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Our expert advisors help curate a unique assortment of toys that support the development of fine motor, cognitive, and social skills for each stage.

Jessica Lahner - Child Development Expert, Ph.D.

Jessica Lahner, Ph.D. serves as the Child Development Expert for Fox6 News Real Milwaukee and is adjunct faculty at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. With a doctorate in counseling psychology, she looks at parenting and play from both a child development and mental health perspective. She has published peer-reviewed articles on development and learning topics in the Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, and the International Journal of Adult Development and Aging. Dr. Lahner has presented research at the annual conferences of the American Psychological Society, American Psychological Association, and College Reading and Learning Association. She and her husband reside in Wisconsin where she spends most of her time keeping up with her 4 young children.

Irena Shklovsky – Montessori Instructor

Irena has been teaching children of different ages for over thirty years. She started working with preschoolers after receiving her BA in Early Childhood Education in Moscow, Russia. She continued studying, received an MS degree in Language, Irena served as a school administrator and developed special programs for children with language delays.

She is presently the Head Teacher of a Montessori Class and also an Instructor of Montessori Philosophy, Pedagogue and Environmental Design for the Montessori Teacher Education Center, San Francisco Bay Area.

Brita DeStefano – Pediatric Physical Therapist

Dr. DeStefano is a pediatric physical therapist and owner of Progress Through Play. She graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience in 2007 and then attended Emory University where she received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). She went on to complete a one year pediatric physical therapy residency program through the University of Central Arkansas and in 2013 she became board certified as a Pediatric Specialist (PCS).

Mengting Shieh – Speech-Language Pathologist

Mengting received her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She has experience throughout Chicago, the Bay Area, and internationally working with children and adults who have speech and language disorders in both the public schools and private settings. As a Clinical Consultant with Hope's Promise since 2008, she has traveled with teams to Kenya and Vietnam to provide intervention and training. Mengting has served as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Clinical Supervisor with The Speech Pathology Group, California State University- East Bay and as the Founding Clinical Supervisor for PresenceLearning.

Room to Grow Social Work Team

Room to Grow’s licensed social work team has extensive experience providing clinical support to women, children and families. At Room to Grow, they provide individualized parenting education and support, and connections to vital community resources to hundreds of families raising babies in poverty in Boston and New York.

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