Speech Therapy

Speech therapists (SLPs) and speech therapy assistants (SLPAs) provide specialized interventions that help consumers (AKA clients, patients) improve expressive/receptive language (using and understanding language), augmentative alternative communication (AAC device), social language, voice quality, fluency (e.g. stuttering), and articulation.

Speech therapists at L.I.F.E. form treatment and lesson plans to support socialization, engagement with peers, and total communication. Our speech therapists and assistants work on a transdisciplinary team to treat the whole child to better support communication development.

How can speech therapy help?

Speech therapy helps people improve communication including social language, voice quality, fluency (e.g. stuttering), articulation, and AAC device use.

SPEECH THERAPY TEAM

CASSANDRA (CASSIE) LEGGER
CASSANDRA (CASSIE) LEGGERSpeech-Language Pathologist (M.S., CCC-SLP)

Education:

  • M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology, Northern Arizona University, with Distinction, 2016
  • B.S. in Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Summa Cum Laude, 2013
  • A.A. in General Studies, Mesa Community College, with Highest Distinction, 2010

Specific Treatment Strategies, Equipment, or Expertise Utilized:

I received training on the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) feeding approach by Kay Toomey and Associates as well as received hands on experience with feeding therapy at an outpatient children’s hospital setting. I use various speech/language tools such as shared storybook reading, Expanding Expressions Tool (EET), articulation therapy, Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), and Social Thinking. 

Career History:

I began working at L.I.F.E. in January 2019. I previously worked in home health, outpatient, and school settings. I have enjoyed working with children in all settings. 

Personal Treatment Philosophy:

I believe it is important to create a fun therapy environment that is welcoming and follows the lead of the child.

Personal:  

I currently live with my husband and adorable, fluffy, beautiful cat named Mr. Turdington. I enjoy watching and discussing movies, baking, cooking, traveling, and creating artwork in various forms such as ceramics and sewing. I am one of five kids and I love to spend time with my family.

JESSICA SOLARI
JESSICA SOLARISpeech-Language Pathologist (M.A.,CCC-SLP)

Education:–

  • B.A.A. in Communication Disorders, Central Michigan University (2007; took graduate studies for the Spring semester in 2008); Minor in American Sign Language (ASL)
  • M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology, Western Michigan University (2010)

Specific Treatment Strategies, Equipment, or Expertise Utilized:

  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Total Communication (Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), American Sign Language (ASL), aided language input, etc.)
  • Social Thinking curriculum (Zones of Regulation, Social Thinking curriculum/philosophy, Social Behavior Mapping, Superflex, etc.) – attended 3-day presentation/training
  • Expanding Expression Tool (EET) for vocabulary
  • Fluency Disorders (Stuttering and Cluttering)
  • Selective Mutism
  • Non-violent Crisis Prevention Intervention for behavior/emotional impairments
  • Articulation and phonology therapy (Cycles)
  • Literacy incorporated into sessions (use of Story Grammar Marker (SGM))
  • Speech and language for functional activities of daily living
  • Voice Disorders (vocal fold paralysis and cleft palate)
  • Statewide Autism Resources & Training Project (START training)

Career History:

  • I was fortunate to volunteer for a summer camp for 12 years that provided therapy for children with different abilities, blogged and presented nationally for three years about speech therapy, and volunteer my time attending Out and About on some weekends with children who use AAC in the community – so I live, eat, and breathe speech-language pathology. I have been in the school system for my entire career with clinical experience in the summers and some weekends. I have lived in Michigan for the majority of my life, but moved to Arizona for the weather a few years ago. In Arizona, I have supervised multiple SLPAs and was the co-lead of the speech department at one school district. I started working at L.I.F.E. in the summer of 2019 as a supervisor for one of the SLPAs and loved the philosophy and opportunities for children on campus so much that I came back full time in the summer of 2020.

Personal Treatment Philosophy:

  • I personally believe in following the child’s lead in therapy, being honest about goals of therapy with each child, and finding out their interests as well as what they would like to get out of therapy. I love to incorporate both literacy and play into therapy as much as possible. Finally, I believe in a Universal Design for Learning where all children can participate and be included as well as using Total Communication with children so that they can communicate in the way most effective for them. Therapists, teachers, and caregivers as well as the child themselves should all be involved in care and progress, modeling communication strategies throughout the day with as many communication opportunities as possible.

