missing Peace!
JAMIE ASKEN was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelors degree in Education from Westchester University and taught in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. She came to the Miami area with her husband and was thrilled to become part of The Missing Peace team. After three years in sunny Florida, she moved to Illinois where she still has the opportunity to enjoy working with wonderful students in Miami via Skype. She loves to see their progress and help them to use their strengths to guide their learning. On the weekends she likes going to Bears games and cherishes time spent with family and friends.
CASSIE CAYON born and raised in South Florida. Cassie is a reading specialist, trained in Orton Gillingham. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Nova University. Cassie has been working with children since her junior year of college. For the past three years, Cassie worked in a bridge program for elementary students, where she found her passion in helping children acquire strategies to enhance their learning skills. Though most of her experience is in the classroom, she came to realize the benefits students have when working one on one. Cassie has had many experiences with children with varying learning differences. This has allowed her to further her knowledge and passion to help these children expand their awareness of strategies that help them become successful learners. When she heard about The Missing Peace, she knew this was the perfect fit for her! The Missing Peace allows her to teach to every child’s need and watch the growth in each individual. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, but her favorite past time is being with her puppy Lola. Cassie is looking forward to helping children learn and grow into their fullest potential.
JOSE CHANG was born in Havana, Cuba and has lived in Miami, FL since the age of 4. He speaks fluent English/Spanish and some French. His favorite past-time has always been watching nature documentaries, but more recently spending time with his gorgeous pup Mason. As a child, he enjoyed exploring and catching tadpoles by the lake near his childhood home - always asking questions like why caterpillars turned to butterflies and tadpoles to frogs. Fueled by his natural curiosity and passion for science, he earned a B.S. in Biology at FIU and is completing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry. His journey in research science has taken him from working on a cure for Smallpox, to studying how to overcome antibiotic-resistant Tuberculosis, to understanding how Florida Red Tide affects marine wildlife and human health. As an undergraduate, Jose was deeply involved in FIU's ever-growing STEM community and mentored biology students within the Peer-Led Team Learning program. PLTL trained him in pedagogy, active learning, and modern teaching approaches which sparked another passion: helping students succeed. While attending school, he tutored chemistry and biology at FIU's Center for Academic Success, as well as K-12 math as part of collaborative projects with public/private institutions. His undying love for hearing his students say "Oh, now I get it!" naturally led him to The Missing Peace, where he gets to live the dream of making a difference every day in the lives of students!
MELISSA COOPER was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. Melissa has classroom experience both as a general education teacher and a special education teacher. She is trained in Orton Gillingham having taken both the beginner and intermediate level courses. She moved to Miami with her husband in 2010 and joined The Missing Peace in 2013. After deciding to expand their family, they moved back to Atlanta to be close to family. After taking some time to be home full time with her son, Melissa is thrilled to be back with The Missing Peace. During her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her three-and a half year old son and husband.
SAMANTHA DIAZ received her Bachelors degree and Masters degree from Nova Southeastern University, where her area of focus was psychology. Samantha enjoys working with children and watching them progress in all aspects of life. Samantha has a passion for math and loves to bring out that passion in every child. On the weekends, you can find her at any sporting event or anywhere outdoors. Samantha enjoys spending time with her family and finding new fun ways to teach. Samantha plans on pursing a PhD in Neuropsychology in the near future.
LINDSAY FISHMAN is a South Florida native who received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. After college, she moved back to Ft. Lauderdale and worked as a chiropractic assistant for 2 years and later became a caretaker for a family with two children with special needs. Through her time spent with these children and experiences with direct patient care, she found her niche in occupational therapy. She completed a fieldwork rotation with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) at a charter elementary school in Studio City, California and received her Master's degree at New York University in 2017. She moved back home to Miami and began working throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties as a pediatric occupational therapist in the hospital, outpatient clinic, and school settings. Throughout her experience in the hospitals, she noticed a need amongst several families for feeding strategies for their children. She recently completed the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) feeding course and is working towards becoming a certified SOS feeding therapist. She is excited to be part of The Missing Peace team and hopes to utilize her expertise to work with children to reach their fullest potential and have fun while they're doing it!
