Meet Our Staff

STEPS for Kids is proud to have a highly skilled and experienced team of pediatric therapists providing services for children from birth through adolescence. Our staff embraces the philosophy that the key to successful outcomes for children includes family-centered care that focuses on strength, skills, relationships and play.

Our collective experience as a team is one of the things that makes STEPS for Kids the best choice for pediatric therapy services.


Debra Johnson, MS, OTR/L

Founder/Clinic Director/Occupational Therapist

Debra holds a degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a masters degree in Rehabilitation Services Administration from DePaul University. She has over 30 years of experience as an OT with extensive background in pediatrics and neuro-rehabilitation. Debra has completed SIPT certification, with advanced training in sensory integration theory and practice, and has completed Level 1 Mentorship at the STAR Institute in Denver, CO as well as being certified in Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome, and Handwriting Without Tears. Debra has been providing educational and training programs to professionals and families for over 20 years and enjoys working in the community as an advocate. The clinic’s philosophy is rooted in Debra’s own personal philosophy of care that includes addressing strength, teaching skills, and empowering individuals. Debra provides assessment, treatment, consultation and education programs through STEPS for Kids. She is also an instructor with Summit Professional Education, providing continuing education courses for professionals including courses on sensory based behaviors and neuroplasticity.

Tammy Masciola, MA, CCC/SLP-L

Speech-Language Pathologist

Tammy joined STEPS for Kids in June 2019. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Illinois University.  With over 20 years of experience working with children, Tammy has worked with children who present with a wide variety of needs. She has worked with the Early Intervention system in Illinois and is passionate about supporting late talkers through direct intervention and family education. Tammy enjoys creating playful experiences that enhance language development and incorporates educational skill development into play based therapy. Tammy provides assessment and treatment for a wide range of diagnoses and conditions, with children of all ages.

Gretchen Byrd, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Speech-Language Pathologist

Gretchen has been a part of the STEPS for Kids team since July 2017. She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Illinois State University. Gretchen has been practicing speech therapy for over 15 years and has special training in feeding. She brings a passion for play based therapy to her work and enjoys building relationships with her clients that supports their participation in all activities whether they are reluctant to engage in conversation or picky eaters. Gretchen enjoys helping children expand their nutrition options and supports parents in understanding their child’s needs. Gretchen works with children of all ages who struggle with speech and language or feeding issues.

Juli Polstra, MA, CCC-SLP/L

Speech-Language Pathologist

With STEPS for Kids since January 2020 Juli holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Ohio University and master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University, in addition to an associate’s degree in Interpreter Training/Sign Language Technology. Juli has worked in a variety of settings and with people of all ages. For 30 years, she has served as a volunteer at KAMP Dovetail in Ohio, where she trains staff, organizes fundraisers, plans group activities and organizes schedules/activities for the week long camp experience for children with special needs. She is proficient in ASL and Tactile Sign Language and works with AAC devices of all kinds. She is experienced in medical needs related to swallowing and speech as well as general developmental needs related to language and speech articulation.

Ashley Kim, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Speech-Language Pathologist

Ashley joined STEPS for Kids in April 2018 and provides therapy services to children of all ages. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Governor’s State University. Ashley specializes in working with children and teens who have an autism spectrum diagnosis but enjoys working with any child who struggles with language or speech disorders. She is skilled with a variety of AAC devices and various techniques for working with non-verbal children.

Jamie Frederick, MS.Ed.LCPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Jamie is an experienced pediatric counselor who joined the STEPS for Kids team in September 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a master’s degree in Counseling from Northern Illinois University. Jamie has worked in the schools and with youth ranging from preschool through high school as well as having experience providing therapeutic services to adults. She is skilled in individual, group, and family counseling with special expertise in trauma and anxiety. She is certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and in providing teletherapy services for mental health. Jamie is able to provide both short term consultation and on-going therapeutic supports for children and their families as well as crisis intervention services. She focuses her care on empowering children to find their voice and advocate for themselves as well as guiding parents to understanding the child’s needs so as to est support them through difficult times. Jamie consults with families and the STEPS for Kids team for behavior management, social, and play skill development.

Kristina Lewis, PT, MHS, PCS

Physical Therapist

Kristina came to STEPS for Kids in June 2019, with a certificate in Physical Therapy from Lund University, Sweden and a Master of Health Science degree from University of Indianapolis. With almost 30 years of experience as a PT, Kristina brings knowledge, skill, and passion to her work at the clinic. She is a Certified Pediatric Specialist with the American Board of Physical Therapy Sepcialties, is a certified Early Intervention provider, and has expertise in treatment of babies for congenital physical conditions including torticollis and plagiocephaly. Kristina works with children of all ages and all conditions. She also serves as a mentor to our physical therapy staff.

Katie Fitzgerald, DPT

Physical Therapist

Katie became part of the STEPS for Kids team in January 2020. Katie brings a unique skill set to our clinic with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Midwestern University. Katie has worked for 10 years providing physical therapy for people of all ages and a variety of orthopedic and neurological conditions. She has served as an adjunct professor at College of DuPage and even practiced canine PT for awhile. Katie really enjoys building relationships with her clients and families, being able to help families understand the needs of their child, and empowering children for success.

Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley

Office Manager

Sue joined our staff in June 2020. With an eclectic background in teaching, marketing and office management, Sue provides our staff with the administrative support necessary to provide high quality therapy services. After many years as an early childhood educator working in special education, Sue made a career change to office management, putting her skills for planning, organizing, and attending to details to work. She responds to client needs with open communication and compassion, understanding the needs and stressors our families may experience. Sue completes intakes, manages our records, maintains schedules, and responds to client needs throughout the day. She is an excellent advocate for our families and will assist with any administrative concerns.

1581 Sycamore Rd - Yorkville, IL 60560

Phone: 630-552-9890 / Fax: 630-552-9891