Pam Keaty comes to Step Forward Therapy with many years of teaching experience.  She graduated from Illinois State University with a major in psychology and a minor in child development.  After teaching preschool for 7 years, she went back to school and obtained her Master of Teaching in Special Education from National Louis University.  Pam spent the next 15 years in the public school working with kindergarten through sixth grade students with special needs. 

         Pam lives in Huntley with her husband, Bob, their 5 children: Ben (13), Alyssa (10), Matt (9), Sean (7) and Danny (5), and a host of pets. She enjoys watching a good game of little league, wood working and a clean pile of folded laundry.  Pam’s child centered approach to learning and exploring will be a great match at Step Forward Therapy.   

Kristin Mintjal, MHS, CCC-SLP/L

Licensed and Certified Speech-Language Pathologist

Kristin Mintjal has been practicing as a licensed Speech and Language Pathologist since 2008.  She has experience working mainly in the school setting (elementary and middle-school aged children), but most recently in a private setting.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders at Marquette University and received her Master of Science from Marquette University.  She is a certified member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed in the state of Illinois.  Kristin has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of children with various communication disorders, specifically articulation, phonology, receptive and expressive language, social language/pragmatics and fluency disorders.  Kristin is a passionate and hard working therapist who enjoys helping and connecting with children and their families.  In her free time, Kristin likes to spend time with her husband and 1 year old daughter Mia.

Jillian received her undergraduate degree in Health and Human Physiology from the University of Iowa in 2013 and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from Rush University in 2015. She has been a full-time occupational therapist in the public schools since then. Jillian takes the initiative to be creative in her approach to therapy and has furthered her learning by attending seminars focused on sensory integration and handwriting. Jillian has a strong interest in mental health. She received the Excellence in Mental Health award from Rush University and has experience working in a therapeutic day school and inpatient child psychiatry. Currently, Jillian volunteers with Connect to Community, an organization committed to finding and facilitating employment for adults with special needs. In her free time, Jillian enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing with her dog, and baking.

Becky's interest in Occupational Therapy and working with children has been prevalent since a young age. Becky received her undergraduate degree in Occupational Science and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Saint Louis University in 2016. She joined Step Forward Therapy after completing her studies, which included a Level II fieldwork placement at Step Forward Therapy.  Becky has school based experience as well as clinic. Becky has furthered her learning by attending workshops and seminars for ILS (integrated listening system) and King of Swings. In her free time, Becky enjoys spending time at the lake with family and friends, exploring restaurants in Chicago, and playing with her niece.

Jillian Kazmierczak, M.S., OTR/L

Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist

Rebecca Norris, M.S., OTR/L
Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist

Jenny received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in Biological Sciences, and received her Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011.  Jenny has experience working at a therapeutic day school for students and adults with autism diagnoses serving many Chicago area school districts.  Jenny has a strong background working with a collaborative team consisting of BCBAs, Social Workers, Speech Pathologists and other academic specialists to support the success of children in multiple settings.  Jenny has a strong interest in sensory integration, sensory-based feeding concerns, and vision.  In addition to being a therapist, Jenny is a mother to a young, active toddler.  In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities with her family including camping, gardening, and winter sports.

Jenny Kochan, M.S., OTR/L

Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist

Pam Keaty

Certified Teacher

Meribeth Cassidy, M.S., OTR/L

Licensed and Certified Occupational Therapist

Owner and founder of Step Forward Therapy Inc., Meribeth Cassidy is passionate and dedicated to helping children succeed.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Movement Science, and she received her Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Throughout her career, Meribeth has worked in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and private practice.  Meribeth specializes in the assessment and treatment of disorders affecting a child’s ability to function in their daily lives.  Her expertise is with children ranging from early childhood through young adults with a variety of challenges including, but not limited to: autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, developmental delays, cerebral palsy (CP), sensory processing disorders, behavior and social issues and impulsivity. Meribeth also has knowledge of Neuro Developmental Training (NDT) through course work. Meribeth is fluent in American Sign Language, which she utilizes in therapy sessions with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as with children who benefit from multi-sensory instruction.


​Meribeth co-authored an article in collaboration with Susan Cahill and Carrie Holt, entitled “Collaborating with Teachers to Support Student Achievement Through Early Intervening Services", which was published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention. While working in the schools, Meribeth was honored with the position of Department Chair for the Occupational Therapy department. Within this role, she was responsible for scheduling, training and providing mentorship across the department. She continues to be involved in mentoring programs for occupational therapists through the University of Illinois at Chicago.