Improving quality of life for the differently abled Children & Adults

Occupational Therapy


Angela Olson “Miss Angie” graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2007 with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Angela volunteered at Lauren’s Institute for Education for a short time, while completing her final intership for Occupational Therapy at the State Hospital in Phoenix Arizona, and fell in love with the “family-like” atmosphere at LIFE. Angela has since been employed with LIFE  for over three years and feels “blessed”  to be a part of the LIFE family.

While at LIFE, Angela has furthered her education to better meet the needs of the kids and young adults she provides services to through attending inservices and workshops. She is  certified in using aquatics and hippotherapy as a treatment intervention to reach functional occupational outcomes and also utilizes the sport of gymnastics to teach life skills such as: safety awareness, self regulation,coping skills, impulse control, and social skills as well as building overall body strength and coordination. While in college, Angela was employed through Easter Seals Goodwill and worked as a tutor  for children with autism. She worked under supervision of psychologist , Hanna C. Rue, Ph.D., BCBA-D, and learned  to utilize (ABA) Applied Behavior Analysis principles to reduce problematic behaviors and teach life skills to children with developmetal disabilities.

Angela has a special place in her heart for children and families who have been touched by individuals who have a developmental disability. Her younger brother, now 24, was diagnosed with autism at 2 yrs of age. Angela is passionate about teaching youth with developmental disabilities life skills, especially social and play skills. Outside of LIFE, Angela coaches gymnastics and cheerleading classes for individuals with and without special needs. She enjoys being active and participating in recreational sports such as: dance, swimming, volleyball, softball, soccer and of course still likes to “tumble and flip” at the gym. Outside of sports, Angela enjoys playing video games, board games and cards, spending time with family and friends, and attending church.


Becky Hydrick, COTA/L, began her journey working with children with special needs as a para-educator for Chandler Unified School district over 20 years ago. It was during that time, that Becky was exposed to Occupational Therapy and discovered a love for adapting activities and the environment to ensure participation and success for all kids.  After receiving her degree, Becky continued to work for the district, now as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, until her first child was born in 2004. Balancing work and motherhood, Becky continued to serve families in their homes as a traveling provider for several years before learning of a local clinic that had just opened. In 2007, Becky joined the family of Lauren’s Institute for Education where she continues to enjoy her work helping children reach their maximum potential.


Beth Gourley COTA/L is a certified occupational therapy assistant at L.I.F.E.  Beth is new to L.I.F.E, starting this past August.  Beth received her degree in occupational therapy from Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI.  Beth started her career working with adolescents at The University of Michigan.  From there, she moved to working with adults, following hip/knee replacement surgeries in a hospital setting.  Beth started working with the pediatric population in a center based public school program in Northville, MI.  She has worked with SXI, SCI and DD populations, all with varying degrees of autism for 18 years.  Beth has extra training in sensory integration/sensory diets, SOS feeding program, Handwriting without Tears and therapeutic listening. Beth is very passionate about seeing her clients grow and achieve their highest potential.

Beth is married and has two adult children and is a grandma to 2 twin girls!  When she is not working, Beth is spending time with her grandbabies, reading and exploring Arizona with her husband.



Kim Betancourt MS, OTR-L, was born and raised in Bronx, NY.  She relocated to Arizona early in 2009. In 2000, she obtained a degree in Early Childhood Education, and began working as a preschool teacher in and around the NY area.  It was then, that Kim was exposed to the field of Occupational therapy.  Kim attended Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she obtained her Master’s of Science degree in Occupational therapy in May of 2009. Kim’s internship experience included pediatrics, mental health, skilled nursing rehab, and acute care.
Kim’s work experience includes skilled nursing rehab, and most recently 3 years in the school system.  While in the school system, she worked with children from preschool age to young adults in high school.  She worked with individuals with varying diagnosis, from mild developmental delays, to multiple disabilities, including Autism, Down syndrome, Aspergers, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory processing disorders, emotional disorders, attention disorders, blindness, fragile bone disease, etc.
Kim is married with one son.  When she is not busy taking her son to his many different dance events, she enjoys spending time crafting.
Kim continues to expand her knowledge in the field of OT, by attending continuing education courses.  She is currently certified in the Alert program “How Does Your Engine Run?”, and the handwriting program “Handwriting Without Tears”.

Kim is excited to be part of the L.I.F.E. family, as she too believes that individuals with special needs are not disabled, but rather DIFFERENTLY abled!


Wanda Kasel, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Laurens Institute for Education. Wanda received her degree in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine’s University, in St Paul, MN in 1992. Wanda started her career working with adults in the hospital. Her experience with adults ranged from intensive care, to acute care, rehabilitation units, out-patient care, and home health care. Wanda started to work with the pediatric population in 1998 doing home health. She started working at Lauren’s Institute for Education in 2007. Wanda really enjoys working with a variety of diagnosis at LIFE.

Wanda has had extra training in (PNF) Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, (NDT) Neuro-Developmental Treatment, and (SI) Sensory Integration. Wanda is certified in the use of Interactive Metronome and in Hippotherapy as well.

Wanda is married with 3 girls. She is kept busy taking care of 3 busy girls. When she has free time, she enjoys reading and hanging out with her family.

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