Zheilla Asgari, M.A., Autism Education Associate
Zheilla earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from San Diego State University and a master's degree in human behavior from National University. She holds an ABA certificate and will soon be sitting for the board-certified behavior analyst ) credentialing exam. Zheilla has worked with children with various special needs, including autism, Rhett's syndrome and intellectual disability since 2004. Past experience includes providing in-home behavioral therapy and one-on-one support in the non-public school setting for children with significant behavioral needs. Zheilla finds her work very rewarding and enjoys seeing the children make progress every day. In her spare time, Zheilla enjoys walking her dogs, spending time with her husband, going to the beach and baking.
Fara Bowles, Teacher
Fara has worked in the field of early childhood development since 1986. She has taken many courses in child development and liberal studies and has worked with children at risk for autism since 2009. In her spare time Fara enjoys long walks with her husband, watching hockey with her son, cooking with her daughter, watching baseball and going to concerts.
Candice Brooks, Substitute Teacher
Candice earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Clark Atlanta University. She has eight years of experience teaching kindergarten. In her spare time, Candice enjoys reading, playing tennis, and watching football.
Corie Di Matteo, Autism Education Associate
Corie earned her bachelor's degree in child and family development at San Diego State University. She has worked with young children since 2005 in a variety of settings including typical preschool classrooms, intervention programs for children who have been victims of abuse as well as home programs for children with autism. In her spare time, Corie enjoys reading, cooking and spending time outdoors with her husband and daughter.
Brian Fritz, Autism Education Associate
Brian earned his bachelor's degree in history from UC San Diego. He worked providing in-home ABA therapy services for three years prior to joining the Alexa's PLAYC team. Brian has a brother with autism. In his spare time, he enjoys music and soccer.
Lory Gallardo, Floater Teacher
Lory earned a bachelor's degree in food and nutrition. Lory worked at the Rady Children's Child Care Center, now Alexa's PLAYC, when the center opened in September of 1995. Lory has experience teaching in elementary and secondary schools and has been a preschool teacher since 1989. Lory's philosophy is that children can learn the skills necessary to succeed in life and should be empowered to maximize their capabilities. In her spare time, Lory enjoys playing the piano, organ, harp and reading books.
Patricia “Tree” Giovanniello, M.A., Teacher
Patricia, nicknamed "Tree" from a very young age, has a master's degree in education -- with specialization in applied behavioral analysis -- and a bachelor's degree in child and family development. Tree has more than 20 years of experience teaching preschool-age children, as well as experience as a preschool director. She is currently studying to become a board-certified behavior analyst. In her spare time, Tree enjoys playing tennis, golf, motorcycle riding, playing music and being with her family, friends and cats.
Sarah Hailstone, Autism Education Associate
Sarah has worked in the special education field since 1996. While most of Sarah's experience has been with adults and children with autism spectrum disorders, she has also worked with children with a variety of physical and developmental disabilities. Sarah received her bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University, San Marcos. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening and spending time with her friends and family.
Emily Holt, Teacher
Emily earned a bachelor's degree in child development from San Diego State and went on to earn a master's of arts in education, with a specialization in special education. Emily worked at a Montessori preschool for six years prior to joining Alexa's PLAYC. Emily also has training as an ABA therapist. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her 3-year-old son and husband.
Haley Kimball, M.Ed., Autism Education Associate
Haley earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and elementary education from University of Massachusetts, Amherstfrom and a master's in early childhood special education from California State University, Northridge. Haley has worked with exceptional students since 2005, both in classrooms and as an one-on-one aide providing behavioral support to children and their families. Haley joined the Alexa's PLAYC team in 2010. She remains passionate about working with young children, growing within the profession, and educating others about autism awareness. In her spare time, Haley enjoys surfing, walking her dog and relaxing at the beach.
Sarah Lambert, Floater Teacher
Sarah earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., and her associate's degree in child development from Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif. Sarah has worked with young children since 1993, mostly in the pre-school setting. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, crafts, watching TV and walking with her dogs.
Raquel Locsin, Autism Education Associate
Raquel graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies, with a specialization in psychology. She has worked with children in the education setting since 2001. In her spare time, Raquel enjoys running and hiking, spending time with family and friends, watching movies and reading.
Chelsea McCawley, M.Sc.; Autism Education Associate
Chelsea has a bachelor's degree in psychology from San Diego State University and a master's degree in applied positive psychology from the University of East London. Her post-graduate research focused on the application of strengths in young children with autism spectrum disorders, which fueled further interest in promoting well-being in children with ASD alongside providing clinical intervention. Additionally, Chelsea provided in-home support for children with ASD in Ireland and Australia. In her free time, Chelsea enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, riding her bike and exploring San Diego.
