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Speech Therapy

Physical therapist and baby girl on red ball

Children learn to babble and talk all at different times. Before you know it they can read their favorite book or tell you what they want for their birthday. But, when they can't tell you what they want to eat for breakfast or the daycare teacher can't understand what they say, parents need somewhere to turn.

Choosing our team

At Cook Children's Rehabilitation Services, our speech-language pathologists are highly skilled and experienced in children's communication development. They work with parents and families to help their children communicate their wants and needs. Many of our therapists have additional training and experience in specialty areas. We also have bilingual therapists on staff that treat a variety of communication and feeding difficulties.

What makes Cook Children's unique?

We know that when a child has difficulties, parents can sometimes feel helpless. That's why our Cook Children's rehabilitation team is to empower parents to help their child acheive their therapy goals. We know that therapy works best when parents and children practice each day. That's why our therapists spend part of each therapy session working with parents to teach them what to do at home.

We also work with your child's medical team and other therapists to make sure our treatment plan fits your child's exact needs. Whether they are recovering from an injury or have a lifelong illness or disability that impacts communication, we're here to help them.

We know that therapy is a big commitment so we want to get your child back to their school, community and everyday life as quickly as possible. Our speech-language pathologists will adjust your child's treatment plan as they get better. We can also help you find resources and community activities that support your child's communication needs as you finish therapy.


Eye Gaze Therapy Gives Voice to Non-Verbal Patients

New augmentative alternative communication (AAC) technology is helping Cook Children’s Rehabilitation Services give a voice to non-verbal patients for the very first time.

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Our programs

Hearing loss and cochlear implants
Our speech-language pathologists and auditory verbal therapists have special training to help children with hearing loss learn to listen and talk.

Cleft lip/palate and velopharyngeal dysfunction
Children with a structural issue in their soft palate may have difficulty speaking. Air may come out of their nose, or they may be very unintelligible.

Augmentative and alternative communication
Children who have difficulty communicating verbally may be able to use pictures, communication boards or speech-generating devices to communicate.

Voice disorders
Children who have structural issues with their vocal cords may have a harsh, breathy or hoarse voice.

Feeding and swallowing disorders
Children who have difficulty swallowing food or drink or may have a limited range of accepted foods.

Conditions we treat

  • Hearing loss
  • Cleft palate and velopharyngeal dysfunction
  • Childhood apraxia of speech
  • Voice disorders
  • Concussion and traumatic brain injury
  • Other genetic and medical disorders resulting in communication difficulties
  • Autism
  • Articulation disorders
  • Receptive/expressive language disorders
  • Bilingual language
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders

Meet our speech language pathologists

Andi Bell, MA, CCC-SLP

Andi Bell, MA, CCC-SLP

Andi Bell, MA, CCC-SLP, has been with Cook Children’s since 2018. She is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in listening and spoken language outcomes for children with hearing loss. She is trained in auditory-verbal therapy and aural rehabilitation. Andi has presented at state and national events on a variety of topics including red flags for children with hearing loss, sensory processing disorders in children with hearing loss, interdisciplinary collaboration across settings and caregiver involvement in treatment. Her written publications have also appeared in research journals and textbooks. Andi serves on the board for the North Texas/Oklahoma Chapter of AG Bell.


Becky Clem, MA, CCC-SLP, LSLS, Cert. AVT

Becky Clem, MA, CCC-SLP, LSLS, Cert. AVT

Becky Clem, MA, CCC-SLP, LSLS, Cert. AVT, is the education coordinator for Rehabilitation Services. As a speech-language pathologist and listening-spoken language specialist (LSLS) with auditory verbal therapy certification, she is passionate about working with children with hearing loss and their families. She works to advance professional skills and education, mentor professionals towards LSLS certification, and supports family-centered care initiatives. She serves on the coordinating committee for SIG 9 on hearing and hearing disorders in childhood for the American Speech and Hearing Association. She presents at conferences at national and international levels and writes for publication on pediatric hearing loss intervention.


Bridget Martin, MS, CCC-SLP

Bridget Martin, MS, CCC-SLP

Bridget Martin, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children’s since 2017. She loves the variety of treating children with feeding difficulties, dysphagia, language disorders and articulation difficulties, and is especially passionate about working with babies and young children to improve their feeding and swallowing skills. She also has extensive experience working with toddlers with autism, helping them to find their voice. Bridget enjoys helping children make progress that will improve their daily routines – from mealtime to playtime. Her favorite parts of working at Cook Children’s are involving families in treatment and collaborating with peers.


Carol Edley, MS, CCC-SLP

Carol Edley, MS, CCC-SLP

Carol Edley, MS, CCC-SLP, has had numerous years of experience in a variety of settings. She has worked at Cook Children’s since 2000. Her interests have evolved into a focus with the diagnoses of autism, apraxia and augmentative alternative communication (AAC). With a strong background in child development, neuro-psycho-socio linguistics and learning styles, Carol integrates this information to facilitate progress. Carol is a frequent presenter at state and now national venues. She is currently serving on a national committee to determine what is needed for speciality certification in AAC.


Dianna Hernandez, MS, CCC/SLP

Dianna Hernandez, MS, CCC/SLP

Dianna "DeeDee" Hernandez, MS, CCC/SLP, has been a speech language pathologist with Cook Children’s since 2014. She has extensive pediatric experience in a variety of therapeutic settings. DeeDee cohesively works with a team of professionals that focus on family centered intervention. She empowers parents/caregivers and believes family involvement is instrumental for successful therapy. DeeDee enjoys guiding families and their children to reach their potential through individualized approach.


Emily Jones, MA, CCC/SLP

Emily Jones, MA, CCC/SLP

Emily Jones, MA, CCC/SLP, is currently the manager at Cook Children’s Rehabilitation Services South location. She has worked at Cook Children’s since 2012 in a variety of different roles. As a speech-language pathologist, Emily has worked with children with a variety of different diagnoses. Recently, her work has been focused in the area of infant feeding and swallowing. Emily has a passion for helping others - especially children. She is thankful to work in a system that focuses on family-centered care and that celebrates children of all abilities.


Heather Durden, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS, Cert. AVT

Heather Durden, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS, Cert. AVT

Heather Durden, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS, Cert. AVT, is a speech language pathologist and listening and spoken language specialist with a certification as an auditory-verbal therapist. She focuses on listening and spoken language outcomes for children with hearing loss. Heather has worked at Cook Children’s since 2018. She has experience in a variety of settings, including school and clinical. Heather enjoys collaborating with medical professionals and providing family-centered care for children with hearing loss and their families.


Jonathan Suarez, MS, CCC-SLP

Jonathan Suarez, MS, CCC-SLP

Jonathan Suarez, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinic lead and staff speech language pathologist who has worked at Cook Children’s since 2012. He has a strong passion for treating children with cleft palate/VPI, expressive language delay and autism. He has also enjoyed his experience working in the Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics. There, he completes speech and language screenings while also collaborating with physicians and families to improve outcomes of children with a variety of speech and language disorders. He finds joy in learning new therapy strategies to aid in his patient’s success.


Julie Schmidt MS, CCC-SLP

Julie Schmidt MS, CCC-SLP

Julie Schmidt MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children’s since 2015. She treats a variety of children with difficulties in articulation, expressive language and feeding difficulties. Julie enjoys writing informational articles for families which have appeared on the Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom and professional articles that have published by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. She has experience presenting to students, teachers and other professionals that want to learn more about speech language pathology. Julie loves helping kids learn to use words, gestures or pictures to ask for their favorite things.


Kathy Soland, MS, CCC-SLP

Kathy Soland, MS, CCC-SLP

Kathy Soland, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who has worked at Cook Children’s since 2016. She has worked extensively with children with feeding and swallowing concerns, early language development and children with autism. Kathy’s passion is to work with families and children to take the stress out of mealtimes so that they may enjoy family meals. It is also her desire to open up a child’s world of communication so that they can enjoy developing their relationships with families and friends. In addition, Kathy currently serves on the medical committee for the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Kiah Thorn, MS, CF-SLP

LKiah Thorn, MS, CF-SLP

Kiah Thorn, MS, CF-SLP, is a bilingual speech language pathologist who has been working for Cook Children’s since early 2020. She has prior experience working with children and their families in schools, inpatient and outpatient medical settings. Kiah is dedicated to providing collaborative care, encouraging caregiver participation and celebrating multiculturalism and diversity in a variety of forms. Within the speech field, she is particularly passionate about supporting children with receptive/expressive language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders and/or difficulties with social skills/pragmatics.


Lori Cochran, MS, CCC/SLP

Lori Cochran, MS, CCC/SLP

Lori Cochran, MS, CCC/SLP, is the speech language clinical coordinator and has worked at Cook Children’s since 2014. She primarily treats children with cleft palate/VPI, apraxia, hearing loss, expressive language delay and those using communication devices. She presents frequently at the state and national level on a variety of clinical and professional development topics, and serves on the executive council of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her favorite part of working at Cook Children’s is the opportunity to collaborate with and mentor other clinicians.


