ANNOUNCEMENTS and NEWS
City of Coral Gables, EMBRACING AUTISM
Coral Gables has been an amazing partner with Crystal Academy in serving the Autism community. Please watch the video."
Ocaquatics Grant
Crystal Academy students get lessons in water safety, and lots of fun, through a generous grant from Ocaquatics Swim School."
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities
  An amazing show of support
         for the children served.
Gables Foundation
Mary Snow presented Crystal Academy with two Promethean ActivBoards through a grant by the Coral Gables Community Foundation."
Government Day
Mayor Jim Cason welcomed the middle schooler's for an amazing day at City Hall. All learned and had fun as "Mayor and Council for a day."
Remote Observation
Remote Observation
Crystal Academy offers parents secure access to observe their child from any internet connection. Recorded sessions are available.
Promethean ActivBoard
Interactive Board
The new interactive board is a fun way to learn and share. All the kids love to be at the front of the class showing off for their friends.
Scientific Learning's Fast Forward and Reading ssistant
Fast Forward
Improve reading two grades in as little as three months, boost performance across all areas of study. Fast Forward and Reading Assistant.
Dan Marino WEalkAbout
Dan Marino WalkAbout
Dan Marino honors Crystal Academy for being top fund raiser for the WalkAbout for Autism for the second year in a row.
In the news!
"Coral Gables Now" interviews Crystal Academy CEO David Pike on Autism Intervention and the first ASD center in Coral Gables.
Mary and David Pike host UM-NSU CARD Tropical Nights
Tropical Nights
Mary and David Pike were honored to be asked to host the 2014 Tropical Nights benefiting the UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
"Taco" the Guinea pig
Crystal Academy welcomes "Taco" the Guinea pig to the cllassroom. We voted on the name Taco but the vote for funniest picture is still open.
Social Play Day
Social Fun Day!
Everyone has a great time on Social Fun Day, especially the staff! With art, recreation, fun learning games, and many more playful, social activities.
The Pikes
Our Founding Family ~ David Sr., David Jr., Mary and Joshua
Mr. Pike also proudly sits on the Constituency Board of the University of Miami - Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilties (UM-NSU CARD).

In 2002 we were blessed with the birth of our angel David. By the time he reached 18 months of age we began to see behaviors we expected missing, and signs of inappropriate behaviors emerging. David retreated rapidly into himself until he made no voluntary sound, would not respond to his name or allow direct eye contact. He would spend his time when allowed fixated on spinning objects or other repetitive behaviors and would wander in public without regard to danger or our presence.

We reported these behaviors to his pediatrician and other medical professionals only to be told by one after the other not to worry, David was simply delayed and would emerge appropriately. I will be happy to never hear again how Einstein did not speak until he was four, true or not. Finally we got feedback from a retired neurologist in Puerto Rico, who was specializing in Neurological Reorganization and teaching others her principles, that David was not just "delayed" and that he required intervention to optimize his potential. We went through all the emotions of parents told their baby has a brain disorder that might diminish his entire life, denial, pain, rage, hope and determination.

OUR STAFF
Robert Lehardy
Behavior Therapy - Robert Lehardy, MA, BCBA
Robert Lehardy is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) that has been practicing Applied Behavior Analysis for over 5 years. He received his Masters of Arts degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of Houston in Clear Lake, Texas. During his graduate studies, Robert worked in a day treatment setting to conduct research and implement behavior interventions for children with developmental delays. Robert also worked in a public school setting with students with challenging behaviors to decrease the frequency and severity of their challenging behaviors, and to promote academic growth. After graduating, Robert worked for over 3 years in a short-term residential group home with adolescents and young adults that engaged in severe behavior problems that put them at risk of being permanently placed out of the family home.

Robert has worked extensively with children, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum diagnoses and intellectual disabilities. Robert has experience utilizing the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS), the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), the Murdoch daily living skills protocols, and the use of analog Functional Analysis to assess problem behaviors. His areas of specialization include the assessment and reduction of severe problem behaviors, the facilitation of verbal behavior, skills of daily living, social skills, and parent and teacher training.

Lauren Katz
Primary Education - Lauren Katz, MA, BCBA, ESE Teacher
Lauren Katz is a Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA). She has been practicing Applied Behavior Analysis for over 10 years. Lauren first learned about ABA while studying psychology during her senior year at Tulane University.

