Our Merlin Day Academy Team

Meet our Merlin Day Academy team of Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, Behavior Therapists, Teachers, and Therapeutic Assistants. Our highly qualified and knowledgeable staff are here to help your child achieve their goals and reach their fullest potential.

Our Directors

Dr. Laura Mraz, OTD, OTR/L
Executive Director, Occupational Therapist

“I really enjoy seeing the growth within our children and families each year, but it is also incredible to see the growth and transformation within our therapists as they thrive in our supportive, nurturing and collaborative environment.”

Noah G, MSW, LICSW
Clinic Director

“Throughout my last 12 years in the social services field, I have continued to be inspired by the talent, passions, and determination demonstrated by both my peers and the children, adults, and families I worked with.”

Dr. Irma G, PT, DPT
Assistant Clinic Director

“I chose Physical Therapy as my profession as a young college student. I always believed in helping others reach their potential. I love working with each child and their diverse personalities. It truly is a joy when they achieve another milestone.”

Our Occupational Therapists

Susan K, OTR/L
Lead Occupational Therapist

“I have always loved helping children develop. My clinical expertise includes Feeding, Sensory Integration, and Early Development. I also helped establish Best Practices for Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) in the School Setting for the State of Illinois.”

Makayla T, MOT, OTR/L
Lead Occupational Therapist

“I immediately fell in love with the occupational therapy profession and how holistic of a field it is. I knew that this is what I was meant to do. I love being able to use evidence-based research and find creative ways to help my clients reach their full potential and improve their overall quality of life.”

Dr. Erin S, OTD, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Onboarder

“I knew I wanted to become an occupational therapist since I was 10 years old. I grew up next-door to a boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and I got to see first-hand the remarkable work OTs do in increasing participation and performance for children and their families.”

Dr. Mirely M, OTD, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

“I grew up in a medical setting and was destined to be in the medical field… I wanted to help children have the best childhood possible. So, I became an Occupational Therapist to help children in a meaningful way that allows them to enjoy the things that make them a kid.”

Hailey S, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

“I am a third generation therapist and had the fortune of growing up surrounded by their knowledge, kindness, and unique skills. This inspired me to continue in their footsteps and use this motivation to learn and develop as much as I can to be the best occupational therapist I can be.”

Mallory W, MOT, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

“I decided to become an Occupational Therapist (OT) after watching my grandpa recover from multiple strokes/chronic health conditions. I love the holistic perspective of Occupational Therapy  and how we can utilize that to help clients achieve their full potential to participate in their valued activities!”

Olivia L, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

“I needed to… make a difference in peoples lives for a fulfilling career. After working at a school for kids with autism, I decided to become an occupational therapist because I can take a holistic approach to help others reach their fullest potential and reach maximum independence for greatest quality of life.”

Hannah D, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

“I began working with children with special needs when I was very young and always enjoyed seeing them make progress. As I got older, I was able to see the difference working with an OT could make. After spending time shadowing OTs, I knew this was the job for me.”

Nicole M, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

“I’ve always had a passion for working with children and found that occupational therapy was a great way to help them improve their quality of life through meaningful activities and empowering them to reach their full potential. I am excited to grow and learn here.”

Our Speech-Language Pathologists

Elizabeth M, M.S., CCC-SLP
Lead Speech-Language Pathologist

“I was excited to join the Eyas Landing Team in 2020. The feeling of being welcomed and excited about joining the team made me feel at home. I love the excitement when you walk through the doors and the smiles on the kids’ faces when they enter.”

Julia A, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

“I am endlessly interested in communication, linguistics, and cognitive science. More importantly, I was drawn to having a career where I could create bonds with clients and foster safe and individualized learning environments.”

Stevie S, MS, CF-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

“After working as a nanny for children that received in home speech therapy services, I realized that being an SLP was both a job that I could work 1:1 with children, make a huge impact… and see work directly applied to functional skills and needs.”

Suzanne C, MS, CF-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

“I came to speech therapy later than most, retraining as a Speech-Language Pathologist after 10 years in administration. I never saw myself working with children but I love being able to do work that is meaningful, difficult and fun all at the same time.”

