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Speech-Language Pathology

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September, 2015

Speech-Language Pathology welcomes the following new staff members:

  • Celina Cerf M.A., Clinical Fellow.  Ms. Cerf graduated from the University of Texas-Austin.  She has specific clinical experience in pediatric and adult autism programs.  She will be providing assessment and treatment at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center.
  • Linda Jones has joined the SLP staff at University Hospital; Ms. Jones is an Outpatient Office Associate at University Hospital


  • Rebecca Ankeney M.A. CCC and Lindsay Reilly M.A. CCC, each of whom received a Silver Making a Difference Award.  This award recognizes receiving 4 Making a Difference awards for exemplary patient care and customer service within the past year.
  • Phil Menard MA CCC received a significant grant from the UMHS Patient Education Awards Committee/FRIENDS to fund family education materials for families of children with autism.
  • Laura Sayers M.A. CCC was promoted to Senior SLP at Mott Hospital.  Ms. Sayers is the primary SLP involved in Dr. Amy Drayton’s Behavioral Feeding Assessment/Treatment program.   She is a primary SLP on the pediatric inpatient rehabilitation service and is highly involved in feeding/swallowing assessment, with specific training in fiberoptic endoscopic assessment.

  • Margaret Tiner M.A. CCC received her 3rd continuing education award (ACE) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association.
  • Natalie Wombacher M.A. CCC also received an ACE award this year.


  • Karen Kluin M.S. CCC, BC-ANCDS, is a co-author on the Epilepsy poster: ” Lateralizing value of ictal oral automatism subtypes in temporal lobe epilepsy”.    Ms. Kluin serves as a consultant to hospital departments in the area of Speech-Language Pathology participation in intra-operative language mapping and monitoring during awake brain surgery. Ms. Kluin is participating in a multi-disciplinary short course, selected as a Trailblazer course, at the November, 2015 meeting of the  American Speech Language Hearing Association in Denver, Colorado:  “TED Talks (and Hears) Neuroanatomy.
  • Natalie Wombacher M.A. CCC presented a lecture on speech and communication issues related to cleft palate at the Michigan Cleft Palate Association.   Ms. Wombacher recently received approval to participate as an AmeriCleft speech  outcomes rater.  She has submitted a request to the state of Michigan to designate September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month, which Governor Snyder signed.  A celebration is scheduled to mark this occasion on September 16 at Mott Hospital:  children with craniofacial differences will be unveiling a photography exhibit, highlighting their creative photography completed during a trip to the Arboretum. 

Upcoming Events

    • Sarah Russell M.A. CCC is organizing an area-wide Dysphagia Grand Rounds scheduled for September 22 from 6:30-8:30 at the Michigan League.  Area SLPs are invited to attend.  Guest speaker Dr. Thomas O’Neill will be speaking about Palliative Care. 

May, 2015

Speech-Language Pathology welcomes the following new staff members:

  • Melissa Elkus M.A. CCC is staffing both Milestones Pediatric Rehabilitation Center and the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center on Commonwealth.

  • Thomas Singer M.A. CCC joins the University Hospital acute care and inpatient rehabilitation team.

  • Kristen Willey M.A. CCC has joined Speech-Language Pathology at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center on Commonwealth Drive, with specialization in augmentative/alternative communication.

  • Rebecca Ankeney  M.A. CCC has been promoted to Senior Speech-Language Pathologist.  Ms. Ankeney is a specialist in the area of augmentative communication.  She is the developer of Talk-Around-Town, a Dance Marathon-supported program that facilitates children’s use of communication devices in the community.

  • Philip Menard M.A. CCC has been promoted to Senior Speech-Language Pathologist.  Mr. Menard is founder of STEPS:  (Support, Teach, Engage, Promote and Succeed) an Autism Treatment program designed to facilitate improved communication skills, social competence and academic preparedness in children with autism.

  • Congratulations to Kathleen Brigham, SLP Patient Services Associate, who received a Silver Making a Difference Award.  This award recognizes receiving 4 Making a Difference awards for exemplary patient care and customer service in the past year.

  • Lynn Driver M.S. CCC is lead author on a revised chapter:  Language Development and Disorders of Communication and Oral Motor Function (Driver, Ayyangar and VanTubbergen in Alexander, M and Matthews, D eds., Pediatric Rehabilitation:  Principles and Practice, fifth edition).

