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Meet The Team


Lorell Marin


Lorell Marin, M.Ed, LCSW, BCBA, DT, is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of LEEP Forward, a pediatric clinic that is innovative and focusing on a neurodiverse population. In 2001, she founded LEEP Forward. LEEP Forward is a  developmental therapy clinic and therapeutic preschool. Lorell has always honored each child’s and families' individual differences and believes your approach also needs to be tailored. There is not just one way to provide support. LEEP Forward  was fueled by her expertise in multiple approaches to create individual programs that allow each child to become curious, confident life long learners themselves. .

As a lifelong learner, Lorell has recently completed training to become an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist and Trauma-Informed Care practitioner. Lorell started her career as a special education teacher and has trained in a variety of additional certification programs, including level 2 DIR(R) practitioner, RDI (Relationship Development Intervention), The Play Project, Mendability, SCERTS, TEACCH, Social Thinking programs, and more. Lorell continues to demonstrate her commitment to ongoing learning and development. Her biggest teachers have always been her clients. 

Lorell prioritizes listening to her clients and honoring their journey. She knows that with the right support, the children she works with will take over the world, and that's a world worth creating.This evident with her latest endeavor which includes creating innovative programming that continues to support her clients as they grow, including teen and adult programming.


Dana H, MS, DT

Chief Clinical Executive Director

Dana is a credentialed Developmental Therapist and has been a Lead Therapist at LEEP Forward since 2013 and has also worked as the Transition Coordinator. Dana received her professional DIR-FCD Model certificate in Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Development through the Profectum Foundation. She implements the DIR® Floortime model in the therapeutic preschool groups. Dana received her undergraduate degree in ElementaryEducation from the University of Wisconsin and taught in the public schools in Aiken, South Carolina. Dana returned to Chicago and graduated from The Erikson Institute with a Master’s in Science with a focus in working with children with special needs. 

Dana is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in her free time loves to explore the culinary world of Chicago with her husband, Harley.


Elena M

Chief Operating Officer 

Elena is the LEEP Forward Medical Insurance Advisor, Communications & Office Manager, helping families navigate through insurance benefits as swiftly and painlessly as possible. Born in Chicago, she is a graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. Elena brings a strong sense of compassion through her own experiences with helping her own beautiful son get the coverage he needs. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and making her son laugh. If you have any questions regarding medical insurance just ask for Elena or also commonly referred around the office to as “Diego’s Mom”.

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Leigh M, MS OTR/L 

Clinical Director

Leigh received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Therapeutic Studies and Occupational Therapy in a 5-year accelerated program at Boston University.  After earning her Master’s degree, Leigh moved back to Chicago for her clinical fieldwork rotations. Though pediatrics was her original passion, Leigh wanted to gain experience working with a variety of populations and spent the first 5 years of her practice working with adult and geriatric populations in hospitals, inpatient rehabs and skilled nursing facilities. 


Leigh joined the LEEP team in 2017 and has worked her way up from an occupational therapist to a senior occupational therapist and most recently has transitioned into the role of Clinical Director. During her time at LEEP, Leigh has learned and accomplished so many things! She loves working with and learning from a multidisciplinary team approach and has focused her continuing education on sensory based movement disorders. In addition, Leigh has a passion for sensory friendly and inclusive design within homes and businesses and has enjoyed helping families design sensory play rooms within their homes.  


In her spare time, Leigh enjoys exercising, interior design, spending time with family and friends, and traveling the world!

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Lindsey D, MS OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Department Head

Lindsey grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and received her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. Lindsey also has a Bachelors of Social Work (BSW), which she received from Indiana University, Bloomington. Lindsey has enjoyed working at both LEEP Forward and Quantum LEEP Academy locations for the past 2 and a half years. Her demonstrated passion is to provide services to promote and support participation in everyday activities across multiple environments. She finds joy in seeing every child flourish and grow to their greatest potential. Lindsey has substantial experience with the DIR® Floortime approach, sensory processing, and feeding. 

In her spare time, Lindsey loves traveling (to both warm and cold destinations!), exercising, and spending time with family and friends!



