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Speech and Language Pathologists

Margie Avila SLP

Margarita Avila, M.S., CCC-SLP

Rehabilitation Director of Lake Worth

Margie has a passion for working with children with communication disorders and feeding disorders, and has approximately 20+ years experience working in the school setting, hospital setting, and private therapy setting. Through this extensive experience, it has enabled her to work with some of the most challenging children, and she enjoys helping the child and parents overcome challenges. She specialized in children with both medical and behavioral feeding difficulties, nonverbal children needing an alternative means of communication (AAC), Autism, and children with language disorders who are struggling with academics.

Phyllis Berenberg SLP

Phyllis Berenberg, M.S., CCC-SLP

Rehabilitation Director of Boca Raton

Phyllis graduated from New York University with a Master’s degree in elementary education. She taught second grade with special needs inclusion. In 1997 she received her Master’s degree in communication disorders from Nova Southeastern University. She has worked in both the school and clinical settings and owned her own practice in Houston, Texas. She is experienced with the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, and with children with language delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, articulation and phonological disorders, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome.

Jacqueline Torres, SLP

Jacqueline Torres, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech and Language Pathology Manager West Palm Beach

Prior to seeking a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Jacqueline worked for over five years in the private sector. She left a promising career in Investment Banking to seek a more personally rewarding profession. It was the best decision of her life. 

In graduate school at Columbia University, she traveled to Bolivia and worked at an elementary school with limited resources and creatively provided therapy to the moderately-severely impaired student population. She worked in the New York City Public Schools as an SLP, and later as an Evaluation Specialist.  She chose to move to Florida to be farther from the cold and closer to her family. 

Jacqueline has had the opportunity to provide Speech-Language intervention in various settings to clients ranging in age from 3 months to 93 years old. Through her various roles, Jacqueline has gained invaluable experience in diagnostic evaluations, aided AAC systems, and treatment for a wide variety of populations (including those with ASD, intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, phonological disorders, and more).  Jacqueline works with parents to discover how to make Speech-Language intervention meaningful for the child and the family.  

“My greatest joy is seeing the look on a parents face when they say, ‘I didn’t know my child could do that!’”

Dana Buckles, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Dana was born and raised in nearby Stuart, FL and received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from the University of Florida, before relocating to South Florida. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, and has since worked in classrooms for typically developing children, varying exceptionalities and ASD units. Dana has developed a primary interest in working with children developing speech and language through introduction to augmentative and assistive communication (AAC), many of whom fall somewhere along the Autism Spectrum. She has extensive experience in creating individualized manual communication devices and programming dynamic display layouts using programs such as Proloquo2Go, TouchChat, Boardmaker Online and Unique Learning System. Dana applies a combination of PECs (Picture Exchange Communication System) strategies and Core Language principles in order to encourage children with minimal spoken words to develop speech and language skills. Dana has worked with children between 2 to 20 years of age and is passionate about family coaching and parent involvement in therapy.

Cassie Hicks SLP

Cassie Hicks, M.A., CF-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Cassie is a Speech-Language Pathologist who recently relocated to South Florida from Gainesville. She attended the University of Florida for both her bachelor’s and masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has experience treating a variety of patients to work on expressive and receptive language, articulation, apraxia of speech, cognitive communication, social skills, and dyslexia. In her free time, she enjoys watching sports (Go Gators!), playing with her two rescue dogs, and riding everything at Disney. She is excited to help kids reach their full potential with Progressive Pediatric Therapy. 

Emily Marshall SLP

Emily Marshall, M.A., CF-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Emily is a South Florida native, and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida.

She has enjoyed treating a variety of speech and language disorders across the lifespan, including phonology and articulation, pragmatics, acquired and developmental language disorders, aural rehabilitation, and implementing AAC with adults and children alike.
Emily is thrilled to join the Progressive Pediatric Therapy team as a clinical fellow and loves being a part of a skilled, multidisciplinary team!
In her spare time, Emily enjoys going to the beach, playing her ukulele, and taking walks with her corgi.
Hannah Mallen SLP

Hannah Mallen, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Hannah is a Speech, Language Pathologist who was born and raised in Florida. She attended Emory University for her undergraduate, receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then went on to graduate school in Chicago, where she graduated from Northwestern University with a Masters of Science in Speech, Language Pathology. For her clinical fellowship, Hannah worked in the public schools in a suburb of Chicago, exclusively with children ages 3 to 5. Upon moving back home to Florida, she worked at a clinic in Deerfield Beach that specialized in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has experience treating a variety of speech and language impairments, including expressive language disorder, receptive language disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, phonological disorder, pragmatic disorder, and sensory-based feeding. Hannah enjoys helping her clients learn new ways of communicating, and helping them reach their fullest potential. In her free time, she enjoys taking her puppy to the beach and attending country music concerts. She is excited to be joining the Progressive Pediatric Therapy team!