From there she moved to New York initially and worked as an ABA therapist at an early intervention center where she found that she loved this field and wanted to continue her education. Lauren then went to Teacher's College at Columbia University where she received her Masters in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis.

While pursuing her Masters, she worked in several different preschools and middle schools for emotionally disturbed children. During this time, she was promoted to Head Teacher. Upon graduation, she held a supervisory position at a newly established private ABA school for children with autism. While being apart of its inaugural team she was able to help develop the school.

After 10 years of NYC life, she decided to relocate back to Florida. Lauren is very excited to have the opportunity to work with the children and families of Crystal Academy and says "I am here to help your child reach their greatest potential while at the academy or in their home."

Tanya Sanchez
Speech Therapy ~ Tanya M. Sanchez, MS-CCC-SLP, BCBA, SLI/FEL
Tanya Sanchez has over 17 years experience working with children and their families. Ms. Sanches is a Licensed Speech Pathologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Certified Bilingual Teacher of Speech and Hearing, Certified Educational Leader and is PROMPT Level II certified.

In 1997, she started a small private practice now known as Emilia's Kids in NYC. Tanya worked in-office and home-based for Early Intervention, preschool, and school-age children. She is trained in oro-motor, sensory integration, and dyspraxia. Her specialty is in providing services for Early Childhood, PDD and the autistic population. She also coordinated with Department of Health and Department of Education to bring new programs to therapists to better improve student progress.

She graduated from Teachers College Columbia University in 1995 and has continued to evolve ever since. She works with and supports parents with Embedded Coaching for language/speech stimulation, behavior strategies and feeding difficulties to improve family dynamics and children's progress.

Ms. Sanchez is also a mother of 2 wonderful children with special needs. She understands the journey parents face in guiding their children through the myriad of hurdles they face in school and life. Her goal is to help all children, including her own, become happy healthy adults.
Liz Acuna
Occupational Therapy ~ Liz Acuna, MS, OTR/L
Liz is a Licensed Occupational Therapist specializing in pediatrics. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Recreational Therapy from Florida International University, where she learned the power of recreation as treatment to rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning. She worked with children with a variety of developmental disabilities and used recreational activities such as yoga, paddle boarding, and crafts to facilitate improved sensorimotor development and life skills.

She later returned to Florida International University to earn her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and has since continued her work in a variety of pediatric settings including schools, PPEC’s, and private outpatient treatment centers. She has experience working with children ages 2 – 21 with a variety of needs, including developmental disabilities, processing disorders, learning disabilities, and behavior problems. Liz utilizes a variety of evidence-based treatment methods to address the sensorimotor, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of performance in order to support a child’s engagement in occupations that affect physical and mental health, well-being, and quality of life.

Liz spent her first time of services performing Occupational Therapy and Neuro Developmental Interventions at Therapeeds in Davie Florida. She is currently acquiring her Neuro Developmental Intervention certification from INPP.
Isabel Lara
Physical Therapy ~ Isabel Lara, MS, PT
Isabel has been a pediatric therapist since December 1999, graduating from Florida International Universtity. During the 13 years she has been a licensed physical therapist, serving 2 month old premature babies to 19 year old teenagers with varying medical needs (cardiac, neurological, respiratory), learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and behavior problems.

Isabel has also specialized in sensory integration, receiving her certification from the Ayers clinic in California in April 2003 (cert #7888) and has completed over 30 specialized courses covering all of the individual sensory processing systems and their corresponding treatments, as well as cranial sacral therapy. .









Caitlin Lichtner
Behavior Therapy ~ Caitlin Lichtner, BA, BCaBA
Caitlin Lichtner is is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst and a Classroom Lead at Crystal Academy Primary School. She received her Bachelor degrees in Communications and Psychology in 2011 at Florida State University and completed her BCaBA course work at Florida Institute of Technology.

Caitlin has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2012 and has provided services to children with developmental disabilities in school, therapy center, community and private home settings. In 2014 she joined Crystal Academy to further her experience in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), facilitating learning and skill development for children with autism and related disabilities. .









Ashley Chavez
Speech Pathologist ~ Ashley R. Cunill, MS, CCC-SLP, BA
Ashley is a Speech Language Pathologist and a Behavior Assistant. Her interest in speech therapy began when she was 13 years old while she was helping her best friend's little sister who was diagnosed with Down syndrome during speech therapy that was done in the home. Ashley at the age of 15 began to volunteer at different speech therapy clinics just to be able to be in the speech setting and be able to observe and learn.

