Building Your Child's Skills and Confidence with Care!

Therapy in Action...not interested in being the Biggest, just the Best!
Mary Jane Zehnpfennig, MA, OTR/L
Executive Director
Mary Jane received both her undergraduate degree and graduate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California.  She completed the four month advanced graduate course in sensory integration.  Mary Jane has a wide range of pediatric experience including outpatient rehabilitation, early intervention, high-risk infant follow up, school district and private practice.  Mary Jane had the privilege of studying and working with A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR at the Ayers Clinic.  While working with Dr. Ayres, Mary Jane was involved in research, test development and normative data gathering for the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).  Mary Jane is certified in the administration and interpretation of the SIPT.  She considers herself first and foremost a clinician, but is also very committed to teaching and mentoring the new generation of occupational therapists, including at the university level.  As the mother of two sets of twins, Mary Jane has a special empathy for mothers of multiples.


Cheryl L. Ecker, MA, OTR/L, BCP, SWC
Clinical Director
​Cheryl received her undergraduate degree from the Medical College of Georgia (now named Georgia Regents University) and her graduate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. Cheryl completed the four month advanced graduate course on sensory integration. She maintains national board certification through AOTA as a pediatric specialist (BCP) and the state of California’s Advanced Practice Certification for the evaluation and treatment of feeding and swallowing disorders (SWC). She is also certified in the administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT). Cheryl has worked in a wide variety of settings including hospital based acute and outpatient rehabilitation, medically fragile children, school district and private practice. Cheryl has given numerous presentations nationally and internationally about feeding and about sensory integration. She also has been adjunct faculty, teaching at the university level. She is a co-author of the Sensory Processing Measure a published test instrument, and has co-authored articles in research journals. 

Annie P. Tharp, OTR/L
Coordinator of Fieldwork, Coordinator of Pencils in Action
Annie received her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Kansas.  She is the coordinator of Therapy In action’s clinical fieldwork program.  Therapy In Action receives interning students from many universities throughout the United States and abroad.  She is also the coordinator of Pencils In Action, our Fine Motor/Handwriting individualized instruction program. Annie is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) and has completed the coursework for Handwriting Without Tears and Therapeutic Listening.  She has a special love for making sure that children can access team sports and recreational activities and as such she can often be found outside the clinic getting her aerobic exercise while teaching bike riding.   


Emily Dassow, OTR/L
Coordinator of School-Based Services
Emily received her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Emily is the Coordinator of Therapy In Action’s school-based services.  She is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).  Emily is also certified in the  Therapeutic Listening Program, and Interactive Metronome. She has had pediatric experience in both clinic and school settings, focusing her expertise on Sensory Integration theory and practice.


Monique Taylor, MA, OTR/L
Coordinator of Services at Newbury Park location
Monique received her undergraduate degree in Child Development from California State University at Northridge and her graduate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. Monique completed the four month advanced graduate course on sensory integration. Monique has practiced in a wide range of pediatric settings including work with multi-disciplinary collaborative teams, early intervention, school-based services and home and community based therapy.  Monique worked in preschools and elementary schools for many years and is well versed in the IEP process and the nuances of school based versus medically based Occupational Therapy.  As a resident of the Conejo Valley for 17 years, Monique is highly knowledgeable about therapy services in this area and she is Therapy In Action’s Coordinator of Services for our Newbury Park location.  


Denise Hamen, BS, RPT
Denise received her degree in physical therapy from California State University at Fresno.  Denise has had extensive pediatric experience with children ranging in age from birth to 21 years in a wide range of settings.   Her experience in hospital based practice includes providing services to both inpatients and outpatients and working in the ICU with medically fragile children.  Her other experiences include working in community programs, private clinics and providing in-home consultation and treatment.  Denise is currently involved in providing early intervention services and is passionate about involving the parents and family in goal setting and treatment planning.



Evonne Leibl OTR/L
Evonne received her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California.  Evonne has had many years of pediatric experience in a wide range of settings.  Her areas of expertise in clinical practice include hospital  inpatient and outpatient, rehabilitation, high-risk infant follow-up, early intervention, and sensory integration.  Evonne was instrumental in establishing the role of Occupational Therapy in the NICU at Huntington Memorial Hospital where she was also the Manager of the Occupational Therapy Department.  Evonne is in the process of completing the coursework for certification in the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. 


Jamie Cruz, MOT, OTR/L 
Jamie received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Michigan University.  She is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).  Jamie has a broad range of pediatric experience in sensory integration, medically fragile children, severely disabled children, and school-based occupational therapy.  Jamie has supervised and trained numerous occupational therapy students in both clinic and school settings.  Jamie has also lectured on occupational therapy and sensory integration in school and community workshops.

Lorelei Woerner-Eisner  OTR/L, CYT, RYT500
Lorelei received her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California.  Lorelei is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).  She is trained in myofascial release and holds certification in Hippotherapy (the therapeutic use of horses).  Lorelei is also a certified Yoga Therapist and Yoga Instructor. She is the handler of Toma, our vivacious resident therapy dog.   Lorelei has given numerous workshops on the blend of yoga and OT as well as national workshops on fine motor skills and handwriting.



Sarah Brenberg MS, OTR/L
Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology: Exercise and Movement Science and her graduate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She has experience working with geriatric populations in skilled nursing facilities, but her primary passion is in pediatrics with a focus on sensory integration theory and practice. Sarah has pediatric experience in both clinic and school based practice settings. She is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT).





Chelsea Nguyen MA, OTR/L 
Chelsea Nguyen completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California and continued on at USC for graduate school where she received her degree in Occupational Therapy. Chelsea has always had a passion for working with children and her professional interests include sensory integration, feeding therapy, and school based therapy.




Brette Markowitz MA, OTR/L 
Brette received her undergraduate degree from UCLA in Psychology and in World Arts/Cultures and she received her masters degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. Brette has over 10 years of experience teaching dance to children of all ages. Her vast experience working with children teaching dance has instilled her with a passion for working with the pediatric population in occupational therapy.




Sheama Krishnagiri, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA
Dr. Krishnagiri earned her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of California at Los Angeles and her Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She has the distinction of being the first person to earn a Ph.D. in Occupational Science from the University of Southern California. She has also completed the four month advanced graduate course on sensory integration. Dr. Krishnagiri has over 25 years of experience in clinical practice, research, and teaching at the master's and doctoral levels in Occupational Therapy. She has worked in a variety of settings including hospital based and in home health but her passion lies is working with children. She has pediatric experience in both clinic and school settings. Dr. Krishnagiri has given numerous presentations nationally and internationally and has authored or co-authored over 25 articles in research journals and has written chapters in occupational therapy texts. She is an emeritii of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education and is a founding member of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA.


Wilma Rodeen, MA, MPT
Wilma received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Biophysics/Medical Physics and a graduate degree from California State University at Northridge in Biomechanics and Kinesiology.  She received her second graduate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California.  Wilma has had a variety of pediatric experience from infants to teens in settings such as the NICU, outpatient clinics and in school based practice.  Wilma’s special interests include children with neurological impairments and adaptive equipment/mobility aids for the classroom.


Toma Woerner-Eisner, therapy dog
Toma is a graduate of Kansas Specialty Dog Service.  Toma holds advanced degrees in Adorability and Enthusiasm.  Toma’s special interests include receiving tactile input from children and playing dress up (in which she gladly accepts help from the children with buttons, snaps and zippers).  Toma is currently conducting research about the velocity and trajectory of spherical objects and readily accepts research assistants willing to devote time to this project.  Toma wishes to acknowledge all the tennis enthusiasts who, through the years, have donated equipment for her research project.


Meet Our Staff