Joan Cajucom SLP

Joan Cajucom, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Joan is a Speech-Language Pathologist who joined the PPT team in August of 2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Florida (UF) and a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of South Florida (USF) in 2017. Prior to joining our team, Joan worked as a home health therapist in Orlando, but her experience also includes the clinic and school settings. She has served a variety of ages and abilities, and has developed great interest working with the early intervention/preschool population, Autism, articulation/phonological disorders, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Joan enjoys creating relationships and empowering both children and their families, all while making therapy as FUNctional as possible.

In her free time, Joan enjoys dancing, spending time with family (and her two little dogs!), and attending local events.

Karina Lee SLP

Karina Lee, M.S., CF-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Karina was born and raised in Miami but came to Boca Raton to complete her undergraduate in Communication Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Wanting to travel and gain new experiences, she moved to Madrid, Spain for one year in order to better learn Spanish and receive her certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). This piqued her interest in language and working one-on-one with children. Upon moving back to FL, Karina completed her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences while working as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant. Mainly working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders, she has become very passionate about working on functional social skills, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), feeding therapy, and bilingual speech and language acquisition. Karina is very excited to be back in Boca Raton working as a Speech-Language Pathologist and collaborating with an experienced multidisciplinary team.

Lisa Pugliese-LaCroix SLP

Lisa Pugliese-LaCroix, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Lisa is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist in the field of autism. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University in ’02 with a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. For 18 years, Lisa has specialized in the evaluation and treatment of children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities.

A former collegiate tennis player at Duke University and the University of Florida followed by WTA tournaments, Lisa enjoys combining her tennis experience and speech therapy background to teach the sport to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

After working with children for 6 years as a program director for a national non-profit for autism, Lisa was inspired to develop her own non-profit, Love Serving Autism, a 501(c)(3) organization in January 2017.  She has been certified with the United States Professional Tennis Association since 2010. 

In 2019, Lisa was elected by USTA National to join the Adaptive Tennis Training and Education Subcommittee to develop an adaptive tennis curriculum for individuals with special needs. She is the chair for the 2020 USPTA National Adaptive Committee.

Luz Rojas SLP

Luz Rojas, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Luz graduated from the University Catholic of Manizales with a Master Degree of Science in Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology. She is experienced with both pediatric and the adult population. She has worked in a variety of settings including home, school, and rehabilitation.

Luz’s clinical areas of interest include receptive/expressive language disorder, stuttering, phonological/articulation disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, feeding disorders, and vocal cord dysfunction.

Melissa Miller SLP

Melissa Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Melissa Miller is a Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated with her Masters in Communication Disorders from the University of Florida.  Prior to starting at PPT, she gained experience treating children in the Palm Beach County School District as well as in the hospital and outpatient settings.  Her skills include treating children with feeding and swallowing disorders as well as speech and language disorders with a focus in early intervention. 

She is trained in the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) approach to feeding and the Floortime model for intervention.  Additionally, she has enjoyed volunteering with the Special Olympics surf and stand-up paddle board teams in Palm Beach and Miami Dade counties, helping athletes gain social skills. 

Molly Abitbol SLP

Molly Abitbol, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Molly was born and raised in Gaithersburg Maryland. She graduated with her Bachelors of Arts in Hearing and Speech Science from The University of Maryland College Park in 1999. She moved down to Florida in 2000 to attend Nova Southeastern University where she earned a Masters of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2003. Throughout her 15 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, she has worked in a variety of settings including schools, private clinics, home health, PPEC, and Hospital IN Patient and Out Patient settings. She has experience with individuals of all ages with a variety of disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Medically Fragile, Feeding Disorders, Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders, Pragmatic Disorders, and Articulation and Phonological Disorders. She has a passion for working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. When she is not treating, she enjoys spending time with her 10 year old daughter.

Regina Decanto SLP

Regina De Canto, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Regina graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Music therapy and Psychology and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology. She graduated with honors and top of her class at FSU with a research focus on the effects of requesting in preschoolers with autism using an AAC device. Her unique experience as a former Music Therapist and Job Coach for young adults with disabilities has guided her to fulfill her passion for helping children with speech and communication needs. Regina has a passion for autism, AAC devices, and behavior modification.

