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Meet our Training Faculty

"The presenters were very knowledgeable. They were organized and presented an enormous amount of information. I found the series very informative and useful"
-Diane Steinberg, P.S.21Q

Erika Averso, M.S., TSHH, Coordinator of Home ABA Services, Special Education Teacher, VCLC. Ms. Averso has been working with children with special needs, including ASD, since 1999. Ms. Averso has a Bachelors Degree in Communication Disorders and a Masters Degree in Childhood Education and Special Education, and has completed graduate course work in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through Stony Brook University. She presents on the understanding and use of Applied Behavior Analysis, and Verbal Behavior, for VCLC's Professional Development Seminars. She has been at VCLC since 2005.


Jacqueline Blatt, L.C.S.W., Licensed Clinical Social Worker, VCLC Masters of Social Work, Adelphi University. Ms. Blatt has been working with children and adults with developmental delays since 1977. Her responsibilities at VCLC include providing support and counseling to families, individually and in groups, coordinating VCLC’s Vacation Program and providing homebound Related Services to families of children from Early Intervention through school-age. Ms. Blatt presents on topics related to working with families and practice issues, to professionals, on- and off-site. Ms. Blatt has been at VCLC since 2003.


Melissa Goldberg, L.C.S.W., Licensed Social Worker, VCLC
Masters of Social Work, Fordham University. Mrs. Goldberg has been working with developmentally delayed, behaviorally and emotionally challenged children for the past 25 years. Her responsibilities at VCLC include providing support and counseling to pre-school families individually and in groups, team leading classes, coordinating Sibling Day and providing homebound E.I. services to families. She co-presents topics related to working with families. These presentations are offered to VCLC staff, outside professionals, as well as being offered off-site to Nursery Schools and Daycare programs. Mrs. Goldberg has been at VCLC since 2001.


Terrie Ludwig Hoppe, M.S., OTR/L, Supervisor, Occupational Therapy Department, VCLC
MS, Occupational Therapy, SUNY Health Science Center.
Ms. Hoppe supervises VCLC's Occupational Therapy Department, and is involved with program and staff development. She provides evaluations as well as center and home based OT services for VCLC children from early intervention through Kindergarten age. She is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who joined the VCLC staff in 2002.



Lenore Kahne, M.S., CCC/SLP, Senior Speech/Language Pathologist, VCLC
MS in Speech Pathology, Adelphi University
Ms. Kahne's provides homebound Early Intervention services/evaluations as well as speech/language therapy/evaluations for pre-school and school aged children. She presents on various topics in speech/language development to professionals and parents in Variety's lecture series. Ms. Kahne has been at VCLC since 1990.




Stacey Ratner, M.S., BCBA , Principal, VCLC
BS , Sociology; Master degree in Special Education; Certificate in Advanced Studies in Applied Behavior Analysis
Ms.Ratner is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at Adelphi University. She conducts lectures, and trains parents and professionals in the classroom and home settings, on many topics including creating a therapeutic environment, learning styles, play skills, and understanding and applying the science of applied behavior analysis. She has worked professionally with individuals with special needs since1986, and been at VCLC since 2000.



Fern Sandler, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
BA, SUNY Binghamton; M.A., Psychology, New School for Social Research; Ph.D. in School Psychology, Fordham University.

Dr. Sandler has been working with developmentally delayed and behaviorally challenged children, ages birth to five, and provides support and strategies for families at Variety Child Learning Center since 2003, and been providing training and counseling for families for over 20 years.

Trained to administer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), she evaluates young children to determine if they are on the PDD/Autism spectrum. She also provides comprehensive developmental evaluations, IQ testing, and family training. Dr. Sandler co-presents “Making the Diagnosis” annually at VCLC's Summer Autism Institute. Dr. Sandler trained at Sloan Kettering Hospital, assisting families of pediatric cancer patients, and at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in the department of developmental pediatrics, where she began her career in Early Intervention.




Judi Zipkin, LMSW, Supervisor, Early Intervention Program, VCLC
Masters of Social Work, Adelphi University
Ms. Zipkin works with both Nassau and Suffolk County families and their infants and toddlers, as well as with the department of Health staff who coordinate the Early Intervention (EI) county programs. Her duties at VCLC include supervising and team leading the center-based EI class, overseeing the home based evaluation and therapy programs and the Saturday morning Parent/Child Program, providing group and individual social work services and Ongoing Service Coordination. Judi Zipkin joined the staff at Variety in 1988 as part of the Nassau County Regional Planning Group, a statewide Department of Health grant to plan the Early Intervention Program. She continued at Variety working with current and alumni parents, setting up the children’s and parent’s libraries, and coordinating special activities. Ms. Zipkin has been the Supervisor of the EI program at Variety since 2000.



Andie Zukerman, M.A., M.S., Evaluation Coordinator, VCLC
Ms. Zukerman has served as Coordinator of VCLC’s Evaluation Site, for more than a decade. She provides assessments of children, meets with families and serves school districts throughout Nassau and Suffolk County as well as oversees the program. She has served for over seven years as a Social Skills Leader in VCLC’s Saturday Program and for two years, taught Social Skills for the Jericho School District in their Cultural Arts Program. She is a Seminar Leader for VCLC in their fall and spring series as well as off-site for nursery school and day care programs. Ms. Zuckerman began as an assistant teacher at VCLC, and then became a classroom teacher. She taught both pre-school and kindergarten classes at VCLC for several years. Ms. Zuckerman joined VCLC's staff in 1979.


Copyright © 2003-2007   Variety Child Learning Center

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