MEET THE THERAPISTS

Heather Lynn Boerner, MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH

Heather Lynn Boerner, a pediatric speech-language pathologist with over 12 years’ experience in the field is founder and creator of Chatty Child™. Heather  treats children who have a wide variety of needs, and has gained experience in many therapeutic settings including: hospitals, schools, sensory gyms, and homecare settings.

Specialties include: apraxia of speech and PROMPT services (a technique used to improve the movement and coordination of oral structures for speech); oral motor and feeding therapy; augmentative and alternative communication (AAC); autism; medically-complex populations; articulation; auditory processing; and, speech and language delays.

Chatty Child creates a personalized care program for each client that takes into account the child’s interests, strengths, current level of functioning, and future goals. We strive to empower the child, the whole family, and the caregivers to become positive vehicles of change within the child’s life. We strive to provide personalized, creative, and effective care to maximize each child’s communication abilities.

Heather Lynn Boerner graduated with high honors, New York University with Masters of Arts in Speech Language Pathology and Minor in Education. Heather is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Teacher of Speech and Hearing Disabled Students, State of New York.

Sarah Abraham, MS, OTR/L

Sarah Abraham became a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist in August 2015.  She graduated with a Bachelors in Health Science and Masters of Occupational Therapy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She completed her level II fieldwork at a sensory gym in New York City and at a hand therapy clinic in Miami, Florida. Sarah has been working in pediatrics since she graduated, working at sensory gym and school settings. She is experienced in treating early intervention to school aged children with various diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Downs Syndrome, and Developmental Delays.  Sarah uses her creativity to improve fine motor skills, visual perceptual and visual motor skills, sensory integration, social skills, motor planning, and self-care skills.

Jacqueline Braha, MS, OTR/L

Jacqueline Braha is a licensed occupational therapist in the state of New York. She graduated with honors from New York University with a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Bachelors of Science in Applied Psychology. Jacqueline has been working as a pediatric occupational therapist for three years at United Cerebral Palsy in Brooklyn, where she treats children, ages 5 to 21, with a range of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, microcephaly, muscular dystrophy, angel man syndrome, autism and global developmental delays.

Jacqueline approaches a child from a holistic standpoint and places value on meeting the needs of the child both at home and within the school environment. She works closely with teachers and families to support a child in his/her journey by listening to their concerns and educating them on the best treatment approaches possible.  Jacqueline has experience with wheelchair management, orthotics, adaptive equipment, and durable medical equipment. Additionally, she has experience treating children with deficits in areas such as: fine motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory integration, self help skills, motor planning, muscle weakness, and muscle tone.   

Jacqueline has completed continuing education courses in pediatric motor therapy, plays skills, and primitive reflexes. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). 

Chantal Ghalchi, MS, CCC-SLP, TSLD

Chantal Ghalchi is a Speech & Language Pathologist with licensure in the states of New York and Connecticut. She is an alumnus at the University of Connecticut and received a Master of Science at the Center for Communication Disorders at Southern Connecticut State University.

Chantal spends her clinical hours servicing preschool through elementary school children, both in and out of the school setting. She believes in a multi-disciplinary approach to therapy, working closely with occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other members of the child's care team to provide holistic speech & language therapy. Through her work with children ages 3-10, Chantal has gained expertise in the areas of autism spectrum disorder, expressive language delays, phonological impairments, receptive language deficits, literacy, social language skills, and more.

Other clinical experiences include inpatient acute care and rehabilitation services for the adult population, as well as an intensive adult stuttering treatment program at The American Institute for Stuttering.

Anne R. Karpel-Freilich, MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH

Anne R. Karpel-Freilich comes to us with more than 30 years clinical experience with children from birth through adolescence.  In addition to her many years of private practice she has served at two major universities in the New York Metropolitan area as clinic director, building the student clinics and working to create their practicum programs.  Throughout her years of practice she has served as a consultant to hospitals, home care agencies and the Department of Education of the City of New York.

Anne has developed expertise in the areas of neonatal and toddler feeding skill development, phonological and language acquisition with children presenting on the autistic spectrum, as well as normally developing school age children exhibiting a myriad of speech and language delays.  Her expertise extends to all areas of speech and language development as well as social skills development.  Her techniques of therapy and relationship development with clients have proven successful for hundreds of children throughout her years of practice.

Anne graduated with high honors from Teachers College at Columbia University  with a Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology.  She is licensed by the State of New York and holds permanent certification as a Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped.

Sonya Kashlan, MS, OTR/L

Sonya Kashlan draws on both her comprehensive professional experience and her firsthand knowledge as the mother of three young children in evaluating clients and tailoring therapeutic programs designed to meet each child’s specific needs.

Sonya has worked in various therapeutic environments, including: hospitals, schools, sensory gyms, and homecare settings. Her approach is built upon a holistic therapy model that addresses neurological and physiological behaviors, communication, and sensory, motor and cognitive abilities. Through her work, Sonya strives to improve activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as eating, sleeping, playing, dressing, toileting, attending, learning, relating, and developing. But she is equally attentive to enrichment through mastering the more complex activities required for long-term academic success and community involvement. Sonya’s specialties include: Sensory Processing Disorders (Sensory Over-Responsivity, Sensory Under-Responsivity, Sensory Craving, Postural Disorders, Dyspraxia and Sensory Discrimination Disorders), Autism spectrum, Apraxia, Ataxia, Visual-Perceptual disorders, fine motor delays and Handwriting assessment/ remediation, and Pre-School readiness.

