Amber has been practicing as a social worker for the last 16 years. She has enjoyed working with individuals with developmental disabilities and initially began working in a group home for 6 years while attending college at the University at Buffalo. She has had a special place in her heart for each person she worked with, seeing it as a privilege to come alongside them in life and assist them with daily living and mental health issues as needed. Amber’s sister-in-law has a developmental disability, and she enjoys helping her with mental health and social skills issues that she is working through.
Amber also has 6 years of experience in Social Services, working often with adults who have a developmental disability. She counseled them, and also connected them to resources that would assist them with mental health, parenting, and any other services they needed.
Areas of focus: anxiety, depression, adjustment, coping skills, behavior, anger, self-esteem, relationship and personal safety, grief, and loss.
Treatment approach: Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, problem-solving
Amber primarily provides service via telehealth but can also plan to meet in a location that is agreed upon.
Dacia began working in the OPWDD field in 1986 and since then has worked in a variety of settings with this population including direct care staff, teacher’s aide in Anderson Center for Autism, Medicaid Service Coordinator, 12 county liaison for the Open Doors project, and a clinical support specialist.
Dacia obtained her LMSW in 2014 from Binghamton University and has an undergrad degree in education. Dacia has been working with individuals and families to come up with person-centered approaches to their mental health and wellness needs, especially as COVID-19 has minimized or eliminated many community-based supports. Dacia is looking forward to partnering with folk who are ready to take an active role in their own wellness and recovery through rapport building, cultural competency, active listening, and advocacy.
Areas of Focus: coping skills, independent living skills, anger issues, self-advocacy skills, grief, personal safety, relationship building.
Treatment Approach: task-centered, problem solving, motivational interviewing, harm reduction techniques.
Jessica is a practicing social worker with 10 years of experience supporting individuals, diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Her education and professional training took place at Boston University, Master’s of Social Welfare (MSW) program. During her schooling, she worked on the pediatric unit at Albany Medical Center serving children and adolescents experiencing short and long-term illnesses. Jessica utilized play therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to best support the child and family's mental health during the hospitalizations. In addition, she worked in a long-term health care setting providing services to clients diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), as well as serving the geriatric population and their families. While in this setting Jessica provides individualized psychotherapy as well as family and group therapy.
Since 2005, Jessica has worked a variety of roles providing services to Adults and Children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. One of these roles included her work at St. Margaret’s Center, a long-term intensive medical care center for chronically ill children. Additionally, she held roles various including recreational therapy, residential management, and community habilitation supervisor.
Upon graduating with her MSW in 2018, Jessica went on to work as the Care Manager Supervisor at one of New York’s Care Coordination Organizations (CCO). While employed in this role, Jessica provides care management services, advocacy, and support for families, children, and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Jessica volunteer’s her time at Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York, as a wish granter. In this role, she works with children to determine, support, and implement their wishes. Jessica is passionate and dedicated to supporting her clients in managing the stress, navigating the effects of disabilities and chronic illnesses, and advocate for their needs.
Areas of expertise: Chronic Illness, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Life Transitions Anxiety, depression, PTSD, Coping Skills, Grief and Loss
Treatment approach: Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed, Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), Play Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Jessica has been a practicing social worker for the last 11 years.
Jessica’s education and professional training took place at the Greater Rochester Collaborative of SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College.
Jessica has worked with individuals with disabilities for the past 5 years and she has worked with foster/adoptive children and their families for 8 years.
Areas of Focus: Jessica’s focus is on the person as a whole and helping the person and/or family system function at their highest potential. Areas covered include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, coping skills, behavior, self-esteem, social skills, grief/loss, and adjustment to new situations.\
Treatment Approach: solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, trauma theory, attachment theory, mindfulness, and skill-building/coaching.
Julianne has been a social worker and advocate for people with ID/DD and their families for over 30 years. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from SUNY College at Brockport, NY, and went on to the SUNY University at Albany, NY for her master's degree in Social Work. Her internships were focused primarily on individuals with mental health-related issues in clinic settings.
She has counseled ID/DD individuals (and groups) residing in group homes, supervised apartments, alone, and with their families. She has counseled those who attended OPWDD day habilitation and pre-vocational programs as well as those who work competitively in the community with support. Her work as the chairperson of the Guardianship and Human Rights committees at a local Not-For-Profit agency enables her to continuously advocate for her individuals and support a person-centered approach to their care and treatment. Julianne volunteers as a licensed panel member for the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee of the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
Areas of Interest: adjustment to transitions, anxiety/depression, aging/dementia, loss/grief/, coping skills, self-esteem, improving quality of life, practice limited to those 21 and over
Treatment Approach: social learning through role-playing, CBT, positive psychology, social stories, bio-psycho-social approach
Strengths: building rapport, grief, and loss, positivity, relationship building skills, humor
Services can be virtual or may be conducted in person based on a mutually agreed-upon location.
