Developmental and Behavioral Services, Mat-Su Valley, Alaska

Taniesh Amon, PsyD

Pediatric Neuropsychologist

My passion is to help families better understand their child. As a military spouse and a parent, I had the opportunity to travel and to learn how to quickly adapt to new situations. I certainly can understand how challenging it can be to embark on the unknown, especially when trying to understand the difficulties your child may face. I strongly believe that given the right tools and support, children can be successful.

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, and a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. I completed a formal predoctoral internship in neuropsychology at Mid Atlantic Consortium in Virginia and a formal two-year pediatric neuropsychology post-doctoral fellowship at Sutter Medical Foundation, Neurosciences Division in California. My extensive training met the rigorous Houston Conference Guidelines outlined by the American Psychological Association for training neuropsychologists. I am currently licensed as a temporary psychologist in the state of Alaska.

I have experience evaluating children ages 2- 18 years old withcomplex medical conditions such as childhood cancers, epilepsy, brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, genetic disorders, rare medical conditions, as well as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders and early developmental concerns. I’m excited to be part of the Ptarmigan Connections team and look forward to helping your family.

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Christine Samms, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

The ability to communicate is a personal right of all, no matter the age. Helping your child be the best communicator possible is a passion in my life. I get a thrill when I watch a child master and use a skill that had previously been difficult or may have seemed impossible. I like to celebrate all achievements with them and never grow tired of watching a child or teen realize they possess the skill within themselves to change their world.

I received a Bachelor’s in Arts in Secondary Education Spanish, but quickly realized that my love was Speech and Language. I completed my Masters of Arts in Communicative Disorders and Sciences from Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas. I worked in the Kansas public schools before moving to Alaska. I have received training in PECS, SOS Approach to Feeding, Proloqu2go and Social Thinking. I focus on making literacy a part of all sessions as literacy impacts every child’s life daily. I enjoy helping all children, tweens and teens with: Articulation, Fluency, Receptive and Expressive Language, Voice, Feeding including food aversions and picky eaters. I particularly enjoy tweens and teens.

Alisa Stevens, LPC, IMH-E(II)

Licensed Professional Counselor

My greatest goal is to help children grow up to be the best versions of themselves. They learn how to do that in the context of relationship with their caregivers. Because of this, I strive to provide compassionate care to both children and their families to support building secure attachments and strong relationships.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Alaska Anchorage in 2012 and a Master of Science in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University in 2016. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and am endorsed as an Infant Family Specialist at level II. I have experience facilitating individual therapy with ages 0-18, dyadic work with children and caregivers, family therapy, Child Parent Psychotherapy, Circle of Security Parenting, and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I enjoy working with families and children of all ages, and have a passion for serving early childhood.

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Abigail Parris M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

I absolutely love supporting children in their communication development, whether it’s articulation, language skills, or pragmatics. As a mother of four little ones, all with very different strengths and challenges, I get to see how strategies that work for one child may not work for another. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping a child share their joy, excitement, and frustration with others.

I had the pleasure of receiving Bachelor’s Degrees from Seattle Pacific University as well as the University of Washington before earning my Masters of Science in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. Over the past decade, I have worked with children from 1-18 years of age with a wide variety of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Articulation and Language delays, Fluency concerns, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Attention Deficit Disorder. I am trained in PROMPT, iLs, Social Thinking, SwallowWorks, DIR/Floortime, and have spent countless hours working with Occupational Therapists and their patients with Sensory Processing Disorder. I enjoy working with minimally verbal children and their families, using Augmentative and Alternative Communication methods to support their communication. I also love targeting social communication skills in a group setting with peers.

Ellen Kelsey, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

I believe one of the most important keys to a high quality of life is communication: expressing your own thoughts, being understood, and understanding others. I want your child to communicate to the best of his or her ability and love to celebrate each successful step in the journey.

