Sensory Stepping Stones is a center dedicated to providing a variety of both traditional and innovative treatment programs in hopes of creating opportunities for individuals and families to reach their full potential through a holistic approach.
Treatments include the Sensory Learning Program, Social Work Services and Occupational Therapy Services. Sensory Stepping Stones works with a variety of therapists to broaden the thoughts, therapies and types of services being offered as part of the center.
It is our mission to develop specific holistic programs to enhance mental, physical and functional performance for all individuals seeking positive change, self-awareness, understanding and growth. Our clinic insists on creating an atmosphere that encourages everyone to learn, discover, mature and develop positive self-esteem.
With an approach of respect and dignity, we consider it an honor and privilege to work with our clients and their families as they go through the Sensory Integration process. We believe that everyone CAN reach their full potential!
Melissa Bianchini is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Children & Families Specialty. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fordham University and has done post graduate work at Arizona State University in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology. As a social worker, Melissa has extensive experience in the fields of neurological processing, sensory integration, children and families, mental health, and addiction therapies.
Melissa has specialized in Sensory Integration as the Educational Director of a Sensory Integration clinic in Arizona and now as the Executive Director here at Sensory Stepping Stones, LLC in NY. She is dedicated to helping children, teens and adults with executive functioning issues, Autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injuries, sensory processing disorders, developmental disorders, attention deficit disorder, developmental delays and physical disabilities. She is certified as a provider for the Sensory Learning SM Program, a Master Level Clinician in Interactive Metronome with several specialties, a certified PlayAttention provider, a neurofeedback provider and vision specialist.
Melissa works closely with individuals, parents and other providers in the area to help those be successful in school, home, and work and in everyday activities through the holistic and alternative therapies she offers at the clinic. She tries to emphasize the focus on what the person CAN do and not what they can’t do. Melissa is a strong proponent of early intervention for all ages and disorders and the necessity of looking at and addressing how a person is processing their environment and responding to it in a more functional way.
Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New York. She graduated Advanced Standing from Mercy College with her Bachelors in Social Work. She then went on to complete her Masters in Social Work from CUNY-Hunter College. Nicole has over ten years of experience providing therapeutic services to children and families using a variety of treatment modalities. Nicole has extensive knowledge in working with children with dual diagnosis, ADD/ADHD, emotional and behavioral issues, developmental delays and learning disabilities. Nicole is committed to expanding her knowledge base and has recently included neurological reorganization, and providing a more holistic approach in the therapy she provides.
Laura Bacon is a clinically licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with 12 years of experience working with both children and adults. She received her Bachelors degree in Communication Disorders from SUNY New Paltz and her Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from New York Medical College. Laura is ASHA (American Speech-Language Hearing Association) certified and is licensed in NY, CT, and DC. She is also PROMPT trained.
Laura’s areas of expertise include receptive and expressive language delay, auditory processing, word retrieval, executive functioning, social/pragmatic delay, articulation and phonological disorders, apraxia, oral motor, fluency, feeding/swallowing difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, and early intervention.
Laura believes that looking at the whole individual is key to the treatment process. By considering an individual’s speech, language, fine motor, gross motor, sensory processing, emotions, nutrition, etc., we are better able to address the individual’s unique set of needs and challenges.
Heidi Bonorato is the founder of Giving Retriever, LLC and a Canine Integrative Therapy provider. She has a keen understanding of the human-animal bond through personal experience as a child and professional experiences in Veterinary Medicine and Assistance Dog training. She is a graduate and a former instructor of Bergin University of Canine Studies, the only accredited academic institution in the world solely dedicated to advanced canine education and research.
As a Service Dog Training Instructor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, she assisted in the establishment of the Warrior Transition Brigade Service Dog Training Program and co-authored the program’s Veteran Service Dog Training Curriculum.
Heidi has written in publications for the Journal of Army Medicine on Animal-Assisted Therapy in addition to co-authoring Occupational Therapy research and case studies to substantiate the use of Assistance Dog Training in the clinical environment. She has been featured in speaking engagements with Department of the Army and Pentagon officials on the benefits of Service Dogs in the therapeutic environment as well as National Geographic documentaries on Assistance Dog training and Early Puppy Education. She has trained numerous therapy and Assistance Dogs for disabled individuals including children, seniors and Veterans.
Inspired by her role as a mother and practical experience and insight into the ways in which Assistance Dog training can benefit a person with special needs and subsequently improve a family dynamic, she established Giving Retriever, LLC.
Irvine is a gentle, sensitive and intuitive Golden Retriever with extensive experience working in therapeutic environments. He was raised and trained at the Assistance Dog Institute where he was purpose-bred for Service Dog work. He began his training with Early Puppy Education at just 3 weeks of age and has since learned over 90 different skills to assist in mitigating a person’s disability.
He has worked with Disabled Children, At-Risk Teens and most recently the Wounded Warriors in the Service Dog Training Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His specialty skills include opening doors, turning on/off lights, retrieving dropped items and mentoring young Assistance Dog puppies.
Irvine is a co-founder of Giving Retriever, LLC and his role in the clinical setting at Sensory Stepping Stones is to facilitate the Therapeutic Application of Assistance Dog Training by teaching individuals the skills necessary to train Assistance Dogs.
When he is not at work, he enjoys chasing a tennis ball, hiking, swimming and sharing snacks with our Toddler.