San Diego Team

Behavioral Specialists

Nora Camacho, BCBA
Nora graduated from Providence College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education. She went on to obtain a master’s degree from San Diego State University in special education, with an emphasis in autism, as well as a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Alliant University. Nora became a board-certified behavior analyst in 2010. She worked as a supervisor for in-home applied behavior analysis therapy programs for nine years prior to joining our team. Nora is passionate about improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities while also supporting their families.

Abbey Hye, M.A., BCBA
Abbey received her Master of Arts in human development and psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a board-certified behavior analyst. She has broad training in the implementation of behavioral and developmental treatments (e.g., PRT, JASPER, ESDM) for children with autism and other developmental delays (e.g. Dup15q, tuberous sclerosis complex). Prior to joining Rady Children’s, she worked as a research assistant on a variety of early intervention studies at UC San Diego and UCLA, provided in home therapy through local agencies and conducted developmental/diagnostic assessments at the UCLA CAN Clinic. She has a passion for parent coaching and is committed to teaching social communication skills to children with autism and helping their families. Abbey has been working in the field of applied behavior analysis since 2008.

Early Childhood Autism Education Associates

Denise Arco
Denise graduated from San Diego State University in the spring of 2017 and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Prior to becoming part of Alexa’s PLAYC, she worked for the Poway Unified School District as an after-school care teacher. Subsequently, she pursued her passion for children by becoming a behavioral interventionist and implementing in-home applied behavioral therapy for children with autism. Her hobbies include crafting, blogging and yoga.

 

Savannah Endres
Savannah received her Master’s in Special Education from California State University, Fullerton. She has a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology. Prior to joining Alexa’s PLAYC, Savannah worked in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Services (CAPS), providing behavioral health services. She has also worked in autism clinics and has spent time volunteering at preschools and after-school programs. In her free time, Savannah enjoys Pilates, live music, traveling and going to the beach.

 

Katie Gafford
Katie received her bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development from Point Loma Nazarene University. She previously worked as a behavioral therapist for children on the autism spectrum and brings experience in applied behavior analysis to our team. Previously, Katie worked as a preschool teacher. She has also volunteered for many sports programs for children with varying abilities. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, hanging out with friends and family, and taking care of her kitten.

Elizabeth Gallagher
Elizabeth earned her bachelor’s degree in child development (ages 0-5) from San Diego State University in 2015. During her college years, she worked at the university’s children’s center. In 2016, she joined the Rady Children’s team as a developmental specialist for Children’s Care Connection (C3). In this role, she worked with children ages 0-5 and their families, providing developmental assessments as well as general development, behavior and language classes. She then joined our PLAYC team in September 2017. Elizabeth is also working on her master’s in education, with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, cooking and yoga.

Naisargi2016Naisargi Mehta
Naisargi received her Master of Arts in clinical psychology. She has completed a certificate course in applied behavior analysis (ABA) from National University in San Diego and has also completed her ABA/board-certified behavior analyst supervision hours. Before joining our team, she worked as a behavior specialist, focusing on children with autism spectrum disorders. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, traveling and listening to music.

 

Margaret Noll 
Margaret received her bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the past six years, she has worked as an autism treatment provider in the clinic and home setting in the Madison area. Margaret recently moved to San Diego and is excited to skip the winter weather.

 

 

Amy Oh
Amy received her Master of Science in school psychology with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis (ABA). She graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in human development in 2014, giving her the opportunity to do undergraduate research about Alexa’s PLAYC’s incorporation of classroom management strategies for children with autism spectrum disorder. Amy worked in an in-home ABA setting and spent time volunteering at camps for children with special needs before joining Alexa’s PLAYC again. In her spare time, she enjoys working out and cooking at home.

Daniela Orozco
Daniela earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University in 2012. She has worked with children with developmental disabilities in various settings for six years. She was an applied behavior analysis interventionist for 2 ½ years, working at an in-home setting with children ages 2 to 15. In her free time, she enjoys walking her three dogs in Ocean Beach and taking long hikes on the weekends.

Melissa-ADI TeamMelissa Ramirez
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 her family and friends, going to the movies, shopping, scrapbooking and going for walks on the beach.

Jeanna Sardena
Jeanna earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University. Before joining our team, she provided in-home applied behavior analysis therapy services to children with autism and other developmental disorders for three years. Her goal is to provide children with the tools they need to succeed, both in interacting with their peers and in their life experiences. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies and going to concerts. Her favorite time of the year is winter because she gets to watch her favorite football team, the Greenbay Packers. During the holidays, she treasures quality time with her husband and family.