Jaimie G, MS, CF-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

“I decided to become a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) when I found that it was a job where I could combine my compassion and love for science. I enjoy working with my clients 1:1 to make a change and witness their growth over time.”

Lauren S, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

“I always knew I wanted a career that would give me the opportunity to support and empower others, and being an SLP lets me do that every single day! My clinical expertise includes AAC, Expressive and Receptive Communication, and more.”

William S, MS, CF-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

“I began as an acting teacher for after-school programs, then realized I could have more lasting impact on students if I worked on communication. My lifelong love of language and working with children led me to become a Speech-Language Pathologist.”

Our Physical Therapists

Rosealeen G, PTA
Physical Therapy Assistant, Department Lead

“Growing up, I saw first hand how PT can impact a person’s life. Seeing family go through physical rehabilitation is what sparked my interest in the field. Since then, my clinical experiences in various settings have shown me what physical therapy can do for people of all ages.”

Nathan O, PTA
Physical Therapy Assistant

“I honestly did not know much about the PT world prior to joining the PTA program. I wanted a change in career paths and it just seemed like something I would be interested in. I quickly became a big advocate and believer in physical therapy, as well as the other types of therapy.”

Liliana B, PTA
Physical Therapy Assistant

“I am a compassionate PTA with a strong passion for helping individuals regain their mobility and improve their quality of life. With over four years of experience in the field, my ability to adapt treatment plans based on individual needs and progress has resulted in consistently positive outcomes for my patients.”

Our Social Workers

Andrew B, PEL-PC
Lead Social Worker, Therapy Case Manager

“I transferred to the college of applied health sciences during my sophomore year of college. Here, I began working closely with occupational therapists and physical therapists at clinics and hospitals around Chicago… I found I most connected with social work.”

Jillian E, MSW
Social Worker

“I have a passion for empowering people to be the best version of themselves. I have received support and resources from therapists, which inspired me to want to become a therapist myself. Through clinical experience… I found therapeutic relationships with clients to be fulfilling.”

Madison (Madi) S, LSW
Social Worker

“I decided to become a therapist because of my passion for mental health… I took many courses that introduced me to the complexities of the human brain… The more I learned, the more it made me realize how much I wanted to help individuals suffering from mental illnesses.”

Angelica B, LSW
Social Worker, Therapy Case Manager

“I love everything about social work and I’m so excited to be working in this new role! Previously I was an EI Service Coordinator and I’ve also worked in medical social work with the VA. My professional goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).”

Courtney B, LSW
Social Worker

“I previously worked with youth involved in the juvenile justice system. I was drawn to social work because it allows me to support individuals as well as other the folks involved in their lives. I value being able to build a therapeutic relationship with each person I work with!”

Jennifer O, LSW
Social Worker

“I became a social worker because I have a deep passion for helping and assisting people with their needs. It is very fulfilling to me and makes me feel like I am working within my purpose.”

Jennifer O, LSW
Social Worker

“I love assisting individuals with meeting their goals while also considering social barriers and advocating for change.”

Our Teachers

Susan S, M.Ed Leadership, LBS1
Department Head of Education

“Since 2014, I shifted from general education to supporting students with diverse needs as a special education teacher. I’ve always been drawn and inspired by teaching due to the opportunities it provides me to motivate, educate, learn from, and advocate for students!”

Mikhaella M
Special Education Teacher

“Helping others is something that I care about deeply. I’m excited to join this team in supporting young minds in an equitable learning environment. I want to continue my education and training in clinical work to more effectively help others reach their personal mental/behavioral goals.”

Emily G, SE B.S.E. PEL, LBS1
Special Education Teacher

“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I grew up with a “classroom” in my basement- stuffed animals as my “students”, whiteboard covered walls and all… I followed my dream, pursued a degree in Special Education, and have been living my passion ever since.”

Mimi K, Ed.S., LBS1
School Case Manager

“As an educator and a mom, advocacy along with activism in education are my passions. Every child has the right to live their best life. I’m happy to be a part of Merlin Day Academy where clients and their families are supported as they continue through their educational journeys.”

Caroline W
Special Education Teacher

“I began my teaching career in 2018 and have been a classroom teacher for the past 5 years. This past year, I taught in an inclusive first grade classroom and found my passion for working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I recently started my second graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis.”

