Team

Photo - Speech - BarnesMelethia Barnes has been a speech-language pathologist since 1991 and began working at Rady Children’s the same year. Melethia specializes in early childhood language and bilingual communication services in Spanish. She has also been active in interagency collaboration and parent education. Melethia received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Kansas and is certified in Hanen. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - BondessonKelly Bondesson has been a speech-language pathologist since 1986 and has been working at Rady Children’s since 2001. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Northern Iowa. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Joy-BrewsterJoy Brewster has been a speech pathologist since 1989 and has worked at Rady Children’s for 14 years. Her special interests include early intervention, preschool fluency and childhood speech and language. Joy received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her masters’ in speech-language pathology from the University of Virginia. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - BrownBeth Brown began working as a speech-language pathologist in 1983 and has worked at Rady Children’s since 1987. She specializes in diagnostics, early intervention, oral motor dyspraxia, and tongue thrust. Beth received her master’s degree in communication disorders from the College of Saint Rose. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - Stephanie Burgener-VaderStephanie Burgener-Vader has been a speech-language pathologist since 2009 and has worked at Rady Children’s since August 2012. Her special interests include early intervention, autism, articulation/phonological impairments, specific language impairment, developmental delays, and apraxia of speech. She has experience providing services in private practice, public school, and hospital settings. Stephanie is certified by the Hanen Centre in the “It Takes Two to Talk and More Than Words” programs for parents. She is trained in SCERTS, a specialized approach to address the needs of children with autism. Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her master’s degree from San Diego State University. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - SuggettGina Concepcion-Suggett has been a speech-language pathologist since 1997 and began working at Rady Children’s in 1999. Gina has served children and families throughout San Diego County in outpatient clinics, at Rady Children’s in the hospital setting, educational settings, and in patients’ homes (HomeCare). Gina has a variety of experiences, including working with children with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing dysfunction, vocal nodules, speech-language impairments, articulation disorders, phonological disorders, cleft palate and dysfluency. Gina has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in communication disorders from San Diego State University. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - DabasinskasCatherine Dabasinskas has been a speech-language pathologist and has worked at Rady Children’s since 2001. She specializes in working with children with hearing loss, cochlear implants, articulation difficulties, multiple disabilities, autism and dyspraxia. Catherine uses American Sign Language and augmentative/alternative communication with many different children to enhance their communication skills. She runs the Tongue Thrust group and co-facilitates Pathways, an inclusive group for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Catherine received her master’s degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder. is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - Christiana DavidChristiana David has worked as a speech-language pathologist at Rady Children’s since beginning her career in 2011. She has experience working with children with multiple disabilities, speech disorders, expressive and receptive language disorders, autism and hearing loss. She uses many techniques with children, including augmentative/alternative communication and American Sign Language, to facilitate the development of speech, language and communication. Christiana received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences from San Diego State University. is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

December-DealDecember Deal has been a speech-language pathologist since 2004 and has worked at Rady Children’s since June of 2014. Her areas of focus are dysphagia, aphasia, traumatic brain injury, articulation/phonological impairments, apraxia, autism, specific-language impairment, fluency, and alternative/augmentative communication. December is certified in VitalStim treatment for dysphagia and has training and experience with modified barium swallow studies and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing. December earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in communication sciences and disorders. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - DorfmanValerie Dorfman joined Rady Children’s in 2008 from North Shore Children’s Hospital in Salem, Mass., and has been a speech-language pathologist since 2005. Originally from Peru, Valerie is a native Spanish speaker who specializes in working with bilingual/bicultural populations. She has experience working with children with a variety of communication impairments, including those with speech and language delays, hearing loss, cochlear implants, cleft lip and palate, autism spectrum disorders, apraxia of speech, traumatic brain injuries, and Down syndrome. Valerie received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Boston University. Prior to working at Rady Children’s, she worked in the several Massachusetts public schools, Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Valerie is a Hanen-certified speech-language pathologist for “It Takes Two to Talk.” She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - Ashley FarwickAshley Farwick has been working as a speech-language pathologist since 2009 and has worked at Rady Children’s since 2012. Ashley is trained in SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support) and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). She is also certified by the Hanen Program to teach the “It Takes Two To Talk” course for parents. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Miami University and her master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders at the University of Cincinnati. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - GarrettShari Garrett has been a speech-language pathologist since 1983 and began working at Rady Children’s in 1985. She is the manager of the Speech-Language Pathology Department and specializes in the areas of voice, autism, vocal cord dysfunction, oral motor and phonology. In the treatment of voice disorders and vocal cord dysfunction, she incorporates integrative medicine. Shari received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She is a certified speech-language pathologist and is a current member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the California Speech Language and Hearing Association and the San Diego Early Childhood Mental Health Leader Collaborative. Shari is Hanen certified as well as a certified healing touch practitioner. Her goal in working at Rady Children’s is to continue to implement and create innovative therapy to help children and families communicate at their highest potential.

