For Children

At Connections we believe "a child's work is play".  We engage children through play-based therapy, which incorporates specific treatment goals into natural play settings.  Therapists utilize age-appropriate toys, books, games, activities, movements, and music to promote individual development.  This child-centered approach provides your child the opportunity to explore and develop new skills while playing.  An important component of therapy is parent/caregiver involvement.  We offer strategies and ideas to incorporate carry-over of treatment goals into everyday activities like mealtime, bath time, grocery shopping trips and other daily activities. 



It has long been a mission of Connections to provide research-based, professionally administered and family-oriented DEVELOPMENTAL evaluations for children in the birth-5 year range. We currently offer two "Developmental Connections" evaluations per month reserved for those children referred through CPSE or Early Intervention or by families/caregivers who suspect delays/disorders related to Autism Spectrum, ADHD, or other conditions diagnosable by licensed psychologist/pediatric provider.  

Connections’ mission in providing developmental evaluations is simple:

We strive to circle around a child and family to investigate and ultimately make a “current conclusion" based on all past and present, pertinent data and observations.  We seek a 360-degree look at children with our team of occupational therapist, physical therapist, special educator, speech-language pathologist, licensed psychologist and pediatrician along with a child’s team of caregivers, family, preschool teachers, daycare providers, treating therapists and pediatric providers.  Together, we hope to make informed and data-driven decisions that support the family unit as a whole and investigate the best delivery of potential support services.    

Our team:

Jessica Costosa-Umina, Ph.D

 Monica Jones, MD

Meg Catanzarita MS CCC SLP

Erica Jones, DPT

Wendy Miles, OTR/L

Erin Ruddy, MS Special Education

This year (2015) Connections had the good fortune to partner with licensed psychologist, Dr. Jessica Costosa-Umina and pediatrician, Dr. Monica Jones.  Dr. Costosa-Umina maintains a private practice and came to us when Connections put out the call for licensed psychologists to join our team.  Dr. Costosa-Umina received a Masters in Education in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology from Temple University.  Dr. Costosa-Umina maintains a private practice and is experienced in diagnosing and treating children with autism, ADHD and other developmental challenges.  Dr. Monica Jones completed her medical training at SUNY Upstate University in Syracuse, NY and graduated in 1997.  She specializes in Pediatric and Adolescent medicine.  Meg Catanzarita, speech-language pathologist completed her Masters of Science in Communication Science and Disorders at Syracuse University in 1999 and is Managing Principal of Connections family-centered therapies.  Erica Jones, physical therapist graduated from Upstate Medical University and has served as lead physical therapist at Connections for 7 years.  Wendy Miles, occupational therapist graduated from Utica college with a masters in occupational therapy and although she has been with Connections for only one year, Wendy's knowledge base is both broad and fresh.  Erin Ruddy, certified special education teacher graduated from Lemoyne College with a masters in special education and has served as lead teacher for 7 years.  

Ongoing research suggests more answers to complex disorders as science moves forward into functional brain imaging, collecting data on current disorders and investigating similarities and differences.  It is our mission to move with evidence-based research and support families functionally while the science continues.   

Developmental Connections typically include 3 parts: assessment in the home/natural environment, assessment at Connections' office and observation of your child in daycare, preschool or other setting.