Staff – Mansfield

Occupational Therapists

Registered Occupational Therapist, OTR

Vanessa Vasquez graduated summa cum laude from Texas Woman’s University in 2017, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development. During her time spent in undergraduate studies, she discovered her passion for working with children and pursued Occupational Therapy, receiving her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from Texas Woman’s University in 2019. Vanessa completed her Level II fieldwork at Cutting Edge, and is beyond ecstatic to return as a member of this amazing, passionate, and hard working team of therapy professionals.

Favorite Movie(s)

Finding Dory, and all ROM-COMs

Hometown

Fort Worth, TX

Fun Fact

I used to live in Alaska!

Favorite Treat(s)

Hershey’s Chocolate bars, and all things salty
Registered Occupational Therapist, OTR

Anna Cao graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2016, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she discovered her passion for working with the pediatric population through her shadowing and volunteering experiences. In 2019, Anna received her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from Texas Woman’s University in Dallas. Anna completed her Level II fieldwork rotation at an outpatient pediatric clinic in Round Rock, where she was able to develop her skills to provide quality care by serving many children and their families. She is excited to be part of the Cutting Edge Pediatric and Adult Therapy team and cannot wait to meet you!

Favorite Movie(s)

Seven Pounds and Frozen

Hometown

Arlington, TX

Fun Fact

Caffeine and sugar have no effect on me whatsoever! The only thing that usually keeps me awake is chewing gum.

Favorite Treat(s)

Spicy foods, kettle corn popcorn, boba tea drinks, and any sour gummy candy
Occupational Therapist, OTR

Monica Militar received her Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch in August 2020. She graduated from California State University of Fullerton in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. While completing her undergraduate degree, she found her passion for pediatrics working as a registered behavior technician. She has 3 years of experience in ABA working in K-12 schools and home settings. Monica completed her Level II fieldwork in an outpatient pediatric private practice in Killeen, TX and is excited to utilize the skills and strategies she has developed to provide high quality of care at Cutting Edge.

Favorite Movie(s)

Lion King & Big Hero 6

Hometown

Torrance, CA

Fun Fact

I enjoy running and exercising in my spare time so that I have enough room to also be a foodie

Favorite Treat(s)

Spicy food, boba, cookies, & sour candy!
Registered Occupational Therapist, OTR

Thu Tran graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2018, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Child Development. During her undergraduate studies, she discovered her passion for working with the pediatric population through volunteering at Cutting Edge. Thu then attended graduate school at the University of St. Augustine in Austin, where she received her Master of Occupational Therapy degree in 2020. She completed her Level II fieldwork at an outpatient pediatric clinic in Oklahoma City, where she continued to develop her skills. Thu is looking forward to becoming a member of the Cutting Edge team and serving your family!

Favorite Movie(s)

Harry Potter series

Hometown

Grand Prairie, TX

Fun Fact

I am a self-proclaimed foodie! I love to always try new restaurants

Favorite Treat(s)

Iced coffee, popcorn, and snickerdoodle cookies

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Mahlon became a certified occupational therapy assistant in 2015, graduating from Navarro College with Cum Laude honors, where he received his Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational therapy. He has worked in a skilled nursing facility and a sensory-based pediatric outpatient clinic. Mahlon is certified in Interactive Metronome and is in the process of completing his certification in Handwriting Without Tears. Mahlon also has aspirations of attaining credentials to become a registered occupational therapist.

Certifications/Specialties

Masgutova NeuroSensory Reflex Integration, Handwriting Without Tears, CranioSacral Therapy, Sensory Integration, Interactive Metronome and The Listening Program

Favorite Movie(s)

The Dark Knight

Hometown

DeSoto, TX

Fun Fact

I enjoy producing music in my spare time, and I sing in my church choir

Favorite Treat(s)

Cookies
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Joni Smart is an Occupational Therapy Assistant. In 1998 she graduated with an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy from Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas. Joni began her career working with a non-profit agency assisting individuals with visual impairments ages 0-21 to learn activities of daily living but with an emphasis in a recreational program! Then she moved into pediatric home health with an ECI program for a few years. Her true experience in pediatrics came from my time in a clinical setting from 2003 to 2013. There Joni learned her true passion for children. Her caseload was very diverse and ranged from babies to young adults. Joni is a Kinesio Tex Tape Certified with KT3 in pediatrics. She received her certificate of mastery in DIR/Floortime Model in infancy and early childhood training in 2008. Joni received training in Partial Weight Bearing Training in 2006. She has training in handwriting with Fine Motor Gymnastics to Multi-Sensory Print and Writing Success for children with Autism. She also received a specialized training for a week with Izabela Koscielny, MS PT who developed the Therasuit Method Training and Universal Exercise Unit (Spidercage). Joni’s favorite was the 72 hour course she took in Autism Spectrum Disorders & Other Neurobehavioral Disorder in 2007, that was a collaboration of professionals brought in by our clinical director. Joni’s passion remains with children. She loves watching them succeed and seeing their parents proud of their achievements.

