Our Staff

Susan Varsames, M.A. Ed.

Headshot 2014


  • 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
  • CranioSacral 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 Ocean 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, Karuna and Holy FIre
  • 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, International Center for Reiki Training, and International Association of Reiki Professionals
  • 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 Toldand 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

Christina Guarniero

Christina Guarniero has been with the Holistic Learning Center since 2008. She is a skilled Special Education Teacher, Behavioral Intervention Consultant, and an effective Parent Trainer. Christina graduated from Mercy College with a tri-certification in Education, Birth through grade 2, Elementary Education for grades 1-6, and teaching students with disabilities, grades 1-6. Christina has received trainings in the needs of students with Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Crisis Prevention Intervention. As a Registered Behavior Technician, Christina has also attended the following the conferences and trainings 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 Guberti

Nancy Guberti is a certified nutritionist and healthy lifestyle coach. Her passion is to educate and empower parents with children that have been diagnosed with special needs such as PDD, ADD, ADHD, LD, sensory issues and other biomedical disorders of their dietary needs. As a mother of a child with severe allergies, weakened immune system and liver dysfunction, she has first-hand experience with many specialized diets such as Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, Yeast-Free, Low Phenol Diet, natural detoxification protocols and supplement regimens. Taking into account the stress placed on the caregivers, parents should also be on a natural and healthy regimen. Children, Women and Family Wellness programs are customized to meet their needs to assist in bringing back balance in the body. Health Food Store outings and kitchen make-over as in the form of “spring cleaning” are available to clear up any confusion when starting a special diet. She is available for nutritional consultations at HLC daily. Extensive nutritional and vitamin regime report included with the first hour appointment. Informative workshops and parent support groups are now forming…call and learn more about them. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist who understands the issues the parents are facing and will educate and empower them, then call today because every child is worth it. Nancy’s approach is a nurturing, holistic, and natural one to heal and restore balance to achieve optimal health.  She resides in Westchester County with her husband and two boys. Visit her website at www.coachforhealthyliving.com. Her direct phone number is (914) 725-6801 or you can contact her through Holistic Learning Center at (914) 793-9100.

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 a couple of 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 or placement sites to help him/her become skilled at the specific requirements of the job; learn work-related activities and requirements such as time and attendance rules; and learn appropriate work-related behaviors when working with co-workers and supervisors.

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.