Improving quality of life for the differently abled Children & Adults

Speech Therapy


Donna is a Canadian who graduated with her Masters in Speech Pathology from Minot State University in North Dakota in 1994.  Enjoying the United States, she stayed to work at a private clinic serving both pediatrics and adults in Iowa.  From there she gained experience in both the medical setting and the schools in the northern U.S., as well as north of the border for several years.

Loving to learn, Donna has extensive continuing education including P.R.O.M.P.T. and PECS. Most recently, Donna stretched her skills with her own part-time private clinic in Saskatchewan, focusing on pediatrics and also served as President of the Speech-Language Pathology licensure board there.  Donna and her family, husband and two daughters, moved here to AZ in the record breaking, hot summer of 2012 to be closer to the aging in-laws in Gold Canyon AZ.

Living in Arizona is a dream, since Donna loves to swim and will swim year round in her backyard pool.  This crazy Canuck enjoys the fun staff here at L.I.F.E. and loves the challenges and rewards of working and playing with the clients.


Kaara Fairbanks received a master’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Washington State University and completed graduate research on soft palate functioning in wind instrument players with Dr. Charles Madison. Kaara has experience working in a clinical setting with adults who have functional communication needs, school-age children with language and social communication needs, and young children with language needs resulting from muscle weakness, motor planning difficulties, and developmental delays. Kaara has worked with young children with cochlear implants at the H.O.P.E school in Spokane, Washington and has received additional training in pediatric feeding and swallowing therapy. Kaara enjoys working with children and families outside the clinic and has participated in the community with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America and in children’s theater productions. In her spare time, Kaara enjoys playing soccer with her husband, practicing the cello, and going on walks with her Bengal cat, Calcifer.


Katie Verdugo M.S., CF-SLP is a Speech and Language Therapist at Lauren’s Institute for Education (LIFE). She graduated from Arizona State University in May 2013 with her Masters of Science in Communication Disorders with a pediatric emphasis. Prior to moving to Phoenix 9 years ago, Katie lived in Tucson where she graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of art degree in 2002 (Bear down Wild Cats! And go Sun Devils too! Good thing LIFE takes both kinds!).

Prior to working at LIFE, Katie did home-based speech and language therapy for AzEIP.  Katie lives in Gilbert with her husband and two children. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her family, hiking and reading.


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