Certifications/Specialties

Kinesiotaping 1, 2, and 3 (pediatrics), Partial Weight Bearing Gait Training (LiteGait), DIR/ Floor Time Infancy and Early Childhood Training, Fine Motor Gymnastics Handwriting, Therasuit Method Training/Universal Exercise Unit (Spider Cage) and Strategies on Behavior and Communication for Students with Autism

Favorite Movie(s)

Steel Magnolias, Young Frankenstein, Mrs. Doubtfire, all Rocky movies

Hometown

Amarillo, TX

Fun Fact

I grew up showing dogs in a professional manner along side my mother and sister. My Mom bred Samoyeds. At one time we had the number one winning Samoyed in the country. His name was Harry and he was my dog but I was in high school so we put him with a professional handler who traveled the world with him to win at shows like the Westminister Dog Show you see on TV.

Favorite Treat(s)

Chocolate chip cookies
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Emma became a certified occupational therapy assistant in June 2019, graduating from Navarro College with Magna Cum Laude, where she received her Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational therapy. She has always had a passion to work with pediatrics. Emma is very excited to be a part of the Cutting-Edge team! One fun fact is she swam competitive swimming for 10 years growing up.

Favorite Movie(s)

Harry Potter Series

Hometown

Born in Longwood, Florida, but grew up in Arlington Texas

Fun Fact

I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years!

Favorite Treat(s)

Brownies or anything with chocolate in it
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, COTA

Rachel graduated from The University of North Texas where she received her Bachelor’s in Kinesiology in 2017. She then graduated from Parker University in 2018 with honors where she received her Associate’s of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy. Rachel has always had a passion for pediatrics and has spent her time volunteering with various organizations. She completed her fieldwork experience at Cutting Edge and is excited to be part of the team!

Certifications/Specialties

Kinesio Taping 1 and 2

Favorite Movie(s)

Frozen and Moana

Hometown

Rowlett, TX

Fun Fact

I did competitive cheerleading for 12 years and won Gold at the cheerleading Worlds

Favorite Treat(s)

Snickerdoodle cookies and plain cheesecake

Certified Speech Therapists

Lead Speech Language Pathologist, SLP

Karen is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother. In her spare time loves to travel and spend time with her family and do artwork of different kinds. She received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, and her Master of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has held Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1999. Karen has worked in the school setting, in pediatric home health where she provided speech, language, and feeding therapy for children in their homes, and truly believes that she has found her niche in the clinical setting at Cutting Edge. Karen has a passion for helping children reach their highest potential, and loves partnering with parents to help them achieve. She has maintained certification in VitalStim as a provider for pediatric and adult treatment since 2005, and has an extensive background in feeding and swallowing. Karen has also completed training for the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding and is using it with children with feeding aversions and difficulties. She is also trained in the use of PECS and LAMP Words for Life, and has experience with a variety of dynamic communication devices. Karen maintains membership in ASHA as well as the Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Certifications/Specialties

VitalStim- pediatrics and adults, Beckman Oral Motor, Language Acquisition through Motor Planning for Life, Picture Exchange Communication System and Sequential Oral Sensory

Favorite Movie(s)

A Star is Born (all versions), Elf, and Water for Elephants

Hometown

The place I lived the longest is Plano, TX – when I was growing up, my dad was in the Air Force so we moved a lot

Fun Fact

I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 3 years growing up

Favorite Treat(s)

Dark chocolate and cashews
Speech Language Pathologist, SLP

Marisa Gile graduated from University of Redlands with a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Sciences and Disorders in 2016. After graduating she worked as a Behavioral Aide in the schools for two years. She then attended Abilene Christian University’s Dallas campus where she earned her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2020.

