Teachers & Therapists

Lorell founded L.E.E.P. Forward when she saw a gap in the services for children with special needs aged 3-5 once they aged out of early intervention. Lorell deeply believes in the potential of every child and focuses on the relationship model to support the children, families and therapists of LEEP Forward. Her eclectic approach holds DIR® (Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship-Based Therapy) at the center of the program and prioritizes a team approach. She received her Masters of Science in Teaching from Pace University, Manhattan, N.Y and her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Richard Stockton State College, N.J. and Special Education certification through Felician College, NJ. Also, she has been credentialed as a Developmental Therapist in Illinois.

In addition to formal education Lorell continues to educate herself on best-practices in order to provide a dynamic and therapeutic program to both her clients and staff.

Credentials include the following:

* Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship-Based Therapy (DIR® /Floortime)/Level 3 Certificate Candidate * Certification through Profectum as a Developmental Therapist * Child Developmental Specialist/ Early Intervention * Relationship Developmental Intervention (RDI®) Consultant * Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) * TEACCH * SCERTS * Sensory Integration Praxis Training (SIPT) * Affect Based Language Curriculum (ABLC) * Certified Music Together Teacher

Lorell is a member of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL)

Christine Chirchirillo

Christine currently holds a position at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, she relies on her education and experience in informal learning institutions to provide on and off-site programming related to science and nature. Prior to joining the education department at the museum, she worked at John G. Shedd Aquarium (2006-2010) as an educator sharing her knowledge in biological science, aquatic systems and animals. She contributed to research that explored creating emotional connections during educational programming and co-developed an early childhood educational program and interactive exhibitry for the "Polar Play Zone". Christine also worked as a lead teacher and classroom assistant at Fowler House, Purdue Child Care Program in West Lafayette, Indiana (2003-2005).


Christine received a M.A. in Conservation Education Management from George Mason University (2012) and a B.A. in Family Services from Purdue University (2005). Christine also coaches middle school and adult rowing classes at Lincoln Park Juniors and in her spare time enjoys SCUBA Diving, running, and baking LOTS of cookies to keep her energy up. Christine believes everyone should have access to high quality, hands-on science instruction and is so pleased to continue her relationship with the early childhood community through her work with the L.E.E.P. Beyond Foundation.

Katia Mazuy

Yoga empowers us to be our own alchemist, to live and be well, to listen to our heart and connect to what wholesomeness means on all levels, for each of us, at different stages of our lives. As a yoga teacher, Katia Mazuy is dedicated to serve the health and wondrous growth of that connection for all her students.


Katia Mazuy discovered yoga in 2001 with Paul Weitz, Co-Founder of the Chicago Thai School of Massage and never looked back. Her practice started as a special, most joyful place on the mat but inevitably, went off the mat, with a desire to share the lifetime tools of yoga with children. In 2005 she attended Yoga for the Special Child, earned her 200 hour Yoga Alliance Hatha yoga certification in 2006 and has been teaching children and adults in the Chicago land ever since.


Her experience spans ages 5 and up, in private schools, yoga studios, summer camps for children with social and emotional challenges, at her own former private space (La Vie En Rose Yoga), in foster family centers and in therapeutic student-centered learning communities. Whether working with high functioning children with special needs, children at risk suffering from the trauma of past abuse, buoyant girls and boys or children affected by anxiety, she adapts the techniques of yoga to bring a playful, safe experience for children to connect with their
potential, to engage with one another and feel good about themselves no matter what. Children Yoga Teacher at the 200-hour level, Certified Sensational Child Meditation Facilitator, Radiant Child Yoga Teacher and Zen Shiatsu Certified Practitioner, Katia loves to work with parents and children who face unique challenges or the normal stressors of childhood and young adulthood. She is very grateful to join the team of Leep Forward practitioners and to bring yoga to the children of Leep Forward and their parents in 2013!

Benjamin Crabtree

Ben is a Voice Artist, singer, songwriter, teacher, guitarist and certified Developmental Therapist. He has been teaching and performing music for children in Chicago for over ten years at places such as LEEP Forward, The Old Town School of Folk Music, Music Together and The Latin School of Chicago. A graduate of Erikson Institute in Child Development, Ben endeavors to improve condition for children and family through music and the creative arts.

Julie Ludwick, ATR, LCPC

Julie graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago May 2007 with her Masters of Arts in art therapy degree. Previous, she earned her Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University May 2005. She is a registered art therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor in Illinois. In addition to making art that reflects her life journey she currently works with children, adolescents, and young adults living with special needs including developmental delays, autism spectrum, emotional challenges, physical limitations. Through her work she aids her clients in understanding how they can use art to help themselves through expression, communication, and regulation. She is excited to use her skills to benefit the children and families Leep Beyond services.

Tommy Mock

Tommy is a proud Chicagoan and loves everything that the city has to offer. Although he has traveled the United States for All-Star cheerleading and competitive gymnastics he knew he would come back to Chicago for school.  Tommy attended the University of Illinois-Chicago and Harrington College of Design.

Tommy grew up in a very large family and has always worked with children. He has been coaching competitive cheerleading as well as gymnastics for over 11 years. During that time he also taught pre-school gymnastics and worked at a special needs K-8th grade therapeutic day school.

When Tommy is not working, he's in the kitchen cooking. Tommy has a great passion for cooking and loves trying to recipes. He also enjoys running along the lake path and is always training for his next big race. If that isn't enough Tommy also has his own freelance Choreography business that provides innovative choreography for competitive cheer and dance programs nationwide.