About the Holistic Learning Center, LLC

 

A Letter from Susan, Founder of Holistic Learning Center, LLC As the founder of the center, I am pleased to share our information as you pursue healthy alternatives to support your child’s development.

Our mission is to support families with their quest for knowledge as it relates to the health, language, motor development, cognition, and social skills necessary for their children to reach maximum potential.

In the New York site, we offer direct services to children and young adults as well parent training, school district training, and ongoing staff development, and individualized treatments.

Our center offers expertise in the field of language, learning, behavior, and motor delays/disorders. Children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Language Delay, Learning Disabilities, and Global Developmental Delay are offered a variety of services to support their growth and development. However, we see children beyond any labels that describe them. We recognize a diagnosis, but it does not limit us to the unending possibilities of growth and potential.

In the Maui site, we offer education for parents perusing holistic alternatives for their child including yoga, meditation classes for students and their parents, reiki, cranio sacral therapy, and emotional release work. In addition, we teach parents to eliminate toxins from their home and body. We demonstrate how to use essential oils for making home products such as cleansers, sunscreen, lip balm, skin care products, and combinations for supporting health and wellness.

Please contact us for further information at the address and phone number below or through e-mail on our contact page.

Be well

Susan Varsames, M.A. Ed., CAS, RM
Holistic Learning Center, LLC
222 Westchester Avenue Suite 103 White Plains, New York, 10604
Phone: (914) 793-9100 Fax: (914) 793-3988

Holistic Learning Center of Maui, LLC
Lahaina, Hawai’i, 96761
808-222-7981

The Holistic Learning Center, LLC Staff

Susan Varsames, M.A. Ed.

Susan Varsames - Holistic Learning Center, LLC Staff

CURRICULUM VITAE

  • Undergraduate Degree: New York University: 1983 in Educational Psychology and Special Education
  • Graduate Degree: New York University: 1988 in Early Childhood Special Education
  • Founder and owner of Holistic learning Center combining nutrition, special education, oral motor speech therapy, Applied behavior Analysis, Cranio Sacral Therapy, Reiki, Holistic Ocean Therapy with Dolphins, and sensory integration OT for children birth through adulthood
  • Staff trainer for special education programs/school districts for 30 years
  • School district consultant for special education programs for 25 years with emphasis on opening classrooms and supporting staff where ABA, Floortime, and TEACCH methodology are utilized, specialty in behavioral interventions
  • Trainer for Applied Behavioral Analysis for Westchester County Dept. of Health/ Early Intervention Unit as well as several public and private schools including college courses for over 25 years
  • Cranio Sacral Therapist for ages birth through adults: trained at Upledger Institute: Courses of Study include CST 1 and 2, Somato Emotional Release 1 and 2, CST for Pediatrics, Visceral manipulation 1, and Bio Aquatics for Dolphin Assisted Therapy
  • Reiki Master: Trained at The Open Center in NYC for for Usui and under William Rand, Founder of the International Center for Reiki Training, for Karuna and Holy Fire: Able to teach Reiki Levels I and II and Karuna
  • Reiki Researcher for ICRT for Harvard Study
  • Bio-Acoustic Researcher for the use of sound therapy
  • Program Director for early childhood special education programs for 15 years
  • Consultant and advocate for special education district committee meetings
  • Team leader for multi-sensory evaluations for children with special needs
  • Conference presenter in the fields of autism, sensory integration dysfunction, holistic approaches, and intervention for birth- adulthood for over 20 years
  • Member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Autism Society of America, NY Autism Network, NYSABA, Autism Research Institute, Organization for Autism Research, and Developmental Delay Resources and International Center for Reiki Training
  • Author of several articles and publications in the field of educating, advocating for, and providing services for the population with learning disorders including I’ve Just Been Told and Envisioning A Bright Future, Chapter on Operant Conditioning, ABA, and alternative treatments
  • Adjunct Professor for N.Y Chiropractic College & Bank Street College of Education teaching Early Childhood Assessment, Understanding the Learner with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and Applied Behavior Analysis. (retired after 17 years)
  • Trained in the utilization of NDT and Sensory Integration techniques to enhance language, learning, and motor skills
  • Trained in implementing use of augmentative communication systems including PECS, iPads and electronic communication boards
  • Trained in Advanced Listening Therapy for learners with auditory processing and motor dysfunction through Vital Sounds
  • Trained in DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) Protocols for parent training and referral purposes and has attended annual conferences
  • Parent Trainer and presenter for monthly school district meetings/ Special Education PTA meetings
  • Board Member for non-profit organizations such as Heartsong, Communities That Care, Foundation for Children with Autism and Holistic Living Communities
  • Supervisor for Graduate Students and new professionals and mentor for Science Research High School students
  • Conversational Spanish and American Sign Language
  • References available upon request

