Our Staff

Mary Villarreal, OTR, Founder of Journey Learning Center

Mary Villarreal graduated from the University of Missouri in May, 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. After years of experience she went on to further her education with a Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in May 2001. She has completed multiple certifications/specialties such as: Neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT), Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT), Interactive Metronome (IM), Therapeutic Listening, Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI), and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).

Mary opened Journey Pediatric Rehabilitation, a pediatric out-patient occupational therapy treatment center in June 2004. In July, 2007 Mary established the non-profit Journey Learning Center to provide multi-disciplinary treatment to children with autism spectrum disorder.

Mary has done work with foster care agencies, teaching workers the importance of sensory processing, how to identify it and how to treat it. Mary and her husband have foster over 13 children over the past several years. Mary and her husband have a blended family consisting of 8 girls and 2 boys. Mary is proud her daughter Rachel works with her as an occupational therapist at Journey. In her free time Mary enjoys coaching her daughter’s softball teams and cheering her other children on at their multiple sporting events.

Kathleen Abrams, MSW

Kathleen earned a BA in Social Work from the University of Arkansas in 1999. After receiving her BA, Kathleen worked at the Department of Social Services in South Carolina and at the South Carolina Early Autism Project. In 2004, Kathleen earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Following her Master’s Degree she returned to Texas and became the Director of Special Needs at a gymnastics facility, where she worked for almost 5 years. Taking her background in special needs and her family background of teaching she began working as the Lead Teacher at Journey Learning Center. She has one daughter and resides in Grapevine. In her spare time she enjoys being outside and spending time with her daughter.

Aracely Espinosa, SLPA

Aracely earned a BA in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology from the University of North Texas. After graduation she became a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant and began working with children with autism. Aracely tooked some time off to travel and volunteer overseas. In August 2017, Aracely joined The Journey Learning Center as a teacher assistant. She enjoys being outdoors, trying new food, and watching films.


Karen Mirsky, MS, CCC-SLP

Karen earned a BA in Early Childhood Education from Texas A&M University. After teaching second grade, she attended Baylor University and earned a Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She worked in Grapevine Colleyville ISD from 2002-2007 creating and implementing the PALS (Preschool Articulation and Language Service) model for the district. After taking some time off to be a stay at home mom after the birth of her twins, she began working at Journey Learning Center as Speech Pathologist in 2010. Helping children learn the power of communication and find their voice is her passion! Karen lives with her husband and boy/girl twins in Lewisville. She enjoys reading, traveling and entertaining in her free time.