founder & executive director
As Founder and Executive Director of Giant Leaps, Tammy oversees all aspects of center operations, ranging from staffing and professional development to managing contracts with Committees on Preschool Special Education and school districts. Certified in Sensory Integration, Tammy also evaluates, treats, and consults with parents, teachers, and other service providers. She is sought after by community groups, schools, universities, and professional organizations as an expert speaker on sensory integration, fine motor development, and adapting the classroom for children with special needs. Over her twenty eight years of practice as an OT, Tammy has worked and played with children, teens and young adults with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. She especially enjoys choosing games, creating crafts and designing activities that are relevant to the child’s interests with whom she is working and subsequently match those tasks to the child’s skill level yet challenging enough to foster the individual’s growth.
Tammy served as county representative to the New York State Occupational Therapy Association from 2006 to 2010. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2019, she led the Giant Leaps team to be the Walk Now for Autism Speaks Top Service Team. Additionally she won the Autism Speaks Silver and Crystal Awards in 2009 and 2010. In 2015, she was presented the Parents United Learning the Special Education System (PULSES) of the Mid-Hudson Valley NY Outstanding Service Award.
A native of Dalton, Georgia, Tammy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of the South and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University.
Tammy likes to cycle, create floral designs, bird watch, sail, play with her two dogs, and travel. Currently, she is learning to quilt.
Alexis M. Lussier, M.S. OTR/L: Clinical Director
Alexis is the Clinical Director at Giant Leaps!
Alexis graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Mercy College. Before joining the Giant Leaps family, Alexis has worked as a school therapist serving medically complex individuals ranging from ages two to 21 years old. She has experience working with children with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and more. Alexis also worked in the Intensive Upper Extremity Summer Program at Blythedale Children’s hospital with children with hemiplegia or hemiparesis. This program combined concepts of Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) as well as Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy (HABIT).
Early on in her education, Alexis took a special interest in the area of executive function and has completed significant research in this area. She worked closely with Dr. Joan Toglia Ph.D, OTR/L, FAOTA, a pioneer in the field in the areas of cognition and executive function. In 2019, Alexis became published as lead author of Chapter 8: Weekly Calendar Planning Activity in a textbook: Functional Cognition for Occupational Therapy: A Practical Approach to Treating Individuals with Cognitive Loss. She is also the third author of Impaired Performance on a Cognitively-Based Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Task, the 10-Item Weekly Calendar Planning Activity, in Individuals With Stroke Undergoing Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation. Alexis has also presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference in New Orleans, La: Measuring Functional Cognition: Comparison of Adults With Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Healthy Controls on the Short Weekly Calendar Planning Activity. Alexis has also recently presented to the Clarkstown Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) on fostering executive functioning skills.
When she’s not working, Alexis loves being outdoors, spending time with her family, and traveling near and far!
Anthony A. Aguiar, M.S. OTR/L
Anthony graduated with a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Mercy College. Anthony began his occupational therapy career in the world of inpatient psychiatry moving from working with adults to pediatric patients soon after entering the field. This shift led him to pursue additional education, earning advanced graduate certificates in Early Childhood Development awarded from SUNY Purchase college, and another certificate in Children with Special Healthcare Needs awarded from New York Medical College.
Additionally, Anthony is a graduated LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) fellow through the Westchester Institute of Human Development (WIHD) where he worked with an interdisciplinary team from medical doctors and audiologists, to speech pathologists and geneticists, studying abnormal development among children, disparities within healthcare, and ways in which a team approach and incorperation of additional resources can improve outcomes for families as a whole.
Over the course of his professional career as an OT, he has worked in schools and private therapy clinics which specialize in working with individuals with behavioral and emotional disabilities, as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Especially vulnerable, many of those in his care have experienced significant traumas or abuses throughout their lives and subsequently present with marked delays in development.
Anthony loves wellness and movement in all its forms and on weekends can be found hiking, biking, or rock climbing.
Tammy is someone who is truly dedicated to her work. She has the ability to understand how to reach out and help your child all while keeping it fun and interesting for them. She really took the time to get to know my son and learn his interests to incorporate that into his therapies to make it tailored to him.
Tammy is versatile, and can easily vary the type of support/therapy needed based on how receptive a child is to what activity is offered. It was evident her knowledge of her field was vast. She is a very caring and empathetic person and those attributes shine like a ray of light through her work.
Tammy’s knowledge of her field and her ability to adapt interventions to meet the needs of the children she works with are exceptional.