Meet Our Team

Polina Starr, MS, OTR/L

Polina Starr is a founder and the executive director of Function Junction NYC. Polina has been a pediatric occupational therapist since 2008. She graduated with honors from Long Island University with Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. She began her career by working for Department of Education and Early Intervention and then in various pediatric settings including pre-schools, home care, and sensory gyms. Polina worked as pediatric independent provider at Bank Street College Family Center and School for Children. She started occupational therapy department at Alexander Robertson School and continues to oversee services provision at that school. To sharpen her skills and to further her education she earned multiple certifications and has extensive training in sensory processing treatment, Therapeutic Listening program, Wilbarger deep pressure protocol, kinesiotaping, Vestibular and visual program, Astronaut training, Handwriting Without Tears program and she uses Greenspan Floortime Approach in her sessions with children. She is a Certified Senior Irlen Syndrome Screener and provides visual screening to children and adults. Polina’s passion is to empower children and help them reach their highest potential by setting up reachable goals and working towards them.

Julia Litsina, MS, OTR/L

Julia has been working with children since earning her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from New York University in 2002. She has worked in a variety of settings including sensory gyms, pre-schools, elementary schools, and home care. Julia has taken advance courses and built her expertise in such areas as sensory integration and sensory processing disorder, design and application of individually - tailored sensory diet, praxis, regulation and behavior management, vestibular habilitation (including Astronaut Training protocol), bilateral integration, Therapeutic Listening program, executive function, handwriting (including Handwriting Without Tears, D'Nelean, and other programs), and play skills. Julia is thoroughly committed to collaboration with parents, teachers, other professionals, school administrators, and all important people in a child's life. Julia also draws on her background in psychology and personal experience as a NYC parent.

Marie Leo, MS, OTR/L

Consultant to the practice

Marie Leo is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 40 years of experience. She is currently transitioning to retirement. Marie has a background in sensory integration and is certified in the Sensory Integration Praxis test. In addition, she is trained in the Floortime approach using the Greenspan/Weider D.I.R.model. She has extensive training in working with children with neurological, sensory-motor, and social-emotional and relatedness challenges. Her graduate work was in Motor Learning and she has also had experience as a hand therapist and working with adults with neurological and orthopedic issues. She is currently consulting to the Function Junction NYC occupational therapy practice and doing a little of direct treatment.

Lori Rothman, OTR

Consultant to the practice

Lori Rothman has been a well regarded Occupational Therapist for over 40 years working with those having special needs from childhood to adulthood. Aside from working on cases in tri-state NY-NJ-CT area, she has also worked throughout the United States and in various parts of the world. Lori started her OT career at Queens Children Psychiatric Center with ASD children and then moved to Rusk Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine. Then she finally opened her own private practice in 1988. Lori is an expert in combining Sensory Integration Therapy with Neurodevelopmental Therapy and aspects of Physical Therapy. She is certified in Sensory Integration (SCSIT), Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT certified), SOS feeding, and Advanced Therapeutic Listening to name a few. Lori was a past winner of the prestigious National Child Mind Institute Local Hero Award. She was seen on the Today Show when Al Roker introduced a special segment highlighting Lori’s skills to their national audience. Lori has recently semi-retired and has merged her in person occupational therapy practice with her trusted colleagues from Function Junction NYC.

Kathleen McGovern, OTR/L

For more than 30 years, Kathleen has worked extensively with children and their parents to bring about developmental progression through movement, play and age-appropriate activities. Kathleen has practiced in a variety of settings: Hospital and Clinic, performing evaluation and treatment, UCP Manhattan Children’s program, OT specialist in NYC elementary schools and preschools, Sensory Gyms and Children’s Homes, and also as an Early Intervention Program consultant. She has also been in private practice since 1985. Kathleen works with developmental disabilities, including developmental delays, neurological involvement, and spectrum disorders. Kathleen received a BA in Occupational Therapy from the University Of Illinois. She is certified in Pediatric NDT (Neurodevelopmental Treatment). Trained in Sensory Integrations (with Jean Ayres) Certified in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, (Infants, childrenand adults), Myofascial Release Technique, Pediatric Kinesiotaping, and Gyrotonic Expansion System. Kathleen is happy to share her wide-ranging skills, substantial experience and love of children with Function Junction NYC.


Carol Battistone, OTR/L

Carol has been a Nationally Certified and Registered Pediatric Occupational Therapist, (NBCOT) in private practice in New York City for 25 years. She specializes in the treatment of children from birth to 10 years of age with Developmental Delays, Neuro- Muscular, Sensory Processing and Cognitive Disorders. She also treats typically developing pre-school children to prepare them for the expectations of Kindergarten. Carol’s approach to Occupational Therapy integrates the breadth of her professional training and career experience in the performing arts and body mind sciences. Throughout her career as a movement educator she has had the privilege of working with populations from birth to 90 years of age in a variety of educational, performing, business and community venues across the country and in Europe. Using principles of Occupational Therapy training, Laban Movement Analysis, Sports/Fitness Rehab, Dance, Music and Yoga, she designs individualized treatment programs that meet children at their own level and inspire them to learn. It is her goal for children to obtain the skills and confidence they need to succeed an express themselves authentically in their homes, schools and social communities. It is her goal for parents to understand their child’s challenges, become partners in their therapeutic process and share in their successes.

Donna Zapin, OTR/L

Donna Zapin is a pediatric Occupational Therapist with over 24 years of experience. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with her Bachelors in Occupational Therapy. She has worked with children and their families in a wide variety of settings including sensory gyms, home based early intervention, public schools, private schools and private practice. Donna has advanced training in sensory integration, Therapeutic Listening, Handwriting Without Tears, Astronaut Training and The Zones for Regulation. Donna works closely with families to help children reach their greatest potential. Donna is a long-time Upper West Side resident and mom of two daughters.


Mari Miyoshi, OTR/L

Mari has been working with children since earning her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2001. Mari has worked in a variety of settings including schools(pre-K, K-12), sensory gyms, and home settings. Early in her OT career Mari came into contact with Brain Gym and primitive reflex integration. She was fascinated to learn all the ways in which the brain impacts learning, behavior and functioning. Prior to taking advanced training in brain integration techniques Mari also studied craniosacral therapy. Mari believes that it is important to look at the child as a whole and incorporate parent or caregiver training support to ensure the child’s success.