Meet Our Team

Therapists

Avital Shuster, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Avital Shuster

Clinical Director

Avital is the founder and clinical director of Tumble N’ Dots.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Southern California (USC) with a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Occupational Therapy, she began her work as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist at Irvine Unified School District.

Avital has received post-professional training in Ayres Sensory Integration® through the Collaboration for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI) and is qualified to administer the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT)

Having completed post-graduate education and training in Feeding Therapy, Avital has been working with children since 2008 and has experience serving children with a variety of diagnosis in the clinic, home, school, telehealth, and community-based settings.

She specializes in using task analysis to develop goals and plans that support the child’s needs.

Avital believes in helping parents to focus on the strength and abilities of each child while incorporating behavior plans and strategies to foster success.

Avital is also the creator of OTPlan – an activity idea search engine for developmental activities

In her free time, Avital enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 young children, and her dog, going to the beach, hiking, and traveling.

Avital brings her love for children, understanding of parents struggling with a special needs child, and years of therapy experience to every session.

Lichelle Fernando - Occupational Therapist

Lichelle Fernando

Pediatric Occupational Therapist / Feeding Therapist

Lichelle is a pediatric occupational therapist and feeding and swallowing specialist.  She received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences in Canada before moving to Wisconsin where she received a Masters degree in Occupational therapy.  She has over 15 years of extensive experience working with a variety of diagnoses with the pediatric population.

The majority of Lichelle’s career has been at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago focusing on the complex medical needs of patients ranging in age from high risk neonates to young adults.  Lichelle’s specializations include developmental therapy, picky/selective eating, bottle feeding, transitioning to solid foods, and sensory and oral motor feeding challenges while looking at the whole child’s sensory, developmental and environmental needs.  Lichelle counsels families in providing strategies to foster positive mealtimes at home.

Lichelle has a passion to work with families closely to help their day run more smoothly.  She takes on a “holistic” approach looking at all areas that may impact a child’s ability to eat and carry on daily skills successfully.

Additionally, Lichelle has experience working in brachial plexus clinic, hand clinic, and specializes in splinting and providing hand therapy for a variety of upper extremity diagnoses in the pediatric population.

Lichelle has presented at OTAC, AOTA, and APTA national and regional conferences providing evaluation and treatment strategies for the pediatric population with feeding/dysphagia issues.

Lichelle is a native Canadian who successfully worked her way down to warm, sunny California where she loves to try new restaurants, attempt new recipes, entertain friends and family, and do anything fun that is active or inactive with her husband, two kids, and dog Bailey. 

Dr Angeline Hernandez - Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Angeline Hernandez

Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Angeline is a pediatric occupational therapist who received her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC). She completed her doctoral residency specializing in group programs for young children targeting self-regulation, mindfulness, and social-emotional skills at a private pediatric OT practice. 

Angeline has extensive experience providing therapy in both individual and group formats, targeting the areas of fine and gross motor development, sensory processing, self-regulation, and executive functioning. She has completed advanced training in Handwriting without Tears, the USC Chan Sensory Integration Continuing Education Certification program, and Social Thinking. Angeline values collaboration with all individuals who are a part of a child’s life, including caregivers, teachers, and other therapy professionals. She is passionate about providing family-centered care to promote a child’s participation in any of their occupations – including play, learning, and social interactions. 

In her free time, Angeline enjoys quality time with family, friends, and her pups, going to Disneyland, and yoga!  

Dr. Phoebe Yam - Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Phoebe Yam

Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Phoebe has been working with the pediatric population since 2012. She began volunteering to teach karate to children with special needs and then worked as a Developmental Specialist using DIR/Floortime. Phoebe graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with her Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2018 and her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy in 2019. She completed her doctoral residency to pursue competency in animal-assisted occupational therapy and training dogs for animal assisted interventions. She conducted a literature review to understand how dog training and handling styles affect the human-animal relationship, animal welfare & well-being, and implications for practice.

Phoebe enjoys learning about each child’s motivations and uses a strengths-based approach to highlight each individual’s inherent abilities and interests to improve areas of need.

Phoebe is a proponent of lifelong learning and presents at local, state, and national conferences. Topics are related to standards of practice and competencies to strengthen the skills of healthcare and human service providers when participating in occupational therapy and animal assisted interventions.

In her free time, Phoebe enjoys eating, reading, baking, rock climbing, taking dog training classes and going to the dog beach with her dog, Summer.

Bess Sorensen - Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Bess Sorensen

Pediatric Occupational Therapist / Feeding Therapist

Bess grew up in Northern CA but moved to Southern CA in 2018. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University, then earned her Master of Occupational Therapy degree at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA in 2014. 

She has been working in pediatrics since graduation, specializing in early childhood development, sensory integration, oral motor skills/self-feeding, tethered oral tissues, and picky eaters. 

Bess always looks to engage, not only the child, but parents, teachers, and other team members to create the most positive environment possible for each and every client. 

Her family-centered approach to therapy stems from seeing her brother in OT, ST, and feeding therapy throughout his childhood and seeing the effect it had on her family growing up. 

Her approach encourages parents to be an integral part of the therapeutic process and engage with their child and their therapist to create a strong bond and a trusting therapeutic relationship. 

Bess is a loving wife and mother of a 5 year old boy, who has more personality than she knows what to do with!  She loves doing puzzles, country music concerts, anything Disney or Disneyland related, and Harry Potter. 

Christina Johnson M.A. CCC-SLP

Christina Johnson

Speech Language Pathologist, CCC-SLP

Christina Johnson has been a licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist for over 23 years.

She has been serving a largely pediatric clientele in her own private practice for the last 2 decades. Christina is a mother of 3 kids and is an avid runner and cyclist.

Christina earned her Master’s Degree in Communicative Disorders from California State University, Fullerton in l997. She also holds a BA in Communicative Disorders from CSUF and BA in Social Ecology from UCI. She is credentialed with a Clinical Rehabilitative teaching certificate in the state of California.

Christina has worked in a multitude of settings, such as acute hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, public schools, early intervention agencies and private practice.

Her professional experience includes the assessment and treatment of children and young adults presenting with a variety of communicative disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, language
processing disorder, phonological/articulation disorders, fluency disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, myofunctional/tongue thrust.
Christina’s clinical vision is to provide a family centered approach to therapy through evidenced based intervention for her clients, and education for caregivers to ensure the successful achievement of goals.

In her free time she also enjoys water sports and traveling with her family.

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Katherine Chen

Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Administrative Assistants

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Julie M.

Office Assistant

Julie was born and raised in  Bergen County, New Jersey. Her love for kids began when she started working for a local inclusive pre-school as a teaching assistant. 

She received her BA in Child Psychology from Rutgers university.

Julie is an avid runner and participated in multiple races across the United States.

During her free time she likes to travel to new places, baking, and long walks with her dog.

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Ella S.

Office Assistant

Ella has been assisting at our office since 2020 during her free time, while attending school. She plans to become an Occupational Therapist and is gaining a lot of experience at Tumble N’ Dots in preparation for OT school. 

Ella enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her dog and cat.