Member Milestones

Posted Fall 2017

Karen Tacountes Dionisio
Karen Tacountes Dionisio, MA, CCC-SLP, has retired after 43 years in the field. She graduated from Montclair State College in 1974. Karen worked with children and adults in the early years of her career and spent the last 27 years dedicated to providing speech and language therapy to children in Branchburg Township School District. She is looking forward to spending more time with her six grandchildren and promoting language and communication through play!

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, has been appointed as an adjunct professor of audiology in the distance learning doctoral program at the University of South Alabama. He is teaching the Pharmacology/Ototoxicity course. Also, Dr. DiSogra gave several lectures on Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus and Drug Side Effects on Audiological and Vestibular Testing in September and October at the annual meeting of the California Academy of Audiology and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (September). In October, he presented the Pharmaceutical program at the Alabama Academy of Audiology and the Montana Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Tatyana Elleseff
Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, was appointed as a Clinical Instructor with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Psychiatry. She will also be presenting an oral session (seminar) at the ASHA Annual Convention, November 9-11, 2017, entitled Practical Strategies for Monolingual SLPs Assessing & Treating Bilingual Children.

Audrie Leiter Sonzogni
Audrie Leiter Sonzogni, MS, CCC-SLP, has retired after 37 years of speech therapy in various schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

Robyn Merkel Walsh and Lori Overland
Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, along with Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C-NDT, presented a course on Functional Assessment and Remediation of Tethered Oral Tissues. This course was part of an inter-professional workshop hosted by Scott Siegel MD/DDS entitled Connecting the Dots in TOTs. The course was held on June 6 in New York City, and attended by oral surgeons, physicians, chiropractors, IBCLCs, SPLs, RDHs and OTs. A similar presentation by Robyn and Lori, was recently accepted for the 2017 ASHA Convention.

Mahchid Namazi
Mahchid Namazi, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor at Kean University, is excited to welcome the first cohort of doctoral students in fall 2017 to the SLPD program which she is coordinating.

Victoria Nelson
Victoria Nelson, a graduate student at Kean University and Dr. Mahchid Namazi’s graduate assistant, has been selected as a participant in ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program’s class of 2017.

Patricia A. Remshifski
Patricia A. Remshifski, PhD, CCC-SLP, has recently been appointed as director of the Program for Research and Support for Rett Syndrome at Monmouth University. This program, housed in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, supports instructional programs and research endeavors designed to assist persons with Rett syndrome and their families.

Frances B. Weldon

Frances B. Weldon, MA, has somewhat retired after 30 years working in the public schools. She is still providing early intervention services through, and LSVT therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease. She is happily doing contract work when not traveling, and just attained her fifth ACE award!

Julia Wolfrom
Julia Wolfrom, MS, MA, CCC-SLP, just completed her second master’s degree – a Master of Arts degree in school leadership at Rowan University, with principal certification, in New Jersey.

Posted Summer 2017

Susan Bakal
Susan Bakal, CCC-SLP, was selected as Educational Services Professional of The Year for Mercerville Elementary School in Hamilton, New Jersey.

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, FAAA, presented two lectures and participated on an ototoxicity panel at the American Academy of Audiology annual meeting in Indianapolis in April. Also in April, he presented a three-hour seminar at the Arkansas Academy of Audiology. In May, he was an invited lecturer at the annual meeting of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists in Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom, where he presented three programs. Also, in the May issue of Audiology Today, he authored an article titled, Drug Side Effects on Audiological and Vestibular Testing.

Barbara Ellicott
Barbara Ellicott, CCC-SLP, adopted a wonderful service dog. He came to New Jersey from North Carolina. He loves everybody, comes to her practice and helps patients feel relaxed and motivated! She wrote a children’s story about him entitled, The Adventures of TEKO!

Stacey Johnson
Stacey Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP, has been accepted to the Kean University, Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD) degree program for the fall 2017 semester.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, was given the honor of an invitation to speak at Connecting the Dots in TOTs on June 6, 2017, in New York City. This symposium was hosted by TOTs expert Dr. Siegel who is a leader in laser frenectomies in the tri-state area. This course consisted of a panel of lactation specialists, an occupational therapist, speech therapists and a myofunctional specialist united to discuss the latest evidenced based practices on the functional impact of tethered oral tissues across the lifespan. Ms. Merkel- Walsh was also invited to the AOTA virtual chat on Mealtimes in Autism Spectrum Disorders on June 14, 2017, in which she discussed interdisciplinary interventions for self- limited diets available through the AOTA website.