Cecilia Orozco, Teacher
Cecelia's background is in child and human development. She has been teaching in the preschool setting since 1987 and has worked at the Children's Child Care Center, now Alexa's PLAYC, since 1997. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, beading, photography and walking.
Lara Padrion, Teacher
Lara earned her degree in child development and is currently pursuing a degree in psychology. Lara has worked in the field of child development since 2003 with both neuro-typical children and children with special needs. In her spare time, Lara enjoys reading, watching movies, catching up on some sports, painting/drawing, spending quality time with her family and trying out different types of cuisines.
Melissa Ramirez, Autism Education Associate
Melissa earned her bachelor's degree in child and family development from San Diego State University. She has worked in the field of child development since 1997 and has worked at Rady Children's since 1999. When Melissa is not at work, she enjoys spending time with my family and friends, going to the movies, shopping, scrapbooking and going for walks on the beach.
Rebecca Ruiz, Autism Education Associate
Rebecca has worked with children with autism since 2003 in numerous settings, including infant/toddler early intervention programs, group homes, summer camps, public preschool moderate to severe special day class settings and after school programs with children ranging from 2-9 years old. Rebecca earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from UC San Diego in 2007. Currently, she is nearing completion of the master's degree program at San Diego State University in special education. She is also working towards obtaining the behavioral analyst certification. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys playing soccer, reading and snuggling with her dog. She also loves trying out new restaurants with spicy dishes and watching movies.
Brooke Sevier, Teacher
Brooke earned her bachelor's degree in child development from San Diego State University. She has worked with children since 2008 and thoroughly enjoys it! Brooke also enjoys outdoor activities, movies and eating (especially sweets).
Karen Stoffel, Teacher
Karen has associate's degrees in child development and psychology. She also has a California child development master teacher permit. Karen has been working in the child development field for more than 20 years and has been with Rady Children's since 1998. She enjoys going to the beach, reading, watching movies, fresh-water fishing and traveling.
Sally Sutil, Teacher
Sally received her associate's degree in early childhood development from Grossmont College. She has worked for over twenty-five years in the field of childhood development. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking and gardening.
Jessica Tajalle, Teacher
Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree in child and family development from San Diego State University. She also completed a credential program at San Diego State University in early childhood special education. She has worked with young children since 2005 in the home and school settings. In her free time, Jessica enjoys reading, listening to reggae music, and being outside in beautiful San Diego!
Marla Tzari, Autism Education Associate
Marla has a background in early childhood education. She has been working with typically developing children and children with special needs since 2003. She joined the Rady Children's team in 2006. In her spare time, Marla enjoys spending time outside with family and friends. She is the proud mommy of a beautiful baby boy.
Yvonne Vizcaino, Teacher
Yvonne has worked in the early childhood education field since 1999. She earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood development and a master's degree in education. Yvonne believes that early childhood education is based upon the knowledge that children's growth is developmental. Yvonne enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, and a good book.
Sarah Denno, M.A., Alexa's PLAYC Program Director
Sarah received her bachelor's degree in psychology from San Diego State in 2000. She then came to work in the Children's Toddler School program as an autism education associate in 2001, and from 2003-2004, served as the early childhood coordinator (director) for the program. In 2004 Sarah left California for the opportunity to develop and open a community school/inclusion program for children with autism spectrum disorders at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) in Phoenix, AZ. While there Sarah earned her master's degree in special education. Sarah directed the SARRC inclusion program until early 2009 when she was recruited back to Rady Children's to serve as a behavior specialist. Sarah provided Parent-Child Developmental Behavior Therapy as well as supported the inclusion programs at both the Child Care Center and Toddler School, As those programs joined to form Alexa's PLAYC, Sarah accepted the position as program director.
Jennifer Reinehr, Psy.D., Alexa's PLAYC Program Psychologist
Jennifer Reinehr, Psy.D., has been a licensed psychologist since 2008 and attended Nova Southeastern University's doctoral program that provided a specialization in both clinical and school psychology. Prior to her work at Rady Children's, Dr. Reinehr worked in the Broward County public schools as the lead psychologist on a transdisciplinary evaluation team assessing young children transitioning into special education services. She has an expertise in developmental assessment and development of intervention plans that address the developmental and behavioral needs of children and their families. Dr. Reinehr's primary work at Rady Children's includes the role of program psychologist at Alexa's PLAYC, an inclusion program for children ages 18 months to 6 years who are at risk for autism.