  • Karen Kurcz  M.A. CCC presented on speech and swallowing issues at the May 9 Michigan ALS Research Consortium of Hospitals.  She also presented a miniseminar at the annual meeting of the Michigan Speech Language and Hearing AssociationUnderstanding Documentation in the Medical Setting.

  • Natalie Wombarcher M.A. CCC  Departments of Plastic Surgery and Speech-Language Pathology, will be presenting:  School-age Cleft Communication issues at the Michigan Cleft Palate Association meeting in May, 2015.  Ms. Wombacher developed a program to host children who have been diagnosed with 22q on a special field day at the Battle Creek Zoo and is preparing for its second annual field day.

  • Thank you:  SLP extends sincere appreciation to GALENS and the Mott Family Network for their generous funding of an eye-gaze communication system.  This system will be used in assessment, treatment and decision-making for children/adults who require alternative methods of communication.

January, 2015

Speech-Language Pathology welcomes the following new staff members:

  • Rachel Lesperance, Insurance Coordinator
  • Jessica McKeever MA CCC, who joins the MedRehab outpatient SLP staff.
  • Congratulations to Ann Comstock MS CCC and Lynn Driver MS, CCC who have been promoted to Pediatric Clinical Supervisors. Ms. Driver is supervising the pediatric SLP staff at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center on Commonwealth, in addition to supervising inpatient Mott SLP and Pediatric SLP at Northville Health Center. She also holds an appointment in Pediatric Otolaryngology and staffs the Pediatric Otolaryngology Aerodigestive Clinic as well as MDEC, a multidisciplinary autism evaluation clinic. Ms. Comstock supervises the pediatric SLPs at Milestones Pediatric Rehabilitation Center as well as the SLPs at MedRehab. She holds an appointment in the Pediatric NeuroRehabilitation program and is also SLP’s Graduate Intern Program Manager.

  • Margaret Tiner MA CCC and Sarah Russell MS CCC, have been awarded board certification in swallowing disorders (BC-S). Obtaining board certification follows an intensive process that requires many hours of preparation, in addition to significant experience in assessment and treatment of individuals with swallowing disorders.
  • Karen Kluin M.S. CCC, Board Certified-ANCDS, will be providing SLP evaluation and treatment recommendations in two new multidisciplinary clinics: Brain Tumor Clinic, a clinic housed in the Department of Neurosurgery, and the Ataxia Clinic, a clinic organized by the Department of Neurology.

  • Phil Menard MA CCC represented Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology and his innovative STEPS treatment program for children with autism at the Autism Speaks symposium at Ford Field. Mr. Menard taught a fall semester graduate-level course on augmentative communication at Wayne State University.
  • Ann Comstock MS CCC, Donna Read-Munro and Jen Gostlin MA CCC, each received Silver Star awards; the Silver Star recognizes receipt of 4 Making a Difference Awards in a quarter.

  • Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology assessment and treatment is now available at the new UMHS Northville Health Center. Maria McElmeel MA CCC, is the lead SLP at the Northville Center; she is joined by Laura Scott MA CCC. Ms. McElmeel recently presented a lecture on Speech-Language Pathology assessment and treatment to the South Lyon Association for Special Education, a parent group advocating for children with special needs.

  • Karen Kurcz MA CCC, SLP Compliance Manager, continues in her role as state representative to the ASHA Advisory Council. Ms. Kurcz will be presenting a miniseminar at the March, Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association conference in March: Understanding Documentation in the Medical Setting.

  • Congratulations to Sheila Harkaway MS CCC, who has completed her Clinical Fellowship and has attained her clinical certificate of competence. Ms. Harkaway is a SLP at University Hospital, specializing in inpatient rehabilitation and acute care.
  • Lynn Driver MS CCC,presented: “Speech and the Child with Tracheostomy and Ventilator Needs at the fall UMHS Home Care of Pediatric Home Ventilator Patients’ conference.
  • Marci Rosenberg MA CCC, SLP in the Vocal Health Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, is author of “Using Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises in Voice Therapy: The Clinician’s Primer, published in ASHA’s SIG 3 Perspectives. Ms. Rosenberg was an invited speaker, presenting 2 courses at the November 2014 ASHA conference. The book she co-authored, The Vocal Athlete, continues to receive excellent reviews.

  • Elaine Ledwon-Robinson MS CCC, BC-ANCDS, ASHA Fellow, participated in the bi-annual meeting of the Tri-Alliance, an advocacy group comprised of representatives of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology. She also participated in a Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to discuss the SLP benefit and issues related to documentation of clinical services.