Sonya is a Level 1 Certified Handwriting Without Tears specialist. She is NDT (Neurological Developmental Technique) trained and trained in Vestubular Activation using an Astronaut Board. She is a professional member of: AOTA, NYSOTA, and NBCOT.

Sonya Kashlan acceptings RSA DOE work through her company Connected Kids which is housed at the Chatty Child Center.

Aneta Krysiak, MS Ed, BCBA, LBA

Aneta Krysiak is a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of New York servicing children with autism spectrum and various developmental disorders throughout Manhattan. She began as a psychology student at Fordham University quickly changing her path of study after interning at a special needs preschool. The experience of working with young children led her to develop a passion for the field further and she went on to complete a dual Master’s degree in General and Special Education. Aneta has over 11 years of experience in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a scientific approach with decades of research aimed at increasing positive behavior.

When providing Early Intervention (EI) home-based services, Aneta applies behavioral principles in conjunction with 1:1 instruction while drawing components from a variety of approaches to ensure meaningful learning. This includes Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT), Verbal Behavior (VB), Natural Environment Teaching (NET) as well as others. She is trained in the development of individual programs, interventions, and curricula based on direct assessment, observation, interviews with the family, IFSP/IEP goals, and each child’s unique learning style of which progress is tracked via data graphed on visual charts. Her training extends to teaching adaptive self-help skills, appropriate play, and social skills all while working toward meeting appropriate developmental milestones to reach independence.

Aneta currently provides supervision while facilitating family training and overlooking program implementation. She believes in working with the child’s family as a whole including the child’s peers, and the child’s multidisciplinary team on a daily basis to ensure generalization of learned skills to the world around.

Caitlyn McArdle, MS OTR/L

Caitlyn McArdle is a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in working with children from birth through 12 years of age. She has clinical experience working in various therapeutic environments, including: inpatient, outpatient, schools, and day care centers. 

Caitlyn believes in an integrated therapy approach that addresses the whole child (sensorimotor, social, emotional and cognitive functioning). Through therapy, Caitlyn strives to improve activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as dressing, playing, attending, learning, socialization and developing. Caitlyn has experience working with children in the following areas:  fine motor skills, visual perceptual and visual motor skills, sensory integration and regulation, motor planning and self-care skills. 

She graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina's Master of Science Program in Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).  She has a strong interest in providing therapy services around the world and has attended a medical mission trip to Uganda to provide occupational therapy to both children and adults.

Paulina Smietanka, MS, CF-SLP

Paulina Smietanka is a speech and language pathologist in her clinical fellowship year. She received her Masters of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Teachers College/Columbia University,  and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Queens College/City University of New York. Paulina  has gained her experiences working in a preschool, elementary school, aphasia group, and acute care hospital. Paulina worked with a diverse population, including but not limited to, receptive and expressive language delays, autism, apraxia of speech, hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, genetic and chromosomal disorders, aphasia, traumatic brain injuries, articulation impairments, medically-fragile children and multiple-global disabilities. Paulina's interests also include augmentative and alternative communication. Paulina is Level 1 PROMPT trained and is certified in Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT), and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluations of Swallowing (FEES). Paulina incorporates interdisciplinary discussion, parental involvement and generalization into her treatment. She has an energetic personality that engages and motivates children to become active participants in therapy. Paulina provides individualized therapy that enables children to maximize their potential through play and age-appropriate tasks.

Paulina  has been with Chatty Child since 2012, originally starting as an intern but has since began her career as a speech-language pathologist. During that time, she shadowed sessions, assisted in group therapy sessions, and acquired administrative skills in regards to NYDOE paperwork and guidelines. Overall, Paulina's acquired skills and passion for the field is evident throughout all her therapeutic sessions.

Jennifer Willard, OTR/L, CIMI

Jennifer Willard is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor with over 10 years experience working with infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout New York City. Her diverse background includes working in hospitals, private homes and within the NYC public school system where she still works full time.  Jennifer has experience working with children with a variety of neuromotor and sensory based disabilities with resulting functional delays in the following areas:  fine motor skills, visual perceptual and visual motor skills, sensory integration and regulation, motor planning and self-care skills.  Her training in multiple techniques allows her a well-rounded approach to addressing these areas. As part of her holistic treatment protocols, Jennifer is diligent in educating families on ways they can best support their children in the home (and school environment when applicable) for maximum ability and functional independence. This may include using remediation activities, as well as compensatory strategies.

Jennifer also teaches Infant Massage as an adjunct service to families for children with disabilities. She has a particular interest in teaching the parents of children with Down syndrome and parents who have adopted children -- two populations for whom infant massage has particular therapeutic value. Benefits include supporting bonding, attachment and trust, decreasing colic, relieving gas and constipation, supporting improved sleep patterns, improving appetite, improving the ability to self-calm and integrate sensory information and to support more functional muscle tone and motor development.

Jennifer is now providing comprehensive services at Chatty Child Speech Therapy, including evaluation, treatment and consultation through her own private practice, First Connections Count.  She also accepts children with RSA’s from the DOE (outside of District 2) and children mandated for center-based occupational therapy through the NYS early intervention program.

Jennifer graduated with awards from Columbia University’s Master of Science Program in Occupational Therapy.  She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) and Infant Massage USA (IMUSA).