Diagnostic Center Central Presenters

Meet the professional learning opportunities presenters of the Diagnostic Center, Central California.

Melissa Aguirre, M.D., Pediatrician

Dr. Aguirre obtained her undergraduate degree with honors in Psychology at Stanford University, her M.D. at Stanford University School of Medicine and is a board-certified pediatrician who has worked with vulnerable pediatric populations her entire career including a Federally Qualified Health Center, UCSF Fresno Pediatric Residency Program, California Children's Services, Reach Out and Read, and the Diagnostic Center, Central California. She enjoys helping families thrive through caring for the whole child to achieve wellness through listening well, comprehensive assessment, accurate diagnosis and collaborative learning.

Michelle Austin, M.A., CCC-SLP

Michelle is a Speech-Language Pathologist who specializes in Assistive Technology. She has worked within the school setting for over 20 years. Additionally, she has worked in private practice, hospital settings, and has taught at the post-secondary level. She received an administrative credential and a master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from California State University, Fresno, and an Assistive Technology Certificate from New Mexico. She is currently employed by the California Department of Education at the Diagnostic Center, Central California. Her professional resume includes publications and presentations at both state and national conferences. During the course of her career, Michelle has worked with students of varying ages, abilities, and disabilities. Michelle has placed an emphasis on working with students who have significant speech and language needs. She has presented numerous workshops on the following areas: Assistive Technology, Augmentative Communication Strategies, Serving Children with Autism, and Feeding and Swallowing Issues in the Schools.

Tamar Bedoyan, M.A., Education Specialist

Tamar joined the Diagnostic Center in 2018 as a trilingual education specialist with a passion for supporting students who demonstrate complex academic, behavioral, social-emotional trauma, and communication needs. Tamar provides assessment, consultation, training, and support to educators, administrators, families, and care providers for students ages 3-22 in all possible educational settings. She strives to share knowledge, research, fresh perspectives, and strategies so that all stakeholders have equitable access to the tools for maximizing their students' capabilities and quality of life. Tamar completed her undergraduate education at UC San Diego with a major in Cognitive Science and a minor in Spanish Literature. She earned Dual Credentials in Multiple Subject and Education Specialist for Moderate/Severe Disabilities from CSU Fresno. She earned a master's degree in Special Education and Teaching, receiving the Outstanding Project Award for her thesis project titled: "Benefits of Decreasing Parental Stress for Parents of Elementary-Age Children with Special Needs Through Parent Support Groups." Tamar understands and considers the needs of the whole family when meeting the needs of individual students. Prior to the Diagnostic Center, Tamar worked as a Teacher on Special Assignment for Autism, foundational lead teacher, teacher mentor, special day class teacher for K-4th and middle school, behavioral interventionist (ABA), and tutor. With care and compassion, Tamar strives to unlock the minds of families, teachers, administrators, and students themselves to reveal their own potential and promise.

Gwen Deeter, M.A., Education Specialist

Gwen joined the Diagnostic Center, Central California in 2008. She has over twenty years of experience teaching general education, reading intervention, and special education in public schools at the elementary level. She has also taught classes on special education at the university level. She has had extensive training and practical experience in diagnostic assessment and interventions to meet the learning needs of students with a wide range of disabilities in special education. She is also a Nationally Certified Educational Diagnostician (NCED 0768). Gwen earned a master's degree in special education from California State University, Fresno, and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Wyoming.

Patricia Deroian, M.A., Education Specialist

Patricia has worked professionally in the special education field over the past 40 years in the capacity of an administrator, school psychologist, and education specialist. Her experiences span from working with special education students in preschool settings through post-secondary levels as well as community college. She has served in the following special education programs: Specialist Programs, preschool, non-severe special day classes, severe special day classes, autism programs, emotional disturbance, deaf and hard of hearing, and home hospital instruction. In addition, Patricia has taught various special education courses at Fresno Pacific University in the general education and special education credentialing programs.

Jodie Dittmar, M.S., Education Specialist

Jodie has been in the special education field for over thirty years. She has credentials in the education of deaf and hard of hearing students, and in educational administration, as well as experience in teaching and administration in several states. The course of her career has included work with students of varying ages, abilities, and disabilities, as well as "at risk" and foster youth. She has held leadership roles and provided workshops in the areas of differentiated instruction, student engagement, direct instruction, communication, literacy assessment and intervention, behavior support and Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS). Jodie has also implemented projects that provide on-going coaching and supports to teachers and paraeducators.

Katey Kuyumjian, M.A., CCC-SLP

Katey is a speech-language pathologist specializing in working with preschool through secondary students. She has worked as an educational speech-language pathologist for the past 18 years within comprehensive sites; special day classes; and since 2018, at the Diagnostic Center Central California. Katey is also a part-time faculty member at California State University, Fresno in the Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies Department. She has supervised graduate students in their university clinical practicum and served as an instructor for both graduate and undergraduate courses in childhood language disorders, speech sound disorders, diagnostic procedures, and professional issues in communicative disorders.

Laura Lavery, M.A., Education Specialist

Laura is an Education Specialist at the Diagnostic Center, Central California. She has worked in the field of special education over 35 years. She also holds a Specialist Instruction Credential in Special Education Learning Handicapped, a Resource Specialist Added Authorization, an Education Specialist Instruction Credential Moderate/Severe Disabilities, an Early Childhood Special Education Authorization, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, a Single Subject Teaching Credential Home Economics, a Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development Certificate, and an Assistive Technology Specialist Certificate through California State University, Dominguez Hills. Her experiences include working with special education students in preschool through high school settings. Her professional career has included teaching classes at California State University, Fresno; National University, Fresno; Fresno Pacific University; and Fresno City College.

Melissa J. Miller, M.A., School Psychologist

Melissa has worked for the Diagnostic Center, Central California since 2002. She is originally from the Southern California area where she completed her education and training in School Counseling and Educational Psychology at Chapman University. She has worked as a school psychologist for over 25 years having served students in school districts in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and throughout Central California. In her earlier years, she worked as a group home counselor in the inland valley and a foster youth counselor for schools in inner city Los Angeles. After receiving her degrees, she was hired as a school psychologist for an inner-city Los Angeles school district where the student population was primarily composed of second language learners or of African American descent. Additionally, she has served as the school psychologist on district-wide preschool assessment teams in both Southern California as well as the Central Valley. As a result, she has a wealth of experience in assessing students who require the use of an interpreter, an alternative/non-biased assessment battery, and/or play-based and developmental assessment measures. Melissa has been an active member of the Positive Environment Network of Trainers (PENT) since its inception in 2003 from which she has gleaned both a wealth of information and training on serving students with a variety of behavioral and social-emotional needs. Additionally, she has attended multiple professional trainings and conferences hosted by the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Melissa is passionate about working with children with special needs and their families and thrives on consulting with school personnel in bringing about positive results for children.

Paula Velez, M.A., Education Specialist

Paula earned a master's degree in clinical psychology before starting her career in special education. She also holds a Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Credential with Added Authorization in autism spectrum disorders. Paula was an elementary resource specialist teacher prior to joining Diagnostic Center, Central California in 2011. Her professional training and interests include reading and dyslexia, learning disabilities, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Paula is currently leading the Diagnostic Center Central's Science of Reading Academy. Her other projects have included the provision of technical assistance and support to teachers in the area of reading instruction. Outside of the Diagnostic Center, Paula has taught university courses in psychology and provided field supervision and support to pre-service teachers. She is passionate about helping students learn and teachers teach.