Ashley graduated with her Bachelors in Health Science with a certificate in speech pathology from Florida International University. It was during her undergraduate studies that she did a research project on Autism Spectrum Disorder and learned more about Applied Behavior Analysis. It was then that Ashley went through weeks of intensive classroom and hands on training to become a Behavior Assistant (BA). Since becoming a BA, Ashley has worked with many children on the spectrum since 2009 in different settings, and her love for both behavior and speech grows more and more each day.

Ashley graduated with her Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Nova SouthEastern University in August 2015. She is currently studying to achieve national certification in Behavior Therapy and Math Education. She dreams to one day being, Ashley R. Chavez, MS, CCC-SLP, BCBA, a rarity. She believes that all children, regardless of their disability have their own story to tell, and she loves being that helping hand to those children, to be able to share their story with the world.
Rebecca Unzueta
ESE Teacher - Rebecca Unzueta, BA, ESE
Rebecca Unzueta is a Florida certified Exceptional Student Educator (K – 12) with endorsements in Reading and ESOL. Her extracurricular activities while completing her bachelor's degree included being an active member of The Florida Educators of America Club and the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society.

Rebecca first discovered her passion for working with the exceptional population while volunteering as a Sunday school teacher for special needs students at her parish. Through her field experience work she has had the opportunity to work with students of varying ages and abilities. Rebecca has experience working in the public school system and individualizing lessons that follow Common Core Florida Standards. She has knowledge on differentiating instruction and intervention strategies. She has also been trained with the Crystal Academy staff on applied behavioral procedures. She believes that teachers encourage and inspire a love for learning while promoting students confidence.

Rebecca hopes to provide quality education by incorporating behavioral strategies to academic instruction in order to teach functional classroom behaviors and prepare the students for success. She hopes to interact with every student individually and become familiar with their unique learning style. Rebecca believes that there is no greater joy in life than reaching out to every child and guiding them through the journey of education.

Alana Usategui
Administrator /Teacher - Alana Usategui, MA, ESE
Alana is a certified Early Education and Special Education teacher. Alana was born and raised in Miami, Florida, but moved to New York City to study education and psychology at New York University. After Alana’s younger twin brothers were diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of three, Alana immediately became interested in pursuing a career in working with children with special needs.

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Alana worked at the New York Center for Austism, in different school settings, and a summer camp for students with special needs, to gain experience working with different populations. As soon as she graduated, Alana worked as a Prekindergarten Special Education lead teacher in a school for students with developmental disabilities. At the same time, Alana also began pursuing her Master’s degree through Nova Southeastern Univeristy. She completed her Masters in Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis in December of 2015. With all of these experiences, Alana is able to individualize lessons, differentiate instruction, and implement positive behavioral supports and techniques in the classroom.

Alana joined Crystal Academy in the summer of 2015 to begin its Middle School Program delivering individualized academic curriculum adhering to Common Core Florida standards while focusing on behavior development, daily living skills, social skills and community based instruction.

Paloma Dueñas
Music Therapy - Paloma Dueñas, BA
Paloma Dueñas graduated from Berklee College of Music with a bachelor's in Music Therapy and Voice. Originally from Mexico City, she has been working and living in Miami where she began her work with Alzheimers patients, adults with severe developemental disabilities as well as children.

With more than 13 years of experience in the field, Paloma has worked with different organizations in early childhood programs for children with special needs specializing on children within the Autism spectrum. Currently, she provides music therapy services through Whole Steps Creative Arts Center. In addition to Whole Steps, she works as a teaching artist at the Bass Babies art program and is an active multi-disciplinary artist in the community being a professional musician and showcasing her photography in local exhibitions.







 Lauren Petrick
Gymnastics - Erica Reyes, MS
Erika, a major contributor to the continued growth of LEAP South Florida, brings more than 8 years of experience in dance, cheerleading and fitness to the program. Erika combined her passion and experience in the field of early childhood development with a desire to work with Special Needs individuals emphasizing cognitive, social skill and motor skill development. Erika has worked with infants to young adults diagnosed with anxiety, phobias, Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental and physical disabilities.

Erika's dedication to impact the lives of Special Needs individuals led her to pursue both a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis from Florida International University. Erika's goal is to incorporate rhythmic gymnastics and cheerleading into the LEAP program. Additionally, Erika would like to see the LEAP program reach more special needs children and young adults by expanding to multiple locations throughout South Florida.







