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

Ashira Schiermeyer M.S. CCC-SLP

Ashira Schiermeyer is a licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist. She received her Master of Science in speech-language pathology from the Touro College School of Health Sciences in 2014. She has worked in private practices and public schools with students ranging in age from 2-18. Ashira currently works in private schools. Ashira has experience working with expressive/ receptive language, pragmatic skills, AAC, fluency, and articulation. She is especially passionate about articulation and oral motor skills, and is trained in the PROMPT and TalkTools approaches. Ashira loves to make therapy fun and motivating for her students while affecting real growth. While not working, Ashira enjoys spending time with her family, painting, singing, and reading.

Mackenzie Pretty M.S. CCC-SLP, Lead Speech Language Pathologist

Mackenzie is the Lead Speech-Language Pathologist at Speech Leap. She earned national ASHA certification after receiving her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland and her Master’s degree at the University of Georgia. After completing her graduate degree, Mackenzie was a travel therapist and worked in the public schools in Washington state, as well as Early Intervention in Philadelphia. Following her time as a traveling therapist, Mackenzie worked in an outpatient pediatric clinic and is experienced working with children with a variety of communication needs. She enjoys collaborating with families and other professionals in order to provide holistic intervention. Outside of work, Mackenzie enjoys traveling, listening to music, reading, spending time with friends and family, and playing with her dog Atlas.

Cree Drayton M.S. CCC-SLP

Ms. Cree is a licensed Speech Therapist with experience in pediatric therapy. She graduated from Howard University with her Bachelor’s degree in 2013. She has since worked in the school setting and private practice setting, providing services to children with a variety of needs. Ms. Cree is a licensed Speech Therapist with experience in pediatric therapy. She graduated from Howard University with her Bachelor’s degree in 2013. She has since worked in the school setting and private practice setting, providing services to children with a variety of needs. Ms. Cree is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from New York University. She enjoys working with children across all communicative domains and advocates for fun, functional therapy. Ms. Cree is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from New York University. She enjoys working with children across all communicative domains and advocates for fun, functional therapy. Outside of the speech and language realm, Cree is a wife and a mother of three little girls. She loves spending quality time with her family and making therapy materials in her free time. Outside of the speech and language realm, Cree is a wife and a mother of two little girls. She loves spending quality time with her family and making therapy materials in her free time.

Dorna Reihani, M.S. CCC-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!

Erika Berry M.S. CCC-SLP

Erika is a South Carolina native, who is happy to start a new adventure here in Maryland! She currently holds a MD, SC, and ASHA license to practice Speech Language Pathology. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Columbia College in Columbia, SC. She received her Master’s degree from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC. Erika has spent most of her career working in Early Intervention (birth – 5), working closely with children and their families to assist with their communication needs. Erika has also had experience working in the school setting as well as private practice with a variety of age groups. She is very passionate about providing families with support and skills to set their children up for success! When not working Erika enjoys exploring new places, being outdoors, traveling, and watching a binge worthy t.v show!

Leah Jaffe M.S. CCC-SLP

Leah Jaffee got her masters from Nova Southeastern University. She has experience working in a public school, a nursing home, private schools, and private practices. She loves to research and collaborate with others to ensure that she is providing therapy that is evidence-based and will help each individual client. Leah is known for her enthusiasm, sincerity, and investment in whatever she is involved in. She is intuitive and has an ability to analyze a situation to get to the bottom of a clinical or inter-personal dilemma. Leah views her client’s time as precious and seeks to use each session to its utmost, while targeting goals that will make a real difference in each person’s life. When Leah is not working, she enjoys spending quality time with her children.

Liz McAllen B.S. SLP-A

Liz McAllen graduated with her B.A. in Hearing & Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2018. Since that time, she has worked with pediatric and adult clients as a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant. Prior to her work as an SLPA, Liz worked in early intervention with children on the Autism spectrum and as a researcher in the areas of executive function and reading comprehension. Liz enjoys working closely and collaboratively with clients and their families to ensure that each client’s needs are fully addressed during therapy and at home. Liz is beginning her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Towson University this fall and is excited to take this next step. In her free time, Liz loves being outside in nature with her husband and her black Labrador, Jet.