HOLLY GOMEZ was born and raised along the Emerald Coast of North Florida. She has over 20 years of experience with early childhood education in private, public, and homeschool settings. Holly received her Bachelor's degree in Education from Florida State University and holds a Master's in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia. While completing her graduate degree, Holly was involved with multi-site Federally-funded research in literacy development with children at risk of falling behind. As a mother of both gifted and exceptional children, Holly has been trained in a variety of research-supported multi-sensory multi-modality teaching strategies. As an educator and team member of The Missing Peace, Holly looks forward to partnering up with professionals and families to help children develop the skills needed for academic success and thrive in their unique gifts and talents.
STEPHANIE GONZALEZ is a licensed Occupational Therapist born and raised in Miami, FL to Honduran parents. She received her Bachelors in Psychology from Florida International University. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Barry University. She enjoys the experience of working with the pediatric population and developing the importance of play as an occupation. She has worked with children with autism, attention deficit disorder, cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, and developmental delays. She strongly believes working as a collaborative team with parents, therapists, and educators is a driving force for success in the children’s lives. She speaks Spanish, and knows American Sign Language. Her hobbies include playing guitar, traveling, and watching the latest Netflix show. She is looking forward to being a part of The Missing Peace team.
TIFFANY GONZALEZ MOT, OTR is a bilingual occupational therapist born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy from Florida International University and her Masters in occupational therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She is adept at employing therapeutic use of self to foster collaborative rapport with clients, families, caregivers, and coworkers. Tiffany has over eight years of experience treating a diverse population with varying diagnoses: autism, developmental delay, attention deficit disorder, developmental dyspraxia, and sensory processing disorder. Tiffany is experienced in providing treatment for toddlers and children to improve upon fine motor, visual motor, sensory processing (tactile, visual, auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive), sensory modulation, bilateral coordination, balance, and gross motor skills. In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys kayaking, cooking, attending the Miami Dolphins games, and relaxing with her dog Romeo. She is overjoyed to be apart of The Missing Peace.
ARIEL JEANTY was born in Montreal, Canada to parents of Haitian descent, and grew up in Miami, FL. She is a Florida state licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. Ariel received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida, and a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Albizu University. She has experience working in private practices with patients with a variety of disorders including receptive/expressive language delays/disorders, articulation disorders, stuttering/fluency disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome. She also enjoys working with individuals that utilize Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices, and this is an area she interested in learning more about. Additionally, Ariel gained experience working at a non-profit organization facilitating various social skills programs for children, adolescents, and adults with ASD. She has an older brother with ASD, and has seen firsthand how therapy and educational support programs have provided him with the ability to succeed in many aspects of his life. She is very excited to begin a new chapter at The Missing Peace, and is committed to helping families and their children achieve their goals.
JESSICCA JONES received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Auburn University. She then completed her Master's Degree in Instructional Technology from University of West Georgia. As a certified teacher, Jessicca taught grades 3, 4, and 5 for a collective 8 years in Atlanta, Georgia and Miami, Florida. While teaching, Jessicca received extensive training in Singapore Math, Writing and Reading Workshop and Flexible Learning. Her love for children and education led her to start her own family in the summer of 2016. Jessicca's love of athletics, technology, and college/NFL football allows her to connect and teach children in a variety of ways.
MEYRAV KANEl is a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA/L) and received her degree from Keiser University. In addition, she received a bachelor’s degree from Touro University in Jewish Studies as well as a minor in Education. Meyrav has experience working with pediatrics in daycares, private schools, clinics and homes. She is certified in Early Steps Program for children between ages of 0 to 3 years but enjoys working with various age groups. Before her COTA career path, she worked in early childhood and Pre-K classrooms as a teacher. As a result, Meyrav became a COTA to challenge her career to work with children one-on-one and has experience working with children with autism, developmental delays, ADHD, and down syndrome. She always had a passion of working with children and uses a therapeutic approach that is tailored to each child with their end goal of becoming independent. In her spare time Meyrav enjoys cooking traditional Italian and middle eastern dishes as well as doing yoga. Meyrav is excited to join the Missing Peace team and bring her experiences to work.
