Meet SpeechLeap’s Team

Meet SpeechLeap's Team

Mrs. Sami

Samara Shalom, M.S. CCC-SLP

Samara Shalom M.S. CCC-SLP (Mrs. Sami) has been a speech language pathologist for over ten years.   Mrs. Sami has children of her own and understands the importance of a caring professional.  She truly cares about each and every child at SpeechLeap!

Samara is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the University of Arkansas Department of Medical Sciences. She is a member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association and is licensed to provide speech and language services in the state of Maryland by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Samara’s interest in speech and language disorders began as a little girl, watching her Speech-Language Pathologist Mom. Later in life, Samara’s passion for helping others helped launch her career as a successful Speech-Language Pathologist. Samara has experience treating clients from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. She has effectively treated children and young adults with a wide variety of challenges, including:

  • Articulation
  • Hodson’s Approach to Phonological Processes (unintelligibility)
  • Language delays and disorders
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Down syndrome
  • Talk Tools Provider
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Aphasia
  • Dysarthria
  • Literacy (Reading, Writing, and Spelling difficulties)
  • Accent modification
  • Feeding/Oral Motor therapy
  • Certified Fast ForWord Provider

Mrs. Sami believes that everyone who needs speech treatment should be able to get it, no matter what his or her socio-economic background. That’s why Samara is her client’s greatest advocate. Whether working with teachers to incorporate assistive technology in the classroom, or fighting insurance companies to get her clients the services they need, Samara leaves no stone unturned when it comes to advocating for her clients.

Samara sees each client as a world unto him or herself, and believes that her role reaches far beyond the confines of each treatment session. That’s why Samara devotes time to coaching parents, networking with other professionals, and providing in-service training to teachers.

“I received speech services as a child, because of middle-ear fluid. I remember it as a happy place to be, and I try to re-create that for my clients.”

-Samara Shalom, M.S. CCC-SLP

Alison Ash, M.S., CCC-SLP

Alison Ash is a Maryland-licensed and ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist with over seven years of experience. Alison is originally from Western New York and received her Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Fredonia before moving to Baltimore in 2011. She received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland.

Alison has experience working in a variety of settings including a separate day and residential school, public school, skilled nursing and long-term care, and inpatient rehabilitation. She has special interest and expertise in functional communication training, autism, augmentative/alternative communication, and behavior management. Alison also works with children who have a variety of articulation, phonology, motor speech, and language disorders. Alison has training in PROMPT, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Language Acquisition Through Motor Planning (LAMP), and the Social Thinking curriculum. She takes a client and family-centered approach, focusing on multi-modal language and alignment with functional goals.

In her free time, Alison enjoys reading, hiking, yoga, and tap dancing.

Avery Borchers, MS CCC-SLP

Avery Borchers is a licensed Speech Pathologist in her first year following graduate school. She has moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to start her career full-time with Baltimore City Schools working with Pre-k to 8th grade. She received her undergraduate degree from Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) and completed her masters at University of Toledo.

Avery has experience in both pediatric and adult settings with an emphasis on Augmentative Alternative Communication. She enjoys building rapport with families, working as a team member to the support needs of the children. She started working for SpeechLeap fall of 2019 and is excited to be apart of the team and a resource for families!

When she’s not practicing as a Speech Pathologist you can find her traveling, attempting to use her roller skates (Watch out Baltimore!) and trying out new recipes!

Dorna Reihani, M.S. CF-SLP

Dorna Reihani holds a Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University and an undergraduate degree from Thomas Edison University. Dorna is a passionate M.S. CF-SLP, who has recently joined our team. She is very honored and excited to be part of the Speech Leap team, and is ready to assist our patients in any way possible to enable them to communicate more effectively.

Dorna has taught in an auditory oral school in Brooklyn, New York for a number of years where she has helped a diverse group of students. Additionally, Dorna was a teacher for a few years in a special needs preschool in Baltimore where she has interacted with students with a variety of different physical and mental limitations. She is driven to apply her experience with pediatrics to the clinic. She loves to perform play based therapy, as well as family centered therapy since she understands the nature of each child and the relationship they have with family. 