 

Kiley Cole, M.S., Ed., BCBA, LBA

Kiley is the Director of Behavioral Services at the Holistic Learning Center. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a NYS Licensed Behavior Analyst. Kiley received her Master’s Degree from Mercy College in Early Childhood- Childhood General and Special Education (Birth-Grade 6). She also attended Manhattanville College where she completed her studies in Applied Behavior Analysis. Kiley was a presenter at the Applied Behavior Analysis International Convention in Chicago, IL in May 2014 (The Effects of Daily Tact Instruction on the Emission of Pure Mands and Tacts). She provides Functional Behavioral Assessments, Behavioral Consultation Services and Behavioral Intervention Services for children throughout Westchester County. Kiley also provides parent training for families based on their individual needs. Additionally, Kiley provides supervision and training for Registered Behavioral Technicians in the areas of direct implementation of behavior-analytic services, Principles of Behavior: Reinforcement, Functions, and Interventions. She has also received training in Crisis Prevention Intervention.

 

 Josephine Rinaldi, M.S., Ed.

Certified Autism Specialist, Registered Behavior Technician

Josephine Rinaldi is the Educational Director and Special Education Consultant at the Holistic Learning Center.  She has been with the center since 2006. She provides Behavioral Consultation Services and Behavioral Intervention Services for children and young adults throughout Westchester County, both in school districts and their homes.   Additionally, she is an excellent parent trainer who provides an array of support and networking information for parents to pursue. Josephine received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Grades 1 – 6 from Concordia College in 2003. She received her Master’s Degree in Special Education (Birth – Grade 6) from Long Island University in 2006. Josephine also received training Applied Behavioral Analysis, Listening Therapy, Crisis Prevention Intervention, Training in the Needs of Students with Autism and  the Application of TEACCH methodology.  She has also participated at conferences such as Powerful Classroom Strategies from Neuroscience Research, Functional Analysis & Treatment of Severe Behavior Disorders and Autistic Spectrum: The Bridge Between Current Research in Neurology & its Application to Clinical Practice.

 

Nicholas Giarrusso, SSP, NCSP

Nick is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist currently working for the Holistic Learning Center in the role of Parent Trainer. Nick graduated from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in 2003. Following a career in business development and sports-talk radio, he earned his Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Texas State University – San Marcos. Nick served as an inaugural member of the Texas State University’s Learning Disability Clinic, specializing in diagnosis and treatment of specific learning disorders. While working for the Granbury Independent School District, Nick was a valued member of their Autism Evaluation Team, which utilized a group approach to initial autism diagnosis. Nick has experience working with numerous student populations, disabilities and behavioral issues, ranging from kindergarten through high school. Nick works tirelessly towards helping promote positive outcomes for the students and families with whom he works.

 

Christina Guarniero, M.S., Ed., RBT, CAS

Christina Guarniero has been with the Holistic Learning Center since  2008. She  is a Special Education Teacher and Behavioral Intervention Consultant. Christina graduated from Mercy College with her Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Christina has received trainings  in the needs of students with  Autism,  Applied Behavior Analysis, and Crisis Prevention Intervention. Christina has also participated in  the following conferences: Autistic Spectrum: The Bridge between Current Research in Neurology and it’s Application to Clinical Practice, Powerful Classroom Strategies  in Neuroscience Research, Functional Analysis and Treatment of Severe Behavior Disorders, and Teaching Social Behavioral Skills: Students with High Functioning Autism.

 

Nancy M. Kaplan. LCSW-R

Nancy Kaplan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been a Parent Trainer with Holistic Learning Center since 2010. She works to help families to cope with their child’s developmental, behavioral, medical, and/or learning issues. Nancy has been in private practice since 1994. She does individual, marital, family and group psychotherapy, with a focus on special needs children and their families. Nancy presents workshops for professionals and parents on the use of positive strategies for gaining cooperation with children. She has been providing Parent/Family Training for Early Intervention and The Committee for Preschool Special Education since 1998. Nancy spent 5 years as an Ongoing Service Coordinator for HTA of New York. In this role, she coordinated services (Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Special Education, Family Training) for children with developmental delays, in the Westchester County Department of Health Early Intervention Program. Nancy was a discussion group leader for Parent/Child programs at the YWCA of White Plains for 3 years. She also spent 3 years as a Medical Social Worker, covering the Ob/Gyn inpatient and outpatient services and intensive care nursery at Rochester General Hospital. Nancy is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and the National Association of Social workers.

 

Christina Lurentzatos, M.S., Ed.