ANNA LOMBARD is a graduate of Dominican College in New York, where she received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Since graduating, Anna has been working as a pediatric OT to support development of skills in infants through young adults. Anna has experience working with many children with cerebral palsy, autism, sensory processing disorder, pediatric mental health disorders, feeding delays and restrictive eaters in private clinics and early intervention. Anna enjoys supporting children in their feeding journeys with her training as a Sequential Oral Sensory (S.O.S.) Feeding Therapist. She is passionate about working with and advocating for kids of all ages and diagnoses to ensure optimal independence in all meaningful tasks. Anna recently moved to Miami and is excited to bring her skills to support the children and their families here at The Missing Peace.
PAOLA MALAVET was born in Colombia, and raised in Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a focus on Behavior Analysis, and a minor in Criminal Justice. She is continuing her education to obtain a Master’s degree in Special Education. Paola has over four years of experience working with a diverse population of children including kids and teenagers diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder, ADHD, and other intellectual disabilities. She is a passionate therapist, who focuses on creating a fun learning environment, and maximizing the opportunities to set a child up for success. In her free time, Paola absolutely loves to paint, design, and exercise daily. She’s so grateful and excited to now be part of the amazing team at The Missing Peace.
PATRICIA MARTINEZ (“Patty”) was born in New York City, to parents from the Dominican Republic, and moved to Miami when she was two years old. She started volunteering at a young age in a performing arts studio and that’s where she realized she wanted to work with children. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida International University, and began to work as an RBT. After about 4 years as an RBT she realized she absolutely loved Behavior Analysis and decided to pursue her career in ABA. Patty received her Master’s in Behavior Analysis. Over the years she has gained experience in working with children with, and without, disabilities. She has also worked with children ranging from the ages of 3-12 years old, with a variety of different needs. She has recently found that parent training is an aspect of helping children that she enjoys. Patty has worked with children, and their families, in home settings, clinical setting, social settings and public outings in the community. She has a passion for changing the way everyone interprets disabilities, and helping create a more inclusive world. In her spare time, she enjoys making sweets, and personalized items, for all occasions. She has learned a lot over the years and is excited to learn much more at The Missing Peace. She is looking forward to working with The Missing Peace and being a part of a team with such a variety of knowledge.
DEBBIE MAYA was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She has a Cuban background and is fluent in both English and Spanish. Debbie completed a Bachelor's degree in Exceptional Student Education, grades K-12 from Florida International University, and received a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, birth-2nd grade from Brooklyn College. As a motivated special educator, Debbie is always seeking the opportunity to improve the education of students with differences by assisting, and accommodating their specific needs. Currently, as an Educational Specialist for The Missing Peace, Debbie works with children inside and outside the classroom where she looks forward everyday to enhancing their academic skills and helping them face their challenges. Her goal is to help the students feel accomplished and to help them feel accepted and comfortable in their community environment. Debbie will always encourage them to work hard, to keep going, and inspire them to do well with positive reinforcement.
MEGAN MECSERY is a RBT (Registered Behavior Technician). She was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Megan has experience working with children with ASD, ADD/ADHD, and other developmental delays. Megan also has experience in Early Childhood Education. When she was introduced to a child on the spectrum she decided to look into ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and that is when she knew she wanted to pursue that as a career. Megan has experience in working with children at their homes, schools, and learning centers. Megan has gained a plethora of knowledge over the years and is excited to continue learning. Megan loves watching children grow and become their best self. She is excited to be a part of The Missing Peace and is looking forward to working with such amazing children. When Megan is not working she is traveling or hanging out at home with her dog.
