Speech-language Pathologists are professionals who evaluate, diagnose and treat various communication, cognitive (i.e, memory, thinking, problem solving), and swallowing disorders. Impairments in these areas may be a result of a child’s inability to obtain these skills naturally or the result of an illness or injury acquired at any stage of life (birth trauma, stroke, or neurological disease). Our staff utilizes a variety of techniques and treatment approaches to help our clients gain skills to communicate functionally, complete skills for day to day living and maintain safe and adequate oral nutrition. Treatment sessions are typically one on one ranging from 30-60 minutes 1-3 times a week depending on the client’s needs. Sessions are goal directed, but play based to keep clients motivated and engaged. SLPs provide caregiver education and home programs for carryover of targeted skills in functional environments. We collaborate with other disciplines and health care professionals to provide comprehensive care for the client.
Signs help may be needed
birth-3 months: not smiling or playing with others
4-7 months: not babbling
7-12 months: making only a few sounds; not using gestures (waving, pointing, etc)
7 months-2years: not understanding what others say
12-18 months: saying only a few words
2 years: saying fewer than 50 words
1 ½-2 years: not putting two words together
2-3 years: having trouble playing and talking with other children
2 ½-3 years: having problems with early reading and writing (doesn’t like to draw or look at books)
1-2 years: not saying p, b, m, h, and w the right way in words most of the time
2-3 years: not saying k, g, f, t, d, and n the right way in words most of the time; being hard to understand, even to people who know the child well.
2-½ - 3 years:
having a lot of trouble saying sounds or words
repeating the first sounds of words, like “b-b-b-ball” for “ball”
pausing a lot while talking
stretching sounds out, like “ffffffarm” for “farm”
birth-1 year: not paying attention to sounds
7 months-1 year: not responding to name
1-2 years: not following simple directions
birth-3 years: having speech and language delays
Our therapists provide skilled treatment for the following areas:
• Auditory comprehension
• Augmentative / alternative communication
• Cleft lips or cleft palates
• Hearing impairments
• Non-verbal communication
• Oral motor weakness/incoordination
• Reading comprehension
• Receptive and expressive language
• Sign language
• Social skills
• Speech intelligibility
• Voice disorders
Meet our Speech-Language Pathologists
Kelli Pierce graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Anthropology. She returned to MSU for Communicative Sciences and Disorders courses and earned a Master of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University’s Speech-Language Pathology program in 2011. Kelli has been working at Comprehensive Speech and Therapy Center since that time in a variety of settings, including schools, home care, skilled nursing facilities, in addition to the clinical setting. She has gained valuable experience in evaluation and diagnosis of communication disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, speech sound disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and aphasia following stroke. Kelli is one of the Assistant Clinical Directors at CSTC, overseeing clinical compliance and development. Additionally, Kelli is the Vice President for Advocacy for the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Kelli enjoys reading, hanging out with her husband and three kids, trying to find time to go to yoga, drinking coffee, and hiking in the woods.
Justine Walker, MS, CCC is a licensed and certified Speech and Language Pathologist. Justine obtained her Bachelor's of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Eastern Michigan University and her Master's of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Justine specializes in working with individuals with hearing loss and their families. She has previously worked in the outpatient clinical setting, nonprofit school setting, and public school setting. She is completing the requirements for certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist, Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist through the Alexander Graham Bell Association. Justine also enjoys spending time with her family, playing games, and photography in her time away from work.
Kathy Alexander joined the speech language pathology department of CSTC in July of 2018. She has a combination of Michigan public school speech pathology experience as well as university clinic supervisory experience. Kathy has worked primarily with elementary and preschool aged children who have articulation and language difficulties. In her spare time Kathy enjoys reading, sailing and volunteer work.
After receiving her bachelor's degree in Linguistics, with minors in Cognitive Science and Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Laney earned her master's degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University. While pursuing her master's, Laney completed a master's thesis on persistence/recovery in stuttering, as well as several internships, including working with Early On and the University of Michigan's Craniofacial Anomalies Program. Laney's areas of interest include early childhood language development, alternative and augmentative communication, and fluency. In her free time, Laney enjoys playing board games and hiking with her dogs.
Lilith Reuter-Yuill is currently working towards her doctoral degree in Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University under the advisement of Dr. Jonathan Baker, Ph.D., BCBA-D. She received her master’s degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences and completed her thesis comparing AAC modalities under the advisement of Dr. Sandie Bass-Ringdahl, Ph.D., CCC-A at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She completed her clinical supervision in speech-language pathology and behavior analysis at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. These cross-discipline experiences were transformative and informed her clinical interests in interprofessional collaboration and the application of verbal behavior in the assessment and treatment of language disorders. Lilith specializes in augmentative and alternative communication, feeding, and functional communication training.
Valerie Cox graduated from Michigan State University’s Communicative Sciences and Disorders program. She started working at CSTC in the summer of 2018 and has gained valuable experience in the areas of apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorders, early childhood language disorders, and augmentative and alternative forms of communication, including training in LAMP Words for Life. Valerie enjoys baking and cooking, playing tennis, walking trails with her dog, and drinking coffee.
Rachel White has been a Speech Language Pathologist for 9 years and began working at Comprehensive Speech and Therapy Center in January 2019. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2010 earning her Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology. Rachel has treated both adults and children working in hospitals, skilled nursing, home health and outpatient clinics. She has received training in DIR FloorTime, pediatric feeding and swallowing, and is certified in VitalStim and Myofascial Release and other Manual Techniques in Dysphagia Management. Rachel's special interests include pediatric feeding and swallowing, working with children who have autism spectrum disorder and adult dysphagia. Rachel's interest outside of work include playing roller derby, working out and spending time with her boyfriend, pets and family.
Lauren Gravelyn graduated from Grand Valley State University with her Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She has a lot of pediatric experience, including working in early intervention, schools, and private practice in which she serviced a variety of clients. She started at CSTC in March 2019. Lauren is from Grand Rapids and in her free time she enjoys baking, yoga, spending time with friends and family, and going on trips to Traverse City.
Scott Thorbjornsen earned his Bachelor's Degree in Allied Health Sciences at Grand Valley State University, with an emphasis in Communication Sciences and Disorders. He earned his Master's Degree in Speech-Langauge Pathology at Western Michigan University in June 2019. Scott has experience with children and adults in the areas of apraxia, swallowing, articulation, language, and AAC. In his free time, Scott enjoys reading, hiking, and seeing the latest movies.