June, 2014

Speech-Language Pathology welcomes the following new staff members:

  • Anna Davis MA CCC:  Pediatric Rehabilitation Center
  • Megan Hodges MS CCC,  MedRehab Outpatient andUniversity Hospital Acute Care

  • Sarah Russell MS CCC, University Hospital, Acute Care
  • Ann Comstock and Margaret Tiner continue to serve as members of the Michigan Speech Language and Hearing Association’s Health Services Committee.

  • Lynn Driver is co-author on the publication:  “High Prevalence of Early Language Delay Exists Among Toddlers with Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy” (Chang, Yan, Driver, Nelson) published in Pediatric Neurology, April, 2014.
  • Karen Kluin led the Speech-Language Pathology participation in the recent Joint Commission Stroke Survey ; the UMHS received certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.   During preparation for the survey, Ms. Kluin provided multiple lectures on communication and swallowing impairment following stroke; she also collaborated with UMHS Nursing regarding implementation of a nursing swallowing screening.  The survey team noted the excellent professional preparation of UMHS Speech-Language Pathologists in their review.

  • Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists Deborah McMechan, Phil Menard, Erica Osborn, Lindsay Reilly, Liza Rohn and Megan Schmuckel have been certified as Touch Chat Trainers (the TouchChat is an augmentative communication device).

  • Phil Menard received Dance Marathon funding to initiate 2 new programs at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center:  STEPS (Support, Teach Engage, Promote and Succeed) Autism Treatment Program and TOMS (Theory of Mind Gaming Program).  Each program is designed to facilitate improved communication skills, social competence and academic preparedness in children with autism. Mr. Menard has been selected to receive a UMHS Shining Star award.  This award recognizes outstanding staff members .  Mr. Menard was nominated by a parent who notes that he has demonstrated a commitment above and beyond all expectations, with respect to caring for children diagnosed with autism.
  • Marci Rosenberg was invited to submit her article:  “Using Semi-Occluded Vocal tract Exercises in Voice Therapy:  the Voice Clinician’s Primer”: to the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s Special Interest 3 Perspectives for publication.  Ms. Rosenberg has been invited to participate in a seminar at the November, 2014 meeting of the American Speech Language Hearing Association on the topic of “How to do Voice Therapy.”

  • Margaret Tiner is co-author on a pilot study accepted as an abstract for the 96th Annual American Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons Meeting to be held in September, 2014:  “Functional outcomes in partial glossectomy defects reconstructed with and without free tissue transfer”:  Curtis, Kang, Tiner, Helman and Ward).

February, 2014

Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists are participating in 2 new feeding and swallowing clinics

  • Lynn Driver, Clinical Supervisor, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology, is participating in the Aerodigestive Feeding Clinic, led by Dr. David Brown, Department of Otolaryngology.  Laura Sayers, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, is participating in the Pediatric Behavioral Swallowing Clinic, led by Dr. Amy Drayton in Pediatric Psychology.  Ms. Sayers will be presenting a lecture on feeding and swallowing intervention at the February meeting of the Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan.

  • Elaine Ledwon-Robinson has been asked by the American Speech Language Hearing Association to serve as alternate for ASHA’s inaugural seat on the Joint Commission’s Professional Technical Advisory Committee for Hospital Accreditation.

  • Deborah McMechan, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, received the UMHS Silver Award in recognition of receiving 4 or more Making a Difference Awards this fiscal year.

  • Phil Menard, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, designed an innovative program for treatment of children with autism, ages 2.8 to 5.11:  the STEPS program.  He has received a generous pilot funding grant through Dance Marathon to initiate this program.

  • Margaret Tiner is a co-investigator with Drs. Ward and Curtis in Oral Surgery on a study examining swallowing quality of life and speech intelligibility in patients with T2 tumors of the tongue, with and without free flap reconstructions.

  • New Program:  Speech-Language Pathologist Jen Gostlin has initiate, the Lee Silverman Voice Training Program (LSVT), in conjunction with the “Think Big” program led by colleagues in Physical and Occupational Therapy.  LSVT is an evidence-based program for individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, with the goal of improving and preserving functional speech and voice production.

  • Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists Deborah McMechan, Maria McElmeel, Phil Menard, Erica Osborn, Lindsay Reilly and Liza Rohn , Laura Sayers and Megan Schmuckel developed and presented a video showcasing children using speech-generating devices and accessories for communication, presented at the United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan/ Mott Children’s Hospital/ Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation-sponsored  October fair for children and families.  Deborah McMechan continues to lead  the innovative “Talk Around Town” program, a Dance-Marathon sponsored group that promotes a child’s use of an augmentative communication device in community activities.