CHRISTINA MEINHOLZ comes from the brisk cold of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she began her journey in the field of education. Christina made Miami Beach her home in March of 2000. She began working at a local Montessori school as a lead teacher for two’s and three’s. Christina continued her career at The Carrie Brazer Center for Autism and Related Disorders. This was a life changing move for her. Christina was so touched by the impact she had with these children. She absolutely loved the 1:1 attention these children were receiving that serving children in the Autism community became her passion. During this time she decided to finish her degree and graduated from FIU with a Bachelor's in elementary education with a reading specialist endorsement as well as in exceptional student education. Christina also had an amazing opportunity to work 1:1 with Eric Lovaas from UCLA who trained her in Applied Behavior Analysis. She worked 1:1 with students diagnosed with Autism for 17 years. To further her knowledge, Christina was trained in the Orton Gillingham program. She has been awe inspired to see how this program has reached and changed the lives of so many young struggling readers. When she’s not with her students she is home with her four beautiful children. You will most likely find Christina in the kitchen concocting new recipes for her family or racing her children to tire them out. To help and touch the life of a child that is struggling is a job that holds such a high reward. Christina is so blessed to be part of The Missing Peace and have the support of such an amazing team.
GENESIS MERINO is a Behavioral Specialist from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis. She has experience in working with children diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, as well as Intellectual Disabilities. It brings her the utmost joy to see a child grow and develop academically and socially. She is excited to be a part of The Missing Peace and is looking forward to inspiring your child to reach success. Overall, Genesis enjoys traveling and road cycling, and absolutely loves the mountains.
ALEXANDRA MOSKOWITZ is a Florida state licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist from Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s Degree in Communication and Speech-Language Pathology at Long Island University. Alexandra moved to Miami, Florida three years ago with her husband. She has six years of experience in the field, working in the school system and in children’s homes. She has worked with children on the Autism spectrum, those with ADHD, and a variety of speech language disabilities. Alexandra is passionate about working with adolescents and making speech language therapy fun, engaging and enriching. Alexandra is excited to be a part of the team at The Missing Peace!
NATALIE PERLWITZ was born in Kentucky and moved to Massachusetts and California before she and her family settled in South Florida, where she was raised. She received her degree in Exemplary Student Education from Florida Atlantic University. Natalie taught with the Broward County school system for 3 years, and worked with students with special needs. Natalie has worked with children on the Autism spectrum, Intellectual Disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, and other medical conditions. She quickly found out that working with children was her passion! She loves being able to work one-on-one with students and watch them grow academically, socially, and behaviorally. During her free time, she enjoys creating DIY projects and baking her famous brownies with her son. As a team member of The Missing Peace, Natalie is excited to spend quality time with your child so they can grow to their fullest potential!
GABRIELLA RODRIGUEZ PRUNA was born and raised in South Florida, and is fluent in English and Spanish. In 2018, Gabriella received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Florida International University. For the past five years, Gabriella has worked in a clinical setting, which is where she originally found her passion for aiding children. One year ago, she began teaching for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. In that job, Gabriella realized how critical specialized teaching is in order to help accommodate individuals’ needs for optimal learning. Gabriella has classroom experience both as a general education teacher and a special education teacher. The Missing Peace’s mission is quality, and it showcases that excellent service by placing individual students’ needs first. Gabriella is excited to begin her career at The Missing Peace, and intends to make it her mission to help children reach their full learning potential. In Gabriella’s spare time, she enjoys reading psychological thriller novels and fishing.
NICOLE ROESSET grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Marist College where she studied Communications and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Pace University in New York City. A certified and licensed teacher, Nicole taught 2nd and 3rd grades in the New York City Public School system, before teaching 4 th grade for eight years at Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey. After living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for 11 years, Nicole and her husband moved to Miami in 2008, where their son Nicholas was born two months later. After staying at home to raise Nicholas, Nicole decided to go back to the profession she enjoys most – teaching! While most of her previous experience has been as a lead teacher in a classroom, Nicole has always enjoyed working with students in a one-on-one manner. It is in this setting that she feels she can have the most impact. Nicole is very excited to be a part of such an impressive team as The Missing Peace. She is looking forward to helping students feel successful and confident in school, and, more importantly, in life.
