About Crystal Academy

Our Founding Family

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In 2002 we were blessed with the birth of our angel David. By the time he reached 18 months of age we began to see behaviors we expected missing, and signs of inappropriate behaviors emerging. David retreated rapidly into himself until he made no voluntary sound, would not respond to his name or allow direct eye contact. He would spend his time when allowed fixated on spinning objects or other repetitive behaviors and would wander in public without regard to danger or our presence.

We reported these behaviors to his pediatrician and other medical professionals only to be told that David was simply delayed and would emerge appropriately.

That was not the case.  Our family’s journey into the ASD world was about to begin. David was diagnosed with Encephalopathy consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by Dr. Roberto Tuchman at the end of the 2004.   ​​

Our lives changed immediately and dramatically as we immersed ourselves in the job of raising David and learning to be his best possible parent guides out of the seclusion of Autism as well as aiming to provide the most optimal upbringing to our youngest son Joshua. There were so many challenges and no clear roadmap to success. Mary and I studied and tried everything we heard of that had evidence of success or even just sounded as if it made sense. Some things helped and some did not. In that process, we learned that not all therapies help all children and that in fact all children with ASD have similarities, but each is as unique in challenge as they are in personality.

It is based on the success we were fortunate enough to enjoy with early and intensive intervention, that we embarked upon the task of bringing evidenced based therapy and individualized school curriculum to as many families of these special children as we can.

Family

Mary Palacio-Pike / Founder, BS, MA
Board member of the Coral Gables Advisory Board on Disability Affairs,
an advocacy group for issues affecting our special needs population,
develop programs, inform and educate the community leaders to create focus
and awareness on disability issues among others.
mpalaciopike@cagables.com

Therapists, Teachers & Staff

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Leadership Team

Laura Muniz

MA, BCBA

Behavior Director | Therapy Center

Laura’s Biography

Lauren Katz

MA, BCBA, ESE Teacher

Educational | Behavior Director Primary and Upper School

Lauren’s Biography

Tanya M. Sanchez

MS-CCC-SLP, BCBA, SLI/FEL

Director of Speech and Language

Tanya’s Biography

Liz Acuna

MS, OTR/L, INPP

Director of Occupational Therapy

Liz’s Biography

Clinical Staff

Caitlin Lichtner

BA, BCaBA

Caitlin’s Biography

Andrea Moran

BA, BCaBA

Andrea’s Biography

Camille E. Suarez

BS, RBT

Camille’s Biography

Joseph Frias

RBT

Joseph’s Biography

Stephanie Mejia

RBT

Stephanie’s Biography

Alicia Gonzalez

RBT

Alicia’s Biography

Evelyn Rivera

RBT

Evelyn’s Biography

Leah Chung

RBT

Leah’s Biography

Natalie Torres

RBT

Natalie’s Biography

Lyma Checo

RBT

Daniel Boix

RBT

Daniel’s Biography

Daniela Nazario

RBT

Daniela’s Biography

Jeanette Arana

RBT

Jeanette’s Biography

Tawana Moise

RBT

Nohelany Castellon

RBT

Nohelany’s Biography

Santiago Saiki

RBT

Santiago’s Biography

Stephanie Reis

RBT

Stephanie’s Biography

Speech & Language Therapy

Vanessa Frection

MS, CCC-SLP

Vanessa’s Biography

Becky Elizondo

BA, SLPA, RBT

Becky’s Biography

Neda Baroni

SLPA, RBT

Neda’s Biography

Occupational Therapy

Jill Flores-Beraldi

MOTR/L

Jill’s Biography

Amanda Martinez

COTA

Amanda’s Biography

Special Education Teachers

Rebecca Matos

BA, ESE

Rebecca’s Biography

Daniel Unzueta

BS, ESE, RBT

Daniel’s Biography

Physical Education

Alfonso Meneses

BA, RBT, P.E. Coordinator, Fitness Club Instructor

Alfonso’s Biography

Music Therapy

Paloma Dueñas

BA Music Therapist

Paloma’s Biography

Gymnastics

Lauren Petrick

MS

Lauren’s Biography

Administrative Staff

Katherine Cao

BS, Program Coordinator

Kat’s Biography

Marisol Garcia

CBCS, Insurance Coordinator

Marisol’s Biography

BOARD

David Pike

Chairman

David’s Biography

Nicholas C. Lambrou

Board Member

Nichola’s Biography

Lillian Blondet

Board Member

Lillian Blondet ’s Biography

Cynthia McFarland

Board Member

Cynthia McFarland ’s Biography

Testimonials