Sheri Marino, MA, CCC-SLP
Executive Director/ Speech Language Pathologist
Sheri received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Rutgers University and attained her Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Montclair University.
Sheri’s clinical experiences include the University Hospital at UMDNJ in Newark, NJ, where she provided evaluation and treatment services in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Sheri was trained in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, New Brunswick, NJ, where she treated children on the autism spectrum. For 10 years, she coordinated home programs in New York, New Jersey, and London, England. As a member of the trans-disciplinary team, Sheri conducted evaluations and treatment services for the birth-three year old population at the Milestones Child Development Center, Jersey City, NJ. As part of the Expansion Team, she provided homebound services to medically fragile infants affected by pre-natal drug exposure.
Sheri is the founder of Rocking Horse Rehab, a pediatric rehabilitation and family wellness center specializing in equine assisted therapies, located at the Essex Equestrian Center in West Orange, NJ. Rocking Horse Rehab treats children with various disabilities, including cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, brain tumors, autism, rare syndromes, neuromuscular, and psychiatric disorders. Rocking Horse Rehab was selected as “NJ’s Favorite Kids’ Docs” in NJ Family Magazine in 2009 and 2011 and as Hospital Newspaper’s Pediatric Rehab and Family Wellness Center of the Month in 2009, 2010, and 2013. A pediatric speech pathologist, Sheri has been voted as “NJ’s Favorite Kids’ Docs” in 2012, 2015, and 2016.
As the Executive Director of The Autism Think Tank, NJ (a 501(c)(3)), Sheri coordinates medical videoconferences with a team of distinguished physicians who collaborate on medically complex cases of autism around the globe. Sheri is solely responsible for all the fundraising, community outreach, continuing education, marketing, and public speaking engagements.
Sheri is the Pediatric Health Advisor for the Focus for Health Foundation (FFH). As a consultant to FFH, she contributes her clinical expertise to help guide the Foundation’s mission addressing chronic health issues related to environmental causes.
Sheri serves on the advisory board for Autism Family Services, NJ with other leaders in the field of autism. She is an international speaker on autism and has presented for Haven International in Ghana, Africa, Autism One in Chicago, Princeton University, Tour College/NYC, Seton Hall University, NJ Speech and Hearing Association, and PATh International. She has been a guest on the “Autism with Dr. Andy” radio show out of Manhattan Beach, CA and has been interviewed and filmed by DBS News, NBC News, NJN, and multiple cable networks.
Carey is the office manager of Rocking Horse Rehab. She started volunteering at age 16 and was hired as a program assistant when she was 19. Carey attended Centenary College and studied Equine Studies with a concentration in Equine Science, working for two years with the staff veterinarian as a veterinary assistant. This knowledge has helped her to keep the program horses happy and healthy. She has been riding since age 13 and continues to ride in her free time. Carey truly is passionate about horses and enjoys spending time with them.
Carey can be found in her free time around the barn, but also enjoys spending time relaxing and reading at home.
Director of Development
Doris was a New Jersey licensed Director of Therapeutic Activities in long term care facilities for twenty years. Doris was awarded the Madison E. Weidner life-time achievement award by the New Jersey Activity Professionals Association representing leadership, inspiration and education in her profession. She was also a volunteer coordinator responsible for recruiting, training and maintaining volunteers who assisted with various recreational, spiritual and educational activities for the residents. Doris was the President of the Northwest New Jersey Activity Professionals Association for eight years. She has presented in various capacities in therapeutic recreation including a seminar on exercise in the elderly. Doris was a member of the International Dance Educators of America and was an aerobic instructor for nine years.
When Doris is not volunteering her time at Rocking Horse Rehab, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her eight grandchildren, working out at the gym and power walking.
Kathy Lutz, LCSW, LCADS, CP
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor
PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructor
Kathy received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from St. Francis College in Pennsylvania and her Master of Social Work from the Catholic University of America. Kathy is a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor and a certified psychodramatist with more than 30 years of clinical experience in a variety of treatment settings. In addition to her work at Rocking Horse Rehab, Kathy maintains a private practice in Montclair providing individual and family therapy.
