We imagined a place where our son could get the best therapy services, all in one location.
We imagined a place filled with skilled, loving, knowledgeable, happy therapists.
We imagined a cutting edge facility that would have state of the art equipment, toys, and materials.
We imagined what it would be like for our son’s therapists to talk with one another in collaboration.
Our son, Blake, was diagnosed on September 11th, an already devastating day! On that September 11th day, our lives changed forever as we watched the neurologist attempt to interact with Blake and then listened to the doctor’s words, labeling our son from that day on.
After the initial shock, sadness and disbelief, my husband and I dove right in to try to “fix” Blake as quickly and as best as we could. We read, we researched, we experimented. We did ABA, RDI, speech therapy, OT, music therapy, hippotherapy, holistic therapy, the GFCF diet, brain treatment therapy, and floortime therapy. Blake had uncontrollable tantrums, biting, screaming, constipation, stimming, and setbacks. Yet, my husband and I gave our all to help Blake from the time of that initial diagnosis and despite trying to raise our three other boys and taking care of my mother who was dying of cancer.
I drove anywhere and everywhere to try to find the right treatment and therapist for my son. I suffered through hours of intake meetings and phone calls just for the purpose of determining insurance coverage prior to treatments. Aside from Blake’s speech therapist, no person or place seemed good enough. We wanted more than a glorified babysitter as an ABA therapist. We needed to feel as if Blake’s therapists truly cared and wanted to help him. We looked for innovative therapists that would change and advance his treatment as he progressed and determine what was necessary to do if he was not progressing.
After spending 3 months with Blake in California, I returned home with hope and a renewed sense of determination to treat Blake’s autism. Our family had moved to a different part of town, Blake was starting at a new school, and we were looking for new therapists again.
While walking our dog (the only time we seem to have a quiet moment to speak), my husband and I realized that we wanted something for our son, Blake, that just did not exist and so …. My Favorite Therapists began to develop:
♡ We wanted a place that offered all of the therapies that Blake might need to make scheduling and driving easier and to enable his therapists to talk and collaborate with one another.
♡ We wanted a place that offered a calm, soothing atmosphere and environment for Blake and me, from the time that we walked through the door.
♡ We wanted to feel like someone cared more about helping our son and less about whether I contacted the insurance company and gathered all of the information for them.
♡ We wanted a dream team of therapists.
We wanted a place like My Favorite Therapists.
We provide an opportunity for future licensed therapists to work along side our best of the best Masters Degree licensed therapists to obtain their necessary hours toward their certification. There is something very special about the spirit and positive energy a young therapist can bring to a therapy center. We believe this is a win win plan for the students and our My Favorite Therapists Families.
Our state of the art 8,000 square foot facility is conveniently located near I-95 and the Sawgrass Expressway at the Newport Center in Deerfield Beach, Florida. From the moment you walk in, you will see and understand what sets us apart from our colleagues. Our center is special and unique just like your children!
We have 2 sensory gyms to accommodate the needs of children of different ages and skill sets.
We have 16 private and soundproof therapy rooms to allow the children to get the most out of every second of their therapy.
We have technology to enable you to remain aware, in touch, and a part of the therapy every step of the way.
We have a lounge/cafe equipped with comfortable seating, tables and free wifi to allow our families to relax, work and recharge .
Jay Katari is married to Kimmy Katari and father of four amazing boys with our son Blake having Autism. Jay was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and moved to Florida in 1991 to finish his senior year of high school at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. After high school Jay went on to Florida State where he majored in Business administration and marketing. Jay is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for building amazing companies with amazing company cultures. Jay is very excited to serve My Favorite Therapists' clients and their families to make their lives better. Jay is very passionate about giving back to the community. Jay sits on the board of directors of Autism Speaks of Broward County, Love Boca Homeless Charity and the Board of Directors of The Boca Raton Police Foundation.
My Favorite Therapists is a very special place where our passion for success translates to our clients getting the very best therapies available anywhere all in one amazing place.
Kimberly Katari, best known as “Kimmy” to those who know her, is the quintessential working woman turned parental advocate. She was a practicing commercial litigation attorney, licensed in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. She met and married her husband 18 years ago and gave birth to 4 wonderful boys. While pregnant with her middle twin boys, Kimmy’s mom, a breast cancer survivor, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Kimmy made the difficult but determined decision to leave the practice of law to focus her attention on her ailing mother and baby boys.
