Meet the Team

Crystal Amelang - OTR/L, SIPT
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Owner and Founder of Sprouts Therapy
Crystal graduated with a degree in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University in 2002. She has always had a passion for working with children. During her college years Crystal assisted teaching a preschool program, provided caregiving services in the homes of families of children with special needs and coached figure skating. She later developed a special needs ice skating program in her home town of Fort Collins, Colorado after traveling to New York to volunteer with the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH). After graduation Crystal completed her fieldwork placements in San Diego, California studying Spinal Cord Injuries and in Edinburgh, Scotland working in Neurology.

After completing her advanced certification in Sensory Integration (SIPT), she saw how the field of Pediatric Occupational Therapy combines her love for children and Neurology, leading her to pursue her career in this direction. Crystal has years of experience working in a variety of pediatric settings including the home, community parks and beaches, public and private schools and play based sensory clinics. These opportunities have allowed her to treat children with a variety of developmental delays and given her extensive experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum and with Sensory Processing Disorders. Crystal is an Advanced Integrated Listening System (iLs) Practitioner, Advanced Pediatric Interactive Metronome (IM) Practitioner, an Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner (SIPT), and Therapeutic Listening Practitioner. Crystal has completed 500 hours of training in massage therapy, which she incorporates into her pediatric practice, as well as training in CranioSacral Therapy provided by the Upledger Institute. Additional trainings include Understanding and Managing Visual Deficits, The Whole Child: SANE (Sleep, Activities, Nutrition, Environment) System of Pediatric Assessment/Treatment, Music Together for families and within therapy, and The SCERTS Model. Crystal holds a Basic Certification in the DIR/Floortime Approach and the SOS Approach to Feeding.  Additionally she has completed the level one mentorship training program at the Star Institute for Sensory Processing Disorders under Dr. Lucy Jane Miller and Dr. Sara Schoen.

Crystal relocated to Hawaii in 2009 and realized there was a great need for specialized therapies for the pediatric population on Oahu. At that time she began her pursuit to bring Sprouts Therapy to life!!!

Kate Smallidge, has been practicing occupational therapy since graduating with a masters degree from the University at Buffalo in 2009. Kate has seen her way through early intervention, school based, and out patient pediatric OT. Her family's travels have taken them from Buffalo, NY to Pittsburgh, PA to Augusta, GA and finally to Honolulu. Her favorite aspect of occupational therapy is the rapport building with clients and their families. Kate is Rock Tape certified and she has completed various continuing ed in sensory based learning. She has been trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding. Kate enjoys making her own clinic material. She believes that engaging in a meaningful activity, the basis of OT, truly brings out the greatest results for children and their family.

Kate is incredibly grateful for Sprouts and this Hawaiian adventure. She moved here in 2018 with her husband, son, and giant golden doodle. When she isn't in the clinic, she is enjoying her Ohana time, crafting, diving, hiking and discovering all the island has to offer!

Kate Smallidge - MS OTR/L
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Katie Henrich - MOT, OTR/L
Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Katie has practiced Pediatric Occupational Therapy since graduating from University of St. Augustine in California in 2014. Her passion is working in pediatrics and she has worked in clinic, school, and early intervention settings.

Katie has completed several other trainings and certifications including Handwriting without Tears (HWT) and Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to feeding. Katie moved to Hawaii in February 2018 and is excited to be a part of the Sprout’s team. She is looking forward to the opportunity to implement play-based therapy and a sensory approach to feeding. In Katie’s free time she enjoys hiking, running, and exploring new beaches with her husband.

Lauren graduated from Shenandoah University in 2016 with her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. She has always wanted to work in pediatrics and has had experience practicing in a school-based setting and a private clinic. She loves being able to work with clients to help them work to their greatest potential and achieve all that they want to. Lauren has been trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding and Therapeutic Listening. She is currently working to receive her Basic Certification in the DIR/Floortime Approach. Lauren loves the play-based approach and emphasis on sensory regulation at Sprouts.

Lauren moved to Oahu in 2018 from Washington and loves hiking, running, and cooking. She is excited to explore more of the hiking trails on the island.

Lauren Posluszny - MS OTR/L
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Lauren Erickson - OTD
Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Lauren graduated from Creighton University with her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She has wanted to work in pediatrics for as long as she can remember! Lauren has experience with outpatient pediatric therapy, and had the unique opportunity to work with pediatric clients in the Dominican Republic. She has received training in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding.