Katherine Cao
Program Manager - Katherine (Kat) Cao, BS
Katherine Cao is a graduate of Barry University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Service Administration. Prior to joining Crystal Academy, she worked at a nonprofit for over 10 years working side by side with families and children in the community. As a young child and through her teen years she volunteered at many hospitals and community centers to help with children and adults who suffered from severe illnesses and/or special needs.

In the Fall of 2015 she engages Nova Southeastern University to pursue her Master of Science degree in Developmental Disabilities. Katherine hopes to complete her degree and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, so that she can help to improve the quality of life of children and their families.






Marisol Garcia
Insurance Coordinator – Marisol Garcia, CBCS
Marisol is dedicated to making sure Crystal families insurance coverage is optimized and delivered, consistantly and on a timely basis. She has been working for more than 10 years in the healthcare field performing administrative health functions as a medical coder and biller. These include tasks associated with organizing, analyzing and assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures, using the ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS Level II code sets, as well as developing insurance claims according to third-party guidelines, and following the legal, ethical, and regulatory concepts that are vital to this field. She has provided billing services in a variety of specialties like Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics, Cardiology, Gynecology, and Internal Medicine.

Marisol earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. She graduated from College of Business and Technology in Miami with a certificate as a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist. She has also completed other different courses such as Medical Insurance and Collections, HIPPA and OSHA. Her credentials as a National Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) were awarded by the National Health Career Association, NHA.
OUR BOARD
Mark S. Scott
Chairman ~ Mark S. Scott, Partner, ARNSTEIN & LEHR LLP
Mark S. Scott practices in the area of corporate law, both domestically and internationally, representing clients in corporate structuring and business planning, private equity, debts, investment funds, mergers and acquisitions, and private placements. Mr. Scott represents clients in a variety of industries, and has a particular focus on communications technology and life sciences. His experience in complex transactions includes representing private equity funds and large corporations in portfolio acquisitions, strategic investments and structuring real estate investments for corporate investors.

Mr. Scott has a particular focus on assisting U.S., European and Chinese clients with cross-border transactions between the respective continents. On the telecommunications front, he has represented several private companies with the acquisition of several thousand telecommunications assets in various Latin American and European countries. Further, he serves as outside general counsel to several telecommunication related companies in five countries. Mr. Scott is a native speaker of German and has assisted many U.S. and German clients in negotiations in connection with complex cross-border transactions.

Dr. Nicholas C. Lambrou
Board Member ~ Nicholas C. Lambrou, M.D., FACOG
Dr. Nicholas C. Lambrou is a Gynecologic Oncologist and serves as the Medical Director of GYN Oncology of Miami. Dr. Lambrou is originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and was educated at Boston University School of Medicine, completed his Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and his sub-specialization at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital.

He has been residing and practicing in South Miami for almost twelve years and prides himself in being an avid Floridian. Dr. Lambrou lectures nationally and internationally on surgical techniques and the treatment of gynecologic cancers. He has published in medical textbooks and scientific journals and is one of the original editors of the Johns Hopkins Manual of Obstetrics and Gynecology, an educational guide for medical students and residents.

p>Dr. Lambrou is distinguished as one of the top ten gynecologic robotic surgeons worldwide. In addition to his knowledge and experience as a physician, Dr. Lambrou carries a profound sense of optimism and an exceptional appreciation for life that permeates his practice and all his endeavors.
Michael Jones
Board Member ~ Michael Jones, CEO, Latin America ME C
Michael Jones has been working within the international media industry for more than 20 years. He began his career in London in 1989 with Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. Two years later saw him in Paris running Proctor & Gamble before moving again in 1994 with the same agency and client to China. A couple of years later in 1997 Michael left the group and joined Dentsu Young & Rubicam as Executive Media Director for Hong Kong and China. By 1998, Michael was Regional Managing Director for Asia and launched The Media Edge across eight markets in Asia where he lived in Hong Kong until 2002.

After taking a year long sabbatical, Michael returned to MEC in May 2003 to take up the position of Director of Business Development EMEA. Instrumental in orchestrating the Agency's biggest wins over the next two years in the summer of 2005, he accepted a new challenge in Latin America to become their Chief Executive Officer. Tasked to build the networks presence in this rapidly emerging region; MEC has tripled in size and is the fastest growing network in the region.

His experience includes consumer, direct and business to business communication, working across all forms of paid, owned and earned media, as well as developing tools and research applications.