I began working with individuals with developmental disabilities in 2007, in a day habilitation program, supporting individuals with dual diagnoses and have experience in most direct care settings. I moved into Medicaid Service Coordination, and was the Manager of Service Coordination with Catholic Charities Disabilities Services prior to the transition to Health Home Care Management in July of 2018. In this role, I assisted with the development and implementation of HARP HCBS services; community-based services for managed care enrollees with substance abuse and mental health disorders. I also provided Service Coordination to individuals enrolled in the Department of Health Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. I transitioned to Care Design NY in July 2018 and am currently a Care Manager Supervisor in the Capital Region. I also have approximately ten years of experience working with individuals with substance use disorders.
Throughout the years, I was able to apply the skills I acquired in these settings to manage unique situations with individuals and families. I also became more and more aware of the gap in services that existed for individuals with developmental disabilities in need of mental health and substance use services and this inspired me to return to graduate school. I graduated from the Case Western Reserve University Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and went on to obtain my LMSW.
Area of Focus: Substance use, Traumatic Brain Injury, women’s needs, trauma, personality disorders, anxiety, depression, coping skills, relapse prevention, crisis intervention.
Treatment Approach: I always strive to take a person-centered, strengths-based, and trauma-informed approach to services. I prefer to combine approaches and techniques in order to best meet the needs of the person and ensure that treatment is collaborative.
I can provide the most flexibility through telehealth; however, I feel the priority should be what best meets the needs of the individual and would be open to a blend of in-home, community, and telehealth.
Lauren is a practicing social worker with eight years of experience supporting individuals, and their families, with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Her education and professional training took place at the University at Albany’s Master of Social Welfare (MSW) program. During her schooling, she worked with clients at the Albany County Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center, where she provided crisis mental health services using a trauma-informed approach. Lauren also worked for six years at Living Resources in many different capacities, working in their day programs, care management department, and as their Assistant Director of Residential Services for two years.
After graduating with her MSW in 2018, Lauren went on to work as the Director of Intake Services at one of New York’s major Care Coordination Organizations (CCO), Tri-County Care. Currently, she serves as the Director of Program Research, Development, and Policy at the Home Care Association of New York State.
Lauren always uses a strength-based and person-centered approach to inform the direction of her plans and strategies that are uniquely designed to meet each individual’s diverse needs. She also devotes time to research and information gathering to develop a deeper working knowledge of the diagnoses in the field.
Area of Focus: Lauren always puts the focus on the person as a whole, while directly facing issues surrounding life transitions, adjustments, anxiety, depression, OCD, relationship issues, trauma, and chronic illness.
Treatment Approach: Lauren utilizes a combination of treatment approaches, techniques and skills that are tailored to meet the needs and skills of each person. Her approach is always person-centered, culturally responsive, and strength-based.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauren is providing support services through telehealth and is now accepting referrals.
Mary Gomez DeSantis is a Licensed Social Worker who has worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse treatment for nearly 25 years. She has worked with adolescents, adults, men, women, couples, families, and LGBQQI & T persons in a variety of areas including inpatient, outpatient, correctional and private settings. I have a strong background in Mental Health & Addictions and am a native Spanish speaker.
Areas of focus: Anxiety, depression, adjustment, coping skills, behavior, anger, self-esteem, relationship and personal safety, grief, and loss.
Treatment approach: Person-Centered Care, Motivational Interviewing, Holistic Approach, Empowerment, CBT/DBT.
Melissa has been working in the Social Work field for the last 12 years. She completed her undergraduate degree at Castleton University in 2004 and later achieved her Master’s in Social Work from the University of South Carolina in 2009. Melissa has worked in a variety of capacities in the social work field including addiction and hospice. Most recently she has worked with adults with developmental disabilities providing support services specifically to individuals with mental health diagnoses. Melissa has a strong desire to advocate for services for individuals to improve their quality of life.
Areas of focus: De-escalation for behavior interventions, grief and loss, stress, trauma, depression, phase of life difficulties, LGBTQ, relationship issues, and family counseling.
Treatment approach: Strenth-driven problem solving, CBT, and DBT.
Melissa is primarily available via telehealth although community and home-based services are also available.
