About Crystal Academy

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. We 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

Maria Palacio-Pike (Mary) is President and Director of
community relations for Crystal Academy.
Mary currently serves as a member of the Coral Gables
Advisory Board on Disability Affairs.
mpalaciopike@cagables.com

Therapists, Teachers & Staff

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Leadership Team

Kat Kao

Director of Operations

Kat’s Biography

Laura Muniz

MA, BCBA

Department Head | Behavior Services

Laura’s Biography

Lauren Katz

BCBA

Quality Control Manager

Lauren’s Biography

Rebecca Matos

ESE

Department Head – Academics

Rebecca’s Biography

Ashely Cunill

MS, CCC-SLP

Department Head – Speech and Language

Ashley’s Biography

JILL FLORES-BERALDI

MOTR/L

Department Head – Occupational Therapy

Jill’s Biography

Clinical Staff

Daniel Unzueta

BS, ESE, RBT

Daniel’s Biography

Caitlin Lichtner

BA, BCaBA

Caitlin’s Biography

Jeannette Arana

RBT

Jeannette’s Biography

Camille E. Suarez

BS, RBT

Camille’s Biography

Natalie Torres

RBT

Natalie’s Biography

Nohelany Castellon

RBT

Nohelany’s Biography

Alicia Gonzalez

RBT

Alicia’s Biography

Claudia Navarro

RBT

Claudia’s Biography

Registered Behavior Staff

Alexandra Cabrera

RBT

Genna Henry

RBT

Ashley Santana

RBT

Francisca Padilla

RBT

Daniel Boix

RBT

Stephanie Mejia

RBT

Katherine Lazo

RBT

Lizzette Rial

RBT

Yoandi Silva Padron

RBT

Orlando Aviles

RBT

Aleshia Williams

RBT

Luis Quintanilla

RBT

Masiel Chamorro

RBT

Jose Caldera

RBT

Tawana Moise

RBT

Nicole Uzieda

RBT

Melissa Mendoza

RBT

Monica Vulcain

RBT

Speech & Language Therapy

Rebecca Bequer

M.S., CF-SLP

Rebecca’s Biography

Daniela Nazario

SLP/A

Daniela’s Biography

Occupational Therapy

Amanda Martinez

COTA

Amanda’s Biography

Brenda Morgan

OTR/L

Brenda’s Biography

Physical Education

Alfonso Meneses

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

Alfonso’s Biography

Music Therapy

Jillian Mehler

BA Music Therapist

Jillian’s Biography

Gymnastics

Lauren Petrick

MS

Lauren’s Biography

Administrative Staff

Marisol Garcia

CBCS, Insurance Coordinator

Marisol’s Biography

Nury Bartlet

Receptionist

Nury’s Biography

BOARD

Maria C. Palacio

President

Mary’s Biography

Dr. Jennifer Durocher

Board Member

Dr. Jennifer’s Biography

Lillian Blondet

Secretary

Lillian’s Biography

Cynthia McFarland

Treasurer

Cynthia’s Biography

Tom Mooney

Board Member

Tom’s Biography

Testimonials