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas. I have received training in PECS, PROMPT, SATPAC, Beckman Oral Motor protocol, and LAMP and enjoy working with children of all ages and difficulties, including: articulation, receptive/expressive/pragmatic (social) communication, feeding/swallowing, fluency, and voice. Much of my focus the past few years has involved feeding/swallowing, as well as guiding children that are minimally or nonverbal into the world of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

Ellen Kelsey, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist
Alaska's Center for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, Ptarmigan Connections, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Alaska

Elowyn M. Smith, DO

Pediatrician

Pediatrician Dr. Elowyn Smith, D.O. is happy to be part of the team at Ptarmigan Connections. Her expertise with children who experience complex medical, developmental, and behavioral health problems is an invaluable contribution to our community.

Amber Shea, PMHNP, RN

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Children bring us great joy, deep sorrow, and amaze us every day. Sometimes we wish they would never get hurt, always do what's right, and live an easy life full of pleasure. Thankfully, even though this is not what we are given, we can choose to help them achieve the healthiest life possible.

As a team member at Ptarmigan Connections, I help children and families by providing medication management, complimentary and alternative solutions, mental health education, validation and encouragement. My experience in the field spans more than 10 years. I have worked with very young children to very mature adults, and enjoy all ages and stages of development.

My education is through the University of Alaska's Nursing program where I earned a bachelor's and a master's in nursing science. I am a nationally certified Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and I have a state license for both Registered Nurse and Advance Nurse Practitioner.

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Erika L. Stannard, PsyD

Pediatric Neuropsychologist

My great passion is connecting children and families to healing resources. When a child is not developing as expected, it is common to feel overwhelmed. I help by providing early identification of developmental and behavioral disorders, educating parents and professionals about treatment strategies, and collaborating with a child’s wellness team for ongoing care.

My educational background includes a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Rochester, as well as a master of science degree in counseling psychology and a doctor of psychology degree from Alaska Pacific University. Additionally, I have a certificate in Primary Care Behavioral Health from the University of Massachusetts and a postdoctoral certificate in neuropsychology from Fielding Graduate University. I am a licensed psychologist, chemical dependency clinical supervisor, and supervisor for licensed professional counselors in the state of Alaska.

Heather Lee, MS, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

The greatest thing about us all is our potential, that capacity or ability to develop into something in the future. As a counselor, mother, coach, mentor and community member, my greatest interest is in helping people to meet their potential. Removing barriers, developing skills, gaining insight, healing trauma, and gathering support are all pathways to helping an individual live as fully as possible. I am excited to be working with Ptarmigan Connections to foster the potential in all our clients.

I received my BA in Human Biology from Brown University in 1991. I went on to graduate from Alaska Pacific University with a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology in 1996. I am a licensed professional counselor with experience working in substance abuse treatment, marriage and family therapy, as well as group and individual therapy. I have specialized training in EMDR, psychodrama, equine and reiki therapies, as well as being an MBTI certified practitioner. While I have practiced therapy across the age continuum, I am especially drawn to working with middle school age kids and their families.

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Heidi Walter, CSP

Board Certified Psychometrist

Originally from Michigan, I have lived in Alaska since 2008 and have been a team member with Ptarmigan since 2012 starting with Ptarmigan Pediatrics and growing with Connections.

I have a passion for children and helping them to reach their potential as they navigate and grow through life’s many situations. As a parent, I believe our role is to provide encouragement, support, and access to activities that enable children to master key developmental tasks; and I strive to also incorporate this belief into my daily work.

My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences with a concentration in pre-health professions and a minor in psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. I work with Ptarmigan’s psychologists as a Neuropsychological Technician.

In my spare time you’ll find me with my family and enjoying all of Alaska’s amazing outdoor activities.

Bobbi Kousoulos

Office Administrator

I believe the most important resource we have is our kids and there is nothing more important we could invest in for our future then our children. I am proud to be a small piece of this puzzle in helping children have better futures and getting to know them and their families.

I received my Bachelor degree in Business Management in 1999 from Montana State University – Billings. I have been working in the pediatric field for 10 years which has given me the opportunity to work in almost every capacity in the office. When I am not working I volunteer as the director of Mid-Valley Wolves Wrestling Club. I feel extracurricular activities are important in giving kids opportunities to see what they can accomplish.

Alaska's Center for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, Ptarmigan Connections, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Alaska