Rachel Rossakamm M.S. CF-SLP

Rachel received her Masters of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree from Gratz College. She has experience working in a public school and nursing home/rehabilitation center but loves working with the pediatric population the most. Rachel has a specific interest and concentrated experience with expressive/receptive language delays and disorders, articulation, pragmatic, and fluency disorders. She incorporates fun activities and lessons into her sessions while targeting each client’s goals. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys listening to music and going on hikes with her husband and kids.

Taylin LeibowitzM.S CCC-SLP

Hi! My name is Taylin Leibowitz. Originally from New Jersey, I received my undergraduate degree in Linguistics from Rutgers University and moved to Baltimore where I received my Masters’ degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland. The focus of my career so far has been with adolescents and young adults on the Autism Spectrum, which includes working at an overnight camp for children and adults with special needs. I love being outside, reading, and traveling whenever possible!

Taylor Schwebach M.S. CF-SLP

A Miami, Florida native, Taylor recently received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Florida State University. Before becoming a bilingual speech pathologist, Taylor earned her TEFL Certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and spent several years working in Madrid where she taught English as a foreign language in schools to children of all ages. She has since worked in school, clinical, and home-health settings providing services to children and adults from various backgrounds with diverse needs. Taylor is especially passionate about AAC and assistive technology as well as neurodiversity-affirming practice. She takes a client-centered, play-based approach and is a fierce advocate for disability acceptance and accommodation. Outside of her SLP duties, Taylor loves reading, gardening, traveling, and trying new restaurants around Baltimore.

Yitty Novice MCD-CCC-SLP

Yitty has been a speech language pathologist 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, fluency, language, executive function, aural rehabilitation, reading, augmentative and alternative communication, swallow, and cognitive function. She is certified in myofascial release for dysphagia, TalkTools Oral Placement Therapy, and has extensive knowledge of social thinking methodology, oral facial myology and stuttering . 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, MS OTR/L OT Lead Therapists

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.

Malka Singer M.S, CCC-SLP

Malka Singer received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland. She is ASHA certified and is licensed to provide speech and language services in the state of Maryland. Malka has experience working with students ranging in age from 3-21 in public and private schools. Malka genuinely cares about each student, motivating them lovingly with attainable goals and making it fun throughout the process. Malka has experience working with students that have challenges with articulation and phonology, receptive/expressive language, fluency and pragmatics. She looks forward to giving her students confidence and pride in themselves and in their communication. Outside of work, Malka enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking, and exercising.

Casey Lowry OTR/L

Casey received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2022 from Towson University and is a member of Towson’s chapter of the OT national honor society. She has pediatric school-based experience through her fieldwork program where she loved building rapport with students through play-based activities while building skills and making suggestions for necessary accommodations. Casey looks forward to working in the clinic setting to understand the unique needs of each child through a child-centered approach and collaborating with parents and other professionals to support engagement in meaningful activities. In her spare time, she enjoys playing soccer, playing guitar, and having game nights with her friends and family.

Chessa Nekka Taboada, OTR/L

Chessa Taboada is a pediatric occupational therapist who has experience working with children with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Down Syndrome among others. She has been a school-based occupational therapist for two years and has recently joined the team to provide intervention in the clinical setting. She graduated with her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Towson University in December 2019. By working with parents, caregivers, and their children, Chessa aims to improve overall engagement and participation in daily activities in all of the settings–whether it’s in the school, at home, or in the community. During her spare time, she enjoys going out to different restaurants and trying out different foods, traveling, hiking, and reading. She also enjoys taking pictures and making videos capturing the moments of her daily life.

Cortney Ege, MS, OTR/L, ASDCS

Cortney graduated from Towson University with her Bachelors and Masters degree in OT in 2007. Over the past 15 years she has practiced in long term care and in home health treating a vast array of diagnosis and age ranges. She has recently become an Autism Clinical Specialist and has taken multiple courses on Autism, ADD, and pediatric motor disorders. Outside of work she is a huge Disney fan, loves spending time with her son and attending and teaching group fitness classes.

