Jennifer Tvrdy graduated from Creighton University in 2005 with her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She has worked in various outpatient pediatric therapy settings with a focus on sensory integration prior to opening Therapy Junction. She is extremely passionate about children, development, and improving overall quality of life. Her love for the water inspired her to open Therapy Junction in 2004. She witnessed the profound impact this therapeutic medium offered children with a wide range of abilities and diagnoses through her private practice. She has instructed and facilitated the development of pediatric aquatic therapy courses for Aquatic Therapy University. She is currently a Core Specialist for Masgutova Neurosensory Reflex Integration (MNRI) and instructor of Aqua Reflex Integration for the Svetlana Masgutova Educational Institute (SMEI). She is dedicated to her practice and the extension of knowledge for the betterment of healthcare worldwide.
Sarah received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine University in 2010. Prior to coming to Therapy Junction, Sarah gained experience in both pediatric and adult outpatient settings. She is certified in The Listening Program®, use of Physical Agents of Modalities (PAMS) and has attended courses related to Craniosacral therapy, vision processing and therapy, yoga & mindfulness, and Kinesio taping. Sarah is currently pursuing certification in the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) Method and has completed the following MNRI courses Dynamic and Postural reflexes, IPET Dynamic and Postural Reflexes, Archetype Movement Integration, Proprioceptive and Cognitive Integration, Lifelong Reflex Integration, Neurostructural reflex Integration, Aquatic Reflex Integration, Birth and Post Birth Reflex Integration, Breathing, and PTSD
Melissa Londoño, OTR/L
Melissa received a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Minnesota. She has been a member of the Therapy Junction team since December, 2015. Melissa’s previous experience includes working in pediatric settings with an emphasis on treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as experience working in an adult mental health setting. She is passionate about working with children of all ages and stages of development. She has training in Masgutova Neurosensory Reflex Integration (MNRI), SOS Approach to Feeding, Astronaut Training (sound-activated vestibular-visual protocol), and MORE: Integrating the Mouth with Sensory and Postural Functions.
Jennifer Annunziata, OTR/L
Jenny has worked in the outpatient pediatric setting for 9 years. Her favorite part is getting to laugh, cry, and celebrate with her families while embarking on the therapy journey. The progress children make inspires and motivates her both in her personal and professional life. Jenny is trained in sensory integration and self regulation, auditory interventions (therapeutic listening, the listening program, and integrated listening systems), interactive metronome, Masgutova Neurosensory Reflex Integration (MNRI), Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) Reflex Integration, handwriting without tears, cranial sacral therapy, and sensorimotor approach to regulation and developmental trauma.
Hi! My name is Brionna Heppner. I was born and raised in Fargo, ND. I have lived in Fargo my entire life, and ready for a change! I went to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN for a Bachelors degree in Communication. I attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND for my Masters degree in Occupational Therapy.
I have experience with the following interventions: Astronaut Training, Zones of Regulation, Therapeutic Listening, Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Feeding Approach, Sensory Integration
I have been working in a pediatric outpatient setting for 2 ½ years, and love observing a child’s progress over time, and seeing a child’s response to various interventions strategies. I believe my job as a pediatric OT is the most rewarding job ever! My hobbies outside of work include: biking, camping, spending time with family, going to the lake, playing volleyball, snowboarding, and I love dogs! (golden retrievers especially).
Summer Shepstone, OTR/L
Summer specializes in treating chronic conditions across the lifespan. Summer previously saw children and some adults at Therapy Junction for 3 years as well as filling the role of clinic manager before leaving for just over a year to work for Park Nicollet with their Lifestyle Renewal Program. Summer has returned with even more experience and tools in her diverse toolbelt and is excited to help support and guide you and your loved ones to improved function, relationships, independence, lifestyle habits, emotional regulation, wellness and overall quality of
life. Some of you may also know that Summer has also travelled to Haiti as an Occupational Therapist twice and worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for 5 years prior to moving to Minneapolis. Prior to becoming an Occupational Therapist she supported adults with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health diagnosis for 10 years in the community. Summer enjoyed managing supports as well as floating from clients homes. Summer provided and supported emotional regulation, self care skills, high medical needs, sensory processing, community participation and was a behavioral specialist. Summer brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and experience to the Therapy Junction team and is here to help mentor new staff and build the adult program offerings for our community. She has more than 10 years experience in sensory processing/integration and aquatic therapy. She has specialized training in clinical use of essential oils. Summer completed her Master’s Thesis on Tactile processing at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a Fellowship in Early Intervention. She is a MNRI Core Specialist in training with more than 15 classes and camp experiences including: Dynamic and Postural, Tactile, Archetype, Neuro-structural, Birth and Post-birth, PTSD, Trauma Recovery, Breathing, and Oral Facial. Summer is also a Frequency Specific Micro-current Practitioner and Teacher Trainer. FSM is an electrical modality primarily used to treat Pain, Biofeedback is another form of treatment that Summer utilizes to help people recalibrate their nervous systems. She is also a Certified Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness practitioner. Summer likes to say she has found her niche in supporting people with dysregulated nervous systems of all ages and stages but you can find a list of common diagnosis she has helped over the years below.