Susan Tiedemann
Susan Tiedemann, MA, CCC-SLP, is retiring after 39 years as a speech-language pathologist in the Kearny Public Schools.

Posted Spring 2017

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, FAAA, was an invited lecturer at the Speech and Hearing Association of Alabama in February and the Utah Speech and Hearing Association in March. Each three-hour program focused on pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals for hearing loss and tinnitus. Also, an article on drug side effects on audiological and vestibular testing was published in the international ENT & Audiology News.

Tatyana Elleseff
Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, was invited to present two workshops for Speech-Language and Audiology Canada Organization in Montreal, Quebec and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on the topic of Best Practices in Bilingual Speech, Language and Literacy Assessment and Intervention for SLPs in March and October 2017, respectively. She is also a co-author of a study entitled Identifying Language and Communication Deficits in Clinical Settings, which findings were submitted for presentation at the October 2017, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 64th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Stacey D. Johnson
Stacey D. Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP, has helped school administers/board members understand the benefits of having inservice trainings designated for speechlanguage pathologists for the past two years. As a result of these meetings, she now coordinates all speech-language pathologist in-service trainings given by ASHA-approved CE providers.

Maryrose McInerney and Maris Appelbaum
Dr. Maryrose McInerney, PhD, CCC-A, faculty at Montclair State University (MSU) and Dr. Maris Appelbaum, AuD, CCC-A, clinical preceptor and the director of hearing aid services at MSU spoke on Cable TV about hearing loss, hearing aids and hearing assistive technology.

Lina Slim-Topdjian
Lina Slim-Topdjian, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCBA, has been named an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University, Applied Behavior Analysis Post Master’s Certificate Program, College of Education and Human Services. Dessie J. Wakefield, MEd, SLS, is celebrating 20 years with the New Brunswick Board of Education in New Jersey.

In Memorium – Joyce Coffey Heller
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. Joyce Coffey Heller, who died peacefully at her home in Delray Beach Florida, the morning of January 14, 2017, from complications of a stroke. She was a past president of NJSHA 1975-1976.

Dr. Heller grew up in the Weequahic section of Newark, New Jersey and as a high-school drum majorette, served as inspiration for classmate and later author Philip Roth’s character Alice Dembosky, the lead drum majorette portrayed in his classic book Portnoy’s Complaint.

A professional career woman well ahead of her times, Dr. Heller held a bachelor’s degree (Syracuse), master’s degree (NYU) as well as a Doctorate (Columbia). As a speechlanguage pathologist, audiologist and clinical psychologist with a specialty in cranio-facial birth defects and a sub-specialty in pediatric and adult cleft palate disorders, Dr. Heller was affiliated with Kean University, Farleigh Dickinson University and The Albert Einstein School of Medicine at Montefiore Hospital. For many years, Dr. Heller additionally shared a private practice, Speech-Language Associates with Dr. Audrey Schulman.

Dr. Heller was professionally active in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, NJSHA and chaired several association committees, including the State & Federal Licensure Committees as well as leading several Association International delegations.

The life lessons that Dr. Heller shared with her children, friends, students and patients included eternal optimism, tenacity and perseverance, that one could be successful at whatever one applied themselves to, and how to tenaciously focus on achieving one’s goals. She took great interest and much pleasure in being a mentor to other women.

Dr. Heller especially enjoyed entertaining friends and family, cooking, baking, playing tennis, bridge, the theatre and the opera. She loved to travel the world and religiously read the Sunday New York Times cover-to-cover.

Dr. Heller was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in her later life, which she continued to live with, with great dignity and grace. With the help of her full-time caregiver, unfailingly loyal companion and dear friend, Sharon Reimeke, she continued to enjoy life to the fullest through her last days. In her final years, Dr. Heller taught us many enduring life lessons, including trust, patience, humility, the value of listening and most importantly the precious lesson of how to live in the moment. She was a strong and beautiful woman who will be missed greatly by many.

Dr. Heller was predeceased by her husband, Joseph L. Heller, 23 years ago, and is survived by a sister, Carole Coffey Schwartz of Phoenix, AZ, a daughter, Patti Heller Roberts, of West Orange, NJ and Boca Raton, FL and a son, Scott Coffey Heller of Newfane, VT, two sons-in-law, Barry Roberts and David King, two granddaughters, Ali Feldman and Cari Roberts, as well as two great-grandchildren, Jack and Emma Feldman.

