Our Staff

Brittany Smith, MOT, OTR

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 Brittany is a registered occupational therapist with a Master's degree in occupational therapy. She has been an occupational therapist for 17 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University in 2000. She received her Master's degree in occupational therapy from Texas Woman's University in the Houston Medical Center in 2003. She has extensive experience with sensory integration, neurodevelopmental treatment, DIR/Floortime Approach, feeding therapy, strength, balance and coordination training, multisensory handwriting, concussion rehabilitation and yoga for children. She is passionate about empowering her patients and their families to reach their highest potential. She is devoted to bringing joy to the lives of her patients and their families.

Yazmin Ramos, Child Development Specialist

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Yazmin Ramos has lead Empower's School Program for 3 years. She began her studies at Houston Community College (2000) and Texas A&M University (2001). In 2009 she received her CDA credential through Child Development Council for Professional Recognition. Her 15 years of previous professional experience were acquired in a center based Early Childhood Education Program as a lead teacher. Yazmin led a teacher mentoring program at one of the most reputable and prestigious schools in the Spring Branch/Memorial area. As well as teaching, Yazmin served on the TUMC school board as a teacher representative and is a current member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She is CPR trained and First Aid certified with the American Red Cross. She specialized in writing a rich curriculum focusing on early literacy/math/social and emotional development/creative art/social studies/STEM/Character Building/Handwriting without Tears. Her multi-sensory teaching approach allows for each child to be supported in their individual learning style. Yazmin also assists in regulating social skills groups and handwriting classes offered at Empower. She is passionate about providing a rich and learning environment that implements an individual program tailored to each child’s educational need. When Yazmin isn’t pouring her love of teaching into the classroom she devotes her time to her two teenage children. Her daughter Arianna  and son Eduardo enjoy sports and are very active in the community through Student Council, Honor Society and church volunteer programs. Yazmin is very proud of her children and is thrilled to help each child at Empower reach their greatest learning potential while giving the needed support for successful school year.

Brooke Paulsen, COTA/L

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 Ms. Brooke graduated from Texas Tech University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and then, in August 2017 she graduated from Keiser University with her Associates of Science as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. She completed both fieldwork rotations in pediatric outpatient clinics which solidified her passion for working in the pediatric field. Since graduation Brooke has built her career in a variety of pediatric settings including an outpatient facility providing multi-disciplinary treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) working alongside ABA and speech therapist; her experience with children on a multi-spectrum of sensory and behavioral personalities allowed her to become a well-rounded clinician. Brooke enjoys working with a diverse pediatric population but, children with Autism have a special place in her heart. Brooke is dedicated to maximizing patients’ potential through expanding her skills and knowledge by completing continuing education courses yearly and working alongside a team with her mentor Brittany Smith, MOT/OTR. One of Brookes’ goals is to further her career in sensory processing hopefully, one day half as good as Ms. Brittany Smith! Brooke loves being her patients’ cheerleader, coach, and advocate using her bubbly, creative, and energetic personality! Every day she is grateful for the ability to be a piece of the puzzle in each life she touches and seeing their progression. In Brooke’s free time she enjoys spending time with her family, dogs, traveling anywhere- mostly being a bridesmaid in close friends’ weddings, and rooting on her alma-mater Texas Tech Red Raiders! 

Natalie Manteca, COTA/L

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 Natalie Manteca is a bilingual Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA) who received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in Kinesiology in May of 2016. Most recently she has obtained her associate’s degree in applied science from Pima Medical Institute. Throughout her journey to becoming a pediatric COTA she has spent time volunteering and fundraising for a variety of organizations such as, the Special Olympics, Healthbridge Children’s Hospital, and the Down Syndrome Association of Houston. Natalie is a passionate, reliable, well trained young professional with 4 years medically based customer service know-how and 3 years’ healthcare experience including rehabilitation services. She cannot wait to further her knowledge and skill-set with sensory integration and processing. Natalie’s main focus is to meet the specific needs of our families and children to facilitate their success in every aspect of their lives! Natalie is thrilled to be a member of Empower Pediatric Therapy team and continue to pursue her passion of working with children! In her free time Natalie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing soccer, exercising, and traveling! 

Jamie West, MS,CCC-SLP

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 Jamie graduated from the University of Texas-Austin with a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2010 and from the University of Texas-Dallas with a MS in Communication Disorders in 2012. She has been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist for 7 years and has worked in a variety of pediatric settings. After starting her career in Dallas Independent School District, Jamie moved back home to Houston where she worked as a home-health SLP treating developmental delays, expressive and receptive language delays, articulation delays, and feeding disorders. Jamie went on to work in an ABA based clinic for children primarily diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, where she collaborated with ABA and OT to provide sensory and behavioral based interventions to support child’s development across all areas. Jamie enjoys continuing education and has completed courses in Picture Exchange Communication, Language Acquisition through Motor Planning, AAC systems, DIR/Floortime, using evidenced based practices to promote vocabulary and grammatical morpheme development, Kauffman Apraxia of Speech Training, and training in the SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Supports) model. Jamie enjoys the opportunity to work with a team of therapists and educators to find the most effective interventions to promote regulation, attention, learning, articulation, and language development. This spring, Jamie will complete training to become a Certified Academic Language/Dyslexia Practitioner to support children in their ability to access and comprehend literacy and spelling and thrive in the educational environment. This journey is very dear to her, as her husband has battled dyslexia throughout his life. In her free time, you can find Jamie at the gym or out on the family’s farm learning to drive a tractor! 

Jessie Saladino, B.S., SLPA Office Manager/Patient Relations

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 Jessie graduated from Texas Tech University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in speech-language and hearing sciences. Since graduation she has built her career in a variety of professional settings such as, multi-disciplinary outpatient clinic, home healthcare, and behavioral mental health clinic as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPA). Her favorite part of being a therapist was making those personal connections with patients and their families, advocating for the most beneficial services, and seeing their personalities bloom through therapy intervention. Jessie has maintained her license through taking continuing education course related to creating highly engaged teams, ethics, HIPPA regulations, and documenting medical necessity which she is so excited to utilize those skills in her new role at Empower!  

In Jessie’s free time she enjoys volunteering for various special needs organizations, fundraising for non-profits, being outdoors, and hanging out with her cats!