Speech Language Pathologist

Alex was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She went on to earn her Master of Science in Speech, Language and Learning from Northwestern University. 


Alex is passionate about fostering meaningful relationships with her clients and their families to create an environment that promotes development. Alex has experience working with a wide variety of pediatric clients, including those with language delays and disorders, phonological and articulation disorders, and autism spectrum disorder. She’s a firm believer in the undeniable value of an interdisciplinary approach to care and she’s excited to be a part of the teams at both LEEP Forward and Quantum LEEP Academy. After work, Alex enjoys trying new restaurants around the city, listening to live music, and traveling with family and friends.


Katie L, OTD OTR/L 

Occupational Therapist 

Katie grew up in Columbus, Ohio and just recently moved to the windy city to start her career as an occupational therapist. She obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Psychology from Ohio University and went on to get her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Nova Southeastern University. Katie spent time during her doctoral capstone researching evidenced-based interventions and strategies for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to engage in daily occupations and has experience working with children with ASD during graduate school. Katie is interested in feeding and reflex integration and has plans to take courses to specialize in these areas. She enjoys being silly with kids and helping them maximize their potential through meaningful activities.


In addition to work, Katie enjoys concerts, walks/runs around the city, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and taking her pup, Lola, to the dog park.



Occupational Therapist 

Kim grew up in upstate New York with her three siblings before moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science, in Health Promotion, Nutrition, and Exercise Science. She fell in love with the idea of working with children and went on to get her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from The Ohio State University. During Kim’s doctoral capstone, she spent a year researching and implementing evidence-based, sensory-based interventions for youth who have experienced trauma. Throughout graduate school, she continued to work with children in a variety of contexts, from preschools, to community centers, to assisting with aquatic research. Kim loves using the power of play to communicate with children, helping them achieve their highest potential physically, emotionally, and socially. She recently moved to Chicago to start her career as an occupational therapist and is excited to be a part of the incredible LEEP Forward team!


During Kim’s free time, she enjoys discovering new restaurants in Chicago, fostering service dogs, and spending time outside with friends and family.



Speech Language Pathologist

Abbey is from Moline, IL of the Quad Cities. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Speech & Hearing Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master’s degree at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, UT. She has experience working with children on a wide variety of skills including expressive language, auditory comprehension, implementation of augmentative and alternative communication, phonological and articulation disorders, fluency, social skills, voice, and expanding their food repertoire. She believes that the only thing more rewarding than advocating for her clients is seeing her clients learn to advocate for themselves.


During her time in graduate school out west, Abbey fell in love with the outdoors and continues to enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring new places. She also enjoys embroidery, cooking, rollerblading with her dog, live music, and spending time with her pets.



Speech Language Pathologist

Izzy was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago as the youngest of four children, however she has been back and forth between living in Texas and Chicago. Izzy received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX in May 2019. She received her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL in May 2021. Izzy holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed in the state of Illinois. Throughout her professional career, Izzy had the opportunity to work in the public schools and outpatient settings with children of all ages with a wide variety of speech and language disorders including receptive/expressive language disorders, articulation disorders, fluency, autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, social skills, auditory processing disorders, and other developmental delays.


As a speech language pathologist, Izzy is committed to celebrating vulnerability, showcasing differences, finding commonalities, and employing creative techniques so that her clients can thrive at their own pace and in a style that suits them. Izzy is thrilled to be a part of the teams at both LEEP Forward and Quantum Leep Academy.


Ofelia R, MSW LSW

Social Worker

Ofelia was born and raised in Chicago, near Rogers Park. She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) with both a BSW and MSW, and is a licensed social worker (LSW). During her MSW program, Ofelia interned at an agency where she ran skills groups for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). During grad school, she was a mental health therapist for children and adolescents. Ofelia has always been passionate about working with children and adolescents. Before completing her BSW, Ofelia had also worked at a daycare and as a full-time nanny.

Outside of work, Ofelia enjoys being in the kitchen. She enjoys making new dishes and trying out new flavors. During the pandemic, she also picked up baking as a new hobby. She likes visiting different coffee shops and exploring new restaurants. Did I mention she is a foodie? She also enjoys reading mental health related memoirs. Although she may not be very artistic, she enjoys anything related to arts and crafts and playing instruments (and also going to concerts).