Contributions may be made in memory of Dr. Joyce Heller to Hospice of Palm Beach County Foundation, 5300 East Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33407.

Posted Winter 2017

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, FAAA, was the invited lecturer at the annual meetings of the West Virginia Audiology Association and the Texas Academy of Audiology in October 2016. The topic at both meetings was Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. Dr. DiSogra was also the 2016 recipient of the annual Dr. Joel Wernick Award from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology at their annual conference in San Diego, CA. The award recognizes “outstanding educational contributions within the fields of Audiology and Hearing Science” specifically for new information about pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Kathleen Palatucci
Kathleen Palatucci, MA, CCC-SLP, has been appointed to the position of clinic director for the Montclair State University Center for Communication Science and Disorder Center for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. This full-time position will include management of operations for the Center, oversight of clinical externships as well as the development, implementation and evaluation of clinical policy.

In Memoriam – E. Grace Bachmann
Some volunteers become well-known. School-based members, who have been active in the NJSHA school affairs committee (SAC) for many years, may recognize Grace Bachmann’s name and remember her as NJSHA’s vice president for the 2000- 2001 term. Other members might not recognize Grace’s name, because although she contributed significant volunteer efforts to NJSHA, she did so in her usual quiet yet effective manner. Grace passed away in October 2016 at the age of 76. She leaves her beloved husband of 56 years, Leonard, a daughter, Nadine, a son, Leonard, two sisters, two brothers and a number of grandchildren.

Grace was the epitome of a “volunteer.” As a member of the School Affairs Committee, she was ready to give whatever portion of her time was needed to advocate for the rights of students in New Jersey’s schools. Grace worked with members of SAC to compose important testimony and letters to legislators. Because she had the wisdom of experience in life as well as in her profession, she always knew how to state views diplomatically yet effectively. She also had a innate grasp of the core of an issue. As vice president of NJSHA, Grace continued to give the time demanded for advocacy in the field.

Grace’s volunteer work included;

  • NJSHA School Affairs Chair - North
  • Vice President of NJSHA (2000-2001)
  • NJSHA Board of Directors member
  • Chair of NJSHA’s Honors and Awards Committee
  • Member of the NJSHA’s Legislative Committee
  • Member of NJSHA’s School Affairs Steering Committee
  • Member of NJSHA’s Speech-Language Specialist Task Force

Grace took on these positions after she had accumulated at least 20 years of experience, working in the Cranford, New Jersey public schools. She had been a volunteer throughout her career, even before her involvement with NJSHA. In Cranford she was President of her local union, the Cranford Education Association, among other volunteer committees. She even advocated for and had new curtains made for the teacher’s room as part of a committee to improve the appearance of her school!

After she retired from her position as speech-language specialist in Cranford, NJ, Grace’s concentration became devoted to another cause. She had been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP), a serious lung disease with a dim prognosis. Grace was literally on her deathbed when she received notification of an available lung and was transported to Philadelphia for what turned out to be a successful lung transplant. Her 76th birthday marked the ten and a half year anniversary of that event. Grace went on to help others in need of and waiting for lung transplants and was a member of St. Claire’s Lung Transplant Association and became vice president of the Golden Ages in Fairfield.

Although Grace went about her volunteer work by often remaining in the background, her work helped bring issues to the foreground. Throughout any task she undertook, her attitude remained positive and she brought laughter and humor into even the most serious situation, including her own illness. In 2009, Grace received NJSHA’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

I know of no other individual who typified the words “volunteer” and “professional” more than Grace. Her efforts on behalf of NJSHA will always be remembered along with her smile and amazing grace.

Posted Fall 2016

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, FAAA, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF). The AAAF promotes philanthropy in support of research, education and public awareness in audiology and hearing science.

Amy Hadley
Amy Hadley, EdD, associate professor and director of the Communication Disorders Program at Stockton University, was one of only 15 speech-language pathologists chosen to attend an intensive workshop on stuttering therapy, entitled Treating Children and Adolescents Who Stutter, in Philadelphia from June 13-17, 2016.

Dona Hoehn
Dona Hoehn, MS, CCC-SLP, was awarded the 2015 Governor’s Educator of the Year award for the elementary school in which she worked. Part of this included a $500 grant for materials. As a follow-up, her district’s Education Foundation celebrated all recipients in their district with a “Rock Star” event in November 2015, and presented them with an award for achieving this honor. This was the first time that a speech-language specialist was awarded this honor in her district.

