STAR Institute Faculty

Renee AllenRenee Allen, MS, OTR/L
Renee has practiced pediatric occupational therapy since receiving her Master’s Degree from Boston University in 2000. Her professional experiences include working in Early Intervention, working with the deaf/blind student population at Perkin’s School for the Blind in Boston, and working in two private sensory clinics. She worked at the STAR Institute from 2008-2011. Currently, she treats children 0-6 in their homes or in her small private home clinic. She is Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) trained and holds an intermediate certification in the DIR /Floortime Model. She spends her free time hiking, skiing and enjoying Colorado with her husband and two children.

Robyn ChuRobyn C. Chu, MOT, OTR/L
Robyn is founder and director of Growing Healthy Children Therapy Services, located in El Dorado County, California. Mrs. Chu brings over 11 years of diverse clinical experience and a passion for helping others. Mrs. Chu began her career at Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento, and later became the Lead Occupational Therapist for the El Dorado County Office of Education. She has advanced training in Sensory Integration Therapy, completing mentorships and fellowships with Dr. Lucy Jane Miller at STAR Institute in Colorado. Mrs. Chu has spent the last 8 years of her career dedicated to growing her private practice, which is now includes a state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary therapy practice nestled on 3.5 acres in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and a satellite location in Davis. Mrs. Chu has also serves as a Private Practice Consultant, supporting other growing therapy practices. As the director of Growing Healthy Children, Mrs. Chu has supported many families from around the world and mentored therapists across California. Over the years, Mrs. Chu has taught workshops to parents, teachers, and therapists and has guest-lectured at universities. She is currently on the faculty for the SPD Foundation. She helped standardize the Miller Functional and Participation Scales, the GOAL assessment, and is now working on the SP3D.  Mrs. Chu also serves as a consultant for research teams at UCSF and Stanford. Mrs. Chu recently published a set of 10 Sensory Motor Activity Books to support families and therapists around the world. She also developed “The Gardening Game: A Learn and Grow Kit for OT” in order to encourage motor development and social skills.

Lucy MillerLucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR/L
Founder, STAR Institute

Dr. Miller brings a wealth of research and treatment experience to share with participants, having authored more than 75 articles and two books about SPD and sensory issues. Her nine norm-referenced scales include: Miller Assessment for Preschoolers, Japanese Miller Assessment for Preschoolers, First STEP, Primer Paso, Toddler and Infant Motor Evaluation, Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised, Stoelting-Brief Intelligence Scale, Short Sensory Profile, and Miller Function and Participation scale, the Goal-Oriented Assessment of Life-Skills and the Sensory Processing Three Dimensions (SP-3D). She has received the Award of Merit, the highest award given by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, and the Martin Luther King Jr., Humanitarian Award by the State of Colorado.

Mim OchsenbeinMim Ochsenbein, MSW, OTR/L
Director of Education & Occupational Therapist, STAR Institute for SPD
Mim Ochsenbein, MSW, OTR/L has been a practicing pediatric occupational therapist for over 20 years. She received advanced training in sensory integration (SIPT certification), listening therapy (Therapeutic Listening), feeding therapy (SOS) and infant massage (CIMI). Mim’s work with children and youth has occurred in a variety of settings including early intervention, school based, clinic based, mental health and private practice. She received her MSW in 2012 with an emphasis in non-profit management. Mim’s work as a social worker has included case management, program development, and program management. She has taught both graduate level and professional continuing education courses since 2013. 

Michele PerkinsMichele Parkins, MS, OTR
Michele is an occupational therapist, specializing in working with children with sensory processing disorder and autism. She currently works with children and families at her private practice – Great Kids Place - in Rockaway, New Jersey. Prior to this she worked in schools for ten years infusing sensory integration, visual spatial, and DIR goals throughout daily activities and curriculum. Michele has been using, learning, and teaching the DIR model for over ten years. She is faculty of both Profectum Academy and the Sensory Treatment and Research Institute. Michele is DIR and SIPT certified with advanced training in visual spatial capacities. She co-developed a unique handwriting program – Connect Experience Write® – that highlights the importance of affective engagement in learning as well as sensory integration using music and movement to teach letter formation and pre-writing skills. Michele is passionate about working with families and other therapists and she continues to do so as a clinician and educator. 