Brielle-GoldmanBrielle Goldman has been a speech-language pathologist since 2014 and has worked at Rady Children’s since July 2015, after moving back to her hometown of San Diego from Austin, Texas. Brielle’s experience includes the evaluation and treatment of children with articulation, pragmatic, cognitive, fluency, and expressive/receptive language disorders in the school, clinic and medical setting. She also has experience working with children with autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, and intellectual disabilities. She has a strong background in American Sign Language and uses her knowledge and experience in these areas to address each patient’s individual needs.

Brielle received her undergraduate degree in speech, language and hearing sciences from the University of Arizona and earned her master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Texas at Austin. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA. Brielle’s goal in working at Rady Children’s is to support each child in achieving his or her individual goals in a fun, positive, family-oriented manner, while ensuring that all patients leave feeling proud and confident in their speech and language skills.

Photo - Speech - KalterEleanor Kalter became a speech-language pathologist in 1984 and began working at Rady Children’s in 1989. Eleanor specializes in bilingual/bicultural therapy and consultation on related issues. Her extensive background includes working in Spanish and French, as well as with other multicultural populations. Eleanor also has expertise in treating children with cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies, having served as speech pathologist on the Rady Children’s Craniofacial Services team for more than 10 years. She has volunteered service to traveling medical cleft palate teams, helping children across the border of Mexico. Eleanor has supervised graduate students at San Diego State University in speech pathology for many years. Aside from providing speech-language evaluations and therapy, Eleanor has provided parent education and child enrichment classes through Children’s Care Connection. She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University in apeech pathology and audiology and her master’s degree from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in speech pathology. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Therese Kanda has been a speech-language pathologist since 2013 and has worked at Rady Children’s since graduating from Northwestern University and obtaining licensure. Therese has special expertise in the area of cochlear implants and hearing loss and is working toward the Listening and Spoken Language Specialist certification. She has additional training and expertise in the areas of cleft palate and autism spectrum disorders and provides therapy in both English and Spanish. Therese is a current member of the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association. Therese’s goals in working at Rady Children’s are to help each child, no matter the special need, to better communicate and to empower parents to engage and teach their children

Photo - Speech - KramerAmanda Kramer has worked as a speech-language pathologist since 2009 and has been at Rady Children’s since beginning her career. She has expertise in the areas of voice, vocal cord dysfunction, resonance, cleft palate, and craniofacial disorders. She is trained in using PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets). Amanda is a member of the Rady Children’s Cleft Palate Team and works in other specialty clinics, including craniofacial disorders and nasoendoscopy. She also facilitates the First Step, Mommy, Daddy & Me (Spanish), Little Explorers and Hi-ways language programs. Amanda received her masters degree in speech, language and hearing sciences from San Diego State University, as well as a certificate in bilingual speech-language pathology. She is fluent in Spanish and provides services to bilingual families from around the county. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

julia-leclerc-photoJulia Leclerc is a bilingual speech-language pathologist who has worked at Rady Children’s since the start of her career in 2015. Julia’s special interests include early intervention, childhood speech and language development, articulation/phonology, social skills and autism spectrum disorders. She facilitates Mommy, Daddy & Me language groups (in Spanish and English) as well as a low mobility language group. Julia received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Washington. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of ASHA.

Photo - Speech - LlewellynDebbie Llewellyn became a speech-language pathologist in 1981 and has worked at Rady Children’s since 1986. Prior to working at Rady Children’s, she worked at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where she was a member of the faculty and provided speech/language services at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, O’Donoghue Rehabilitation Hospital and Oklahoma Memorial Hospital. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in communication disorders in 1980 and 1981 from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. In 2000, she received a second master’s degree in counseling psychology from Trinity College in Fullerton, Calif. Debbie specializes in cleft palate and craniofacial disorders, voice disorders, diagnostics, children with neurological challenges, and family relationships. She is nationally certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is licensed to practice in California.