Our Behavior Analysts

Kevin S, MA, BCBA
Lead Behavior Analyst

“Having a sibling with special needs really made me appreciate the field. ABA gave me a glimpse of the world as my sister views it… I began working at Blue Bird Day as an RBT while I finished my masters and studied for my BCBA exam. After passing the exam, I applied for a position at Eyas landing.”

Mary Kate D, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavior Analyst

“I started working in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in 2013 without any knowledge or experience of the field. I quickly developed a passion for the field, the kids we work with, and eventually decided to pursue a graduate degree. I became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2018.”

Christina F, MA, BCBA
Behavior Analyst

“I started working with children with ASD as an undergraduate research assistant in college. I fell in love with the children and decided to pursue a job as a RBT following graduation. I went back to school and got my BCBA certification after realizing how much I loved the field.”

Our Behavior Therapists

Victoria (Tori) Z
Lead Behavior Therapist

“I love working with kids and believe that every child deserves a shot at a happy life. I want to help them navigate their emotions and life to become a happy, healthy adult. Along with my love for helping children, I also love helping animals, so I love to support any organization that works with animals.”

Sadie M, RBT
Behavior Therapist, Administrative Assistant

“I have had a passion for working with individuals with special needs my entire life… I began working as an in-home RBT, aiding my clients growth in social interactions and relationship building, collaborative and open ended play, as well as encouraging community involvement.”

Caitlin K
Behavior Therapist

“I have always been interested in helping people and when I came across the ABA field, I knew I would be a great fit. Having grown up with neurodiverse family members, it is very important to me that every child receives the resources and support they need.”

Avallon (Ava) S, RBT
Behavior Therapist

“I grew up with cousins who had developmental disabilities and grew up realizing the harshness of this they had to experience in the world. I grew up to work with kids as a nanny and a Sunday school teacher, then my sister the BCBA suggested I become a RBT. I love working with these kids!”

Julian U
Behavior Therapist

“I have always been passionate about working with children and trying to help people in need…  I get to do something I love in studying behavior, as well as working with creative children. I am confident in my ability to create a positive environment where children are able to thrive and succeed.”

Quiana A
Behavior Therapist

“I love working with children and I love seeing them reach their goals. It makes me proud as a therapist and it shows me that I’m doing something right. I’m excited I’m getting a chance to expand my experience here at Merlin Day Academy! I’m currently in school getting my BA in ABA.”

Vanessa R
Behavior Therapist

“When I graduated from undergrad, I was introduced to the ABA world and I quickly grew to love it. Working as a BT, I learned that I can make an impact all while having fun. It didn’t take long for me realize that this was a field that was meant for me and decided to pursue a masters in ABA.”

Jesse J
Behavior Therapist

“After going to school for some time and working with kids in a camp setting almost my whole life, I wanted to continue bring this light of love and understanding to anyone in need of it. I’m interested in pursuing a career in therapy and I love working with kids!”

Alyssa I
Behavior Therapist

“I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sociology. I have worked with children in a summer camp setting and as an elementary special education aide. I realized how much I love helping kids develop their talents and make progress towards their goals, so I decided to pursue a career in ABA.”

Jatxin R
Behavior Therapist

“I have always had a passion for working with children, and when I was first introduced to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), it was something I quickly fell in love with. Helping both families and children achieve life changing goals is truly a rewarding experience.”

Jessica E, RBT
Behavior Therapist

“While completing observation hours at an ABA facility, I noticed similarities between myself and the autistic clients. A year and a half later, I received my official autism diagnosis… I hope to spend the rest of my career helping autistic clients and families develop self-advocacy and self-compassion.”

Jocelyn A, RBT
Behavior Therapist

“I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and really found a passion doing ABA therapy while completing my capstone in undergrad with The Autism Place. I’ve found that being an RBT is such a rewarding job and I enjoy getting to celebrate all of the milestones my kiddos hit.”

Aaron H
Behavior Therapist

“I have always loved helping others, and working as a paraprofessional across several schools in Central Florida demonstrated to me how rewarding it is to work one-on-one with kids to help them reach their fullest potential. The glowing reviews that I’ve read online made it an easy decision to join Eyas Landing.”