Lauren is so excited and honored to be a part of the Sprout’s Therapy team, for the opportunity to work inter-professionally and their emphasis on sensory processing and the playtime approach! Lauren is eager to begin life as a newlywed, and loves to explore the island and all that it has to offer!

Marissa Anderson, MOT OTR/L has practiced Pediatric Occupational Therapy since graduating from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2010. She has worked with schools, early intervention and private clinics, with a focus on feeding and sensory regulation for children with autism and related sensory processing disorders. Marissa has been trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding, and is also certified in the use of Kinesio Tape. She is also is a trained Music Together teacher, and uses this within therapy. 

Marissa is excited to be a team member at Sprout’s Therapy because of the play-based approach and strong emphasis on sensory regulation. Marissa moved to Hawai’i in 2016 with her husband and two daughters. In her free time she enjoys exploring Hawai’i’s hiking trails and beaches.
Marissa Anderson - MA, OTR/L
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Nicole Gravalis - OTD
Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Nicole is originally from New Jersey, however has called Ohio home for the last 7 years. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). In her time in OT school, Nicole completed clinical rotations in Ohio, Virginia Beach, and most recently Ibarra, Ecuador. She has always known that she has wanted to work with children earning her bachelor's degree in early childhood education to better understand the possible role of occupational therapy in the school based setting. During her time in school however, she fell in love with pediatric outpatient and is excited to work closely with children and their families. Nicole is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) app roach to feeding and enjoys using sensory based strategies during treatment sessions. Nicole loves the play-based approach of Sprouts Therapy and is excited to help kids play and develop with their families.

Nicole moved to Oahu in 2019 and enjoys traveling, hiking, playing guitar, and Ohio State football. She is excited to explore the music scene of the island and explore the nature Oahu has to offer.

Amy began her career as a speech pathologist in 2007, after graduating from Portland State University. She is originally from Maine, but has lived in many different states including California, Indiana, Oregon, and Alaska. 

In Hawaii, most recently, she was manager of the UH Speech and Hearing clinic and clinical coordinator for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Amy has specialization in voice disorders, motor speech disorders and clinical methods.

In her free time she loves to spend time with her family, and likes to go on adventures around the island with them. She loves hiking, traveling, music and singing- her undergrad degree is in theater! 
Amy Wahlstrom - MS, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist
Ashley Jang - MS, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist

Ashley graduated from Harding University in 2012 with a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology. During and after graduate school, Ashley had the opportunity to practice speech-language pathology in Zambia, Africa, focusing on feeding therapy and language stimulation in infants and toddlers, as well as research in pediatric speech and language development. She used her research to help develop the first ever articulation screening tool for Chitonga-speaking children in this region with a team of speech-language pathologists and linguists. She was also involved with an organization that helped to develop the first speech-language pathology graduate program in Zambia. She has experience working in a wide variety of settings with both pediatrics and adults, including early intervention, private clinics, schools, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities, as well as home and community-based services.

She is a Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) Words for Life Partner and has received training in augmentative and alternative communication through the Center for AAC & Autism. She has completed additional training in Interactive Metronome (IM), Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP), Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum (NLA), the Greenspan Floortime Approach (DIR/Floortime), and the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding.

Ashley has lived on Oahu since early 2015. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, crafting, yoga, and paddle boarding.

****** BIO COMING SOON*****
Jaclyn Monnig - MA, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist
Primrose Buenaluz - MS, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist

Primrose is a pediatric speech-language pathologist who joined the Sprouts Therapy team in August 2016. Born and raised in Kāne’ohe, Hawai’i, Primrose received her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. After graduate school, Primrose relocated to Central Louisiana where she began her professional career in the school setting. She has also worked for the Hawaii Department of Education in the preschool, elementary, and middle school levels. Primrose has experience in evaluating and treating individuals with a variety of disorders including: developmental delays, down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, language disorders, social communication disorders, fluency disorders, dysphagia, medically fragile children, and articulation and phonological disorders. She also has experience working with children benefiting from various types of augmentative communication systems. Primrose is a PROMPT for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) certified therapist and is also trained in the Sensory Oral Sequential (SOS) Approach to Feeding. She loves working with children and enjoys implementing theory and strategies to ensure that every child has an opportunity to communicate using Sprouts’ play-based philosophy.