Karen Kushla
Karen Kushla, ScD, CCC-A, was recently promoted to Lecturer II at Kean University, where she has taught as an adjunct instructor since 2008. This 12-month, full-time position will include administrative duties (advisor for undergraduate, transfer and postbaccalaureate students) as well as academic duties (teaching courses like speech science and aural rehabilitation).

Posted Summer 2016

Donna Spillman-Kennedy and Christina Z. Luna
Donna Spillman-Kennedy, MS, CCC-SLP and Christina Z. Luna, SLPD, CCC-SLP, proudly announce the opening of their private practice, Integrated Speech Pathology, LLC, located in Watchung. After many years of working with individuals with communication and swallowing/feeding problems across the lifespan in a variety of settings, including universities, schools and hospitals, Donna and Christina decided to form their own practice to serve their community and profession in a more direct, specialized manner. The mission of Integrated Speech Pathology is to provide quality speech-language pathology services to children, adolescents and adults in the Northern and Central New Jersey areas. In addition, Integrated Speech Pathology will strive to educate the community about disorders of communication and the roles speech-language pathologists, as well as to be active in advocating for our profession and the populations we serve.

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, presented three lectures this past spring. In April, he presented Ear Canal Physiology and Pathology at the American Academy of Audiology annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. In May, he spoke about Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus at the Long Island Hearing Care Group. Also in May, he spoke about Over-the-Counter Tinnitus Relief Products - Helpful or Harmful? at the New Hampshire Academy of Audiology annual meeting.

Stacey D. Johnson
Stacey D. Johnson and her daughter, Anastasia L. Johnson, are both speech-language pathologists. They attended graduate school and graduated together with master’s degrees in speech-language pathology. Stacey will be accepting an award on Anastasia’s behalf at Kean University in recognition of pursuing her doctoral degree. Anastasia currently lives in Texas.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC SLP, has been accepted to present at the ASHA Connect Conference in July with Lori Overland on Self Limited Diets in Autism. She will also be presenting a poster session on A Modern Look at Van Riper’s Phonetic Placement Approach.

Posted Spring 2016

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, continued his Over-the-Counter Tinnitus Relief Products - Helpful or Harmful? lecture series with a three hour ABA Tier 1 CEU program for the South Carolina Academy of Audiology in January. Upcoming programs include the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia in March. A special program on ear canal pathologies will be presented at the American Academy of Audiology meeting in April in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sue A. Goldman
Sue A. Goldman, MA, CCC-SLP, presented a two hour seminar entitled What am I Doing In-Class? Infused, Collaboratively Planned Speech-Language Therapy That Truly Makes a Difference!, to two large rooms of attendees during a closed out session at the ASHA Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, on November 12, 2015. After pertinent IDEA mandates were discussed, sample in-class lessons describing ways to work with teachers to infuse IEP driven speech-language strategies into their lessons without changing curricular content being taught during the lesson, were presented. Attendees learned how to address planning collaboratively in order to derive effective plans that could lead to appropriate response to intervention (RTI) strategies.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP has been accepted to the ASHA Connect Conference in Minneapolis July 8-10, 2016. Robyn will be speaking on self-limited diets in autism with Lori Overland, and will present a poster session on A Modern Look at Van Riper’s Phonetic Placement Approach. She was also chosen by Bergen Mama, as one of the top three speech pathologists in Bergen County.

JoAnn Tuttle
JoAnn Tuttle, MS, CCC-SLP, presented a six-hour continuing education program entitled RTI With Speedy Speech™ Therapy Program at the Annual Convention of the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association in March. Ms. Tuttle is co-owner of the Speedy Speech™ Therapy Program.

In Memoriam – William Jones
It is with much sadness that NJSHA announces the passing of Dr. William Jones, CCC-A/CCC-SLP. Dr. Jones, a full professor in the the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology also served as the department chair, at the former Trenton State College (College of New Jersey). He was an ASHA and NJSHA leader in the professions, and he accumulated a very prolific professional portfolio of publications, presentations and contributions. He served on a number of NJSHA committees and task forces, and he was active in helping New Jersey secure licensure for audiologists and speech-language pathologists. He brought his passion and expertise as a member of the NJSHA Board of Directors. His distinguished career and body of service to the professions and NJSHA earned him Honors of the Association. Dr. Jones resided in the state of Florida until his untimely passing in May 2015.

Posted Winter 2016

Joan Akins
Joan Akins, was awarded the Teacher of the Year 2015 at Manasquan Elementary School. Awarded for being an outstanding educational services professional in a New Jersey public school and creating an environment that improves students’ academic opportunities, workforce and preparedness and overall quality of life.

Joan Bruno
Joan Bruno, PhD, CCC-SLP, had a proposal accepted for presentation at the 33rd Annual Closing the Gap Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota in October. Her paper was entitled, Designing Language Intervention Goals and Activities for Children Using the Gateway App.

Martha Cheslow
Martha Cheslow, MS, CCC-SLP, is announcing the recent publication of her new book, Piecing It Together: A Systematic Approach Toward More Effective Language Therapy. The book is currently being reviewed and the final version should be out shortly. The book was written for the novice therapist or the experienced speech-language pathologist who needs a clear and organized approach to the many facets of language therapy. Specifically aimed to those who work with the language-learning disordered school-age child, this resource demonstrates a systematic way to make the best intervention choices.

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, presented a three-hour Tier 1 continuing education program titled Over-the-Counter Tinnitus Relief Products - Helpful or Harmful at the annual meeting of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology in Washington, DC in November. Dr. DiSogra works for Audiology Associates of Freehold, which was voted “One of the Best” hearing aid providers in Monmouth in an October Readers’ Choice poll by the Asbury Park Press.

Alan Gertner
Alan Gertner, PhD, CCC-A, professor in the School of Communication Disorders and Deafness at Kean University, wrote an article entitled Music Training for Children With Auditory Processing Disorders that appeared in the November 2015 issue of Pathways: Neuroauditory and Auditory Processing Disorders. In addition, Dr. Gertner along with Dr. Lynn Schraer-Joiner, assistant professor in the Music Education Program, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Kean University, wrote the chapter, Music Education for Children With Hearing Loss, published October 22, 2015. The chapter appears in the textbook, Exceptional Music Pedagogy for Children With Exceptionalities: An International Perspective. The publisher is Oxford University Press.

Karen T. Kimberlin
Karen T. Kimberlin, MS, CCC-SLP, owner of Speech Language Learning Connection, LLC in Tinton Falls and NJSHA’s representative on the NJ Reading Disabilities Task Force, was honored at the International Dyslexia Association New Jersey Branch (NJIDA) Fall Conference with the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award “for genuine commitment and tireless efforts to reform the journey for persons with dyslexia.”

Daniel Kulik
Daniel Kulik finished graduate school at Kean University and started his first job as a speech-language specialist (CF) in the Bernards Township Public School District’s Comprehensive Behavior Analytic Program.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP was accepted for an ASHA Poster Session with Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP. The poster is entitled NSOME vs. OPT: Understanding the Debate.

Diane S. Reyna
Diane S. Reyna, completed Level 3 Training and is now a certified Talktools therapist. She also recently completed a course with Sandra Holtzman, to attain certification as an oral myologist. In addition, a second ACE Certificate has just been awarded to Ms. Reyna, in less than two years.

Linda Tucker-Simpson
Linda Tucker-Simpson, MS, CCC-SLP, was promoted to assistant manager of therapy services in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.

Posted Fall 2015

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, presented three lectures in September at the annual meetings of the Alabama Academy of Audiology, the Nebraska Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Topics included over-the-counter tinnitus relief products and a guide for audiologists looking for drug information on the internet. His tinnitus relief products program will also be a three-hour seminar at the annual meeting of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) in Washington, DC in November.

Tatyana Elleseff
Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, published two articles: Assessing Social Communication Abilities of School-Aged Children in ASHA’s SIG 16 Perspectives on School Based Issues, as well as What School Professionals Need to Know About Language Development of Internationally Adopted Children in Adoption Today Magazine.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, was invited to record a podcast explaining how Oral Placement Therapy differs from Non Speech Oral Motor Exercises (NSOME). The podcast can be found at

Joanne Summer
Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP, attended the five-day Eastern Workshop sponsored by The Stuttering Foundation and Boston University, Using Cognitive Approaches with People Who Stutter in June. Joanne was one of 20 SLPs chosen to participate in this program. In addition, she recently returned from a 10-day stay at Camp Shout Out in Holton, Michigan. Camp Shout Out (CSO), has a mission to bring together youth with fluency problems, speech-language pathologists and graduate students guided by Board Certified Specialists-Fluency (BCS-F) to learn, teach and empower each other to become more competent communicators and therapists in a safe, fun and natural environment.

Posted Summer 2015

Tatyana Elleseff
Tatyana Elleseff’s manuscript on Assessing Social Communication Abilities of School Aged Children was accepted for publication in the August issue of SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues.

Karen Kabaki-Sisto
Karen Kabaki-Sisto, MS, CCC-SLP, has created the iPad app I Can Have Conversations With You!™, a social language therapy system that helps people with autism to develop naturally-flowing conversations. The easy-to-follow, self-explanatory program captivates each learner’s interest within a fun, supportive environment so that learning to communicate is naturally reinforcing. I Can Have Conversations With You! has been clinically developed to be effective for learners with autism, PDD, Asperger’s syndrome or social (pragmatic) communication disorder who are ages six and up, talking in sentences, able to read and comfortable using the iPad. More information, including several video tours, can be found at

Vicki L. Sadewitz
Vicki L. Sadewitz, MS, CCC-SP, received the 2015 Distinguished Professional Service Award at the NJSHA Convention in Long Branch, NJ. Ms. Sadewitz said, “After almost 45 years in this profession, receiving this honor, has been a truly thrilling moment for me. My wholehearted thanks goes out to all who made this moment possible.”

In Memoriam – Janet M. Crist
Janet M. Crist, 78, passed peacefully on April 16, 2015, in Colorado at the Park Regency memory care unit. Janet lived in Hopatcong, New Jersey, for 52 years and retired from Andover schools after 30 years as a speech teacher. She was born in Essex, England, and came to the United States as a flight attendant for TWA, where she worked from 1960 to 1962.

Posted Spring 2015

Courtney Caruso, Yesenia Concepcion-Escano, Tatyana Elleseff
Courtney Caruso, MS, CCC-SLP, Yesenia Concepcion-Escano, MA, CCC-SLP and Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, developed and published a best practices technical manual entitled A Guide for the Appropriate Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Internationally-Adopted Individuals.” It can be accessed on the NJSHA website at:

Joanne Christodoulou
Joanne Christodoulou, EdD, CCC-SLP, completed her doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University as of December 31, 2014.

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, recently presented two programs on Ototoxic Drug Monitoring and Over-the-Counter Tinnitus Relief Products to the Puerto Rico Academy of Audiology and the Minnesota Academy of Audiology. Dr. DiSogra is the owner/director of Audiology Associates of Freehold, PC.

Tatyana Elleseff
Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, recently received a $15,000 grant from Seton Hall University, through Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, to improve literacy outcomes of children with psychiatric impairments. She was also an invited guest speaker at the Illinois Speech Language Hearing Convention in February 2015, during which she presented two sessions: Behavior Management for SLPs and Assessment and Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in Children With Psychiatric Impairments.

Teresa Hill
Teresa Hill, MA, CCC-SLP, was nominated for Educational Services Professional of the Year for her school this year. She works at the Early Childhood Education Center (preschool building) for Pemberton Township School District. Rosalia Lenzo Infusino, an elementary school speech-language pathologist, was named the Governor’s Educational Services Professional Award winner.

Martina Villarson
In May 2014, Martina Villarson, MA, CCC-SLP, graduated with a Master of Arts degree in bilingual/bicultural studies from La Salle University in Pennsylvania. She was the Bilingual/Bicultural Studies Program’s Graduate Academic Awardee for her thesis entitled The Need for More Blacks and Hispanics in the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology.

Julia Wolfrom
Julia Wolfrom, MS, CCC-SLP, was voted Specialist Teacher of the Year by staff, parents and students. It is quite an honor. She has been a speech-language pathologist at Harker-Wylie elementary school in Pemberton Township for eight years. To be nominated, let alone voted, is a professional and personal achievement. It shows that her work and efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, no matter how much it feels that way sometimes. She is very proud to work for her school, principal and with the teachers, staff, parents and students every day.

Posted Winter 2015

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, (Audiology Associates of Freehold) continues to lecture to state audiology academies on over-the-counter tinnitus relief products. Since the summer, he has spoken at Kentucky, Michigan and Maryland meetings. His new book on the same topic is due out this fall. He is also an adjunct lecturer at Salus University’s pharmacology course.

Gabrielle Haliburton
Gabrielle Haliburton was recently chosen by the speech-language faculty at Nova Southeastern University to attend an ASHA focus group on the clinical/professional doctorate in speech-language pathology at the 2014 ASHA Convention in Orlando, Florida. She will also be honored by the S.T.E.P. (Student to Empowered Professional) Mentoring Program for serving as a mentor to speech-language pathology students for the past 10 years.