Kathy is the author of the internationally known social skills training manual, Horsemanship/Humanship Skills: How Horses Make Us Better People. In Kathy’s role as a psychotherapist and certified therapeutic riding instructor at Rocking Horse Rehab, Kathy developed the social skills training program because parents consistently express two major concerns:
- Could you please not call the work with the horses “therapy”? – Their kids had been to enough traditional therapists and were tired of being told they needed more therapy.
- The other concern was about the generalization of skills – what was being taught in their past therapies wasn’t carrying over into their behavior at home or school.
By making learning fun and engaging the entire family, Kathy’s training manual and social skills program at Rocking Horse Rehab address both of these concerns.
Additionally, Kathy’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) program, HORSES: Healing Opportunities Reinforce Skills for Emotional Stability, teaches coping skills for managing our emotions. Dialectics are the art of holding two of more competing needs in balance, avoiding black or white extremes, and finding the gray areas in various situations and relationships. HORSES allows participants to practice their DBT skills in real time as they engage with the horse through both mounted and unmounted sessions.
All of RHR’s equine assisted mental health services are designed for anyone, regardless of age, who may be struggling with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and PDD.
Doreen Cruz, M.S., CCC-SLP
Doreen Cruz, M.S., CCC-SLP is a Bilingual (Spanish/English) speech-language pathologist, who is state licensed and school certified in N.J., N.Y., and PA. Doreen obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology from Brooklyn College and her Masters Degree in Communication Disorders from Hunter College in New York City. She is an AHA Level I Therapist.
Doreen worked for over 10 years in a special education preschool, primarily servicing Spanish-speaking Early Intervention and Preschool students. She currently provides speech and language services to children and adults in New Jersey in a private clinic and within the public school system. She also conducts workshops and webinars targeting bilingualism and disorders in Spanish-speaking children. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her daughter, horseback riding, and traveling.
Dorian J. (DJ) Johnston
Music Instructor, JAM CATS Music Program
Dorian J (DJ) Johnston is founder and owner of The Jam Cats children’s music program. His educational background includes studies at Morris County College and The Collective School of Music in Manhattan where his focus was on performance in classical, jazz band and Latin music. His professional background spans over thirteen years of international touring with the rhythm and dance show The Rhythmics as well as playing with numerous other top 40 wedding/cover bands throughout the New York City metropolitan area. He is also a private music instructor and enjoys traveling to his student’s homes where he is able to develop a close relationship with his students and their families. DJ’s years of stage experience combined with his passion for music and love for children fosters a very special connection between him and the children that he works with.
The Jam Cats is a children’s music program that provides a fun and nurturing environment in which children are introduced to music through singing, movement and response to rhythmic patterns. The Jam Cats primary goal is to put forth and provide quality classes for young children in a goal oriented, non competitive environment that makes every child feel like a winner while learning about and experiencing the amazing magic of music. The curriculum, songs and learning materials used during classes and shows are specifically chosen and created to be developmentally appropriate for each individual group or child.
Susan Silva, MS, OTR/L
Susan Romano-Silva received her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University in 1996. Susan is state licensed and school certified in NJ and NY. She is an AHA Level I Therapist. Susan has 20 years of pediatric experience in a number of areas including pediatric rehabilitation, early intervention, school therapy, private clinics, and pediatric intensive care. Susan is certified in infant massage and pediatric NDT (neurodevelopmental therapy). She has received training in sensory integration, pediatric vestibular, vision courses, feeding therapy, manual therapies including craniosacral therapy and myofascial release, therapeutic listening, interactive metronome, and kinesio-taping. She currently provides occupational therapy services at NYU Langone Medical Center, where she has been involved in pediatrics and numerous roles as managerial, clinical specialist and spasticity clinic, upper extremity prosthesis, handwriting programs, and peer mentor roles through her career. She is currently a senior clinician at NYU in pediatric acute care. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children engaging in sports, reading, and playing with their dog.