Lisa PorterLisa Porter, MOT, OTR/L
Lisa graduated from Rockhurst University in 1994 with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She is a fellow of STAR Institute, traveling to Denver from Portland 2-3 times each year to mentor experienced therapists. Lisa is currently working on her PhD in Pediatric Science at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She is passionate about sharing what she learns and constantly improving services at her pediatric therapy clinic, Sensory KIDS. Lisa specializes in sensory and relationship-based therapy, and has advanced training in Stanley Greenspan’s DIR/Floortime model. She is trained in the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT), the SOS Feeding Approach, and is an advanced Integrated Listening Systems practitioner. Lisa is passionate about building relationships with her clients & families, as well as treating children from a developmental frame of reference. She is thrilled to be creating a team that specializes in sensory challenges, and recognizes how they impact the function of children and families.

Sarah SchoenSarah A. Schoen, PhD, OTR/L
Director of Research, STAR Institute
Dr. Schoen is an occupational therapist with 30 years of clinical experience and a doctorate in occupational therapy from New York University (2001). She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship awarded by the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry, working with Dr. Lucy Jane Miller. During her fellowship, she was awarded the Developmental Psychology Endowment Grant from the William T Grant foundation to study the Sensory Processing Scales, which she is co-developing and researching with Dr. Miller. Dr. Schoen is currently an Associate Professor at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and has served on multiple doctoral committees.  She also co-developed and teaches the monthly Advanced Mentorship trainings at STAR Institute. She is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment and has advanced training in Sensory Integration Therapy, Therapeutic Listening, and assistive technology. Dr. Schoen received the Recognition of Achievement Award from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 1997 and the Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation in 2011.

Virginia SpielmannVirginia Spielmann
Associate Director, STAR Institute

Virginia is a well-travelled speaker, coach and educator on topics including sensory integration, DIR/FloortimeTM, child development and infant mental health. She has conducted trainings in Kenya, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the USA and leads workshops at international conferences.

Virginia is a founder and former Clinical Director of SPOT (Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy) Interdisciplinary Children's Therapy Center in Hong Kong, where she led a large and widely respected inter-disciplinary team.

Virginia obtained her BSc in Occupational Therapy in Oxford England (2002), and is a registered Occupational Therapist in Hong Kong. She is part of the Interdisciplinary Council for Development and Learning (ICDL) and has earned a position as a Training Leader and Expert DIR/Floortime provider and parent coach. Her extensive pediatric experience includes children on the autism spectrum, as well as those with Sensory Processing Disorder, infant mental health issues, children from adopted families and those who have experienced developmental trauma.

Virginia has considerable post-graduate training, she is certified on the SIPT and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development with an emphasis on mental health, with Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara. She is also attending Mount Mary University to receive her MS in OT, which will make her eligible for the US Occupational Therapy registration exam. Upon receiving her national certification Virginia will become licensed in Colorado.

Colleen WhitingColleen Cameron Whiting, MS, OTR/L
Colleen has been a practicing school-based occupational therapist since receiving her Master’s Degree from Boston University in 2000.  Her expertise lies in the combination of remedial and compensatory supports for children with sensory processing and regulation issues.  Colleen is passionate about the integration of sensory and relational supports for children. As a clinician, she prides herself on being grounded in engagement with a focus on fun and the goal of improving the quality of life for her students. Colleen has a special interest in working with children who have experienced trauma. She has published two articles in research journals regarding trauma and the role of the school-based occupational therapist. She is SIPT and DIR/Floortime certified as well as trained in the use of Integrated Listening Systems. Colleen is a member of the AOTA School Mental Health workgroup and has led multiple professional development trainings on sensory processing for occupational therapists, parents and educators.


Our Onsite Level 1 Mentorship Faculty