Primrose holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and is currently licensed in Hawai’i, California, Louisiana, and Oregon. She enjoys running, traveling, stand-up paddling, scuba diving, and hiking.

Christina Jennings (CJ) has been providing SLP services for over 15 years and has specialized training in early intervention, Autism, and AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) systems. She knows American Sign Language and is ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) certified. Outside of speech therapy she is a member of the Maui Search and Rescue and an honorary member of Oahu Search and Rescue. She enjoys skydiving, fishing, traveling, SCUBA diving or free diving, and she's learning to sail and do hula. She lives on a sailboat and prior to this enjoyed life on Maui for 5 years. She was born in Illinois, but raised in Northern California.

Christina "CJ" Jennings - MS, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist
Diana Lee-Arocha - MS, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist

Michele is a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist who has over 20 years of experience working with children in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Public Schools and Early Intervention Programs. She holds ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence and currently is a licensed speech pathologist in Hawaii and New Jersey. She is a PROMPT Trained Therapist and has incorporated Greenspan’s DIR Floortime Model, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Talk Tools, sensory integration, and mindfulness activities into her therapy sessions. Michele is thrilled about working at Sprouts in a play-based and multidisciplinary setting.

Michele graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1992 with her MA in Speech Pathology and BA in Speech and Hearing Disorders. She was a starter on the Boro’s 1990 women’s basketball NCAA II finalist team and recipient of the Butch McBride Athletic Scholarship. Michele received a graduate assistantship and while in graduate school, she coached summer basketball camps and continued coaching elementary through high school basketball for the next two decades.

Michele recently relocated to Oahu, Hawaii from Ocean City, New Jersey where she was a volunteer surf instructor for Heart of Surfing, a nonprofit organization working with children with autism and special needs. She also volunteered for FCA Surf-AC, a nonprofit organization providing day surf camps for economically disadvantaged children in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During her time off she enjoys longboard surfing, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, hiking, and snorkeling. She thrives on being outdoors and is grateful that her journey brought her to Hawaii. The two most interesting people she has ever met is her son, Chase and her daughter, Briana. They are the loves of her life and continue to amaze her in every way.

Michele McChesney - MA, CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Therapist
Karen Ehlert - DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist

Karen is originally from Chicago, where she completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008. Since then, she has maintained a career focused on pediatric physical therapy. She started her PT career in Austin, Texas working with children age 0 to 18 in their homes and providing early intervention for children 0 to 3. Karen then moved to Tokyo for four years to serve military children on bases throughout Japan providing early intervention and school based therapy.
It was there she met her husband and moved with him to North Carolina. In Jacksonville, NC, she again worked in school based therapy and early intervention.

In March 2018 Karen and her husband welcomed their daughter and then moved to Oahu in July. Karen enjoys rock climbing, running and any activity outdoors, especially in the mountains.

Katie is originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania. She completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA in 2011. During her graduate work, she completed a clinical rotation with the Easter Seals Organization and enjoyed volunteering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She began her career as a travel physical therapist working mostly in the acute care setting. During a travel assignment on Oahu, Katie and her husband fell in love with Hawaii and decided to make Oahu their permanent home. Since then, she has worked with pediatric, adult, and geriatric populations in both acute and outpatient settings. Her passion and goal since PT school has been to work in a pediatric setting.

She is very excited to be a part of Sprouts Therapy and help children improve gross motor skills through a play-based approach.
In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach, hiking with her husband and 2 dogs, surfing, rock climbing, and yoga.
Katie Emery - DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist
Leona Lin - PT
Pediatric Physical Therapist

Since graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1996, Leona has worked for over 20 years as a pediatric and adult physical therapist in multiple settings including early intervention, acute care, community settings, pediatric and adult out patient, aquatic therapy, and Pilates based physical therapy. She has had NDT training for children with neurological impairment, down syndrome, basic sensory and motor training for the visually impaired and hard of hearing child through the Utah State University SKI-HI –VIISA training .

In her spare time, she loves walking at botanical gardens, at beaches, or on hiking trails, doing multiple arts and crafts, and being involved in the local medical mission’s team such as at the Seafaring missions which provide spiritual and medical support to our foreign long line fisherman who supply our island’s fish sold at the fish auction while having limited access to medical support when they are at sea or docked at our piers.

Jumping at the opportunity to help her sister grow Sprouts Therapy, Terra has been working behind the scenes as part of the admin team since 2014. Terra has a Bachelor's degree in Speech Therapy, and while she is not a practicing SLP, she uses her education to help with many therapy-related administrative tasks.

