About Us

Meet The Staff

Elisa Chrem, MA CCC SLP

Principal - Speech Pathologist
Ms. Chrem holds a Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology and in Educational Leadership.  She is a member of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders and is obtaining her certification in DIR (Developmental Individual Relationship) Therapy.  Elisa has extensive training and experience in Augmentative Alternative Communication.  She has worked with children with autism through Early Intervention, in Preschools and K-12 School Settings.  She is trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis, DIR- Developmental Indidvidualized Relationship Based Therapy, Visual Cognitive Therapy, PROMPT and the Lindamood Bell Program.

Janet London, MS CCC SLP

Assistive Technology Specialist
Janet London has been a practicing Speech Pathologist for over 40 years. She served as a Staff Developer for the NYC Dept. of Education where she trained speech therapists on how to better serve the speech and language needs of severely handicapped students with multiple physical and cognitive deficits including Cerebral Palsy and Autism. She currently has a private practice and is a consultant for Imagine Academy as well as Accessible Learning Teaching Alternatives.  She evaluates non-verbal or limited verbal students for Augmentative devices and  supports staff on how to facilitate the maximum use of those devices.

Courtney Bitting, MEd, BCBA, LBA

ABA Director
Courtney has been working with individuals with Autism, their families, and their clinical teams for 8 years since receiving her degree in Special Education, Early Intervention with a Specialization in Autism from the University of Pittsburgh. From there, Courtney went on to obtain her Board Certification in Behavior Analysis in 2010 and has been working in direct support and as a behavioral consultant in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York. She has worn many hats in her professional work including leading social skills groups, being a transition coordinator, extensive school consulting, program supervisor of a home-based ABA program, and professional development trainer.  All of these roles have helped her grow as a clinician to provide eclectic, collaborative, and individualized supports to the students and families whom she serves.
 

Abie Levi

Director of Occupational Therapy
Abie received his Masters in Occupational Therapy from NYU in 1992.  He began his career working with students with hearing impairment where his knowledge of sign language was utilized.  His speciality is implementing sensory integrative therapy.  He has worked at various schools and has focused on sensory procesing, motor learning and cognitive perceptual skills.  He has his certification in the Therapeutic Listening Program, Level II Cuevas-MEDEK-Exercises and has his Level II advanced DIR certification.  He recently received a second Master degree in Education from Broolyn College.

Deena Kress, OTRL

Occupational Therapist
Ms. Kress is a Registered and Licensed Occupational Therapist.  She has been working with children with disabilities for 12 years.

Faith Condon Thayer PhD, LPC, LCAT, ATR-BC

Training Leader & Expert DIR® Floortime™ Provider Art Therapist
Faith Thayer PhD, LPC, LCAT, ATR-BC is a Registered Board Certified (BC) Art Therapist (ATR) and ICDL (Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders) approved Training Leader & Expert DIR® Floortime™ Provider. Ms. Condon is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT), and a past board member of the Connecticut Art Therapy Association. She holds PhD from Lesley University and an MPS  from Pratt Institute. She specializes in providing Floortime-based art therapy adapted to meet the emotional and sensory needs of children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Matthew Brady MT-BC

Music Therapist
Matthew Brady, MT-BC is a Board Certified Music Therapist and certified DIR® Floortime™ Provider. He earned his BS in music therapy with a minor in psychology from Molloy College, where he is currently completing graduate studies in music therapy. Matt has a variety of clinical experience, having worked as a music therapist in public schools, special education settings, a mental health treatment program, and a clinic for neurological disorders. He has presented his clinical work on practicing from a music-centered perspective within the DIR/Floortime framework at professional conferences. Matt has completed advanced post-graduate clinical training in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy at the Rebecca Center for Music Therapy.

Raquel Savdie, M.S., CCC-SLP, TSSLD

Speech Therapist
Raquel Savdie is a certified speech-language pathologist. She has devoted the last four years to treating children with mild-to-severe speech and language impairments and feeding disorders in association with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. In her work, she has facilitated the development of functional communication skills in children who began as nonverbal, non-intentional communicators. Raquel holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and a Master of Science Degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from New York University. As an active member of the university community, Raquel holds a position as an adjunct instructor, specializing in language development and disorders and the principles of speech-language intervention. 

Carter Swope

Classroom Coordinator
Carter’s interest in Special Education began in high school when she volunteered at a camp for kids with special needs. Carter has been teaching students with disabilities for over 10 years.  She received her Master of Special Education from Bank Street College of Education as well as completed a post masters annotation to her degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders. For the past 8 years, Carter has been working with students on the autism spectrum in various school settings in New York, from home programs, public school, and private institutions.  She is a certified Floortime provider, and enjoys incorporating the DIR philosophy and principles into her classroom routine and community.

Jill Yedid, BS-RN, CES

Nurse
Jill has been a registered nurse for over 30 years in clinical settings, providing pediatric care.   She has been a full time school nurse for 10 years treating students with special needs, ensuring health, well-being and safety.  She is able to administer medication, monitor seizure activity and feeding tube sessions as well as provide acute emergency care.  She attended NYU School of Nursing and has worked at Cornell, NYU Medical Center and Mount Sinai.

Yocheved Pollak MA Sp. Ed.

Teacher
Yocheved has been working for Imagine Academy since the very beginning.   She started as a classroom instructor and has worked her way up to a classroom teacher.  Her years of experience and training have translated into a teacher who can seamlessly integrate both ABA and DIR/Floortime methodologies for her students.

Lea Besinger

Controller
Lea Bensinger is the Controller at The Imagine Academy School and Foundation.  She is responsible for the management and functioning of the finance department. She has over sixteen years’ experience working in the non-profit financial sector. Lea received her B.S. in Accounting from Touro College and is a Certified Public Accountant.