Photo - Speech - Natasha MaxwellNatasha Maxwell has been a speech-language pathologist since 1997 and has worked at Rady Children’s since 2000. Natasha has experience working with children in both educational and outpatient settings with various speech-language impairments, including dysfluency, articulation/phonology, developmental delays, autism, augmentative communication, and voice. She has expertise in the areas of diagnostics, early intervention, and early childhood language. Natasha received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology with a specialization in multicultural early childhood intervention from San Diego State University. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - Kathleen MunroeKathy Munroe joined Rady Children’s in November 2012. Prior to that, she worked for more than 20 years as a speech-language pathologist at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis in the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Pediatric Physical Medical Rehabilitation departments. Kathy has experience in diagnosing and treating disorders that interfere with a child’s ability to communicate including acquired/traumatic brain injury, aphasia, apraxia of speech, autism, cerebral palsy, cognitive-communication disorders, developmental delays, Down syndrome, dysarthria, feeding/swallowing difficulties, fluency disorders, hearing impairment, language disorders, phonological disorders, pragmatics, shaken baby syndrome, and vocal nodules. She has been a certified brain injury specialist since 2007 and received specialized training in the neuro-developmental treatment approach. Kathy received her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Purdue University and her master’s in speech pathology from Boston University. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.

Photo - Speech - QualmanHaven Qualman has been a speech-language pathologist since 1995 and has worked at Rady Children’s for most of her career. Haven specializes in the evaluation and treatment of feeding and swallowing disorders and brain injury. Haven received her master’s degree in communicative disorders from San Diego State University. She is licensed and certified in speech-language pathology and is a current member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and its California chapter. In 2009, she received board-recognized certification in the area of swallowing.

Photo - Speech - Heather RoseHeather Rose became a certified auditory-verbal therapist in 1995 and has worked for Rady Children’s since March 2011. She is the clinical team lead on the Cochlear Implant team. She also provides direct services to children with hearing loss, has started the early intervention parent support group, the pre-teen and teen groups, and provides mentoring to the staff and community. Before joining Rady Children’s, Heather maintained a private practice for 20 years working exclusively with children with hearing loss, providing therapy and consultation services to auditory-oral programs, implant centers, mainstreamed classrooms and tele-intervention to international families. Heather was most recently a Clinical Instructor at Utah State University providing supervision and course instruction for the Auditory Learning Program at Utah State University, in addition to providing direct services in the Sound Beginnings Preschool. Prior to joining the faculty at Utah State University, she served as a practicum supervisor for the Auditory-Verbal Program at the University of Akron, as well as a consultant in Ohio for the Auditory Options Project. She has spoken at numerous conferences, including the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Photo - Speech - Melissa SartoriMelissa Sartori has been a speech-language pathologist since 2009 and has worked at Rady Children’s since 2011. Melissa’s special interests include early intervention, childhood speech and language development, articulation/phonology, social skills, augmentative-alternative communication, and autism spectrum disorders. She is a member of the Rady Children’s Feeding Team and also facilitates the Mommy, Daddy & Me (Spanish) and Gateways language programs. Melissa received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech-language pathology from University of the Pacific. She has previously worked in schools, outpatient clinics and hospital settings. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA and the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Photo - Speech - Cyndi SmithCynthia Smith has been a speech-language pathologist since 2010 and has worked at Rady Children’s since 2012. She has special training in autism spectrum disorders. Prior to becoming a speech therapist, Cynthia taught children with autism spectrum disorders for more than 10 years using applied behavioral analysis. Her other areas of interest include feeding disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, motor speech disorders such as childhood apraxia of speech, and augmentative and alternative communication.

Cynthia received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas. In Dallas, she worked as a speech therapist for both the public school district and a private speech clinic. She is licensed and certified in speech-language pathology and is a current member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Cynthia’s goal in working at Rady Children’s is to help children improve their speech and language skills and reach their highest potential.

Photo - Speech - Kallie TettenburnKallie Tettenburn began working as a speech pathology student intern at Rady Children’s in the summer of 2008 and decided to start her career here. Kallie received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on early childhood development from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s in speech and language pathology at California State University, East Bay. Kallie also worked as a research assistant on a published research project; studying early childhood development, in her undergraduate work in the UC Berkeley psychology laboratory. Kallie worked as a preschool teacher for six years prior to becoming a speech pathologist and has expertise in the area of early childhood development. She has completed training and worked with children with a wide variety of disorders.  She currently works in the Children’s Care Connection program through Healthy Development Services, providing services in Chula Vista one day per week. She is licensed by the state of California, holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a current member of the ASHA.