Marisa gained experience evaluating and treating language disorders, articulation and phonology disorders, feeding disorders, and social communication disorders in a variety of pediatric settings. She has experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders. Marisa enjoys getting to know her patients and their families and collaborating with other therapists to ensure that the patient is reaching their full potential across all settings!

Favorite Movie(s)

The Little Mermaid, all comedies

Hometown

Yucaipa, CA

Fun Fact

I have played volleyball competitively all of my life!

Favorite Treat(s)

Spicy chips and ice cream
Speech Language Pathologist, SLP

Natalie Gonzalez graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences Disorders and a minor in Psychology. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked as a Special Education instructional aide where she developed a passion for pediatrics especially those with Autism. In May of 2018, Natalie earned her Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology with a specialty concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder from the University of Houston. After relocating to San Antonio, she worked in a multidisciplinary pediatric clinic for about 2 years to further her training and earn her licensing credentials. She holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2019 and is a current ASHA member. Natalie gained valuable experience working alongside fellow Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational, Physical and Behavioral therapists.
Some of Natalie’s areas of interest include language development, pediatric feeding, childhood apraxia of speech, social/pragmatic skills, and augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC). She has experience in using low-tech interventions such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Natalie also has experience in using high-tech AAC devices including Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) and Nova Chat. Most of all she enjoys working with her patients and their families to promote their success in and beyond the clinical setting. She is excited to join the team and Cutting Edge Therapy and get to know North Texas!

Favorite Movie(s)

Up, Inside Out, and Lion

Hometown

McAllen, TX

Fun Fact

I enjoy sewing clothes from scratch and up cycling clothes from thrift stores.

Favorite Treat(s)

Dark chocolate, cinnamon rolls and spicy chips
Speech Language Pathologist, SLP

McKenna Jackson graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology, and her Master of Science in Communication Disorders. She received her Certificate of Clinical Competence in 2015. She has received the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association “Award for Continuing Education” in 2018 and 2020, as well as the DFWChild “Mom Approved” Award in 2020. She has also been PROMPT trained since 2019.

McKenna has worked in the home health and clinic settings, specializing in individualized one-on-one therapy. She has experience providing therapy with a focus on language, social skills, literacy, articulation, phonology, fluency, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

McKenna enjoys spending her free time with her dog, Lightning, at the dog park with her fiancé, playing video games, reading, and traveling. She has also volunteered with ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, Parkinson’s Voice Project, and the Hatching Hope Foundation. McKenna enjoys helping her clients progress through therapy and is excited to share her passion!

Favorite Movie(s)

Beauty and the Beast, Nightmare before Christmas, and Ever After

Hometown

McKinney, TX

Fun Fact

My middle name is Baker, and I love to bake!

Favorite Treat(s)

Anything homemade

Physical Therapists

Physical Therapist, PT

Beth Ward has been in clinical practice in Pediatric Physical Therapy since graduating from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois in 1970.  She worked in Home Health and in an Easter Seal out-patient clinic program in Chicago before her family relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada.  In Las Vegas she was the Owner/Manager of 3 Pediatric clinics that offered Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy to the families of children with a wide variety of special needs.  In 2013 she moved to Texas to be closer to family and continues her work in Pediatric Physical Therapy.

Beth considers herself to be a life-time learner and has taken the opportunity to develop clinical skills in diverse areas.  She has a particular interest in Cranio-sacral Therapy and has taken many other courses over the years in such areas as Yoga for the Special Needs Child and Neurobiological Approaches to treatment.  Some of the most important learning along the way has come from the children and their families with whom she has been privileged to serve.

Favorite Movie(s)

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

Hometown

Cleveland, OH

Fun Fact

I would love to swim with dolphins one day

Favorite Treat(s)

S’Mores
Physical Therapist, PT

Marsha Whalen has been in clinical practice in Physical Therapy since graduating from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids Mi in 2004.  Marsha has worked in both Pediatrics and Adult outpatient clinics in Michigan and was the clinic director at 2 clinics in Michigan before moving to Texas in 2014. Since moving to Texas Marsha has worked as a pediatric physical therapist for the local school system and worked as a coverage physical therapist for an outpatient clinic. In the past Marsha has done aquatics physical therapy and she started training for equine physical therapy and therapeutic horseback riding in 2019.  Marsha has wanted to work with children since working with a family friend’s son with Down’s syndrome in the pool in the summer during high school.  She is looking forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your goals.