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Karina V, MSW LSW

Social Worker

Karina was raised in northern suburbs of Chicago. She received her bachelor’s and master’s Social Work degrees from Northeastern Illinois University. Karina has worked with a variety of populations including children, adolescents in a therapeutic setting, as well as adults and geriatric in a skilled nursing facility setting. Over the last year Karina has found a passion in working with children and youth and supporting them in achieving their social and emotional goals through play, art and music.


When not at work Karina enjoys antique shopping, watching movies, and reading daily.


Alyse S, MA BCBA 


Bio Coming soon 


Rachelle K, DT 

Clinical Supervisor 

Rachelle grew up in southeast Michigan and received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from University of Toledo and her master’s of Education from Ashland University. Prior to moving to Chicago, she lived in Columbus, Ohio where she taught 1st grade for 9 years years and worked as an Intervention Specialist through the Ohio Autism Scholarship Program for 2 years. As an Intervention Specialist she worked 1:1 in the homes for school aged children with Autism. When Rachelle moved to Chicago, IL she began working at Leep Forward as a Lead Therapist while pursuing her Developmental Therapist credential. She is now a Developmental Therapist Clinical Supervisor for Leep Forward and happy to be a part of the Leep Family! She enjoys working collaboratively with Leep’s comprehensive team to support the children and their families at Leep Forward.


In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and hiking.

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Brittiny L 

Medical Biller 

Bio Coming Soon...


Kristell B 

Medical Biller 

Bio Coming Soon...

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Gabby D, RBT

Associate Clinical Supervisor/ RBT 

Gabrielle was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago and is a triplet. She is a 2019 graduate from the University of Missouri with a Bachelors of Science in Family and Lifespan Development with a Multicultural Certificate. I earned my Masters of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis in July of 2022 with an Emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders. I am planning to sit for my BCBA Liscensure/Certification Exam in the Spring of 2023.

During her four undergraduate years, she participated in plenty of service and volunteer work. In 2017 and 2018 she volunteered as a Camp Counselor and Arts & Crafts Coordinator for a Children’s Bereavement Camp in St Louis. This camp supported children and teens through the grief process, coping, and provided social emotional tools and support groups for all ages.

She also spent time at the Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Columbia, Missouri in the Pediatric Playrooms. There she provided developmentally appropriate medical play and preparation for difficult or painful procedures in the Emergency Room, Radiology, and Pre-surgery during her Child Life Practicum. She also has experience working with children with Sickle Cell Anemia. During her undergraduate years, she also spent time as a practicum student in the University of Missouri Child Development Lab. When she isn’t working you can find her spending time with her cat Luna Moon, cooking, online-shopping or binge-watching Netflix.

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Emily S, RBT

Classroom Facilitator/RBT 

Emily grew up nearby in Oak Park, Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science. While pursuing her Bachelor's degree, Emily spent evenings teaching swim lessons to both children and adults, and weekends coordinating a Saturday morning tutoring program for elementary aged students through the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center. After graduating, she spent four years working in early childhood education centers in the West Loop and Ravenswood neighborhoods before finding LEEP in 2019! Emily became a Registered Behavior Technician in 2020 and took a professional development course in DIR-Floortime in early 2021. She has loved having the opportunity to learn multiple disciplines at LEEP and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Special Education at UIC so that she can continue to serve young children and families in Chicago.

When Emily is not at LEEP, she enjoys keeping up with reality television and obscure celebrity gossip, as well as practicing art of all kinds.

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Becca K, RBT 

Lead Classroom Facilitator/RBT 

Bio Coming Soon...

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Jessica E, RBT 

Classroom Facilitator/RBT 

Jess is originally from Colorado, and went on to earn a BS in Psychology with minors in English and Education at Juniata College in Pennsylvania before moving to Chicago. Since graduating, Jess has worked with children with emotional, social, and behavioral struggles in residential and school settings. She has many experiences teaching daily living skills, social skills, and emotional regulation strategies. Jess loves supporting and encouraging kids as they discover who they are and what they love to do!