Dorna lives with her husband and three children whom she enjoys spending her time off from work with. Her hobbies include, exercising/dancing , listening to music, playing guitar, reading and baking among other things.

Emily Dalton, M.S. CCC-SLP

Emily Dalton is an ASHA and MD licensed Speech Language Pathologist. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Towson University, where she was a part of the famous Towson University Marching Band in the color guard! From there, she moved across the country to complete her Master’s degree at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Emily started her career in the schools, working with students from Pre-K to 8th grade with varying communication needs. She has experience working with AAC, fluency, receptive and expressive language, and articulation/phonology. Emily’s approach to therapy is to make it as fun as possible for the child, while also teaching skills and strategies to the family members in order to further support the child at home.

Emily is a cat mom to Jon Snow and Cheeto, loves to read and play golf, and enjoys trivia nights with friends!

Hallie Burkhard, M.S. CCC-SLP

Hallie Burkhard holds her Master’s degree from Loyola University of Maryland and an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland. She has a variety of pediatric experiences. She has specific interest and concentrated experience with social communication deficits and expressive/receptive language delays and disorders. Hallie uses a child and family-centered approach to therapy and believes in the value of strong rapport with clients. When not working with clients, Hallie can be found exploring the city with friends and family.

Jackie Pastorino, M.S., CCC-SLP

Jackie Pastorino is a licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist. Jackie attended Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida for her undergraduate degree and then moved to Maryland in 2016. Jackie graduated with her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University in May 2018 and has worked with both adults and pediatric clients. She currently works at Baltimore City Public Schools with children aged from 3 to 21. She supports a city wide literacy program for early intervention at one of her schools.

Jackie has experience and a passion for working with individuals that present with a variety of speech, language, hearing, social communication, neurological, swallowing, literacy, voice and fluency disorders. Jackie enjoys building relationships with clients and their families, supporting families throughout the process of evaluation and therapy and helping clients reach their individualized goals in ways that best supports their personalities and strengths.

When not working, Jackie enjoys being active outdoors, the pool or beach, hiking and camping, live music events, yoga and exercise and spending time with her family (mostly in Palm Beach County, Florida) and her fur-child Zeke (a 2-year-old rescue German Shepard).

Kerri Scriven, M.S., CCC-SLP

Kerri has been working with both adults and children for
almost 20 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Andrews University (Berrien Springs, MI) and her Master’s degree from Towson University. She has a passion for providing therapy that is focused on patient engagement and is always looking for ways to empower and boost her client’s confidence in their skills. She absolutely loves learning about her clients, their caregivers, and/families and believes wholeheartedly that each one of her clients possess unique qualities and skills. She believes that therapy should involve helping her client’s recognize their strengths not focus on their weaknesses.

For the past 13 years Kerri lived abroad with her family where she took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom. She worked part-time and volunteered as an ESL teacher and provided consultative services to bilingual families. She has experience working with issues including articulation, fluency, apraxia, attention deficit disorder, social pragmatic deficits, receptive and
expressive language delays, and foreign accent modification. She has also had the opportunity to provide tele-therapy speech and language services to students with a variety of needs. Much of her past experience has been working with the geriatric and adult population treating aphasia, memory, cognition, cognitivelinguistic deficits and swallowing disorders.

Kerri is excited to return to her home state of Maryland and is looking forward to collaborating and working with such an incredible team!

Miriam Mandel, M.S. CCC-SLP

Miriam Mandel M.S. CCC-SLP holds a Master of Science in Communication Disorders from Western Kentucky University.  She has worked in private clinic, public school, and private school settings with pediatric clients of all ages. Miriam has also planned and implemented summer language and literacy enrichment camps. Miriam’s passion is early language intervention with toddlers and preschool-aged children and she therefore has chosen to specialize in working with children from birth to five. In therapy sessions, Miriam commonly uses a parent/teacher coaching model, multisensory thematic language activities, and multimodal communication such as American Sign Language and/or picture symbols combined with spoken language.  Miriam provides the most important people in the child’s life (i.e. parents, caregivers, and teachers) with tools to maximize communication and minimize frustration. She believes that it is crucial for therapeutic techniques to be implemented frequently during daily activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, and playing to ensure meaningful learning and carryover. Miriam has over five years of experience evaluating and treating pediatric clients in the following areas:

  • Articulation, phonology, and intelligibility
  • Receptive and expressive language delays and disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, and other types of developmental delay
  • Social communication deficits
  • Assistive technology and complex communication needs
  • Literacy (phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, written expression, and spelling difficulties)
  • Stuttering
  • Voice and resonance
  • Hard of hearing
  • Auditory processing
  • Memory

Miriam is a Hanen Centre-certified provider of the Learning Language and Loving ItTM program for early childhood educators and teachers.  She is licensed by the State of Maryland and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Miriam lives with her husband and their young son and enjoys singing, reading, and writing in her spare time.

Yitty Novice MCD-CCC-SLP

Yitty has been a speech language pathologist for over six years working in a variety of settings including medical settings, schools and clinics. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and received a Master’s in communication disorders. She is a member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association and is licensed to provide speech and language services in the state of Maryland by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Yitty’s interest in speech and language disorders began when seeing the impact therapy had on her younger siblings. As she continued learning and engaging in the profession, her passion grew as she observed the profound impact improved speech, language, cognitive communication and swallow function had on her patients’ and clients’ lives.

Yitty has experience treating clients from a variety ages, diagnosis, and cultures. She demonstrates care and creativity when managing clients in the areas of articulation, language, executive function, aural rehabilitation, reading, augmentative and alternative communication, swallow, and cognitive function. She is certified in myofascial release for dysphagia and has extensive knowledge in the use of social thinking methodology. Collaboration with staff, teachers, therapists, and parents is of utmost importance to Yitty as she recognizes that group problem solving and implementation achieves the best results for her clients.

Yitty is the oldest child in her family, has children of her own and is a child at heart. She brings her curiosity, exploration and energy to her job and loves every minute of it!

Elina Mehrabi, M.S. OTR/L

Elina Mehrabi is the first licensed occupational therapist to join our SpeechLeap team. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science from Towson University in December 2018. Elina started her career working with both adults and pediatrics with neurological and orthopedic conditions in an outpatient setting. She is enthusiastic to join us now to work with our young clients to enhance their performance and skills in their daily activities.

As a mother, Elina enjoys integrating play-based activities to make therapy fun and goal- oriented for children. By collaborating with Speech Pathologists in SpeechLeap, Elina will help provide a more comprehensive approach to facilitate our clients and families to achieve their goals.

Cicely Hobson, Office Administrator

Cicely Hobson is the Office Administrator here at Speech Leap. She is responsible for scheduling, billing, client communications, and general office organization tasks. She has worked with Speech Leap since 2018, and has thoroughly enjoyed working behind the scenes to meet the needs of our therapists and clients alike. She promises to always try her best to meet your needs efficiently and effectively.
Cicely graduated from Towson University in 2019 with her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. After spending some time in the workforce, she plans to continue her education to gain her graduate degree. Cicely loves working with children of all ages and has cared for them in a variety of settings, such as daycare, home, and summer camp. As a future health professional, she hopes to devote her career to meeting the needs of children and their families from an interdisciplinary approach. She believes collaboration between parents, professionals and disciplines is key to children growing to their fullest potential.
For pleasure, Cicely enjoys camping, live music events, and spending time in nature.

Julia Simak, B.S., Intake Specialist

Julia Simak is the Intake Specialist here at Speech Leap. She is responsible for managing client intakes, scheduling, documentation, and handling other client communication tasks. She is beyond excited to work behind the scenes to support the needs of our team and clients.

Julia graduated from Towson University in 2020 with her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Towson University. She has a unique background in teaching children and adults with learning disabilities at her previous position at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, where she used phoneme awareness, symbol imagery, and concept imagery to support students in their language skills. She has a wide range of experience working with children, involving being a curriculum leader at the Y of Central Maryland, a student clinician at the Towson Institute of Well Being, a nanny, and much more. She is passionate about Speech-Language Pathology and hopes to provide clients and therapists with the necessary tools to achieve their highest potential.

Julia is bilingual in Russian and English and loves learning new languages in her free time. You can find her playing piano, exploring nature, or shopping for candles at TJ Maxx.

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