Alvin Pineda, MS, OTR/L
I received my Master's in Occupational Therapy from Dominican College of Blauvelt in New York. I have close to 10 years of experience working with children with special needs at summer camps, after school programs, home based programs, and schools. Aside from working with OKOT, I currently work as a school-based OT in two schools in the Bay Area. As an OT, I developed a strong interest in sensory-based interventions and have additional training in Zones of Regulation, Sensory Motor interventions, as well as being certified in Integrated Listening Systems. I have a passion for outdoor travel, as I have hiked various National and State Parks throughout the US. I look forward to working with your family as a part of OKOT.
Laura Figueroa, MS, OTR/L
After 15 years as a pediatric occupational therapist, in 2015 I began experimenting using the outdoors for therapy sessions with children. Working with children outdoors made me reconsider the traditional method of pediatric OT in which the therapist works with a child individually, usually indoors. The natural world inspired children to be more self-motivated during therapy sessions, and I saw profound changes in the children as a result.
Following my strong intuition that nature and outdoor therapy have the power to change children’s developmental trajectories, I started Outdoor Kids OT (OKOT) in January of 2016. Our specialty is providing children's OT services in small groups conducted fully outdoors in nature.
The ConTiGO Approach has grown out of this experience, driven by the values of connection with friends & family (Con), transformation through therapy (T), and the great outdoors (GO). I’m currently working on my PhD, and will research the ConTiGO Approach for my dissertation. I also teach part-time in the graduate OT program at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland.
I live in the East Bay with my husband, José, and my three children, Adela (16), Lucas (15), and Ray (8)...who are always being shooed out of our house to go outside, be active, & PLAY!
Dalya Heller, MS, OTR/L
I am a Bay Area native with a passion for pediatrics, occupational therapy and the outdoors. I received my Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Bachelor’s in Medical Anthropology and Global Health from the University of Washington in Seattle. I have over eight years of outdoor education and adaptive recreation experience with California organizations such as the Environmental Traveling Companions and Achieve Tahoe. These experiences working with children of all ages and abilities have taught me the therapeutic value of nature and the benefits of outdoor exploration. I am excited to be part of this incredible team at OKOT and look forward to getting to work with you and your family.
Rita Caskey, MOT, OTR/L
My younger brother with autism inspired me to dive into the world of occupational therapy. I went on to receive my masters in occupational therapy from Dominican University of California. I have continuing education in sensory processing and self-regulation as well as Zones of Regulation. Aside from working with OKOT, I work in an early intervention setting as a pediatric OT and I also instruct kids yoga. During my free time, I love hiking, camping, backpacking, and trail running. I am passionate about the benefits of play in an outdoor natural environment, and look forward working with your child and your family as you join in our fun therapeutic adventures!
Elisabeth Meikle, MS, OTR/L
I received my M.S. in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University and my B.S. in Kinesiology from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. I’ve worked in a variety of pediatric occupational therapy settings including private practice, early intervention, and school-based OT, with children with neurodevelopmental delays, gross and fine motor delays, visual motor and perceptual difficulties, and sensory processing differences. I have continuing education in sensory processing and self-regulation, Therapeutic Listening, visual perception, the Zones of Regulation, Social Thinking, and more. I’m looking forward to using my skills as an OT in the great outdoors with children!