Our local team are initiators of the grassroots movement, those involved in hands-on development of innovative rehabilitation treatment and scientific research study projects.

Debbie Fragner

Founder & Executive Director

Debbie Fragner is the Founder and Executive Director of Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement. She is the mother of a daughter named Maddie born in 2006 with Spastic Diplegia, Cerebral Palsy. Having been a zealous advocate for her own daughter, Debbie has chosen to now stand in the gap for all children with Cerebral Palsy, to give them a future and a hope for a higher quality of life.

Debbie is spearheading the private fundraising to support an innovative controlled movement dance therapy study that could begin to reshape the way rehabilitation is handled in America for people with Cerebral Palsy. This pilot study is the first of multiple collaborations with University of CA, Irvine and CHOC Children’s Hospital, as well as other noted professionals.

Debbie is a graduate of UCLA, with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics. She has more than 22 years of professional mid-level sales management experience for Fortune 500 companies like Starbucks, Walt Disney and Nestle. Her strengths lie in the realm of zealous special needs advocacy, organization, salesmanship and innovation.

Dr. Sofia Valenzuela- Sawitz, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Dr. Valenzuela Sawitz received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCLA and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from USC. Dr. Valenzuela Sawitz served as director of rehab, physical therapist, and instructor of clinical physical therapy for the Rehab Institute of Southern California where she served a diverse outpatient orthopedic & neurologic group of clientele. She possesses a strong hands-on research background from USC and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. Valenzuela Sawitz serves as the head physical therapist on the Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement pilot project and was instrumental in the initial design of the controlled movement dance protocol.

Kim Caputo

Lead Dance Instructor

Kim earned a Bachelors in Dance from University of CA, Irvine. Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Information and Computer Science. Ms. Caputo danced professionally in New York and for the Milwaukee Ballet. She is a software developer, dance instructor, author and consultant, and presently works for IBM. Kim has a special interest and experience in teaching dance to children with special needs.

Kim was involved in the collaboration of the controlled movement dance protocol and will serve as a dance instructor on the project.

Janine Paulsen

Lead Dance Instructor

Janine received her dance training on scholarship in New Jersey and New York and has performed professionally with the New Jersey Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Ballet Pacifica. She has been a dance studio owner, instructor and choreographer in Orange County, CA for over 20 years and has taught both children and adults from beginner to advanced levels.

Janine serves in a lead organizational capacity for the Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement 501c3 non-profit organization and, along with her involvement with the design of the dance protocol, she will serve as one of the instructors on the project.

Cathleen Collins

Parent Advocate

Cathleen has a Bachelors Degree from University of Southern California and is the Chief Development Officer of the Mission Hospital Foundation with more than 25 years of expertise in foundation operations, Her professional fundraising experience includes the American Heart Association, the University of California, San Francisco and CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Additionally, she served as the Chief Executive Officer at United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County (UCP-OC), where she is credited for her work to create a more sustainable, responsive and family centered organization with a diversified funding stream. Her daughter, Bridget, who is challenged by cerebral palsy and autism, has furthered Cathleen’s commitment to drive more financial investment into the fields of research and neuroscience. For this reason we are delighted to have Cathleen volunteering with Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement.