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I want to take time to write this email – feel free to show it to Christie Beachley or better yet if there is a file for her for end of year evaluation, this would be an addition.

I doubt you’ll remember our first conversation, but I surely did – I was filled with reservation on ‘another therapist’ and left feeling how well of a fit it will be. I recall your exact words “I’ve got a really good fit for your daughter…” and I recall this ‘oh oh’ knot in my stomach towards the unknown. Of course the director of her office would say that about everyone working there. You reminded me of our school principal making the same (empty) promise.

Christie is everything you’ve promised and more. Right away my daughter hit it off with her, so no wasted (multiple) sessions of ‘acclimation’ as we had in the past. Not only is that important, what is also equally important (past therapists did not realize) is the interaction with me – Christie has gone out of her way in answer questions not just few minutes afterwards but over email, she has spent enormous amounts of time and energy with me with the dreaded IEP. Way beyond all expectations.

I feel compelled to write something quick even though tomorrow’s my daughter’s IEP and my plans are to ‘pull an all nighter’ preparing for it. Thanks to Christie, I am now confident (vs being clueless at the time when I initially approached her) and feel, with time on side, well prepared.

Thank you for everything.

Father of a 5 year old

I have 5 children and apparently Apraxia seems to run in our family. 4 out of 5 children were diagnosed with Apraxia. We initially went to Children’s Speech and Language back in 2009 with our second oldest child at age 2. Through the years, we noticed similar speech issues and continued with Children’s Speech and Language for several years with our other children. Children’s Speech and Language has been such a big part of our lives.

Over the years we saw therapists Ginny Hemmer, Melissa Light, KaraLynne DelToro, Kara Tamayao, and Sandy Kastantin. They all have been wonderful, caring individuals who have all made a positive difference in each of my children’s lives. With the therapists help, my children became confident in their ability to speak and hence were able to conquer new challenges that came their way such as reading, writing, and making friends; all of which could not have happened if they did not learn the valuable skills from PROMPT therapy to speak correctly. My family and I will be forever grateful for their help.

Around age two, it became clear that our eldest son, Hudson, needed a bit more help with his speech. He clearly wanted to speak, but was having trouble forming the words properly and falling behind his peers in communication skills. We initially enrolled in speech therapy services offered through our county (early intervention services), but were increasingly disappointed with the lack of progress so we decided to pursue private speech therapy. We were referred to CSLS by a friend and felt encouraged after the initial consult with Donna and her explanation of the PROMPT technique. She is clearly gifted with children and very passionate about her work. We felt like we found the right place.

Hudson began weekly appointments with Melissa Friedberg shortly after his second birthday and after 16 months, Hudson is close to graduating from the program. From the start, Melissa has been outstanding. She is everything you would hope for in a speech therapist: patient, compassionate, engaging, warm and friendly … did I mention patient?? She has the rare ability to keep a rambunctious toddler on task for nearly an hour! I’m sure being a mother of two young children helps, but we are so grateful to have found such a caring therapist who truly wants to see Hudson succeed. Thanks to Melissa’s wonderful help, Hudson has gone from saying roughly 30 words around age 2, to now being on par with all of his peers (if not more articulate than some.) He loves to talk and my days are full of his constant, excited chatter – for which I am thankful (most days).

We could not be more pleased with the care we have received at CSLS and recommend it highly to our friends. The professionalism, quality of care and expertise has made a huge difference in Hudson’s life and for that we will forever be grateful.

–Hudson’s mom

Frankly, it was little easier to write the application request for PROMPT therapy than this testimony, because now I have a 5 year old interrupting me with constant chatter in the background!!

What a difference PROMPT speech therapy has made in our lives! This time last year we were working on fluency with an AAC (which is now collecting dust). Today she is working on sight words, articulation, and writing. Improving Jordyn’s motor planning has not only helped intelligibility, it has spurred a language explosion. She speaks in sentences now and sings songs. I have precious videos of her singing in front of our family.