Karen T. Kimberlin
Karen T. Kimberlin, MS, CCC-SLP, NJSHA’s representative on the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force, has been named as a Board Member of the New Jersey Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Robynne Kratchman
Robynne Kratchman, MS, CCC, director of Speech Language Pathology Programs at Speech and Hearing Associates, was interviewed by Derrick DeSilva, MD on News 12 NJ. The segment, 12 To Your Health, was devoted to stuttering and aired on November 29, 2014.

Mahchid Namazi
Mahchid Namazi co-authored a feature article with Nidhi Mahendra entitled Becoming Bilingual which was published in the November 2014 issue of the ASHA Leader.

Natalie Neubauer
Natalie Neubauer, MS, CCC-SLP, recently had an article published in ASHA’s Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education titled Interprofessional Education at Seton Hall University. The article focuses on the mission and framework of collaborative education and practice opportunities infused into the School of Health and Medical Sciences curriculum at Seton Hall for speech-language pathology graduate students and students in other related health professions. It provides evidence on the value of interprofessional service delivery in providing holistic care for clients to maximize their outcomes.

Sheila J. Oliver
Sheila J. Oliver, along with colleagues Gail Howerton, Deidre Chatman and Tia Green, was awarded a study group grant from Montclair State University to study how play contributes to learning. A significant portion of their project, entitled The Value of Play in Learning, addressed how play contributes to the development of language and critical thinking. Their project presentation at the Montclair State University Network for Educational Renewal 2014 Summer Conference (June 27, 2014) was comprehensive and well received. Sheila was the grant leader. She also presented a modified version of their Power Point presentation entitled The Value of Play at the South Orange Public Library’s Newcomers Day event on September 21, 2014.

Posted Fall 2014

Susan Hammer Kirby DeSapio
Susan Hammer Kirby DeSapio has retired after 27 years as a speech-language specialist. For the last 20 years, she was the SLP at Clinton Public School in Hunterdon County. A graduate of Montclair University in 1974, she began her career in Peapack-Gladstone and then as a speech therapist for Project P.E.A.C.H. in Bernards Township, one of the six pilot programs in the state for preschool children with disabilities. In 2009, Susan was awarded the NJSHA Distinguished Clinical Service Award. She thanks NJSHA for all the valuable continuing education and professional camaraderie the association has provided her throughout the decades.

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, Director of Audiology Associates of Freehold, PC, was an invited speaker at the Kentucky Academy of Audiology in August. He spoke about over the- counter tinnitus relief products and patient management.

Robyn Merkel Walsh
Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, was accepted by ASHA for a poster session on tactile therapies for childhood apraxia of speech. She has also been appointed as the Board co-chair of the Oral Motor Institute.

Lois Mishkin
Lois Mishkin, MA, CCC/LDT-C, was an invited speaker at the Annual Convention for the American Association for Justice on July 27, 2014, in Baltimore. Her presentation was Evaluation of Academic Achievement in Minors with Brain Injuries. This is a group of trial lawyers from all over the US.

Donna Salvo
Donna Salvo, MA, CCC-SLP, was honored by the Mountain Lakes School District and Home & School Association for 25 years of service to the Mountain Lakes/Lake Drive Program. She is most proud of the deaf students who have succeeded in all facets of life after graduating from Mountain Lakes High School.

Alan Gertner and Lyn Scharaer-Joiner
Alan Gertner, PhD, Professor in the School of Communication Disorders and Deafness, at Kean University, co-authored, with Lyn Schraer-Joiner, PhD, Assistant Professor in Kean University’s Music Conservatory, a textbook chapter titled, Music Education for Hard of Hearing and Deaf Children. The book, Exceptional Pedagogy for Children With Exceptionalities: An International Perspective, is being published by Oxford University Press. Drs. Gertner and Schraer-Joiner began their collaboration four years ago when they investigated music perception of late-implanted cochlear implant users. That study resulted in a publication and an invited presentation, held in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the International Association of Music Education, Music Therapy, and Music Medicine.

Christina Luna and Alan Gertner
Christina Luna, SlpD and Alan Gertner, PhD, both in the School of Communication Disorders and Deafness at Kean University, received a grant to study auditory processing disorders, language disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Their multi-site research is being conducted at Kean University and Monmouth Medical Center.