Favorite Movie(s)

Lilo and Stitch

Hometown

Zeeland, MI

Fun Fact

My sons and I like to practice surfing in the backyard pool. They even got the dog to try once.

Favorite Treat(s)

Ice cream, chocolate, and any gluten free sweets
Physical Therapist, PT

Miko graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 2017 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She began her career the same year in Katy, TX, treating both children and adults with orthopedic and neurological conditions. In addition to traditional land therapy approaches, Miko is also experienced in aquatic therapy. Various treatment diagnoses she has worked with include: Autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Miko is a proud older sister to a brother on the Autism spectrum, who she credits to getting started on this career path.

Favorite Movie(s)

Pitch Perfect

Hometown

Grand Prairie, TX

Fun Fact

I am an avid exerciser and have run 6 half marathons (the most recent being the Disney Princess half marathon back in February).

Favorite Treat(s)

Cheese

Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical Therapist Assistant, PTA

Amanda is a 2013 graduate of the Kaplan College Physical Therapist Assistant program. Amanda received physical therapy treatment when she was in high school which led her to begin volunteering at a local physical therapy clinic. It was during her volunteer hours that Amanda found her passion for physical therapy as a treatment modality. While in a pediatric clinical rotation, Amanda became driven to make a career out of helping children. After receiving her license, Amanda began working with a pediatric home health company in May 2014. While she enjoyed her time in home health, Amanda is excited to continue her passion of pediatric Physical Therapy with the Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy team.

Certifications/Specialties

Aquatic Therapy

Favorite Movie(s)

A Knight’s Tale and The Lion King

Hometown

Wylie, TX

Fun Fact

I am a clown in the Shrine Circus

Favorite Treat(s)

Gummy bears and Twix ice cream bars

Administrative Staff

Office Manager

Nicole was born in Big Spring, Texas and her family moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area shortly after. From Kindergarten to College she has spent her academic life in Arlington & has remained in the area since.

In 2009, she started working on with adult mental health patients & in 2011 she had the opportunity to work with the pediatric population. Pediatrics was what she was drawn to the most. Nicole believes that it is important to be able to get the care one needs as soon as they are in need of services. Starting early & getting the proper care is essential to one’s future.

Outside of work Nicole enjoys a good book and relaxing with peace and quiet! When hanging out with friends she always enjoys trying new foods and loves to support small business mom and pop places. She is a sports fan & has been rooting for all of our home teams since she was little!

Nicole is happy to be a part of CEPT & has enjoyed seeing the growth in Mansfield. She looks forward to see what the future brings and is available to help you and your family.

Favorite Movie(s)

A League of Their Own

Hometown

Arlington, TX

Fun Fact

I am always up to try something new… like cappuccino chips! I don’t recommend them but I’ve tried them.

Favorite Treat(s)

Chai Lattes, mangos, rice krispy, and twix
Office Coordinator

Paola began gaining front desk experience in high school while taking Medical Billing and Coding classes. While working in a pediatric clinic, she found her passion for helping children and their families. Shortly after, she moved to the Dallas area and became apart of the CEPT family. Paola looks forward to meeting your family!

Favorite Movie(s)

Lorax

Hometown

Puerto Rico

Fun Fact

I love playing volleyball

Favorite Treat(s)

Bundt Cake!
Office Coordinator

Zita was born and raised in New Orleans. In 2005, she and her family moved to Arlington where she began working as a medical receptionist in 2015 after enrolling in college.  She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology at UT Arlington where she gained experience from an internship doing research on pediatric motor development.

From her internship and several volunteer experiences, Zita has found a passion for working in pediatrics and in the therapy world. In the future, Zita would like to continue her studies to become a licensed Occupational Therapist.

Favorite Movie(s)

All Marvel and Disney princess movies

Hometown

New Orleans, LA

Fun Fact

I absolutely love animals. Especially dogs!

Favorite Treat(s)

Beignets and funnel cake
Therapy Technician

I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Public Health. I have always had a passion for working in pediatrics. I volunteer at a local children’s hospital and with Tarrant County. I hope to go to graduate school to become a physician assistant.

Favorite Movie(s)

Lilo & Stitch

Hometown

Arlington, Texas

Fun Fact

I have a Pomeranian named Teddy

Favorite Treat(s)

Chocolate chip cookies

Therapy with a purpose – it's imitated, but not replicated.