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About Us

We love to see our patients smile. We love to see the “ah ha” moments that tell us that we have made a connection. Lovingly known as “DawNessa”, we created a warm and inviting facility to reflect our personalities and love for the children. Since 2000, we have filled our professional careers with moments that we have shared with the families whose lives have touched us. We have seen our patients grow and reach milestones when others said it couldn’t be done. We have had many of our patients for years, and their success has become a part of what makes our practice so special. Our practice is not a business, it is an environment made richer by the children in it. We take our patients very seriously, but we make our approach fun and educational which benefits both parent and child. We know progress, but we measure it according to who your child is and not by set standards of where he/she should be. Helping children with autism is our passion, and we would like to share it with you.

Dawn Francis-Garcia, OTR

Dawn believes that it’s the quality of the practice and not the quantity of the patients that makes a practice successful. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Creighton University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. From the beginning of her career, Dawn had a desire to work with children on the autism spectrum. She is certified to administer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) to detect if a child falls within the autism spectrum providing recommendations to physicians to assist with a more thorough diagnosis. She is well versed in a variety of treatment approaches including extensive training through the Carbone Clinic, which focuses on the theory of verbal behavior and applied behavior analysis, how to utilize the VB-MAPP as a basis for verbal behavior, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), as well as social thinking / perspective taking as it applies to individuals with ASD. Furthermore, she is certified to administer the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) to identify children with sensory integration dysfunction. In addition, to her education on the theory of sensory integration, she applies the concepts of the Alert Program for self regulation, HandWriting without Tears, Integrating the Mouth with Sensory and Postural Function, Therapeutic Listening, Brain Gym, and Neuro-Developmental Treatment. She is proud of her patients, who thrive and face challenges with inspirational strength and courage. She has watched children in the autism spectrum grow with every stride.

Vanessa Curl, M.A, CCC-SLP

Vanessa has worked with children in the autism spectrum since 2000. After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Texas Women’s University in 1997, she pursued her Masters of Arts in Communication Science Disorders – Bilingual from the University of Texas Pan American in 1999. Her qualifications include those in Verbal Behavior Training (VBT), with extensive training through the Carbone Clinic, which utilizes the theories of applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior training. She is also skilled in treating challenges associated with social thinking/perspective taking which allows children with ASD to maintain ongoing social behavior. Vanessa is also qualified to participate in the administration of the Autism DIagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Furthermore, she is qualified to assess and prescribe the appropriate Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) device whether hi-tech or low-tech. She has extensive training and experience working with hi-tech AAC such as DynaVox as well as low-tech versions including Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS). In addition, she is skilled in assessing oral motor function and applying various treatment strategies such as the Beckman Model and Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation (DPNS). Vanessa’s passion stems from helping her patients with behavior problems, working with children utilizing AAC devices, and providing support to the families and teachers who interact with them daily. Her outgoing and creative approach to her patient’s challenges helps keep the bridge of communication open by teaching them functional communication skills.

MindWorks Rehab