Personal:

  • I am nerdy and very social in my free time, so if you see me out in the community, feel free to wave! I enjoy trying new foods, attending festivals and concerts, watching movies and television, playing video games, and much more!
DEBBIE POWELL
DEBBIE POWELLSpeech-Language Pathologist (M.S., CCC-SLP)

Education: 

  • B.S. Speech and Hearing Sciences- University of New Mexico, 1998; Minor in American Sign Language (ASL);
  • M.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of New Mexico 2001

Special Certifications: 

  • SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding
  • Beckman Oral-Motor
  • Hippotherapy – Level 1

Specific Treatment Strategies, Equipment, or Expertise Utilized:   

  • Expanding Expression Tool (EET)
  • Story Grammar Marker (SGM)
  • Visualizing and Verbalizing (VV) program
  • Social Thinking

Career History:   

I began my career working in a clinic here in Arizona where I mainly did hippotherapy for 2 years.  I then worked at L.I.F.E. for 4 years, where I gained the majority of my clinical experience working with children with Autism and other developmental disabilities.  At that time, I had young school-aged children of my own and felt the need to switch settings in order to spend more time with them over the summer months. I began working in the schools in 2011 and stayed in that setting for 9 years.  This was a great experience, which provided me with a clear understanding of the educational process and the specific academic needs of my students.  I realized during this time that I missed the love and support offered at L.I.F.E. and knew I needed to go back home. I started back here in July 2020.

Personal Treatment Philosophy:  

I value following the child’s lead during therapy and being creative with targets to provide the most effective therapy.  I do believe it’s important to place some gentle demands on the child for gradual growth and development.  I also believe in collaboration with other team members and the use of their strategies when possible.  I enjoy reading books to my clients to develop literacy skills.  I believe in using Total Communication with children early on until a prominent modality is evident based on the ease of production for the individual child and then building on that one.  I feel strongly about the need for carryover in the home environment and make it a priority to communicate regularly with parents.

Personal: 

I currently live with my husband and 2 teen-aged children, whom I love dearly.  I enjoy watching movies, playing games, exercising, hiking, and doing crafts.  What I love most in life is encouraging and serving others in whatever way they need to feel loved.   These are things that bring joy to my life.

LILLIAN (LILLY) CARY
LILLIAN (LILLY) CARYSpeech-Language Pathology Assistant, (SLP-A)

Education:

  • B.S. in Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, August 2016

Specific Treatment Strategies, Equipment, or Expertise Utilized:

  • Expanding Expression Tool (EET)
  • Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)
  • Social Thinking/ elementary to young adult
  • Aquatic therapy
  • PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral and Muscular Phonemic Targets)
  • Articulation therapy
  • Fluency techniques
  • Speech and language for functional activities of daily living

Career History:

I started working at L.I.F.E. in October 2017. Previously, I worked at a private pediatric clinic and in home-health. I have worked with kids with disabilities ages 3-18 years as well as with adults with disabilities.

Personal Treatment Philosophy:

I aspire to be a therapist who treats the whole child, while using client and family-centered care. I also love to use my resources at L.I.F.E. to gain transdisciplinary experience and give our clients the tools they need for their individual and unique future.

Personal:

In my free time I enjoy working out, trying new restaurants, watching movies, and spending time with my husband and my dog Boomer.

MEAGHAN RIORDAN
MEAGHAN RIORDANSpeech-Language Pathology Assistant, (SLP-A)
KAREN ALWARD
KAREN ALWARD Speech-Language Pathology Assistant, (SLP-A)

Role:

  • As a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) at L.I.F.E., I work with a variety of individuals in one-on-one therapy sessions. Providing quality speech interventions and therapeutic strategies to children with developmental disabilities.

Education and Trainings:

  • Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA), Northern Arizona University, 2019
  • Music Together Teacher Training and Internship, 2016
  • Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT): Basis for Assessment and Treatment, 2011
  • Drum Facilitation Training, Arizona State University, 2010
  • Feeding Therapy Conference, Dawn Winkelmann, M.S., SLP-CCC, 2009
  • Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT), M.H. Thaut, Ph.D., Colorado State University, 2006
  • B.M. in Music Therapy, Radford University, 2001

Career History:

As a SLPA, I most recently worked in the school setting with children on the autism spectrum. I have provided services to children with developmental disabilities for over a decade as a music therapist. I’ve had the opportunity to use both my skill sets to motivate children toward reaching their highest potential. During my career, I have worked in medical settings, day treatment clinics, and home-based therapy. Back in 2007, I worked as a music therapist at L.I.F.E., I’m glad to be back and looking forward to applying my speech skill set.

Personal Treatment Philosophy:

My philosophy on therapy is a comprehensive holistic approach. Taking all things into consideration and knowing that they are all interconnected. Developing a strategic plan that encourages meaningful human connections while providing the support for practicing therapy goals.

Personal:

Besides my passion for making music, seeing live music, and generally all things musical, I enjoy cooking and the outdoors. Running and hiking are frequent activities, as well as overlanding and camping with my husband, two kids, and dog.

Contact Us for More Information About L.I.F.E.

call us at 480-621-8361 EXT 136 or complete this form

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