Christina Lurentzatos has been with the Holistic Learning Center since 2012. She is an accomplished and results-driven Special Education Teacher and Behavioral Intervention Consultant. Christina graduated from Long Island University in 2008 with a dual Master’s Degree in Elementary Education 1-6, and Students with Disabilities 1-6. Christina has received trainings in the needs of students with Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Crisis Prevention Intervention. As a Registered Behavioral Technician, Christina has received additional training in Principles of Behavior: Reinforcement, Functions, and Interventions. Christina has had notable success in providing behavior intervention consultation as well as parent training services which provide both students and parents the skills and tools required for their success.  As a Registered Behavior Technician, she is able to work with students using data collection as a scientific tool for teaching socially relevant behaviors.

 

Jennifer Kelly, M.S., Ed.

Jennifer received her Bachelor’s Degree from Pace University in December of 2009, where she majored in Communications. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, she worked in the sports industry for two years. However, she felt that she needed a more rewarding career. Jennifer started working at PNW BOCES in a program that offered intensive, individualized instruction and related services to students with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. After working with special needs children she knew right away that this is what she was meant to do. After going back to college, she graduated from Pace University with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Jennifer is now a Special Education Teacher and provides Behavioral Consultation Services and Behavioral Intervention Services for children throughout Westchester County. She has received trainings in the needs of students with Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Crisis Prevention Intervention. She also works directly with individuals with disabilities in training and placement sites to help young adults to become skilled at the specific requirements of their jobs. In addition, she teaches work-related skills and requirements such as time and attendance rules, learn appropriate work-related behaviors, and cooperating with co-workers and supervisors.

 

Adrienne Mecca

Adrienne has joined the Holistic Learning Center as an Administrative Coordinator. As a former Director of Special Education, Chairperson of the Committee on Special Education and Preschool Special Education, School Psychologist and Special Education Teacher, she brings a strong background in working with Students with Disabilities and their families. She holds permanent New York State Certification in School District Leadership; School Psychology, Special Education (Grades K-12) and as a Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Adrienne received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the College of New Rochelle; a Masters in Professional Studies in Special Education from Manhattanville College; a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has also completed the Intensive Teacher Institute-Teacher of the Visually Impaired Certification Program at Hunter College and Community School Psychology Certification Program at the College of New Rochelle.

 

Ashley Thomas

Ashley Thomas has been with Holistic Learning Center since 2012. She is a certified Teaching Assistant, Behavioral Consultant and Job Coach. She provides Behavioral Consultation Services and Behavioral Intervention Services for children and young adults throughout Westchester County, both in school districts and their homes. She also provides the families with parent training to support and network information for parents to pursue. In addition, she is skilled with transitioning young adults from a school setting to a work environment. Ashley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Purchase College in 2013. She has recently started her dual Master’s program in General and Special education in August of 2014. Ashley has received trainings in the needs with Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. She has participated in the Vital Links Continuing Education for Innovative Practice where she became a trained provider for Listening Therapy. As a Registered Behavior Technician, she is able to work with students using data collection as a scientific tool for teaching socially relevant behaviors.

 

Stacie P. Pearl, MS, CCC-SLP

Stacie has been in practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the past sixteen years. She is a part of the educational team working at the Holistic Learning Center. Stacie received her Masters of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Syracuse University. She is a certified teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handi-capped. Stacie provides diagnostic evaluations, speech and language therapy, oral-motor therapy and PROMPT therapy for children ages 16 months through 26 years. She is PROMPT trained in Levels I and II. Stacie has experience working with children who have been diagnosed with Autism, Auditory Processing Delays, Apraxia, Down’s Syndrome, hearing impairments, phonological delays/disorders and articulation de-lays/disorders. She utilizes picture communication systems (PECS) and augmentative communication devices when needed and consults with other members on the child’s team to promote carryover. Stacie has knowledge of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and goals as well as experience working in both public schools and clinical set-tings. Stacie provides personalized and unique speech and language therapy based on each students strengths and needs.

 

 Jacqueline Fisher M.S., CCC-SLP

Jacqueline is a Speech-Language Pathologist who received her Masters of Science degree from William Patterson University and is currently working at the Holistic Learning Center. She has been in private practice for 19 years treating clients ages 2-24 years with various diagnoses including; developmental delay, phonological disorders, autism, dyspraxia, cerebral palsy and down syndrome. Jacqueline specializes in treating children dyspraxia of speech, she is PROMPT trained and utilizes oral placement therapy strategies in additional to having a strong background in oro-motor and feeding therapy for both children and adults. She has an extensive background in assessing and implementing augmentative communication systems for her clients who are in need of an alternate method of communication. She is available to create home therapy plans for carryover of therapeutic goals to parents, ABA therapists, occupational therapists, classroom teachers and school based speech language pathologists. In addition to her clinical work she has experience working for the NYC Board of Education and public schools in Westchester county. Currently, Jacqueline is treating clients in the clinical setting as well as providing consulting services to various public and private schools.

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