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Speech and Language Pathologists

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Margie Avila SLP

Ms. Margie, M.S., CCC-SLP

Rehabilitation Director of Lake Worth

Master of Science in Communication Disorders

Bilingual- Spanish

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

Ms. Phyllis, M.S., CCC-SLP

Rehabilitation Director of Boca Raton

Master of Science in Speech and Language Pathology

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.

Cassie Hicks SLP

Ms. Cassie, M.A., CF-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

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. 

Dana Kaufman SLP

Ms. Dana, M.A., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Dana is a speech-language pathologist who recently relocated from Daytona Beach to her hometown of Boynton Beach. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has served both the pediatric and adult populations in outpatient clinics, school, hospital, and skilled nursing facility settings. She has experience working with various populations: individuals with Autism Spectrum, Early Intervention, AAC, articulation/phonology, language disorders, and hearing impairment. She has a passion for helping individuals find their voice. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, theme parks, and spending time with family. 

Emily Marshall SLP

Ms. Emily, M.A., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist 

Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

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

Ms. Hannah, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning

Early Steps Provider

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!

Jacqueline ST

Ms. Jacqueline, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology

Jacqueline was born and raised in Miami but wanted a change of pace, so she recently moved to Deerfield Beach. She got her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and graduated from Florida International University with a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology. Jacqueline has always had a passion for working with children and before becoming an SLP she worked as a behavior therapist for 3 years with children on the autism spectrum. Since becoming an SLP she has worked in a variety of settings including home, school, and private clinics. She has experience treating children with receptive/expressive language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, and pragmatic disorders. In her spare time, Jacqueline enjoys going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends. Jacqueline is excited to be a part of the PPT team and work with a variety of children and their families.

Jennifer Penaranda SLP

Ms. Jennifer, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders and Sciences

PROMPT Certification

Jennifer is a Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated with her Master’s degree from the SUNY University at Buffalo. Since then, she has gained experience in a variety of settings with both children and adults, including public schools, home-care, out-patient, short-term rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities. In 2019, she received her Bilingual Extension Certificate in Speech-Language Pathology from Hofstra University. Her skills include treating patients with  a wide variety of speech and language disorders, as well as programming and implementing Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, and treating children with feeding disorders. Additionally, she is PROMPT Level 1 Trained. Jennifer is passionate about serving on a multidisciplinary team to bring the best care to her patients!

Joan Cajucom SLP

Ms. Joan, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

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

Ms. Karina, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

SOS Approach to Feeding, DIR Floortime Practitioner

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

Ms. Lisa, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

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

Ms. Luz, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology

Bilingual- Spanish

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.

Melanie Aleman SLP

Ms. Melanie, M.A., CF-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Melanie is a Speech-Language Pathologist who was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree at Florida State University (Go Noles!!) and her Master’s of Arts degree at the University of Florida. She has always had a passion for working with children. Prior to beginning her journey as an SLP, she worked as a registered behavior technician (RBT) for 1 year with children with autism spectrum disorder.

She has gained experience in a wide variety of settings through her graduate program including, private practice, public school system, tele-health, and working with the pediatric population in the hospitals. She has experience evaluating and treating children with: speech sound disorders, dysphagia/feeding difficulty, autism spectrum disorder, and expressive/receptive language delay. Outside of the clinic, Melanie enjoys going to the beach, boating, and spending quality time with friends and family. Melanie is excited to continue her journey as an SLP with the PPT team and is eager to work with her new patients and families! 

Melissa Miller SLP

Ms. Melissa, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

SOS Approach to Feeding

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

Ms. Molly, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders

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

Ms. Regina, M.S., CCC-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology

Early Steps Provider

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.

Sydney Simon SLP

Ms. Sydney, M.A., CF-SLP

Staff Speech and Language Pathologist

Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Sydney is a Speech-Language Pathologist who earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Florida (Go Gators!). She was born and raised in South Florida and is so excited to be a resident of this area again. During graduate school, her passion for working with children grew while working with a wide range of pediatric patients in outpatient clinics and acute care hospitals. It was through this experience where she developed a special interest in working with the early intervention population and pediatric feeding disorders. Sydney has treated and evaluated individuals with articulation and phonological disorders, language disorders, feeding disorders, Autism Spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, and hearing impairments. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys being outside, spending time with her dog, watching gators football, and going to the beach. Sydney is looking forward to the opportunity to work with you and your child!

Ms. Amanda SLPA

Ms. Amanda, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Science

Amanda is a graduate from Ohio State University where she completed a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech and Hearing Science. She has experience working in both school settings and outpatient pediatric clinics, working with children on a variety of skills including receptive and expressive communication, pragmatics, social skills, articulation, using AAC devices. She loves having fun in her treatment sessions and really enjoys doing themed activities for the holidays throughout the year! In her spare time, Amanda enjoys spending time with friends and family outside in sunny Florida all year round (especially by the ocean or pool!). She also enjoys going to Disney World and being a part of the Junior League of Boca Raton. She is so excited to be a part of the PPT family! 

Manuela Yepes SLPA

Ms. Manuela, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

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

Ms. Margarita, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Bachelor of Science in Communication

Bilingual- Spanish

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.  

Marissa Tafuri SLPA

Ms. Marissa, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Instagram Lead

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Marissa was born and raised in South Florida.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida.  Soon after completing her undergraduate studies, she quickly became a pediatric clinician. For the past two years she has been working in the private setting as well as the Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care (PPEC) environment.  She has experience with a variety of medically severe patients as well as a wide range of speech and language disorders, specializing in feeding with training and mentoring in Beckman Oral Motor techniques, articulation, fluency, and phonology.  

She will be continuing her studies further to become a Speech-Language Pathologist.

She is excited to be a part of the Progressive Pediatric Therapy team and can’t wait to continue her work with pediatrics! 

Monica Zappala SLPA

Ms. Monica, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing

Bilingual- Spanish

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!
Ms. Sarita

Ms. Sarita, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Graduate Degree in Child Behavior Therapy 

Bilingual- Spanish

Sarita is a Speech Language Pathologist recently moved from Caracas, Venezuela to South Florida.  In Venezuela she graduated as Speech Therapist with a degree in Infantile Behavior Therapy, a unique combination that supports patients, as well as provides behavior education for parents to better work with their children throughout therapy. Sarita specializes in speech delay, language disorders, Dysarthria,  Dysphonia,  pronunciation difficulties, stuttering, vegetative function difficulties, Hearing loss,  Cleft lip-palate, Autism, Behavior  disorder, difficulties in reading, writing and math skills. She also designs her own educational materials to use in therapy with her patients and families.

Stephanie Herrera SLPA

Ms. Stephanie, SLPA

Staff Speech and Language Pathology Assistant

Associate of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Assistance

Bilingual- Spanish

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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