Kirsten Metzger-Gilbert, MA, CCC-SLP

Director
Kirsten is a speech pathologist and the Director of Building Blocks Therapy. She purchased the practice from the previous owner in 2008 after working for Building Blocks for the prior 4 years. Kirsten received a Bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and Master’s degree from George Washington University. Kirsten became interested in working with kids with special needs after having a cousin diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Kirsten enjoys working with children with dyspraxia, developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, and feeding and swallowing challenges. Kirsten has received training in PROMPT, TalkTools Oral Placement Therapy, the SOS Approach to Feeding, and Beckman Oral Motor Therapy.  Kirsten recently completed the Dynamic & Postural Reflex Pattern Integration course; a foundational course for the MNRI (Musgatova) Method.  In her spare time, (now non-existent with a 7 year old and 5 year old!) she loves watching college basketball, the Red Sox, Nationals, and Patriots, reading and traveling.

Building Blocks Therapy Speech Therapist Staff

Occupational Therapist

Jess DiNenno, OTR/L

Jess joined Building Blocks Therapy in May 2017. She has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist in the DMV area since 2014. Jess completed her Masters of Occupational Therapy at James Madison University. Jess is certified in Handwriting Without Tears, The Print Tool, and The Alert Program. She also has experience with Zones of Regulation and Social Thinking curriculum. She has special interests in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Processing Disorders. In her free time she enjoys [solidcore], playing with her puppy, running/biking, and spending time with her family and friends. She is excited to start working with the families at Building Blocks Therapy!

Speech Pathologist Staff

Melissa Mimidis, MS, CCC-SLP

PROMPT trained
Melissa has been with Building Blocks Therapy since 2007, after working for a pediatric rehabilitation clinic in Pennsylvania. Melissa completed her undergraduate work at Penn State and received her Master’s degree from James Madison University. She is a native of the northern VA area. Melissa has received training in the following areas: Talk Tools, Beckman, Introduction to Floortime, and PROMPT. Melissa recently got married in the Spring 2016 and had a little girl in July 2018!.

Rachel Hicks, MA, CCC-SLP

Clinic Lead
Rachel has been with Building Blocks Therapy since June 2015. She completed her undergraduate work and received her Master’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington. Rachel completed her externship practicums at an Indiana elementary school and IU Health North Hospital serving students and patients with a variety of needs. She has special interests in Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delays, feeding and swallowing difficulties, and AAC.  Rachel has completed the Introduction to PROMPT course and attended a conference on AAC and Literacy, held in Washington DC.  She attended the LAMP training in 2019 to further her education in alternative and assisstive technology. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys swimming, running, and spending time with friends and family.

Cristin A. Brophy, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Hanen Certified
Cristin has been with Building Blocks Therapy since March 2011.  She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan and received her Master of Education from the University of Virginia.  Cristin has completed the Introduction to PROMPT Technique and the second level of PROMPT:  Bridging Technique to Intervention, the Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders:  SOS Approach to Feeding Conference, TalkTools Oral Placement Therapy Program, and the Beckman Oral/Motor Protocol.  She also has special training in social and pragmatic language skill development with the use of the DIR/Floortime Approach and Social Thinking.  Cristin recently became Hanen certified in the It Takes Two to Talk® Program for groups of parents of children with expressive and receptive language delays.  Cristin works with children with developmental delays, apraxia of speech, Autism Spectrum Disorders, fluency and language disorders, and feeding and swallowing difficulties. She enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, trying new restaurants, and having fun with friends and family.

 Amy Benitez, MA, CCC-SLP

Amy joined Building Blocks’ Therapy team in 2007. She worked full-time for us for 3 years before having her first child, Reesa. While pregnant with her second child, Amy returned to Building Blocks to work every other Saturday. And, after the birth of her son, Cruz, she is back with us on an every other Saturday basis. Amy completed her undergraduate and  Master’s degrees from Indiana University. Before joining our team, Amy worked in the public school system in Indiana and for the government-funded birth to three program in Indiana, called First Steps. Amy completed the Introduction to PROMPT course in 2009 and the Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention course in 2011. She enjoys working with early speech & language development as well as school-aged speech and language disorders. Amy supports parental involvement by providing parents with activities to complete at home in order to promote and reinforce the target therapy goals and maximize progress. In her spare time, Amy loves being a Mom and spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys traveling, shopping, running and exploring new restaurants with her husband, Greg.

Emily Schwaber (formerly Brodsky), MA, CCC-SLP

Hanen Certified
Emily joined Building Blocks Therapy in September 2017 as a Speech-Language Pathologist after spending time in the school system. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, where she majored in Speech and Hearing Sciences and minored in Human Development and Family Studies. She then received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from The George Washington University. Emily enjoys working with toddlers and school-aged children with a variety of needs, ranging from articulation and language disorders to autism spectrum disorders, among other disorders. She is especially interested in collaborating as a team with other professionals, as well as parents, after her experience with early intervention services during her graduate externship.  Emily received training in PECS Level I, Core Vocabulary, and PRC Accent Device, and Introduction to PROMPT.  Emily attended the Hanen program, It Takes Two to Talk in May 2018.  Emily attended the LAMP training in 2019 to further her education in alternative and assisstive technology.  In her free time she enjoys exploring D.C. with her pup, Nelly, watching her favorite football team the New England Patriots, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Kristen Kozminski, MS, CCC-SLP

Kristen joined Building Blocks Therapy in January 2018 as a part-time therapist.    Kristen received her Bachelor's degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her Master's at James Madison University. She attended the Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders:  SOS Approach to Feeding conference in July 2018 and is currently working on the introductory coursework in DIR/FloorTime. Kristen recently married in the Spring 2019!

Bianca Loreti, MS, CCC-SLP

Bianca joined Building Blocks Therapy in December of 2018. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the Florida State University and in 2015 graduated with a Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology from the University of South Florida. Since beginning her career, Bianca has worked with children of all ages with a wide range of  speech, language, and swallowing disorders including articulation, phonological disorders, receptive-expressive language delays, autism spectrum disorder, motor speech disorders, AAC, fluency, and oral motor, sensory-motor, and behavioral feeding disorders. Bianca has completed various certifications and continuing education courses such as Feeding Therapy: It’s Not Just About Swallowing, 3-Part Treatment Plan for Oral Placement Therapy (Talk Tools), Feeding Therapy: A Sensory Motor Approach (Talk Tools), The Sequential Oral Sensory (S.O.S.) Approach to Feeding, Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Disorder: A Medical, Motor, Behavioral Approach. Originally from Florida, Bianca enjoys getting outside to run, reading, exploring the city with friends, and traveling.