Our Team

The Merlin Day Academy team works collaboratively to cultivate relationship-based, family-centered care to nurture and sustain clients’ self-efficacy skills to become active, successful participants in their community. Our interdisciplinary team members include:

  • Therapy Case Managers (TCM)

    • Learning Behavioral Specialist 1
      (Special Education and Therapeutic Teachers)
    • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists

  • Physical Therapists

  • Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Board Certified Behavior Analysts

  • Registered Behavior Technicians

  • Neuropsychologists

  • Concierge Administrators

Our Directors

Dr. Laura Mraz, OTD, OTR/L
Executive Director, Occupational Therapist

“I discovered the field of Occupational Therapy when teaching English in China in 2003. While a preschool teacher in Shanghai, I was fortunate to work with a young child with autism and his occupational therapist. The experience changed my life and after returning back to USA, I was determined to become a successful occupational therapist and make an impact on young children’s lives. It’s been an amazing journey since the moment I knew my calling and I couldn’t be happier that I not only listened but have accomplished exactly what I am meant to do.”

Clinic Director, Social Worker

“I was inspired to pursue a career in social work by a former MSW supervisor I had while employed at a residential school for children and adolescents during undergrad. Her combination of clinical expertise and advocacy for the families served as a pillar for the agency’s treatment team, and I found myself attempting to emulate her approach in my work. Throughout my last 12 years in the social services field, I have continued to be inspired by the talent, passions, and determination demonstrated by both my peers and the children, adults, and families I worked with.”

Our Teachers

Susan S, M.Ed Leadership, LBS1
Department Head of Education

“I’m excited that my journey within education continues to grow and evolve! This is my 16th year in education. Since 2014, I shifted from general education to supporting students with diverse needs as a special education teacher. I’ve always been drawn and inspired by teaching due to the opportunities it provides me to motivate, educate, learn from, and advocate for students! It’s about the seemingly small moments in which students get something or feel understood that continues to drive me within the field. I look forward to collaborating with the interdisciplinary team in order to support student academic and social / emotional growth!”

Mikhaella M
Special Education Teacher

“Helping others is something that I care about deeply. I’m excited to join this team in supporting young minds in an equitable learning environment. I want to continue my education and training in clinical work to more effectively help others reach their personal mental/behavioral goals.”

Mimi K, Ed.S., LBS1
School Case Manager

“As an educator and a mom, advocacy along with activism in education are my passions. Every child has the right to live their best life and opportunity to reach their goals. I am working on my coursework to earn a Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with a major in Disabilities and Equity. I’m happy to be a part of Merlin Day Academy where clients and their families are supported as they continue through their educational journeys.”

Mya A

“My original plan was to graduate from a 7-year M.D./PhD program and change the world with my friend on the Human Genome Project. While reviewing some study notes, I found myself frustrated that the content wasn’t presented in a user-friendly way. At that moment, I realized I wanted to explore the world and all its ideas as a teacher/mentor/learner.”

Alex N, BA, PEL, LBS1
Special Education Teacher

“Since I was young I knew I wanted to become a teacher. In my elementary and high school career, I found myself becoming friends and wanting to support students within the special education programs. In school, I would volunteer in special education rooms during my free time. After school, I would work with Gen Ed students in my park district’s after school and summer programs. I love being around kids and the energy and individuality they each bring.”

Caitlin S
Special Education Teacher

“Creating genuine connections with every student and nurturing a deep-rooted enthusiasm for lifelong learning is my life’s passion. With a background in Elementary Education spanning diverse communities from Iowa to Uganda to Chicago, I’ve embraced a global perspective on fostering academic growth and emotional well-being. The ethos of Merlin Day Academy, with its inclusive multidisciplinary approach and nurturing environment tailored for students with special needs, resonates deeply with my values. I am committed to fostering an atmosphere of trust, respect, and compassion where every student feels valued and empowered to reach their fullest potential.”

Our Aides

Bobbie H
Special Education Aide

“I have my paraprofessional certification and I would like to learn more and experience more and grow within this field. My professional goals are to become a teacher and to move up to a behavior tech.”

Belen H
Special Education Aide

“I visited a school for special needs kids in 1st grade and from then I always knew I wanted to work in this field. My professional goals is to help children achieve their full potential.”

Our Therapeutic Assistants

Danitza B
Lead Therapeutic Assistant

“I did not choose this career, this career chose me. I was initially going to school for Music Performance at UIC, but there was something missing. By chance I was able to join sister company Blue Bird Day and their fantastic teams. I saw the amazing work they accomplished, day in and day out. It inspired me to change my career path.”

Alejandro V
Lead Therapeutic Assistant

“I had the opportunity to teach/substitute/coach at St. Stanislaus Kostka Academy and Rowe-Clark M&S Academy. I have dedicated myself to making an impact inside and outside the classroom in order to shape students into great individuals. I decided to join Merlin Day Academy solely to change students lives by supporting them and guiding them to the right path.”

Jose N
Therapeutic Assistant

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field and previously worked as a medical assistant at an orthopedic clinic. I enjoy working with young people and learning about human development, and I want to gain more diverse clinical experiences as a therapeutic assistant. I was drawn to Eyas Landing because of their multidisciplinary approach and positive stories I’d heard about Merlin Day Academy!”

Adrian V
Therapeutic Assistant

“I always had an interest in medical professions and going to physical therapy myself began my introduction to therapy. At my high school, I realized the support for special education students was insufficient and is a large contrast from what I have seen at Merlin Day Academy. It is a unique opportunity where children are able to have an environment that fosters their development and I look forward to being a part of it.”

Cameron G
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have always wanted to help people and try and make a differences in people’s lives. I think therapy is very important and the stigma around it should be minimalized as I believe therapy can help everyone.”

Melea B
Therapeutic Assistant

“I decided to become a therapeutic assistant because I wanted to gain experience that can help me long term in my field. Although I graduated with a degree in Neuroscience, I also minored in Psychology. The two are interconnected and I’ve studied and learned so much about neuro-divergence. Here, I can continue to learn while also making an impact on the lives of the children which is what’s most important for me.”

Colleen R
Therapeutic Assistant

“As a kid, my development was bolstered through the services provided to myself and my family. I have always been deeply passionate about helping others and understanding the human mind. I have many interests in the social sciences, and I am able to use these different experiences and theories to create a more holistic understanding of wellness and equity.”

Monaye D
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have worked with kids for 5+ years. I have watched my mother work with kids on the spectrum when I was a kid and find that working with kids isn’t just work, it’s fun, and I take a joy in helping kids and teaching them.”

Anthony B
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have multiple siblings who are on the spectrum. I was younger with an older cousin and the way he did things always interested me cause he always was different from us, but as I got older I had younger siblings who where higher on the spectrum and I love them so much that I wanted to be there and learn him more so over three years I stayed with him and his mom just helping him to try and talk and be able to move in our world knowing he’s different from everybody.”

Adam P
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have always wanted to figure out the why to the issues in our society, which is why I decided to take on an academic career in psychology. I believe this opportunity will grant me one step closer to my overall goals in life.”

Vanna H
Therapeutic Assistant

“I have my Bachelors of Science in Managerial Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. My professional goal is to work in Social Service.”

Kimberly F
Therapeutic Assistant

“I’ve been a member of the Merlin Day Academy therapeutic assistant team since Fall 2023!”

Mariana O
Therapeutic Assistant