Alan Gertner and Lyn Schraer-Joiner
Alan Gertner, PhD, Professor in the School of Communication Disorders and Deafness, at Kean University, and Lyn Schraer-Joiner, PhD, Assistant Professor at Kean University’s Music Conservatory, received a grant to investigate the impact on hearing of a college music program. The multi-site study is being supported at Kean University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Alan Gertner and Karen Kushla
Alan Gertner, PhD, Professor, and Karen Kushla, ScD, Adjunct Professor, both in the School of Communication Disorders and Deafness at Kean University, are engaged in a study investigating academic and social consequences of hearing loss among college students. This study is a follow-up to their previous study that investigated the medical and educational impact of hearing loss among college students.

Posted Summer 2014

Theresa E. Bartolotta
Theresa E. Bartolotta, PhD, CCC-SLP, has been appointed as Dean of the School of Health Sciences at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Theresa is a former NJSHA President and received the Honors of the Association in 2011. She will assume her new duties July 1, 2014.

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, was a member of an international faculty at the University of Iowa’s 22nd annual conference on the Management of the Tinnitus Patient held in June in Cedar Rapids, IA. Dr. DiSogra presented research on the efficacy and safety of over-the-counter tinnitus relief products.

Tatyana Elleseff
Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, of Smart Speech Therapy, LLC and Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare has recently published:

  • Creating Successful Team Collaboration: Behavior Management in the Schools. Perspectives on School-Based Issues, 15(1): 37-43.

Ms. Elleseff has also recently presented the following workshops:

  • Narrative Assessments of Preschool and School Aged Children. Workshop presented for the Union County Speech and Hearing Association, New Providence, NJ.
  • Assessment and Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in School Aged Children. Workshop presented at the 11th Annual Symposium for Speech Language Specialists. Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

Robert W. Serianni
Robert W. Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, was named the Clinical Director/Educator in the newly formed Department of Speech-Language Pathology in the College of Education and Rehabilitation at Salus University, in Elkins Park, PA. Salus University will provide graduate level education, with plans to develop professional workshops (for ASHA CEU credits) and a post-graduate program. Bob is responsible for graduate student teaching and clinic supervision, administration of the on-campus clinic and coordination of the externship practicum sites.

Mariann Zema
Mariann Zema was recently honored for 25 years of providing speech and language therapy to the autistic population in the East Brunswick School District.

Posted Spring 2014

Robert M. DiSogra
Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, Director at Audiology Associates of Freehold, PC, was selected as the Alumnus of the Year for 2013 from the Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) at Salus University, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. The award recognizes Dr. DiSogra’s “extraordinary service and contributions to the profession of audiology, bringing honor and prestige to Salus University and OCA.” His areas of specialty are Pharmacology and Ototoxicity.
Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, of Smart Speech Therapy, LLC has been approved by the Continuing Education Board (CEB) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to receive an ASHA Approved Continuing Education (CE) Provider Status.

Karen Kimberlin and Amy Hadley
Karen Kimberlin, MS, CCC-SLP and Amy Hadley, EdD, CCC-SLP, are continuing data collection in their pilot study of A Screening Protocol for Reading Disorders. Karen has been screening kindergarten children in central New Jersey and Amy has been working with the Charles L. Spragg School in Egg Harbor City. They are piloting use of the Predictive Assessment of Reading, Mississippi Dyslexia Screener, The Colorado Learning Disabilities Questionnaire – Reading Subscale (CLDQ-R), and selected subtests of the Fluharty Preschool Speech and Language Screening-2. Preliminary findings suggest that multiple measures which include parent and teacher input are necessary in a comprehensive screening program for young children. The researchers are proponents of early identification and intervention for children at risk for language and reading disorders.
Karen Kimberlin has recently presented on understanding reading disabilities and dyslexia as well as the New Jersey dyslexia laws to both professionals and parents at area school districts.

Daria O’Brien
Daria O’Brien was given the honor of speaking on improving writing skills utilizing methods rooted in language processing and social cognition at two Social Thinking conferences in 2013; one in San Francisco and one in Philadelphia.

Vicki Sadewitz
Vicki Sadewitz, MS, CCC, director of her private practice, The Center for Communication Advancement, is celebrating 25 years in business. “Coming to the office each day, serving both children and adults, is still a complete thrill. I feel very blessed in this endeavor.”

In Memoriam – Kathleen Megee
Kathleen Megee passed away in November 2013, at the age of 55. She worked as a speech-language pathologist in the Washington Township Schools for 30 years, and part-time in nearby nursing and rehab facilities. She started the Gloucester County Holiday Meal Program in 1993, which has been renamed in her memory. She was the mother of three and grandmother of one. She lived in Washington Township, Sewell, New Jersey.



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