Leslie Powers, MS, CCC-SLP

Leslie Powers, MS, CCC-SLP

Leslie Powers, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children’s since 2014. She primarily treats children who have complex communication needs and may require augmentative communication (AAC), as well as children who have apraxia, cleft palate/VPI, language disorders and/or speech disorders. She has presented at Texas Speech and Hearing Association conventions. She enjoys the Family-Centered Care model at Cook Children’s, which allows her to work with children and their families. Leslie loves helping children find their voice.


Megan Brown, MS, CCC-SLP

Megan Brown, MS, CCC-SLP

Megan Brown, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children’s since 2015. She treats children with a variety of speech and language delays including expressive language disorder, articulation disorder, alternative communication, and has special interest in early language, autism and voice disorders. She has a strong passion for the pediatric population and enjoys getting to know the children she serves, as well as their families, in order to meet their specific needs. She believes every child has a unique story to tell and loves being part of their journey.


Megan Karas MS, CCC-SLP

Megan Karas MS, CCC-SLP

Megan Karas MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and has been with Cook Children’s since 2019. She is passionate about treating children with a variety of speech and language delays, feeding and swallowing difficulties and voice disorders. She believes that every child is unique and should be allowed to receive the highest level of care possible. She loves getting to know each child, and their family, in order to help them meet their needs and reach their highest potential.


Melissa W. Smith, MS, CCC-SLP

Melissa W. Smith, MS, CCC-SLP

Melissa W. Smith, MS, CCC-SLP, is a staff speech language pathologist who has worked at Cook Children’s since 2009. She is passionate about working with babies and toddlers with their caregivers to improve feeding and swallowing skills. She has varied and comprehensive continuing education in feeding and swallowing disorders and enjoys teaching students, staff and families how to help this population successfully progress feeding and swallowing skills. She is also passionate about working with toddlers and their caregivers to progress early language skills, helping patients develop communication skills. Working with caregivers and collaborating with peers is the highlight of her job here at Cook Children’s.


Sara Adams, MS, CCC-SLP

Sara Adams, MS, CCC-SLP

Sara Adams, MS, CCC-SLP, is the feeding and dysphagia clinical coordinator and has worked at Cook Children’s since 2006. She loves to help babies and young children with their feeding and swallowing skills. Sara is a frequent presenter at state and national events on a variety of topics including feeding, swallowing, and professional development. She is also highly active in local speech pathology groups, working to help build collaboration and to mentor clinicians in feeding. Sara loves the emphasis on family involvement at Cook Children’s.


Selina Vargas, MS, SLP-CF

Selina Vargas, MS, SLP-CF

Selina Vargas, MS, SLP-CF is a bilingual speech-language pathologist. She has been part of the Cook Children’s family since 2017 and became a speech therapist with our team in 2020. Although her experiences encompass all scopes of speech-pathology practice, her main interests lie in working with children with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, and those who may use alternative modes of communication. Empowering families to be advocates for their children and making those special connections with families is her favorite part of her job.


Suzanne Bonifert, MS, CCC-SLP

Suzanne Bonifert, MS, CCC-SLP

Suzanne Bonifert, MS, CCC-SLP, is the speech-language program manager and Mansfield clinic manager who has worked at Cook Children’s since 2013. Her clinical area of expertise is working with young children with autism, and she enjoys working collaboratively with different disciplines and departments to care for this population. She is active in serving her professional associations, and she has presented on leadership and professional issues as the state and national level. Her favorite part of working at Cook Children’s is helping mentor and support clinical staff.


Theresa Jones, MS, CCC-SLP

Theresa Jones, MS, CCC-SLP

Theresa Jones, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist who has worked for Cook Children’s since 2017. She is fascinated by every part of the speech-language pathology scope, but her passion is working with apraxia of speech, feeding difficulties and those who use alternative modes of communication. She has completed extensive continuing education on social skills groups, augmentative alternative communication and dysphagia. She adores advocating for those who learn differently by presenting to the community and professionals, where she has experience presenting at the local, state, and national level. Working closely with families and guiding them to being an advocate for their child is her favorite part of her job.


Tonia Kline, MS, CCC-SLP

Tonia Kline, MS, CCC-SLP

Tonia Kline, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and has been with Cook Children’s since 2011. Tonia’s primary focus is on helping infants and younger children with feeding difficulties and dysphagia. What she loves most about Cook Children’s is the family-centered care model and collaboration with other professionals to help her patients be successful eaters. Tonia loves sharing her knowledge and passion with others.

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If your child has been recommended to us, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4063.

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