Early Childhood Teachers

Cynthia Contreras
Cynthia began working with children during the summer of 2006 and immediately knew that she wanted to become a teacher. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in early childhood and adolescent development from the University of Northridge and has more than a decade of experience in inclusive classrooms. She enjoys helping children become independent and critical thinkers. Cynthia believes that experience is often the best teacher and tries to provide an engaging curriculum in which children have an opportunity to explore, be curious and have an independent learning process. She loves seeing the pride in children’s faces when they’ve accomplished something that was challenging for them! In Cynthia’s spare time, she likes to travel, play with her pets and rock climb.

Christi Eseller
Christi graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in child family development from San Diego State University. In the past three years, she’s had a broad range of experience, from working in school-age programs, to preschool, to volunteering with San Diego Parks & Recreation’s Therapeutic Services’ Kid’s Zone, which specializes in field trips for children with disabilities. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her dog, family and friends; listen to music; travel; shop; and meet new people!

Kayla Ferrugia
Kayla earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood studies from CSU Channel Islands. She has been working in preschools for more than seven years and is passionate about teaching and using sign language with children. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys yoga and spending time with her family.

 

Lory Gallardo
Lory earned a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition. She 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. Her 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, she enjoys playing the piano, organ, and harp, and reading books.

 

Torrey Hester
Torrey graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in child and family development. Before joining the Alexa’s PLAYC team in August 2017, she worked as an administrative assistant for a construction company for three years. She also worked with children ages 2-12 doing applied behavior analysis in the home setting. Additionally, Torrey was an assistant teacher at the Grossmont College Child Development Center for two years. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, camping and spending time with family and friends.

 

Audrey Lamagna
Audrey earned her bachelor’s degree in child development from California State University, Sacramento. She has worked as an early childhood teacher and was most recently a behavioral interventionist. Audrey has worked with both typical children and those on the autism spectrum. In her spare time, she is a freelance makeup artist for special events. Audrey enjoys doing crafts and spends her weekends discovering new food spots with her husband and daughter.

Sarah Lambert
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. She has worked with young children since 1993, mostly in the preschool setting. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, crafts, watching TV and walking with her dogs.

Coral Mireles
Coral graduated from San Diego State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in child and family development. Prior to joining Alexa’s PLAYC, she worked as an associate teacher in a preschool setting for two years and also worked as a behavior interventionist in the home setting. During her spare time, Coral enjoys going to the beach, hiking and spending time with her family and friends.

Lara Padrigon
Lara earned her degree in child development and is currently pursuing a degree in psychology. She 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 sports, painting/drawing, spending quality time with her family and trying out different types of cuisines.

Marjon Popal
Marjon earned her bachelor’s degree in human development from UC San Diego. Her undergraduate classes not only allowed her to develop a solid foundation in preparing for an integrated early education program, but have also given her multiple opportunities to learn alongside qualified, well-trained and creative teachers. In her free time, Marjon enjoys outdoor activities with her friends and family.

Sally Sutil
Sally received her associate’s degree in early childhood development from Grossmont Community College. She has worked for over 25 years in the field of childhood development. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking and gardening.

 

 

Occupational Therapist

Martha Beck-Monroe, M.S., OTR/L
Martha (“Marta”) received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California in 2007 with dual degrees in psychology and communication. After graduating, she worked as the lead behavior therapist at an early intervention preschool program for children on the autism spectrum for three years before starting graduate school. Marta is a registered and licensed occupational therapist and received her Masters of Occupational Therapy in 2012 from Boston University. She has been working at Rady Children’s since 2013. Marta enjoys working with children of all ages and helping them to achieve their goals and reach their fullest potential.  She also has experience working in other areas of occupational therapy, such as school settings and skilled nursing facilities. Marta is currently a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and is certified in the SOS Approach to Feeding as well as iLS (Integrative Listening Systems). In her personal time, she enjoys long walks with her dog Taco and knitting for friends and family.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Christiana David, M.A.
Christiana has been a speech-language pathologist at Rady Children’s Hospital since 2011. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders with a minor in psychology and her master’s degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences from San Diego State University. Christiana enjoys helping children and their families realize their potential through improved communication skills. At Rady Children’s, she treats children in the outpatient clinic and is a member of the Feeding Team. She has worked as part of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Team and treated kids at the Helen Bernardy Center. Christiana is trained in PROMPT level 1 (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Musculature Phonetic Targets) and PECS Level 1 (Picture Exchange Communication System). She is licensed by the state of California and holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).