Pediatric Specialties: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Developmental Delays & Prematurity, Torticollis, Sensory Processing, Twice Exceptional, Anxiety, Depression, Genetic Disorders and more.
Chronic Pain: Nerve pain, Migraines/Headaches, Fibromyalgia, Sciatica & LBP, Post Concussion Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, Burning Mouth Syndrome, Erythmyalgia, Trauma, Centralized Sensitivity, Ehlers Danlos, CRPS,Mast Cell syndrome and more.
Outside of work Summer and her Husband like to go rock climbing, ride bike, play guitar, laugh, see live music, cook fresh meals with family
and friends, travel, do yoga, camp, and anything on water: canoe, kayak, fish, paddleboard.
Amy received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from St. Cloud State University in 2004. Since then, she has provided services to countless children with communication disorders. Amy’s experience and areas of interest include stuttering, cluttering, autism spectrum disorders, Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome and childhood apraxia of speech. She has attended specialized trainings on the Lidcombe Program for Early Stuttering Intervention, the DIR/Floortime® approach and early intervention for childhood apraxia of speech.
Kristan received a master’s degree in communication disorders from St. Cloud State University in 2004. She joined the Therapy Junction team in September of 2013. She has been working with the pediatric and adolescent population in the rehab setting for the last seven years. Kristan enjoys working with a variety of children and their families. She takes a special interest in feeding therapy, social language skills, early language development, articulation therapy, apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Masgutova Neuro-Sensory-Motor Reflex Integration (MNRI). Kristan has taken courses specifically in MNRI including oral-facial reflex integration I & II.
Trista Blade, MS, CCC-SLP
Trista received her masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2012. She joined the Therapy Junction team in December of 2015. Trista has training in Masgutova Neuro-Sensory Reflex Integration (MNRI), Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT), and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She has previous experience working with children who have mental health disorders. Trista’s clinical passion is childhood apraxia of speech and motor speech disorders.
Kelsey Collins, MS, CFY-SLP
My name is Kelsey Collins, and I grew up in Dawson, MN. I attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and a minor in Music. From there, I went to Minnesota State University-Mankato where I received my master's degree in Communication Disorders. I have experience providing services to children in home, daycare, and school settings as an SLP. I also completed an internship at a private practice in Manhattan, where I provided speech and language services to both children and adults. One special interest of mine includes incorporating music into therapy for language and literacy development. I am trained in The Guardian Way Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation approach to dysphagia therapy as well. In addition to working with kids as an SLP, I love singing, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends
Mel O'Brien, Administrative Manager
Mel has her B.S. in Business Management and is currently a pre-med student at Bemidji State University with the goal to one day become a Cardiologist. She recently joined the Therapy Junction Team as Clinic Admin. Mel 's passion in life is kids. She has 2 sons and 1 daughter that keep her young and fun. She loves spending time being silly and enjoying all aspects of life. She dances in the rain, splashes in puddles and embarrasses her children at every possible opportunity.
Laura Dalager, Communications Director
My name is Laura Dalager and I am from Duluth, MN! I have lived in the Minneapolis area for 6 years and I am happy to call it my second home. I just graduated this May from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a bachelor's degree in communication studies. I have worked as a nanny for almost four years and I hope to continue my education and work towards becoming an occupational therapy assistant. I love to spend time with my friends, practicing yoga, drawing, writing and sitting in the sun.
Willow is a purebred yellow Labrador retriever who lives with one of Therapy Junction’s speech therapists, Amy Holsten. She was born in December of 2012 and began training to become a therapy dog when she was just 12 weeks old. In August, 2014, she passed her Pet Partner’s test and became registered as an official therapy dog! Since beginning her work, Willow has won the hearts of the children, families and employees of Therapy Junction. She provides limitless growth opportunities for the clients she works with. Whether working on fine motor skills by being fed a treat with tongs, cuddling with her buddies during reflex integration or being the “patient” while working on imaginary play with the vet kit, Willow helps children make progress towards their individual goals in a calming and motivating delivery. Willow loves playing fetch, especially with tennis balls! She also loves cuddling, swimming, chewing on bones and playing with her best friend, Denver. Follow her adventures on her community.
Follow her adventures on her community Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Willow-Talktome/215654081916943
Denver, a purebred golden retriever, is Therapy Junction's dashing gentle giant! He is 80 pounds of sweet, calm and playful! Denver has been a therapy dog since 2015. He loves to sleep, lay on bean bags and play fetch with his friends. Follow his adventures on his community Facebook page:
Meet Wrenley! She is our newest therapy dog-in training with plans to take her therapy dog test fall of 2016. In the mean time, Wren spends her time training, playing and spending one day per week getting used to spending time at Therapy Junction. She is Denver's younger sister, but she has more spunk and energy than her big brother! We are very excited for her to continue growing her skills and gaining confidence as a new therapy dog!