Access 7 Services, Inc., formerly known as Access 7 Consulting, Inc., is a Placement and Educational company that provides Special Education related and professional services to School Districts across Long Island (Nassau & Suffolk Counties) and in New York City. All Access 7 Therapists and Teachers are licensed and qualified to provide services to the School Districts, and proof of such licenses and qualifications are provided to clients on an ongoing and continuous basis. Access 7 has provided related services to clients since 1998, and is managed by an owner with over thirty years experience within the field of Special Education.We work closely with School District Staff, Professional Therapists and Teachers and Parents to ensure a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) is provided to special needs children in the Least Restrictive Environment. Access 7 Related service professionals are monitored over the course of the school year to ensure mandate fulfillment and quality of services through periodic student IEP Program progress reporting, Annual Reviews and CSE Meetings. In addition we have developed several early educational programs utilizing Speech, Occupational Therapy and Special Education Teacher professionals, who function in coordination with RtI and early screening. Entitled “Smart Start”, these multi-sensory development programs are designed to provide children with many of the tools necessary for future academic success, and identify atypical or developmental delays early on when such identification is critical.
Jo DiStefano is the President of Access 7 Services and has been a treating Occupational Therapist since 1984. A current member of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), she is SIPT Certified, and NDT trained. Abreast of the latest in a continually evolving field, she combines a holistic and nurturing approach to help individuals achieve optimal independent functioning in the school and home environments. She has a unique outlook and understanding of both typical and atypical development as well as a strong foundation in treatment/facilitation techniques to make the individuals she serves more independent and successful in everyday life. Jo’s professional history spans private practice, treating patients of all ages pediatric through geriatric. She is a well respected professional in the special education community and has provided services to school districts across Long Island for over 10 years. Hands on and still treating, Jo is not only up to speed with the latest in the field, but is applying it as well. Jo’s personal philosophy is to create and promote balance with an emphasis on bridging disciplines for child centered development.
Mr. Smith is responsible for development and oversight of related services provided to students identified by the Committee of Special Education. He continues to provide Behavioral Intervention Services (BIS) and Parent Counseling/Trainings. Mr. Smith is a certified trainer for Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention – Revised (SCIP-R) and Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). He also designs, develops and presents seminars and training modules for paraprofessionals, teachers and clinical staff that address Dealing with Challenging Behaviors, Dignity, Respect and tolerance in the school, and the Dignity for all Students Act, to name a few. Mr. Smith started in the field human services in 1986 as a Direct Support Professional while pursing and completing his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Stony Brook University New York. There he was privileged to work with the esteemed Dr. Edward Carr in his early studies of Applied Behavior Analysis. Mr. Smith has created and presented seminars for the ongoing development of the BIS providers and School Aides. Over the years Mr. Smith’s career spanned between agencies such as Developmental Disabilities Institutes (DDI) and PSCH Inc., where he received a 20-year service award (DDI) and numerous performance awards for outstanding state reviews. Mr. Smith gained extensive experience as his promotions moved him through positions such as Residential and Day Services Program Managers, Site Coordinator, Assistant Director and Director for Adult Services. He is a seasoned human service professional with over 14 years of management experience. Additional areas of expertise include curriculum development, clinical affairs, program operations and crisis management.
Erin Sheehan, MS, OTR/L – Occupational Therapy Coordinator
Erin earned her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Scranton in 2004 and has been a treating Occupational Therapist specializing in pediatrics for over 10 years. She has a history working with children from as young as six weeks to high school students in camp, home, school and daycare settings long before working as an Occupational Therapist. Erin’s career as an occupational therapist spans the school systems and home-based care throughout Long Island and New York City. She is a current member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) and is certified with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Constantly improving her knowledge base and staying updated in the field, she has been trained in Bal-A-Vis-X, Therapeutic Listening, Powered Up and Running, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Neurobiological Foundations of Sensory Integration, Vestibular Activation of the Core, Brain Gym, Handwriting without Tears, and Wilson Reading Program/ Fundations. Erin takes every opportunity to promote and educate parents, administration, staff and other therapeutic disciplines to the mission and purpose of Occupational Therapy over the life span. She believes that the more people know and understand the connection between physical and cognitive development, the greater asset and support they can be to a child’s learning, functional growth and success.
Cindy Dempsey, MSW, BCBA, LBA Director of Clinical Services
Cindy’s passion lies in the science of behavior analysis and implementing the principles of applied behavior analysis to ensure the betterment of children’s lives and the lives of their loved ones. She has been working with children with developmental disabilities and their families since 2003. She specializes in bringing parents, teachers, support staff, and administrators together behind behavior plans that help children succeed, grow and improve socially significant behaviors. She earned her Board Certification in Behavior Analysis in 2010 after completion of a Behavior Analyst Certificate Program from Penn State University. Additionally, she is a Licensed Behavior Analyst in New York State. Cindy earned her Master’s of Social Work from Hunter College and holds a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology from American University. In addition to providing services in both public and private academic settings, Cindy has worked with learners in group homes and private residences. She has extensive experience running parent training programs and staff trainings. In her years as a BCBA she has steered the development of FBAs and BIPs in multiple school districts in Long Island.
About Our Staff
Nancy has become an integral part of the Access 7 team, assisting with student service placement and lending valuable support in all areas. She brings with her a diverse background in general law and research.
Maria is the book keeper and human resources point person. She is responsible for payroll, Accounts Payable/Receivable, and Office Personnel matters. She brings with her a wealth of experience in the area of finance dating back to 1990, when she was involved in Derivative trading in New York City.
Dr. Michael A. Buonomo M.S.Ed.,Ph.D. has been assisting individuals with emotional, physical and intellectual disabilities for over 10 years. Dr. Buonomo is a certified Special Educator as well as a Doctor of Education and Behavioral Psychology. Dr. Buonomo received his education and research assistance from Dowling College, Columbia University and StonyBrook University. Currently, Dr. Buonomo assists several New York school districts on how to educate and understand children and teenagers with complications they may be having, regarding emotional and behavioral difficulties, educational curriculum and environmental adaption. Dr. Buonomo also works with parents of these children, developing strategies for the home environment that will improve the individuals overall behavioral pattern. The teenagers and adults Dr. Buonomo assists may have low self esteem, poor social skills and an overall negative outlook on life.
Lynn Alkes is an experienced Occupational Therapist, Lymphadema Specialist, and Registered Nurse. She is the lead Occupational Therapist at Nassau University Medical Center in complete Decongestive Therapy and Manual Lymph Drainage technique. Some of her treatments include manual lymphatic massage, and the application of compression bandages and garments. Lynn currently works with breast cancer survivors in the outpatient and occupational therapy setting. Her goal is to increase patient’s functional ability, empower patients, and ensure quality care. Through Lymphadema Therapy she will increase a patient’s functional ability to empower them to an optimal lifestyle.
Lynn became an occupational therapist licensed in the State of New York in 1998. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Adelphi University in 1985. Lynn also completed her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Touro College in 1998. Lynn enjoys bike riding running and traveling. Her daily life encompasses personal fitness, nutrition, and a healthy positive lifestyle. She is an advocate for Breast Cancer Research and is currently seeking a grant from the Susan G. Komen foundation to aid in her treatment of Lymphadema management and care at Nassau University Medical Center.