My professional career as a social worker began 20 years ago when I pursued a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. During my final year, I interned at the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council where I began my life-long role of advocating for persons with various intellectual and physical disabilities. I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in Pennsylvania and former licensed social worker in New Jersey. I spent some of my first years after graduation serving as a Behavior Specialist with Wyomissing Behavior Analysts, Ltd. I am a Certified Autism Specialist and have presented at many local, state and national disability and Autism conferences. I have a passion for working with families, and particularly with those who find it difficult to create or access the supports they need for individual and family success. I have experience working with all ages, from toddler to adult. I provide Mindfulness Based Play-Family Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Behavior Plans and Therapy and Life Coaching as well as clinical supervision for those pursuing master-level licensure in Pennsylvania. I am a past- President of ASCEND: the Asperger and Autism Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and a member of National Association of Social Workers and Autism Society of America and Association Play Therapy.
I am Licensed Professional Counselor in PA and a board certified music therapist devoted to serving people who have special needs. In May of 1999, I graduated from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA, with a bachelors of science in music therapy and completed my clinical training at the University Hospitals of Cleveland in January 2001. I earned my Master's in Music Therapy (MMT) from Temple University in May of 2010, Currently, I am a Board Certified Music Therapist, Certified MARI® Practitioner and a Certified Autism Specialist. I strive to use my talents and musical abilities to make a difference in lives of the people I serve. Fueled by this ambition, I formed a private practice in 2002 and later merged my practice with my business partner to form Spectra Support Services, LLC. To date, I established new creative arts therapy programs in settings such as hospitals, pediatric rehabilitation centers, senior homes, homeless shelters, clinics and schools. I am an advocate for the advancement of quality programming for people who have mental health needs. I find that I am able to influence this type of change through my clinical work, clinical supervision opportunities, development of programs, increasing clients' access to specialized health services, research, publications, advocacy, and training programs. It brings me great joy to serve my community in this way.
My passion for working with and helping intellectually disabled persons has been a part of me since my early teens, when I volunteered to help children with intellectual disabilities at Saint John of God in Deptford New Jersey. This passion is the motivation that has driven me to pursue my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I received a Bachelor’s of Science from Drexel University, a Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family therapy from Capella University, I am a Certified Stephens Minister, certified autism specialist, behavioral specialist and I am currently training to become a Registered Play Therapist at The Family Play Therapy Center. I provide Mindfulness Based Play Family Therapy which connects families and promotes healing in a safe environment. I have over 15 years of experience counseling Teens, Children and Families with a specialty in Couples counseling and I regard working with my clients as a gift that has given me the opportunity to use the skills and insights that I have developed over the years and this gift is what makes my work rewarding and fulfilling. I feel it is important to give individuals a safe place to allow their voice to be heard as they grow and heal from the inside out.
In my role as Director of Waiver Services I am responsible for overseeing the day program and the supervision and training of staff and the safety and development of our clients. I provide communication and coordination with residential staff, supports coordinators and families to ensure that our clients’ receive the services they need in a timely manner and that they are always treated with dignity and respect.
I spent my entire professional career of forty-nine years working with people who have disabilities. As graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Psychology and Sociology, I spent thirty-nine years as an Executive Director of agencies serving people with a variety intellectual and developmental disabilities. From early intervention to senior programs, my experience spans the entire life spectrum. I served as Executive Director of the Westerly Chariho Chapter for Retarded Children in Rhode Island, and the Berks County Chapter of Retarded Citizens in Pennsylvania. I then co-founded Prospectus Associates, a private non-profit agency serving people in a seven county area in Pennsylvania where he served as President and Executive Director. That was followed by being the Executive Director of the ARC of Mercer County in New Jersey, the Executive Director of CSAAC in Maryland, and then as the Pennsylvania State Director for MENTOR. Finally, I served as a consultant and Director of Employment Services in PA for Elwyn.
I now join my daughters Maleita Olson and Patricia Gonzalez at Spectra Support Services as a Business Consultant and Director of Residential Services. I bring to the team my extensive personal and professional experience to benefit the people served by this agency.
As the Office Administrator, my responsibilities include managing and supporting the operations of the business, to include Personnel Management, and also ensuring compliance with state regulations for our Day Program and Waiver services. I strive to create a harmonious work environment, one where employees feel welcome and important as individuals. In this role I have the pleasure of working with a very talented staff and have broadened my understanding of the community of individuals with special needs.
I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Management from Wesley College in Dover, DE in May of 1990. I earned my Master’s in Business Administration in Database Management from Widener University in May of 1997. I began my professional career as a Management Analyst for the Department of the Navy in Philadelphia, PA, transferring to Carderock, MD, and responsible for workload planning at both locations.
I earned my Bachelor’s in Sociology from Rosemont College in 2007. I worked in daycare after my undergraduate degree. I gained valuable experiences working with children of various ages; particularly with infants and toddlers. I pursued my Master’s at Immaculata University and began my internship at Child Guidance Resources Centers as a therapist-in-training in the outpatient department. In 2015, I earned my Master’s in Counseling Psychology and continued to work as a therapist at Child Guidance. I obtained my professional counseling license in the state of Pennsylvania in May of 2017 and I became a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. Currently, I am pursuing a certificate in Advanced Child Development at the Family Play Therapy Center as a way to continue to enhance my skills in play therapy.
I began my work at Spectra in August 2017. My roles at Spectra include working as a clinical psychotherapist, behavior specialist and clinical manager. I work with clients and their families across the lifespan who have varied backgrounds and treatment needs. My interventions include mindfulness, play therapy, and cognitive behavioral interventions. Through my roles at Spectra, I find that I learn from my clients and from the collaborative process of being a member of treatment teams. Also, I gained an in-depth understanding of the challenges clients and families face to obtain services in behavioral and mental health. I take pride in being able to help clients gain access to the services they need through my role as a clinical manager.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2012. After completing my studies, I began working at Deveruex Children's Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Services campus. I was unaware that the job I found upon graduating college would have such a profound impact molding my future. I was promoted to a residential supervisor position in the fall of 2013 and over the course of the next four and a half years, I gained valuable experience while working with individuals who have a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. I dealt primarily with crisis intervention, ensuring all documentation was completed in accordance to regulations and direct supervision of staff. I began working at Spectra in July of 2017 as a Community Integration Specialist (CIS). My superiors soon realized that my areas of expertise would benefit a new project of opening Spectra’s first residential group home. In my role as Residential Manager I am responsible for the supervision and training of staff, as well as general overseeing of day to day functions. I look forward to surpassing expectations as we run this group home and support individuals as they live a fulfilling, independent life.