Hadassah Sperling, MS OTR/L

Hadassah Sperling received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Towson University and her undergraduate degree from Gratz College. Since completing her degree, she has worked with the pediatric population in our outpatient clinic as well as in local schools. Her goals are to ensure that each child feels heard, appreciated, and accomplished throughout sessions as they work towards their goals, aiming for a client-centered approach to help them succeed in their home and school occupations. Hadassah enjoys incorporating clients’ favorite activities in sessions so that they feel motivated and have fun. In her spare time, Hadassah enjoys listening to music, reading fiction novels, completing creative activities (diamond art, hook rugs), and spending time with her husband and toddler.

Sabrina Mughal OTD/LR

Sabrina received her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Towson University in 2022. Through her educational coursework, Sabrina has gained experience with working with children in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sabrina is passionate about Occupational Therapy, particularly with equipping families with strategies to support their child’s progress towards their performance in daily activities. She is excited to join the SpeechLeap team! In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her friends and family, watching movies, and playing with her 3 adorable cats.

Shira Kahn, MS, OTR/L, ASDCS

Shira Kahn has worked in the field of Occupational Therapy for over 6 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Thomas Edison State College and her Masters’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Towson University. She has a wide range of clinical knowledge and experience including working in hospitals, SNFs, and outpatient settings with individuals with orthopedic and neurological conditions as well as with children with ASD and SPD. Her goals are to facilitate a client-centered approach and to incorporate treatments for her clients and their families to help them succeed in their everyday life and maximize their potential. Her caring personality helps her connect with her clients and create a great therapeutic environment. When not in the clinic, Shira enjoys spending quality time with her husband and her two daughters. Some of her favorite things to do include cake decorating, ice skating and swimming.

Peninah Reach COTA

Peninah has a love for working with children building on her experience in a community preschool and extensive education and mentoring in pediatric occupational therapy. Peninah is creative in designing her therapeutic interventions focusing on graded skill development to reach each child’s goals. Peninah finished her OTA program six years ago. She has five grown children and volunteers for children with special needs in the community. In an earlier degree program she studied a year abroad in Seville, Spain which rounded out her understanding of a person’s cultural context. In her spare time Peninah loves to swim laps to relax and cook for family and friends.

Yehudis Kohn COTA/L

Yehudis Kohn COTA/L is very excited to join the Speech Leap team. She graduated her COTA program at CCBC in 2015.  She has been working in occupational therapy with older adults across various settings including a retirement community, rehabs, and home health. Although new to pediatric OT,  Yehudis is a Mom and  has lots of experience working  with kids in multiple settings over many years, including teaching toddlers and working with kids of varying ages in summer camps. With her positive energy and upbeat attitude, Yehudis loves to be creative and help bring out the potential in every child.

Kristy Neal, Office Administrator

Kristy Neal holds a Masters degree in Social Work from University or Maryland, Baltimore. Kristy started her career working in foster care helping children find a place they could call home. She has since transitioned into working with children and adults that suffer from different psychological disorders for the past eight years. Kristy is the youngest of 13 children and enjoys nothing more than spending time with her family. She has a natural ability to care about those around her and be as helpful as possible. When not working, she is watching her son play AAU basketball games or spending time visiting new landmarks.

Cicely Hobson, Billing Specialist

Cicely Hobson is the Billing Specialist here at Speech Leap; she is responsible for private insurance remittance, creating invoices, and charging copays.

Cicely first joined the Speech Leap team in 2018 and has thoroughly enjoyed working behind the scenes to meet the needs of our therapists and clients alike. From May 2019- May 2021, she served as Speech Leap’s Office Administrator, before moving back home to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, several hours from the clinic. In 2019, Cicely graduated from Towson University 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 abilities and has cared for them in a variety of settings, such as daycare, home, and summer camp. As a future healthcare professional, she hopes to devote her career to helping children grow to their fullest potential through the collaboration of parents, professionals, and disciplines. In her free time, Cicely enjoys spending time with her family and friends, taking long walks with her dog, Benji, listening to music, and traveling.

-We are thrilled to welcome Cicely back to the Speech Leap team in this new role.

Yehudis Aron, Office Assistant and Therapy Aide

Yehudis Aron is currently working towards her college degree for Computer Science. Yehudis has experience working with children and adults with special needs. She is passionate about advocating for childrens’ needs and voices to be heard. Yehudis chose to join SpeechLeap because of the warm and welcoming work environment. She enjoys organizing and thinking creatively. In her free time, Yehudis enjoys yoga, hiking, hanging out with her puppy and spending time with her family.

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