Nikki has over 20 years of experience working with children. She has been a developmental therapist for seven of those years with Indiana First Steps. Nikki began her career working as a kindergarten teacher after receiving her degree in elementary education from Loyola University. She has worked as a preschool teacher, an infant/toddler specialist, and a counselor for a residential facility for children suffering from trauma due to abuse and/or neglect where she currently also directs a program for children with special needs. Her range of experience has enabled her to learn the tools necessary to help children reach their greatest potential despite whatever difficulties and hurdles they face in their development. Her desire to move from teaching in a traditional classroom to focus more on children with developmental delays occurred when her niece, Melanie, was diagnosed with Rett’s syndrome and Nikki was able to witness first hand how much the First Steps team helped her niece and empowered the family to be advocates and teachers for Melanie.
Nikki strives to make learning new skills fun and as natural as possible for the child and family. One of her greatest joys is witnessing a big smile on a child’s face when a new skill has been mastered and her hope is that she makes a positive impact on the children and families she works with through Milestone. Nikki’s fun fact is that when she was little, she dreamed of being a rock star and briefly played bass guitar in a punk rock band in college. She still loves music and incorporates it into her first step sessions as often as she can through music and movement activities, rhythm games, and making and playing instruments together.