Pam's career began in the human service field for OPWDD in the 1990s, some of which included residential/case management/intake. Her educational journey includes recently obtaining her MSW from the University of Buffalo and is currently the Coordinator of Children's Mental Health Services. Pam has worked with adults and children of all ages over the years. Pam is passionate about meeting the person where they are to assist and guide them through their behavior change process.
Areas of Focus: social skills, relationships, coping skills, anxiety, grief and loss, psychoeducation, self-esteem, health, and wellness.
Treatment approach: Coaching, Trauma Informed Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Person-Centered, Strength Based Approach, Tailoring the approach to fit the needs of the person. Pam refers to the latest research and peer reviewed articles to expand knowledge and understanding of diagnosis and treatments as applicable to the individual.
Pam primarily provides Telehealth to be able to offer more availability/flexibility with scheduling.
Roxanne has had diverse experience in the child welfare system and extensive experience working with family systems.
She studied at Keuka College and received her Masters in Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Roxanne worked for several years in foster care and adoption and is currently working in Early Intervention where she has been for the past three years.
Roxanne has worked with clients struggling with mental health issues and families who have a child with significant medical concerns. She is very familiar with working with individuals who have a disability and enjoys coming alongside the client to reach their goals.
Roxanne is trained in Trauma-Informed Care and attachment theories. Roxanne is highly knowledgeable about resources available in the community and how to assist clients in accessing those resources and working through different systems.
Roxanne considers herself a lifelong learner and is consistently attending training and expanding her skill set.
Areas of Focus: Roxanne's focus is on the person as a whole and helping that person and/or family system function at their highest potential.
Treatment Approach: Roxanne utilizes play therapy techniques, solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho-education, trauma theory, attachment theory, and skill-building.
Sarah received her Master's in Social Work from Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY, and is available to serve Tioga County and surrounding areas or work with other geographical areas via telehealth. Sarah has over 25 years of experience working with people and families of all ages including those with developmental disabilities. Sarah had worked with the local Head Start and Universal PreKindergarten program as the Coordinator of Special Services and Mental Health, as a Care Management Supervisor.
Area of Focus: Solution Solution-FocusedFocused Therapy, Trauma-Informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Treatment Approach: Person-centered and individualized approach to treatment planning.
Sarah values the opportunity to make quality mental health services more accessible to those who seek them. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time being active with her dog, Murray!
Stacie has been a practicing social worker for the last 10 years.
She received her education at the Greater Rochester Collaborative of SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College. Stacie received her Certification as a Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. Stacie has worked with individuals with disabilities for 13 years.
She has worked with foster/adoptive children and their families for 8 years. Stacie has worked with agencies developing programs specific to individuals with disabilities and programs for at-risk youth.
Areas of Focus: Stacie’s focus is on the person as a whole and helping the person and/or family system function at their highest potential. Stacie’s approach is holistic. Areas covered include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, coping skills, behavior, self-esteem, social skills, grief/loss, and adjustment to new situations.
Treatment Approach: solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, trauma theory, attachment theory, mindfulness, and skill-building/coaching.
Stephanie has been in the human service field for about 10 years working with various populations. Her education and professional training primarily took place at SUNY Fredonia and Nazareth University in Rochester, NY. Stephanie worked for the Arc of Monroe for 4 years as a Behavior Intervention Specialist (BIS) supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in day habilitation settings and at home. Many of the people she supported during her time as a BIS experienced severe symptoms due to their dual diagnoses. She is familiar with the complexities of mental health conditions, and how they are affected by other diagnoses and environmental factors. Stephanie is skilled in crisis intervention and was a certified SCIP-R (Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention-Revised) trainer during her time at the Arc of Monroe. She values creativity and autonomy when it comes to helping people achieve their goals and live fulfilled lives. She recognizes the importance of collaboration and support among team members to create a safe space for growth and learning. Stephanie’s training and approaches to treatment include Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, wellness, and mindfulness.
Areas of Focus - Behavior, social skills, relationships, coping skills, dementia, anxiety, self-esteem, health, and wellness.
I received my Bachelor’s of Social Work from Stony Brook in 2017 and my Master’s of Social Work from Hunter College in 2018. Since graduating I have worked in a high school in Brooklyn as the Assistant Director of Community Schools. Recent training includes completion of the NYS School Social Worker certification, Implementation of DBT Steps-A curriculum training, Trauma-Informed Resilient Schools training, Using Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Practices training.
I am very passionate about working with young people and supporting them on their journey.
Toni Ann is accepting in-person referrals for the Queens/Brooklyn area and is accepting telehealth referrals for all 5 boroughs and Long Island. She is available after 3 pm on weekdays and on the weekend as needed. Services can be delivered in the home or community.