Welcome to the following new Speech-Language Pathology staff:

  • Rebecca Ankeney MA CCC:  Rebecca returns to UMHS from Japan, to assume a pediatric Speech-Language Pathology position at the outpatient therapy program at Milestones.

  • Laura Donoghue MA CCC joins the pediatric Speech-Language Pathology staff at Milestones.

  • Sheila Harkaway MS CCC:  Sheila is completing her Clinical Fellowship in acute care and inpatient rehabilitation at University Hospital.

  • Sarah Russell M.S.  CCC:  Sarah has joined the University Hospital acute care team, with a special interest in dysphagia.  She was responsible for acute care assessment as well as the graduate internship program in her previous position at Brigham  and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

  • Natalie Wombacher MS CCC:  Natalie holds an appointment in Plastic Surgery, Craniofacial Anomalies Program as well as Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology.  Natalie recently presented the paper:   Spelling Development in Children with Cleft Palate and/or Lip at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

October, 2013

Motor Impairments and Speech-Language Pathology (MS Word)

August, 2013

Speech-Language Pathology staff completed several presentations at the 2013 Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association Conference:

  • Karen Kurcz:  When Goals of Care are for Quality of Life:  Helping Patients and Families Make Informed Decisions About Oral Intake
  • Marci Rosenberg:  Nuts and Bolts of Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises for Voice Therapy:  The Why, When and How
  • Margaret Tiner and Meghann DeMarchi:  From Screening to Instrumentation:  Dysphagia Following Intubation

Erica Osborn and Megan Schmuckel have been promoted to Senior Speech-Language Pathologists at Mott Children’s Hospital.  Ms. Osborn is the inpatient Rehabilitation Lead Clinician and Ms. Schmuckel is the Pediatric Dysphagia Lead for Speech-Language Pathology.
Marc Haxer is the author of an invited chapter, Evaluation and Behavioral Treatment of the Individual with Chronic Cough in Voice Therapy:  Clinical Case Studies, 4th Edition:  Stemple, J and Hapner E, Editors. 
Teresa Lyden was the recipient of a Silver Star award, representing receipt of four Making a Difference Awards  for patient care excellence in FY 13.
The following SLPs will be presenting papers at the upcoming American Speech Language Hearing Association Conference in November, 2013:

  • Lynn Driver:  High Prevalence of Early Language Delay Exists Among Toddlers with Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy  (authors:  Lynn Driver, Kate Wan-Chu Chang, Virginia Nelson, Lynda Yang
  • Marci Rosenberg:  Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises for Voice Therapy
  • Margaret Tiner:  The Use of Palatal Augmentation Prostheses for Therapeutic Gain in Adult Speech (Authors:  Margaret Tiner and Katherine McConville)
  • Margaret Tiner:  Prosthetic Rehabilitation for Improved Resonance:  How I do It

Elaine Ledwon-Robinson is a co-author on the paper:  Analysis of a Value-Based Design Benefit for Rehabilitation Therapies:   accepted for presentation at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation meeting in October, 2013.  (Authors:  Edward Hurvitz, Philip Zazove, Robert Winfield, Chris Magnant, Julie Agbabian, Elaine Ledwon-Robinson)
Margaret Tiner has received her second ASHA Award for Continuing Education (ACE).

New Staff:
Kathy Brigham:  Patient Services Associate, University Hospital


Mary Berger, Senior Speech-Language Pathologist has retired after 32 years of service to Speech-Language Pathology and the Craniofacial Anomalies Program, Department of Plastic Surgery