In her free time, Jess enjoys hiking, art, traveling, and spending time with her cat, Mousecop.

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Audrey T, RBT 

Lead Classroom Facilitator/RBT 

Audrey is originally from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. She moved to Chicago 5 years ago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she recently graduated from. She obtained her degree in Applied Psychology with a minor in Disability and Human Development. During her undergrad, Audrey interned at an on campus-clinic providing intervention services to children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. She plans on attending a doctoral program in the future to pursue her dream of opening her own clinical practice focusing on play therapy. When Audrey is not at LEEP, you can find her exploring the city, checking out cool restaurants, spending time reading in her hammock, and enjoying live music.

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Jada S 

Classroom Facilitator

While intrigued by speech and language development, Jada joined the LEEP team in July 2022 after earning her Bachelor's Degree in Speech Pathology from Eastern Illinois University. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she pursues hobbies such as Volleyball, volunteering at her family's not-for-profit organization, traveling, enjoying music, and spending time with family. Her main goal is to absorb as many concrete, interactive experiences regarding Apraxia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), feeding disorders, and several other diagnoses. She will further her education in Speech Pathology by obtaining her Master's degree, soon providing services for her family's not-for-profit, Next Level Social Services, while nurturing youth and elderly throughout the city of Chicago. When outside of LEEP, Jada spends her time exercising, shopping, enjoying yoga/meditation, eating delicious food, and playing volleyball.

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Andrea C, RBT 

Lead Classroom Facilitator/ RBT 

Andrea moved to Chicago with her family when she was about two. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology (exercise science). Andrea previously worked as a play and learning facilitator at a children’s museum where she first observed how following a child’s lead can lead to the growth of creativity. She also used to volunteer at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in the pediatric floor and is currently working on her Masters of Behavior Analysis and Therapy at Southern Illinois University. Andrea started working at Leep Forward about a year ago and is grateful to have found a place where an incredible team works together to support the wellbeing of the children and where play leads to amazing development. Also, where the children first nicknamed her Drea.

When Drea is not at work, you can find her talking long walks with her loved ones and her corgi named Gorgi as well as constantly re organizing her bookshelf even though there is clearly no more space.

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Olivia S

Classroom Lead Facilitator 

Olivia is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up in the western suburbs. However, she is a major Chicago sports fan! She attended Columbia College where she obtained her degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Before coming to LEEP Forward Olivia worked with youth for four years including extensive experience in outdoor education and leadership development. During this time she was a certified Wilderness First Responder and worked as an outdoor/backcountry trip leader. She plans to attend a graduate program in the future to pursue her dream occupation as a clinical counselor.

In her free time she enjoys cycling, cooking, exercising, playing video games, spending time with friends or family, and petting dogs.

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Emily M, RBT 

Classroom Facilitator/RBT 

Olivia is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up in the western suburbs. However, she is a major Chicago sports fan! She attended Columbia College where she obtained her degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Before coming to LEEP Forward Olivia worked with youth for four years including extensive experience in outdoor education and leadership development. During this time she was a certified Wilderness First Responder and worked as an outdoor/backcountry trip leader. She plans to attend a graduate program in the future to pursue her dream occupation as a clinical counselor.

In her free time she enjoys cycling, cooking, exercising, playing video games, spending time with friends or family, and petting dogs.

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Mikayla O, RBT 

Classroom Facilitator 

Mikayla is originally from West Virginia and has now been living in Chicago for a few months. She graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design/Technology concentrating in costume design and construction. She is also currently getting an associates in psychology at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, MA. Her love for art grows in many different ways like using it to promote advocacy in suicide prevention by being the marketing director for the Brian ONeill Jr Foundation based in West Virginia. She hopes to use her love for the arts to gain a master’s degree in Art Therapy as well as continue to create things that spark joy. She hopes to bring this love of art to the classrooms and build strong connections with everyone.

During her free time she is usually doing something artsy like drawing, sculpting or painting. She also loves to hang out at home with her two cats.

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Maya M

Classroom Facilitator 

Bio Coming Soon...

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Sarah W, RBT 

Classroom Facilitator/ RBT 

Bio Coming Soon...

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