Having twins provided a much different perspective as far as keeping track of her babies’ progression. Blake’s brother soon surpassed him on the pediatrician’s checklists of milestones. Kimmy and her husband brought Blake for an early evaluation and were told that Blake simply had low muscle tone and was speech delayed. About a year later, however, Blake’s therapist suggested that they bring him to see a neurologist because it seemed as if Blake’s was “spacing out” often. That was the beginning of a whole new life for the Katari family … Blake was diagnosed on the autism spectrum with PDD-NOS
Kimmy has been passionate about finding and doing all that she can for her son, Blake, since that diagnosis. Not one to give up, give in, or accept defeat, she became the voice, advocate, cheerleader, pin cushion, and counselor for Blake. She watched, she listen, she learned, she read, she argued – all for her son. She cried often, yet maintained a strong, stable image and persona for the betterment of the rest of her family and those that she loved so deeply.
Kimmy quickly discovered that there is an entirely separate world out there for children with special needs and their families. In that world, values are different, priorities are different, relationships are different, and people are different. In that world, being different is good. It is special. Small things could be astronomical in that special world.
Over the next decade, Kimmy delved into the life of being a mom of a son with autism as well as a wife, daughter, and mom of three “typical” boys. She incorporated into their lives the gluten free casein free diet, doctors’ visits, RDI therapy, ABA therapy, OT therapy, equine therapy, speech therapy, social skills classes, Tomatis listening therapy, floortime therapy, and acupuncture because there was no telling what would be best for Blake. She spent countless hours with therapists, teachers, paraprofessionals, school administrators, and doctors and even more on the phone with insurance companies in order to try to obtain the best services possible to help her son. It seemed as if time was passing by and yet Blake was at a standstill with the choices of local therapists and therapy clinics. Kimmy and her husband agreed to take a gamble and seek services outside of the state of Florida. She traveled alone with Blake and homeschooled him for months, leaving her supportive family behind, a very difficult and emotional time for the entire family.
Kimmy returned to Florida with the revelation that there needed to be better options for families like hers in Florida. Parents needed and deserved to focus their time and efforts on their special children and not drive around town from one appointment to another. It was rarely possible to describe and update each therapist on what another one had accomplished or noticed with Blake. Those therapists should be able to converse and share notes with one another. Kimmy strongly felt that children with special needs deserved to be in a caring, well-equipped environment conducive to optimizing the child’s capabilities and not in a small cluttered room. Most importantly, she wanted qualified, talented therapists who were not robotic or routine. She did not believe in leaving Blake with a “glorified babysitter”. She complained repeatedly to her husband, a self-made entrepreneur, and he encouraged her to “do something about it”. With his extensive business knowledge, acumen and guidance, My Favorite Therapists began to emerge.
Nicole Leve received her Master’s in Education with a focus on Mental Health Counseling in 2004. Her career in the counseling field led Nicole to her ultimate passion, working with individuals with special needs and their families. Nicole’s background in psychology and deep understanding of family dynamics gives her the tools to encourage not only the child with special needs, but the family that plays such a crucial role in shaping every child’s future successes.
Nicole loves the challenge that comes with working with children, as they always seem to “keep her on her toes.” Rather than seeing roadblocks, she sees new avenues to turn down. Every child is different and each comes with their own strengths. Finding those strengths and building upon them is key to success.
In addition to working in the mental health field, Nicole has acted as C.O.O. of a local company for the last 5 years. In this time she has realized her second passion, business. Now Nicole will combine both passions into one success as she takes on her newest job title as Managing Director of My Favorite Therapists.
Stephanie Martzall is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been working in the field for 10 years with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the home, school and clinical settings. Stephanie has extensive experience working with children/adults and their families to address language concerns, increase skill acquisition, behavior reduction, increasing socialization, parent training, generalization skills, toilet training and integration programs. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Florida Institute for Technology. This is where she was introduced to ABA and fell in love with its ability to help improve the lives of others. She received her master’s degree in ABA at Florida Institute of Technology. Stephanie’s work experience includes in-home therapy, two different schools for children with Autism and owning her own therapeutic company. While working for an in home therapeutic company she was able to travel the world providing ABA therapy in different countries that did not have ABA services available. Her goal is to provide and teach ABA methodologies to staff and caregivers so that more people are empowered to help improve the lives of others.