January, 2013

  • Mary Berger M.S. CCC presented, with Dr. Sean Edwards, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, the course:  “Comprehensive Overview of the Diagnosis and Management of Velopharyngeal Dysfunction in the Cleft Population” at the American Academy of Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery, San Diego, September, 2012.
  • Jen Gostlin M.A. CCC, working with Krysten Salla in Physical Therapy, is preparing to pilot a new program at the adult outpatient Briarwood site, MedRehab:  the evidence-based Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program, combined with Think Big, the motor intervention program, designed for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Marc Haxer M.A. CCC, together with Dr. Claudio Milstein and Dr. Thomas Murry, presented the seminar:  “Voice, Resonance and Alaryngeal Speech” at the November, 2012 meeting of the American Speech Language Hearing Association conference.
  • Karen Kluin M.S. CCC, Board Certified, ANCDS, has been invited to speak at the National Ataxia Foundation annual meeting, scheduled for March, 2013, in Detroit, Michigan.  Ms. Kluin was an invited speaker at the September, 2012 Parkinson’s and You Symposium, addressing “Speech and Swallowing Problems in Parkinson’s Disease”.  Ms. Kluin has received renewed Board Certification through the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences, in adult neurogenic communication disorders.
  • Elaine Ledwon-Robinson M.S. CCC, Board Certified, ANCDS, has received renewed Board Certification through the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences in pediatric and adult neurogenic communication disorders.
  • Phil Menard M.A. CCC  will be presenting the following lectures in the Autism Spectrum Disorders’ Program at the Rachel Upjohn Center:  “Early Intensive Intervention Addressing Core Features of Autism Using the Latest Evidence-Based Treatment Approaches” , followed by: “Social Skills, Problem-Solving and Higher-Order Language Abilities in Autism Spectrum Disorder”.
  • Marci Rosenberg M.A. CCC, organized the conference:  Somatic Voice Work™ The Lovetri Method.   She recently lectured on Vocal Health to the University of Michigan’s Theater Department and to the Voice Department at Eastern Michigan University on the topic of  Singing Science.   Ms. Rosenberg has been appointed to the Board of the American Speech Language Hearing Association Special Interest Group:  Voice, Resonance and Alaryngeal Communication Committee. 
  • Margaret Tiner M.A. CCC has been named Dysphagia Lead for University Hospital/Cardiovascular Center Speech-Language Pathology services.

July, 2012

Bowling Social Club

June, 2012

  • Joan Boonin contributed 3 chapters to the second edition of “Voice and Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Transsexual Client:  A Comprehensive Clinical Guide”, recently released by Plural Publishing Company.
  • Mary Berger is co-author, with  Adam Oppenheimer, Steven Buchman and Steven Kasten of  Plastic Surgery on the paper “Posterior Pharyngeal Fat Grafting for Velopharyngeal Insufficiency”, to be published in the Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal.  Ms. Berger has been re-appointed the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association’s Team Standards Committee for 2012.    She is also the co-author of the paper:  “Sleep Disordered Breathing and Speech Pathology in Children with Craniofacial Malformations” (Morleda-Cibrian, Berger, Buchman, Edwards, Kasten, O’Brien) to be presented at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in June 2012.
  • Karen Kluin will be presenting the paper:  “Motor Speech after Bilateral STN DBS for Parkinsons’ Disease”, at the Movement Disorder Society’s International Conference of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, in Dublin, Ireland, June 18, 2012.
  • Elaine Ledwon-Robinson has completed her term as Past-President of the Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association and will continue to participate in MSHA’s HealthCare Advocacy/Reimbursement initiatives.
  • Deborah McMechan has completed her Clinical Fellowship and has attained her Certificate of Clinical Competence.  Ms. McMechan is assuming responsibility for the innovative “Talk Around the Town”  a summer program that encourages children who use augmentative communication devices to use their devices in community activities.  This program was developed by Rebecca Ankeney and is supported by Dance Marathon.
  • Lynn Driver volunteered, for the 23rd year, at the Trails Edge Ventilator Camp, a camp for children with ventilator-assisted respiration.  Ms. Driver has been a volunteer with  Trails’ Edge Camp since its first camp day in 1989.

    Speech-Language Pathology welcomes  two new staff:

  • Laura Allen M.A. CCC, formerly employed with the Northville Schools.  Ms. Allen joins the Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology team at Milestones Outpatient Program, with an interest in a wide range of pediatric speech-language areas.
  • Phillip Menard M.A. CCC, formerly employed at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Kennedy-Krieger Institute.  Mr. Menard joins the Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology team, with specific interests in autism and delayed speech-language development.

MSHA Handouts:

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Voice and Resonance Disorders

Tracheoesophageal Voice Prosthesis Selection

Troubleshooting Tracheoesophageal Voice Prosthesis Issues

Motor Skills Tracking Tool

The Use of Palatal Augmentation Prosthetics for Therapeutic Gains in the Treatment of Adult Speech

Seeing the Forest Through the Wheeze: Laryngeal Involvement in Episodes of Dyspnea




Elaine Ledwon-Robinson, Director

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