Christina Corsello, Ph.D., Manager, Clinical Director
Christina Corsello, PhD, is the Manager and Clinical Director of the Autism Discovery Institute. A licensed clinical psychologist since 2002, Dr. Corsello has worked at Rady Children's Hospital since 2005. Prior to coming to Rady Children’s, Dr. Corsello was the Associate Director of the Autism and Communication Disorders Center at the University of Michigan. Dr. Corsello’s specialization is in the diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorders. She has published training guides on a widely used standardized diagnostic measure, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, and has trained professionals worldwide on the use of this measure. Dr. Corsello has also authored several peer reviewed publications and book chapters, focused on diagnostic measures and assessment. She serves as a consultant on several grants requiring expertise on the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. She received her doctorate in psychology from St. John's University in New York and completed an internship and fellowship at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Aubyn Stahmer, Ph.D., Research Director
Aubyn Stahmer, Ph.D., is the research director of the Autism Discovery Institute and a research scientist at both the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) and UC San Diego. She has led clinical and research programs for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families in San Diego for the past 20 years. In the area of research, she has published many scholarly articles on inclusion and early intervention services for children with autism. She leads two federal grants examining collaborative adaptation and implementation of research-based interventions for children with autism into community programs. She enjoys working with teachers, community providers, families and funding agencies to make effective interventions more applicable to our community. Dr. Stahmer is a licensed clinical psychologist and a board-certified behavior analyst.
Cynthia Esquivel, Administrative Associate
Cynthia recently obtained her bachelor's degree in psychology. She plans to begin a master's degree program soon. Cynthia enjoys spending time with her children and reading.
Bonnie Corbin, Administrative Associate
Bonnie Corbin has been a part of the Autism Discovery Institute since its inception. Then known as the Children's Autism Intervention Center, Bonnie held roles ranging from scheduling, assisting in the Toddler School with snack and nap times and taking care of the daily business transactions. With the expansion to the Autism Discovery Institute, Bonnie now focuses more on the business operations but may still be found interacting with families at the front desk or handling any variety of needs that arise.
Catherine Dabasinskas, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
Catherine Dabasinskas has been a speech-language pathologist and has worked at Rady Children's since 2001. She specializes in working with children with hearing loss, cochlear implants, articulation difficulties, multiple disabilities, autism and dyspraxia. Catherine uses American Sign Language and augmentative/ alternative communication (AAC) with many different children to enhance their communication skills. She runs the Tongue Thrust group and co-facilitates Pathways, an inclusive group for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Catherine received her master's degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a nationally certified speech-language pathologist and is a current member ASHA. Catherine's goal in working at Rady Children's is to improve the speech, language and listening skills of children to maximize their learning and communication across environments, and to support families in this process.
Cyndi Smith, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
Cynthia Smith has been a speech-language pathologist since 2010 and has worked at Rady Children's since 2012. She has special training in the area of autism spectrum disorders. Prior to becoming a speech therapist, she taught children with autism spectrum disorders for over ten years using applied behavioral analysis (ABA). Other areas of interest include feeding disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, motor speech disorders such as childhood apraxia of speech, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Cynthia received her bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in communication disorders from The University of Texas at Dallas. In Dallas, she worked as a speech therapist for both the public school district and a private speech clinic. She is licensed and certified in speech-language pathology and is a current member of ASHA. Cynthia's goal in working at Rady Children's is to help each child improve their speech and language skills so that they can reach their highest potential.
Kim Arndt, M.S., OTR/L, Occupational Therapist
Kimberly Arndt, M.S., OTR/L, has been an occupational therapist since 2001, when she began working at Rady Children's. Kimberly has skills in a variety of areas, including working with children with feeding difficulties, autism, developmental delays, sensory processing difficulties and problems with fine motor and visual motor skills. She spends her time working at the outpatient clinic, with the Feeding Team, Alexa's PLAYC, the Autism Discovery Institute and at KidSTART. Kimberly received her master's degree in occupational therapy from Ithaca College. She is certified in therapeutic listening and advanced therapeutic listening. Kimberly is a nationally certified, California-licensed occupational therapist and a current member of AOTA. Kimberly's goal is to help children reach their full potential.
- Physical Address:
3685 Kearny Villa Road
San Diego, CA 92123
- Mailing Address:
3020 Children’s Way MC 6015
San Diego, CA 92123
- Hours: 7 a.m.- 6 p.m.
- Contact: Cynthia Esquivel