Sara Pierre SLP

Sara Pierre, M.A., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Sara is a South Florida native. She graduated from UCF as part of their first AAC Cohort, specializing in those that need augmentative communication during graduate school clinicals. Sara has experience with low tech and high tech AAC options. Sara has worked with patients young and old targeting functional communication, articulation, expressive and receptive language disorders as well as feeding difficulties. She loves being a part of a team, consulting with OT and PT therapists in order to develop a therapy plan that meets each patient’s needs. Sara joined the PPT team in Summer 2020. She loves working with our patients for aquatic speech therapy at Big Fish Little Fish Swim School in WPB.
Shira Danino SLP

Shira Danino, M.A., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Shira graduated from Long Island University with a Master’s in Speech Language Pathology in 2010. She has worked with children for 10 years, focusing on receptive and expressive language skills, articulation and phonology, auditory processing, and phonemic awareness. Throughout her years of practice, Shira has developed trainings and programs to help teachers reach their students with communication disorders and to better help them achieve their goals in the classroom. She also has training in working with children with dyslexia. Since moving to South Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shira has been working primarily with children via teletherapy who are based in New York and Texas. She has been expanding her teletherapy skills using a green screen, as well as interactive tools to help engage her patients. She enjoys working with children of all ages and all skill levels.

Alyssa Ager SLPA

Alyssa Ager, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Alyssa was born and raised in South Florida. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Central Florida and soon after began her graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University for Speech Language Pathology. Alyssa moved to Chicago for a number of years before returning to South Florida as a pediatric clinician. Prior to her work at Progressive, Alyssa worked as an SLPA providing one on one care for children with varying exceptionalities and led weekly social groups creating opportunities to practice and generalize learned skills for small groups of children with ASD.  Alyssa has developed a special interest in early intervention, receptive and expressive language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders and Augmentative and Assistive Communication (AAC). She is passionate about providing exceptional care for her patients and enjoys working with families and the multidisciplinary team at Progressive to ensure that therapy is both fun and functional for each child.

Manuela Yepes SLPA

Manuela Yepes, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Manuela is a recent graduate from the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Following her graduation, Manuela enrolled in one semester of courses regarding audiology and hearing disorders where she learned about diagnosis and treatment for patients with hearing, central auditory processing, and balance disorders as well as aural rehabilitative strategies for prevention and awareness of hearing loss. Throughout college and her semester in Audiology, Manuela volunteered and observed in a variety of pediatric settings including Nemour’s children’s hospital of Orlando, the Mailman center for child development, and several other private practices and clinics. Manuela has a passion for working with children and is excited for new experiences to come as an employee of PPT!

Margarita Rosario SLPA

Margarita Rosario, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Margarita is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant with a passion for communication and language.  She believes that every child has a voice in this world and she is honored to be a part of helping children achieve goal milestones.   

Along with her 7 years experience of teaching English as a second language to students virtually in South Korea and China, Margarita has gained experience working as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant in a variety of settings including schools, daycares, and prescribed pediatric extended cares.  Playing a part in a child’s progress, and celebrating that progress, is especially gratifying to Margarita. Margarita has experience working with children with a variety of speech and language disorders including; Autism, Developmental Delays, Expressive/Receptive Language Disorders, Developmental Apraxia of Speech and Articulation/Phonological disorders. She enjoys working with individuals of all ages and their families.  

Monica Zappala SLPA

Monica Zappala, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Monica Zappala attended Aconcagua University (Universidad del Aconcagua), founded in 1964. The Aconcagua University is a recognized private institution of higher education in Argentina. She was awarded the degree of Speech and Hearing Therapist by Aconcagua University. This is the equivalent of the U.S. degree of Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, awarded by a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher education.She graduated with honors in undergraduate and graduate School.
Monica is a bilingual SLPA, who has been living in Florida for the past 20 years. She has a broad experience treating patients with expressive and receptive language disorders, early intervention/preschool populations, Autism, articulation/phonological disorders, stuttering, vocal cord dysfunction, apraxia of speech as well as Audiology testing for all ages from 5 until 95 years old. She enjoys seeing how therapy transforms the life of the child and their family for the better, and she is super excited to be part of PPT! In her free time she delights in spending time with her twin boys and her daughter!
Stephanie Herrera SLPA

Stephanie Herrera, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Stephanie Herrera graduated from Cal State University Long Beach, CA with a double bachelor in Family Life Education and Human Development, and a minor in Child Development and Family Studies. After working as a preschool teacher and noticing speech delays and disorders, she obtained her license as a Speech and Language Pathology Assistant in Santa Ana. As a bilingual therapist she has used her skills at a nonprofit speech and hearing clinic in Orange, CA and at a private clinic in Long Beach, CA. With a heart for pediatrics, Stephanie strives to work with her clients, and their families, to use their voice throughout various stages of their development. It’s always a process, but the journey is worth the wait!

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