I’m very excited to introduce two new contributors to the blog here at samblanco.com. I had the good fortune to meet Liz Pagedas, an occupational therapist, through TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative (which you can learn more about here.) Through our conversations, we learned that we both deeply value play when working with our clients. Liz introduced me to a speech-language pathologist named Libby, and a new collaboration was born. I’m excited to have two professionals from different fields adding their input to the blog and sharing their experiences in working with teens and adults with autism and other developmental delays. As we’ve talked over the last several weeks, I’ve already learned a lot and cannot wait to begin sharing their wealth of knowledge here! Tomorrow we’ll post their first installment: Considerations for Working With Adults with Special Needs. For now, let’s learn more about them!
Liz Pagedas graduated in 2005 from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education with a Masters in Occupational Therapy. She has been a practicing Occupational Therapist since then and has worked with adults with autism and other developmental disabilities since 2009. Before starting with this population, she worked at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine where she worked in adult in-patient. Following Rusk, Liz worked at the Cooke Center for Learning and Development with students in Pre-School through high school. She worked very closely with the Learning for Living program at the high school level for Cooke Center Academy in which students learned academics through functional activities (cooking, laundry, etc.) She uses games and puzzles as an integral piece of her treatment activities in groups and individual sessions. She works very closely with Speech Language Pathologists and Psychologists; Liz runs therapeutic activity groups with both disciplines. She is an avid runner and also volunteers for the Theater Development Fund’s Autism Theater Initiative.
Libby Gilchrist-Thompson is a native of Virginia. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2010 and M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2013. She has worked with adults with autism and other developmental disabilities since graduating in 2013. As a student at Teachers College, Libby provided speech-language therapy to several populations, including preschoolers and school-age children with speech and language disorders, adults with speech, language, or swallowing disorders in the medical setting, and adults with developmental disabilities. In her current position, Libby collaborates regularly with the Occupational Therapist to plan for and lead several interdisciplinary groups. Libby enjoys traveling and is a coffee enthusiast.