From the time we took Jordyn to her initial PROMPT evaluation – I was super impressed with the PROMPT approach. First off, our clinic only takes kids if they think they can help. As a mother, the integrity of that policy spoke volumes. About 20 minutes into the initial PROMPT evaluation, her evaluator, Ginny, prompted Jordyn for a sound, and she made the correct sound. Jordyn couldn’t do that before, and I will never forget that. I was convinced! Jordyn has oral motor planning problems and her therapist, KaraLynne, trains her how to make the correct sounds.

Something different about PROMPT than other speech therapies, is her therapist always gives us “homework.” Her homework consists of fun ways to incorporate what she learned in the previous session in everyday life. What I notice, as her mother, is the synergistic effect this therapy has in conjunction with all other efforts. For example, as she gains control of movements and her speech intelligibly increases, she gains confidence and speaks more positively impacting other aspects of her improvement.

Looking back at the grant application videos, about 9 months ago, she could only answer questions in one or two words phrases. Now, she can talk about what she wants and answer questions. As she becomes more and more intelligible, her confidence increases. As her mother, one of the moments I will always remember is when Jordyn came home from school, and sang “God is so Good.” Jordyn is able to express her ideas and share her opinion.

“Small Steps in Speech” and PROMPT therapy has been life changing. Jordyn will go to kindergarten next year. She will be in a class with her typically developing peers. Although she will probably still need some speech therapy next year, she has a voice to share her feelings and ideas.

I cannot thank “Small Steps in Speech” enough for helping us obtain PROMPT therapy for Jordyn!! As her mom, please let me express my gratitude for the voice in my house distracting me from this letter. Because of this therapy, my little girl has a voice in this world. Her future is bright!

Happy Prompt Parent

To find out more about the Small Steps in Speech Grant Program go to

My daughter, who happens to have a diagnosis of Down syndrome, has been seeing Melissa Light at Children’s Speech and Language Services for the past 2 years and the result has been amazing. Melissa has fostered a wonderful, caring and trusting relationship with my daughter. Through use of PROMPT and other appropriate techniques, my daughter’s speech has tremendously grown. Other parents listen to my daughter communicate now and they are in disbelief and say, “Wow, I have speech envy. I wish my child (with DS) could talk as well.’

When there were issues with our insurance no longer covering our services at this location, we wanted to pay out of pocket so that our daughter continued to get the speech therapy that makes such a difference in her life. Highly recommend the team at Children’s. It will be life changing for your child and you WILL see the progress you’ve been wishing for!

Happy Parent 

Choosing Children’s Speech and Language Services has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my son. My twenty-two month old son has a speech delay which impacts his ability to communicate his wants and needs. Prior to starting therapy at Children’s Speech and Language Services my son received speech therapy for many months and was not progressing. As soon as my son started working with his therapist, Jen Midili, he immediately started to make progress.

The progress was so remarkable that I quickly knew that I had found the right therapist for him. I have seen progress in my son that I know would not have been possible without the help of Jen and her expertise in PROMPT. Jen is caring and has an excellent rapport with my son. My son enjoys going to therapy and Jen makes therapy fun for him while also pushing him to reach his greatest potential. Jen has taught my son how to express himself and he is now communicating with family and peers. I’m so thankful to have found such a wonderful, caring speech pathologist who has given my son the gift of communication.


Aidan, who is almost 9 years old and has Down syndrome, has been seeing Melissa Light for over 5 years. We were referred to Children’s Speech and Language Services by Aidan’s Developmental Pediatrician who respected Donna and knew that she had high quality speech therapists on her staff. Aidan needed a speech therapist who specialized in PROMPT – that’s how we started working with Melissa. I cannot express enough gratitude to Melissa for all the hard work she has done with Aidan. Aidan has progressed
so much over the years, his articulation is vastly improved and his speech is understandable. Family and friends are always commenting that Aidan’s speech is continually improving; this improvement has in turn lessened his frustrations and improved his behavior.

Thank you!

“Our son has been receiving services from CSLS for 3 years. We had tried 3 or 4 speech therapists before finding Donna and her amazing team at CSLS, and from the start it was a completely different experience than we had elsewhere. Our therapists have been able to connect puzzle pieces for us in ways that help us understand our son and his challenges in a much clearer way.

From the time of the initial assessment, we were able to better understand the mechanics behind our son’s oral motor challenges, and for the first time my husband and I felt as though with the PROMPT framework and treatment, we had an actionable plan with measurable building blocks. By putting the pieces together in a logical, methodical, fashion, our son finally made real strides.

