Your PLANE team for your whole two-year journey! Take a look down below to learn a little bit about us!

Leah R. Ketcheson PhD, CAPE

Principal Investigator She/Her

Dr. Leah Ketcheson joins Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies at Wayne State University as an assistant professor and program coordinator of the Health and Physical Education Teaching program. Dr. Ketcheson’s passion for her educational pursuits were born during her time as a teacher of Adapted Physical Education within the Detroit Public School Community School District. As a doctoral student, Dr. Ketcheson’s research focused on the motor and physical activity interventions for youth with disabilities. Dr. Ketcheson designed one of the first early and intensive movement skill interventions for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ages 4-6, using an evidence based behavioral framework. Dr. Ketcheson also participated in the implementation of a 3-year randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. In this research, the impact of a bicycle training intervention on physical activity and quality of life was examined in youth with ASD and Down syndrome (DS) ages 9 – 18. Dr. Ketcheson’s post-doctoral fellowship training included the examination of physical activity patterns in infants with and without DS. As a faculty member at Wayne State University, Dr. Ketcheson’s interests will extend her previous work in intervention research by promoting positive trajectories of health in school aged children with ASD through community-based programming. 

Andy Pitchford

Co-Investigator and Evaluation Manager He/Him

Andy studies levels of physical activity, motor skills, and obesity in people with Down syndrome and will be helping PLANE with data evaluation. His drive to make exercise more accessible for those with developmental disabilities was sparked during his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As part of his introductory coursework, he observed physical education classes in area schools. Andy’s curiosity continued while pursuing a master’s degree at Oregon State University. There, he studied to become licensed as a Certified Adapted Physical Educator, but also found he enjoyed the process of conducting research and addressing real-world issues. He volunteered with Special Olympics, which connected him to young athletes with Down syndrome.

Chandler F. Wentz BCBA, LBA

PhD(c): Kinesiology-Adapted PE 2022 She/Her

Chandler is a second year PhD candidate at Wayne State University. She has been working with Dr. Ketcheson for two years now on various projects including: HAPPY, PLANE, and Big DATA projects. Chandler’s line of research is examining the relationship between motor skills and the core deficits of autism through parent lead interventions. Prior to joining the WSU APA team, Chandler worked as a BCBA at clinics in Michigan as well as in Atlanta, GA. Chandler completed her BCBA training at Georgia State University and worked at the Early Emory Center for Child Development and Enrichment in the 2-3 year old classroom. Before entering the ABA world, Chandler also worked as a self-contained K-3 special education teacher in Siler City, NC for 2 years. Chandler enjoys staying active with her dog Kona and being outside when it isn’t too cold!

Katie Hale

Program Instructor She/Her

Katie grew up in Metro Detroit, and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting from Eastern Michigan University. She volunteered for Ele’s Place from 2013-2017 where she facilitated grief support groups.  At Eles Place, she helped children navigate their feelings and grief through play, art projects, and games.  She has been working in the autism community since 2015, which is when she received her certification in Natural Play Therapy.  This relationship-based approach shifted her life, and gave her a sense of freedom and confidence in all her relationships.  Soon after attending this 9 month course, Katie began assisting with teaching NPT online to families and professionals all over the globe.  She has also gone through various training programs to assist non and limited- speaking individuals using alternative communication methods. Katie loves traveling, so she brings her emotional support dog Hallie on the road with her to support autism families near and far.  Rock climbing, sleeping outside, gardening, baking, and cooking are some of her favorite spirit-filling activities.  She has been climbing since 2012, and has also enjoyed time as a climbing coach, kid’s program director and instructor at Planet Rock Climbing Gym. She is very excited and grateful to be on this team of incredible humans, and is looking forward to growing and learning with you!

Franzi Loetzner

MS Student She/Her

Franzi is a master’s student in Exercise and Sports Science at Wayne State University, Class of 2021. She is also a PSIA-AASI Certified Adapted Ski instructor for Cognitive Disabilities and Visual Impairments. She earned her Bachelors in Kinesiology in 2018 from Michigan State University where she was heavily involved in their Adapted Sports and Recreation program and taught Adapted Tennis and Adapted Floor Hockey. Franzi is interested in Disability Sport Research and is focused on studying how Goal Setting can be used to improve Physical Activity and Quality of Life. She plans to continue her academic journey after her master’s and earn her PhD, also at Wayne State University. When she isn’t obsessively talking about her retired racing greyhound named River, she is probably listening to Taylor Swift at full volume.

Jen Fay

Research Assistant – Program Coordinator They/Them

Jen grew up in New Jersey and, after graduating college in 2015, moved to Michigan in July to serve as a City Year Corps Member, tutoring and mentoring Middle Schoolers in DPSCD with AmeriCorps for 2 years. They then discovered ABA and worked as a RBT at a clinic near their home. They eventually earned an administrative role at the clinic, managing 30+ techs and 50+ clients during Lunch Program as well as scheduling all Ancillary Services. They are excited to be part of the team that will be bringing PLANE to families. Jen loves playing Minecraft with their brother, listening to podcasts, and loving on their 4 cats; but their favorite thing to do is kayak guide on the Detroit River.

Amma M. Perozo Morles, MA TESOL, OT-S 

Occupational Therapy Student She/Her

Amma is an Ohio native and moved to Detroit back in 2014. She graduated from Wayne State with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2018, and played volleyball during her four years there. After graduation, she went on to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching English to others as a second language (TESOL). Last year, she received her Bachelor of Science in health sciences with a concentration in occupational therapy. Currently, she is working on her second master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Wayne State. She speaks both English and Spanish. Amma has had experience working with individuals with disabilities over the last 10 years. She has had the opportunity to help take care of children with ASD, and currently works at a neurological rehab clinic as a rehabilitation technician. Throughout her experiences, she has learned so much about caretaking and helping people with these disabilities adapt to their environment. In her free time, she loves to work out and travel with her husband!