Special Education and Therapy Support

Tabetha Otten

Position title: WECP Special Education Teacher

My name is Tabetha Otten. My family and I moved to Madison in June 2019 from Abbotsford, Wisconsin. I attended UW Stevens Point where I earned a bachelor of fine arts. In 2006, I started working as a substitute teacher in my local school district before returning to college for my special education license. I attended St. Mary’s University, Minnesota where I earned my teaching certificate in Special Education. In February of 2020, I joined the WECP team as the special education teacher for the center. I love being a teacher and look forward to growing connections with students. My family and I are recent additions to the Madison area. My husband David and I have two college age daughters, Julia and Ashley. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, journaling, reading, and all things artistic. We love all Madison has to offer: music, festivals, farmers market, bike trails, restaurants, and the arts.I look forward to and thank you for the opportunity to meet and get to know your child.

Mary Locast

Position title: WECP Occupational Therapist

Hello WECP Families! I am Mary Locast and I have enjoyed providing occupational therapy services at WECP for the past 28 years. I completed my education at UW-Milwaukee, which included a specialty fieldwork placement at the Waisman Center in 1986. Following work at the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Chicago, I returned to the Waisman Center in 1992 and have been working in WECP and various Waisman Center clinics since that time. I live on the near West side of Madison with my husband, Ron. We enjoy traveling, especially to National Parks, and visiting our two grown sons in Minneapolis. We are looking forward to our oldest son’s wedding in August 2021.

Allison Ackerman

Position title: WECP Speech & Language Therapist

Hello! I’m Allison Ackerman, the speech therapist at WECP. I have been working with children for many years. Before I became a speech therapist, I was a high school teacher in the Peace Corps, a preschool teacher, an after-school coordinator and a case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters. As a speech therapist, I spent many years working with babies and toddlers in the Birth to Three program and then with premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Meriter. I am very excited to be back at a preschool with my favorite age group! I also do communication and feeding evaluations for the newborn follow-up clinic at the Waisman Center and the American Family Children’s Hospital.

Danqing Dai

Position title: Enrichment Assistant Teacher

Hi families! My name is Danqing and I come from a beautiful coastal city in Southern China called Shenzhen. I am a recent graduate from UW-Madison majored in psychology with a minor in education and educational services. In my free time, I like to do yoga, dance, play piano, ukulele, ultimate Frisbee, cook, and connect with fellow humans in different communities – or hang out with my kitty named Bootz! I am also passionate about anything related to mind-body-spirit wellness, which also influences my orientation professionally.  At Waisman, I am most excited about learning skills that would help me contribute to the social emotional well-being of the next generation. I look forward to getting to know you and your children!

Shujing Ding

Position title: Support Staff

Hello, I am Shujing Ding. I joined WECP team on January 2021 to assist with two classrooms (Dew Drop and Cloud). I have a three year old daughter who is in Star Room. I believe that every child is a different kind of flower bringing joy and beautiful to the world.

My major was educational psychology. I was a researcher after I got my Ph.D degree in Spain. Since I have my daughter, I was more and more interested in early child education and development. I was a teacher for teaching 3-5 years old kids Madeline at two Montessori schools in 2019. I enjoyed the time of observing and playing with children, and learning from them.