Now 5 and getting ready for kindergarten, our therapist, Jen Midili, recognized the need to add more than articulation to his therapy and is working to fill in some language gaps. The CSLS therapists never stop raising the bar for their kids – often before we parents know that they’re ready!”

Meghan K.

Deena Kennedy and Children’s Speech and Language Services, Inc. have changed our son’s and our life significantly, they gave us a hope, a second chance. In a year our lives have changed from hopeless, tearful and overall sad to the ones full of joy and plans for future, while our completely non-verbal child has amazingly improved not only in receptive and expressive speech, but also with social cues, behavior, etc. Our son had no friends and at the age of two was behind his peers for approximately a year in terms of speech, but thanks for Deena he has made an amazing progress.

Now he is able to play at the playground with other children, and almost nobody can notice that he is very much different from everyone else. If not for Deena Kennedy and Children’s Speech and Language Services, Inc. this would not be possible.

Mother of 3 1/2 yr. old boy diagnosed with autism.

Childrens Speech and Language Services and Ginny Hemmer changed my child’s life forever. My son was diagnosed with apraxia at the age of 17 months, after 4 months of weekly speech services from Early Intervention through our local county. PROMPT Therapy was the treatment my son needed to improve his overall outcome with regards to speech.

I believed in the research that says children with CAS need small amounts of therapy a few times a week if possible. We drove 45-minutes 3 times a week for 10 months to work with Ginny in order to give him his best chance of catching up to his peers. Although he continues to receive weekly private speech, he is considered to be a child with resolved CAS, and I am thankful every day for speech clinicians like Ginny Hemmer who dedicate their life to children like mine.

Mason’s Mo

I couldn’t feel in better hands than I do by working with Deena Kennedy as part of Donna Gaines’ team at Children’s Speech and Language Services, Inc. Among the most important things I have come to value is that Deena knows my daughter better than anyone other than myself. This means that she is able to not only provide Emma with the specific therapy she needs to build her language and articulation, but she is also able to provide the motivation Emma needs to work hard and enjoy her time. Deena is masterful at keeping Emma on point and keeping therapy fun! Deena is also a truly valued counselor to me given her unique knowledge and understanding of Emma. It’s a great feeling to know my daughter and I are in such good hands!

Mother of daughter with a motor-speech disorder and language delay

Our six year old daughter, Adelyn, has received speech therapy from a variety of therapists since her second birthday. Not until she started with Melissa Friedberg and Children’s Speech and Language Services have we seen her so enthusiastic to go to therapy and excited by her progress. Melissa has done wonders for her self confidence and her self esteem. Her frustration is greatly decreased and we are seeing a child that always gives her best effort for Melissa with areas she has found difficult in the past. Therapy has become a positive experience that she looks forward to each week.

We are thrilled that our three year old son is now working with Melissa as well. Since being diagnosed with a motor planning delay, we’ve seen such significant improvements since he started PROMPT therapy at CSLS a year and a half ago. Lehner’s vocabulary continues to grow.

Melissa takes the time to figure out each child’s personality, connect with them and tailor a therapy plan that helps them to reach their goals. Melissa ensures that we are part of their progress by explaining the treatment plan and giving suggestions for at home practice. We are thankful to have found such an amazing place and such an exceptional speech therapist.

Laura and James (parents)

Our daughter Hannah is 9 years old, has cerebral palsy and first came to see Donna Gaines at Children’s Speech and Language Services for a PROMPT evaluation when she was 3 years old. At that time, Hannah’s speech was extremely limited and while she had worked very hard to overcome her more obvious gross motor challenges, her lack of an ability to speak soon became our primary concern. Hannah has now been seeing Donna weekly for PROMPT therapy for 6 years and the progress she’s made has been incredible. We credit Donna with providing Hannah with the tools, both physical and cognitive, to formulate coherent sentences and express herself fully. Donna has given Hannah the gift of a voice – that is now heard loud and clear and brings us so much joy. Donna is an incredible practitioner and we are so thankful she is a part of our daughter’s life.

(Hannah’s mom)