Currently living in Washington, Terra works remotely for Sprouts full-time. She does a variety of jobs for Sprouts Therapy, however, you may know her best in her primary position as our insurance and billing guru!

In her free time, you will most likely find her traveling, painting used furniture, camping, watching Survivor (yes, that show is still on), or eating cookies with milk. Mmmmm. smile
Terra Amelang -
Medical Billing Specialist
Lauren Hodde -
Clinic Manager

Native Floridian Lauren Hodde is a graduate of Florida State University (Go Noles!) with a B.S. in Risk Management & Insurance from FSU's School of Business. Upon graduating in 2006, she worked in the insurance and construction industry in roles that included analyzing coverages, accounting, and construction project management.

After many years of pursuing her dream of living in Hawai'i, she moved to O'ahu 3 years ago and is still loving every day living in paradise! As Clinic Manager, Lauren maintains the operations and client support sides of the business. She enjoys helping the business grow and serving the clients!

When not at Sprouts, you’ll find her enjoying the sun on a beach somewhere.. most likely on North Shore!

Originally from Washington state, Shela moved to Hawai'i in 2010 after graduating from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Italian and a minor in International Studies. She has since continued her learning and obtained certificates in Early Childhood Education and pre-SLP studies.

Before coming to Sprouts, Shela held a range of jobs: from a Dialysis Technician to an au-pair in Italy to an outfitter for outdoor gear, and the odd job here and there. While in Hawai'i, she has invested most of her time in Native Hawaiian non-profit organizations: working with a homeless family education program and a program aimed at perpetuating culture and foundational practices through an early childhood S.T.E.(A.)M. curriculum. She is excited to have found the brilliant and passionate minds at Sprouts and hopes to be an extension of their service to families in the community.

When not plugging away at work, Shela enjoys binging shows and history documentaries on various streaming services, tabletop and board games, and trying her hand at new recipes with her husband. When outdoors, you can find her hiking on the mountain side, biking, enjoying weekly trips to different farmers markets on the island, or at the comic book store.
Shela Mejia -
Clinic Manager
Maria Gonzalez -

Maria might be one of the first people you talk to at Sprouts, and she hopes to make everyone around her feel welcomed and taken care of. She feels proud to be a part of the Sprouts Team and feels a personal connection to the good work being done. During college she worked for a speech therapy preschool program, and later as an early intervention classroom assistant. She loves being around kids, and finds it super rewarding to see them each reach their potential at Sprouts. 

Maria was born and raised in San Francisco, but later moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She's an Oregon State Alumni, and she called Corvallis, Oregon home before jetting off to Oahu. She enjoys listening to podcasts, trivia games, doodling, and swimming in the ocean ("something you definitely could not and should not do in San Francisco!!") 

Shira was born on Oahu and moved with her family to various states across the US. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with her Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems and started her career working in the IT field. As time went on, she shifted directions towards her passions and became a missionary for 5 years, traveling and living in different countries including North Africa for 2 years. She enjoyed her time volunteering at an orphanage while living in Morocco specifically with special needs children.

Music is a strong passionate of hers. She is a song writer, plays piano, a little guitar and has been a worship leader for various ministries since the age of 15. She also really enjoys the adventure of hiking and exploring new place.

Shira Sax -
Admin Assistant
Carlos Taranto -
IT/Admin Assistant

Carlos has been supporting the Sprouts team for several years now and loves the opportunity to assist a program that helps his community. He began volunteering for Sprouts Therapy in 2014, when he assisted in clinic development, and equipment cleaning and set up. In 2017 Carlos joined the Sprouts Therapy Team, with a solid understanding of computer systems and general handy work, Carlos assists Sprouts management with completing projects both in the office and online. He also assists with client scheduling, company organization online, logistical tasks, and handling most IT related issues in the office. Carlos has a diverse work background ranging from Military Service to Cell Phone Sales Representative to Wildland Firefighting.

Carlos has been living on Oahu since late 2009 and absolutely loves the island lifestyle. Having grown up in Utah most of his life, he has really come to appreciate the year-round warm weather Hawai’i has to offer. In the past couple years, he has become a certified PADI Scuba Instructor and enjoys being in the water as much as possible. Along with Scuba diving, he also enjoys surfing, hiking, traveling, photography, and videography.