AMY RUDMAN grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa before moving to Boca Raton, FL in her elementary years. Amy has always worked with children- at summer camps, or tutoring, babysitting, and teaching dance classes, so it was only natural that she would become a teacher. She earned a bachelors and masters degree in Elementary Education, and graduated from the ProTeach Program at the University of Florida in 2011. Amy also earned a minor in Spanish, and went on to teach VPK, 1st grade, 4th grade and 5th grade for over 10 years in South Florida. She has a passion for teaching reading, history, writing, technology and math, and helping students find their voice through Student Government. Amy has worked as a tutor for students from Pre-K to high school, ranging from teaching letter sounds, to preparing students for end of course exams. Amy is certified in special education, English for Speakers of other Languages, and gifted education. Amy is thrilled to bring years of classroom experience, knowledge of instructional methods, and a passion for the learning process to The Missing Peace. When Amy is not working with students, you can find her teaching indoor cycling classes, training for a half marathon, planning her next travel adventure, watching Jeopardy reruns, or teaching new tricks to JP (aka Jean Pierre), her French Bulldog.
NICOLE ROSS is a Florida and New York State licensed Occupational Therapist. She recently moved from New York City to Miami to enjoy the sunshine and to continue her work in pediatrics at The Missing Peace! She received her Bachelor’s and Master's degree at Boston University and has experience working in a variety of pediatric settings such as schools, outpatient and homecare. Nicole has a passion for helping children grow in their fine and gross motor abilities as well as improve their self-esteem, sense of accomplishment and overall independence in daily living tasks and play. Nicole is extremely passionate about working with the family as a whole and having them involved in the therapy process as much as possible! Nicole is excited to bring her positive energy and creativity for occupational therapy to the clients, families, and the team at The Missing Peace! In her free time, Nicole loves cooking and spending time with her dogs and family!
ANDREA SCHNEE was born in New York. In 2017 Andrea traded in her snow boots for flip flops and moved from NY to FL to be near her family. She has over 20 years experience working in education from teaching in the classroom to building a literacy program. Andrea has a Master's in Urban Childhood Education and attended Columbia University's Teachers College for the Reading and Writing Project. In addition to teaching, Andrea works as a swim instructor and a Teen Youth Group Advisor. Some fun facts about her: She worked with child actors as the teacher on sets of tv shows and movies, and toured with a national Broadway show, and she was a USA competitive swimmer. Andrea is an extremely passionate and devoted teacher and very excited to be a part of The Missing Peace.
AMY SIAMA was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York where dance became her second language at the age of 3 years old. She continued to dance, compete, and choreograph at her second home (more like her first home) Horizons In Dance for many years. When Amy migrated to Miami 20 years ago, she took some time off to have her 3 children. Then found herself back doing what she loved most... teaching dance and theater to all that wanted to learn. Amy created her own program Rising Stars for young children not only for their love of dance, singing, and theater but to help with confidence, poise, and being heard in a positive way. Amy's instant connection with children is obvious and infectious. She is excited to bring her expertise to The Missing Peace and is looking forward to sharing her passion with her students.
KARINA VALLARINO is a BCaBA (Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst) who was born in New Jersey and raised in Miami, FL. She began working with children at the young age of 14, when she entered her high school’s Early Childhood Education program. Upon graduation, she received her Child Development Associate certificate and became the lead VPK teacher at a local preschool, while attending school at Florida International University. During her undergraduate career, she discovered the world of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and knew from that moment, this is what she was meant to do. From then on, she interned at two ABA companies, and in 2017 graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis. Karina has always had a niche for helping those in need and has an inexplicable passion for her work. She has had the pleasure of working with children of all ages, including typically developing, on the Autism spectrum, and with other developmental disorders. In her most recent experience, she has focused on Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and Social Skills Development. She has a deep belief in inclusion for all and dedicates herself to ensure each of her clients reach their full potential. The Missing Peace found Karina at the perfect time in her career. She is looking forward to collaborating with the team and pursuing their mission with every individual they meet. When she is not working (or brainstorming on ideas for work), you can find her anywhere outdoors, or caring for her pet tortoise, Clarice.