As the senior speech therapist at P.S. 139Q in Rego Park, Queens,
Melissa Heller, M.S., CCC-SLP
, provides speech and language services to kids in kindergarten to first grade. After working in the New York City Department of Education and in Early Intervention for more than 25 years, Heller was determined to implement a program that would promote carry over of the skills taught at school to the child’s home environment.
As part of the Speech Booster program, Heller works privately with children in the early intervention population to strengthen auditory processing skills, reading comprehension, writing, motor skills, and sequencing. The program is designed to promote carryover of speech and language skills in all settings, she says.
The key to the program’s success is parental engagement, Heller says. “When parents can sit in on their own child’s speech sessions to observe and learn the strategies, techniques, and methodology, and then implement those lessons with their child, that makes all the difference,” says Heller, who is launching the program this fall in Manhattan.
Speech sessions take place after school in the child’s home. Communication among parents and the child’s teachers is emphasized, says Heller, whose goal is to strengthen the home-school connection.
Children in the program will have access to a lending library and parents can use the same materials Heller uses in therapy, such as books, games, and sequencing devices.
Heller, whose website is currently in the works, offers free consultations for private therapy sessions.
Main photo: Melissa Heller, M.S., CCC-SLP, focuses on the home-school connection in speech-language therapy sessions.