Mallory Lucillo is a Nationally Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She received her Masters of Science in Cognitive Behavioral Disabilities with a concentration in Emotional Behavioral Disorders from Nova Southeastern University and her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies from Florida Gulf Coast University. Mallory has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for over a decade. Ms. Lucillo has experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities ranging in ages from eighteen months to twenty-one years old. She has worked in the environments of clinic, school, home, and community focusing on improvement in the quality of life for every client. She has extensive background in increasing language and functional communication, reducing problem behaviors, acquisition of self-help skills, parent training, training of other clinicians, social skills, acquisition of new skills and generalizing them to be used in the real world, and vocational skills. Her passion is to continually grow and learn as a clinician to make the biggest positive impact on the lives of others. When you don’t see Mallory working she is usually spending time with her family and friends exploring new adventures or working out in the gym. Mallory is a Crossfit nut with a passion for physical fitness. She has competed throughout the state of Florida in many state and local Crossfit competitions.
Lindsay is a Nationally and State of Florida licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She graduated cum laude from the University of Central Florida, where she also earned her Masters of Arts Degree in Speech Language Pathology. Since entering the field, she has had the opportunity to work in school, skilled nursing facilities, hospital homebound, and home health therapy settings.
Lindsay specializes in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Delays, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Articulation/Phonological Disorders, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders and Pragmatic Social Language Disorders.
Lindsay is certified in Core Vocabulary, a therapy technique used to develop vocabulary and language in children who have limited verbal skills or have inconsistent speech disorders. She is also certified in the Social Thinking curriculum and Zones of Regulation. Her goal is to provide evidence-based treatments so that patients develop effective communication skills.
In her spare time, Lindsay enjoys fitness, yoga, catching up on Netflix, and spending time with her loved ones.
Hilary graduated cum laude from the University of Central Florida where she also earned her Master of Arts Degree in Speech Language Pathology. Hilary has worked in pediatric outpatient rehabilitation clinics, child development centers and private practice settings seeing a diverse pediatric caseload.
Hilary is passionate about helping children with special needs as well as their families. She specializes in feeding aversion and dysphagia, childhood apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorders, early intervention, oral motor treatment and sensory integration.
Hilary is certified in the TR-eat Model for management of complex pediatric feeding disorders. She is also a Certified Interactive Metronome Provider. Hilary strives to implement the most effective evidence-based treatments to her patients and understands the value of a multidisciplinary team approach. In her spare time, Hilary enjoys cooking healthy foods, painting, fitness and nature trails, and of course spending time with her husband and her family, including her black Labrador retriever, Harlee.
Stephanie Yoda is a nationally certified and Florida licensed Occupational Therapist. She earned her Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Barry University and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She has had the opportunity to work in many diverse settings as an Occupational Therapist, providing services in outpatient clinics, schools, and home health settings. However, Stephanie’s passion and devotion has always been for helping children. For more than a decade, Stephanie has worked with children in special education classrooms, summer camp programs, and child development centers. She is excited to now be a part of My Favorite Therapists’ team, helping children in South Florida by providing interventions that will enhance their performance skills and help to improve their quality of life.
Alicia is a bilingual (English and Spanish Speaking) Board Certified Art Therapist, along with a New York State Creative Art Therapy License. She lived in Coral Springs with her family, moved to New York and is happy to return back to Florida. Her youngest brother, who was diagnosed with autism, sparked Alicia’s desire to become a Clinical Art Therapist. She has a passion and ability to support people to develop practical skills to meet their needs and to help people to express themselves through the visual arts.
Alicia graduated from Long Island University, C.W Post, where she received her Masters in Clinical Art Therapy. Her experience and education include a diverse knowledge about working with children, adolescents and their families diagnosed with developmental and emotional disorders within outpatient centers and schools. She utilizes skills and techniques learned from trainings in evidence based treatment models; providing psychoeducation and supporting the development of coping skills to those presenting symptoms related, but not limited to anxiety, depression, trauma, and disruptive behaviors.
Alicia enjoys advocating for creative art therapy. She is a member of the “The Real Art Therapists of New York” who created a coloring book to educate the community about Art Therapy and the significance of creativity as a contribution to one’s well-being.
Genevieve is a board certified music therapist who has been working as a music therapist for children with special needs since she entered the field. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Miami where she learned in depth about Neurologic Music Therapy. During her internship at the Matheny School and Medical Center, she learned about humanistic and improvisational-based music therapy and now applies a blend of approaches in her work. Genevieve spent her first years in the field providing music therapy services in schools and homes for children and adolescents with a range of diagnoses including Autism, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. Genevieve is a classical pianist and has a passion for all types of music. She openly admits to having the best career ever because she gets to use her passion to help children connect and engage with the world around them, all while working towards functional goals.
Our highly skilled team of therapists provides an inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary team approach to working with families and their children with unique needs