Founder / Director
Elise Vetere, PhD, ABSNP
Elise Vetere, PhD, ABSNP is the founder and Executive Director of Early Start, Inc. She received a PhD from Fordham University in School Psychology. She completed a post graduate degree in Clinical Neuropsychology from Fielding Institute in cooperation with New York University. She is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and holds a Diplomate in School Neuropsychology. She presented at several conferences including the “World Conference on Pediatric Neuropsychology”. She has assessed and provided therapy for children birth to five years old for more than 20 years. In addition, she started her career as a Training Fellow at the Center for Infant and Parents at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she also received her Master’s Degree in Psychology.
Supervisor of Applied Behavioral Analysis
Christine Pedi, MS Ed,BCBA
Christine Pedi, MS Ed,BCBA is the supervisor of Applied Behavior Analysis services for Early Start. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Wagner College. Christine earned a certificate in Behavioral Intervention in Autism from the University of Massachusetts and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She holds a permanent certificate as a Special Education teacher. Christine has 15 years experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. She has been a therapist at Early Start since 1999 and an ABA team coordinator since 2005.
Supervisor of Speech Therapy
Jean Santaniello, M.A., C.C.C.
Jean Santaniello, M.A., C.C.C. is the senior supervisor of Speech Pathology services for Early Start. She holds a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from CUNY Hunter College, School of Health Sciences. She also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and a permanent Certificate as a Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped. Jean has 23 years of clinical experience working with infants, children and adults with speech, language, oral motor and feeding disorders. She possesses extensive experience in diagnostic and treatment of oral motor/feeding disorders.
Supervisor of Occupational Therapy
Karen Delgado, OTR/L
Karen Delgado, OTR/L graduated from Manhattanville College with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology in 1991 and then went on to graduate with a Masters in Occupational Therapy from New York University in 1996. She has experience working with infants in the NICU at The Brooklyn Hospital Center and as well with multiply handicapped children and adolescents through the New York City Board of Education. She has worked with Early Start since 1997 as both a therapist and clinical supervisor, and continues to work full time providing early intervention services with extensive experience treating a wide variety of developmental conditions and diagnoses.