Tyrinese S
Behavior Therapist

“I loved observing the children and BTs when I visited Merlin Day Academy. I love how they interact with the children as well as the games and different things they have going for the children to do and or experience. I love working with children and helping them be the best at whatever they set their minds to.”

Noa J
Behavior Therapist

“I was hired as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist my junior year and I fell in love with the work and especially my clients. I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. My professional goal is to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).”

Our Therapeutic Assistants

Danitza B
Lead Therapeutic Assistant

“I did not choose this career, this career chose me… By chance I was able to join sister company Blue Bird Day and their fantastic teams. I saw the amazing work they accomplished, day in and day out. It inspired me to change my career path from Music Performance.”

Alejandro V
Lead Therapeutic Assistant

“I have dedicated myself to making an impact inside and outside the classroom in order to shape students into great individuals. I decided to join Merlin Day Academy solely to change students lives by supporting them and guiding them.”

Erin M
Senior Therapeutic Assistant

“Working in a variety of schools (public, private, and Montessori) and children was an amazing experience. To see and be a part of a child building their skills is a privilege. It is what I learned I loved most working with children of any ability.”

Jose N
Therapeutic Assistant

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field and previously worked as a medical assistant at an orthopedic clinic. I enjoy working with young people and learning about human development, and I want to gain more diverse clinical experiences as a therapeutic assistant.”

Courtney K
Therapeutic Assistant

“I hope to use my knowledge and skills to support neurodiverse children and help guide them through their individual journeys. By giving individual attention, setting achievable goals and helping them reach their best potential, I hope to have a positive impact in their lives.”

Adrian V
Therapeutic Assistant

“I always had an interest in medical professions and going to physical therapy myself began my introduction to therapy. At my high school, I realized the support for special education students was insufficient and is a large contrast from what I have seen at Merlin Day Academy.”

Cameron G
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have always wanted to help people and try and make a differences in people’s lives. I think therapy is very important and the stigma around it should be minimalized as I believe therapy can help everyone. I want to learn and to achieve professional and personal goals.”

Bobbie H
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have my paraprofessional certification and I would like to learn more and experience more and grow within this field. I have clinical expertise as a Teacher’s Assistant. My professional goals are to become a teacher and to move up to a behavior technician.”

Belen H
Therapeutic Assistant

“I visited a school for special needs kids in 1st grade and from then on I always knew I wanted to work in this field. I am certified in Nonviolent Crisis Prevention Intervention. My professional goal is to help children achieve their full potential.”

Melea B
Therapeutic Assistant

“I decided to become a TA because I wanted to gain experience that can help me long term in my field. Although I graduated with a degree in Neuroscience, I also minored in Psychology. The two are interconnected and I’ve studied and learned so much about neuro-divergence.”

Daniella T
Therapeutic Assistant

“Post-graduation, I plan to attend the University of Chicago for a Masters of Social Work in Fall 2024. I am currently taking a gap year to get more experience in the field of clinical social work, so this position is a great opportunity to expose me to a wide variety of therapy domains and professionals.”

Colleen R
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have always been deeply passionate about helping others and understanding the human mind. I have many interests in the social sciences, and I am able to use these different experiences to create a more holistic understanding of wellness and equity.”

Dwayne G, Jr
Therapeutic Assistant

“I wanted to become a therapist to support those who are less fortunate or need extra help to flourish and develop their minds and intuition. My goal is to become a clinical psychologist who specializes in both child/teen psychology and neuropsychology.”

Monaye D
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have worked with kids for 5+ years. I have watched my mother work with kids on the spectrum when I was a kid and find that working with kids isn’t just work, it’s fun, and I take a joy in helping kids and teaching them.”

Aubrey H
Therapeutic Assistant

“I will be attending Elmhurst University’s MOT program beginning this fall ’24. My professional goal is to become a pediatric OT. So, I am very excited to take my next step as a Therapeutic Aide for Merlin Day Academy.”

Kara C
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have always been driven by the desire to help people, and I had a great mentor growing up who devoted herself to helping women advocate for themselves… Seeing my mentor help those women find their strength and begin to heal was a huge motivator for me to pursue psychology and counseling so I could do similar things for other people.”