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.
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 can cause difficulty with breathing during exercise and/or difficulty producing a voice for speaking or singing. Children with a voice disorder may have a voice that sounds harsh, breathy or hoarse.
Feeding and swallowing disorders
Children who have difficulty swallowing food or drink or may have a limited range of accepted foods.
Physicians, make a referral or schedule consultation
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- Hearing loss
- Cleft palate and velopharyngeal dysfunction
- Childhood apraxia of speech
- Voice disorders and vocal cord dysfunction
- Concussion and traumatic brain injury
- Other genetic and medical disorders resulting in communication difficulties
- Articulation disorders
- Receptive/expressive language disorders
- Speech and language disorders in Spanish-speaking children
- Feeding and swallowing disorders
Jillian Lemonds, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Jillian Lemonds, M.S., CCC-SLP, is the director of Rehabilitation Services. She has served in a variety of clinical and leadership roles in her 20-year tenure at Cook Children's. Jillian is a graduate of Texas Christian University where she received her undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology and her Master's degree from Texas Woman's University. She is certified through ASHA and is licensed as a speech-language pathologist in the State of Texas.
Jillian strives to carry out the Cook Children's mission in all areas of Rehab Services. Her favorite part of working at Cook Children's is helping all of her team members to be their best; which will allow them to deliver exceptional care to all of our patients!
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.
Alexandra Surdo, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Alexandra Surdo, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who has been with Cook Children's since 2020. She has specialized in pediatrics since the beginning of her career, and has prior experience in early childhood intervention. Alex enjoys working with patients who have complex communication needs. She is passionate about working with babies and toddlers with feeding difficulties and dysphagia. Her favorite aspect of feeding therapy is helping to foster meaningful interactions between caregiver and child. Alex enjoys being part of a multidisciplinary team and she loves Cook Children's family-centered approach for empowering families to take the lead in their child's care.
Callie Cunningham, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Callie Cunningham, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who has worked at Cook Children's since 2015. Callie has experience in our outpatient clinics working with children with feeding, speech and language difficulties, where she especially enjoyed working with children with cleft palate and resonance disorders. She currently works as a hospital-based speech-language pathologist serving patients with acute feeding and communication needs, those with autism in the psychiatric unit and those requiring swallow function studies. Callie greatly enjoys supporting caregivers in developing safe and positive feeding experiences with their infants. Her favorite part of working at Cook Children's is collaborating with other medical professionals to help families receive excellent comprehensive care.
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 "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, 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, 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.
Jana Tieding, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Jana Tieding, M.S. CCC-SLP, is an inpatient speech-language pathologist who has worked at Cook Children's since 2001. She primarily works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and is passionate about working with babies and their families to improve feeding and swallowing skills. She enjoys teaching nurses and other facilities' NICU employees about how to help this population successfully progress feeding and swallowing skills. Jana loves working with families and collaborating with the whole medical team at Cook Children's.
Jennifer McReynolds, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Jennifer McReynolds is the clinic lead and speech-language pathologist at Cook Children's Medical Center. She began working at Cook Children's in 2003 and has experience working in both inpatient and outpatients services. She has specialized education and experience in working with children with feeding and swallow disorders, acquired speech/language, cognitive communication disorders and hearing loss. She is passionate about interprofessional collaboration and education to improve patient care and maximize patient outcomes. She enjoys working with infants and children of all ages learn to eat, drink, listen and talk.
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, 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 McKeon, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Kathy McKeon, MS, CCC- SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children's since 2009. She has worked in the outpatient clinic where her focus was on articulation, speech-language development, stuttering, augmentative communication and oral-motor disorders. She is currently working as an inpatient therapist, where she enjoys working with acute feeding, speech-language and cognitive needs on the medical floors and cardiac unit. She enjoys assisting patients and their families in connecting with a variety of resources available to support their needs.
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.
Katie Chesnutt, M.S., CCC-SLP
Katie Chesnutt, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children's since 2020. She has experience working with children and their families in a variety of therapeutic settings. Katie is passionate about helping infants and toddlers with their feeding and swallowing skills, as well as helping young children find their voice through development of early language skills and sound production. She enjoys working with families to provide family-centered care in order to help each child reach their full potential.
Kambrie Kilcrease, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Kambrie Kilcrease, M.S., CCC-SLP, is an inpatient speech-language pathologist who has been with Cook Children's since 2020. Kambrie received her Master of Science degree from the University of North Texas. She has experience with the pediatric population in home health, inpatient rehab and the acute care setting. She enjoys the variety of children she sees in the acute setting and loves helping them grow to their full potential.
Kiah 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.
Kimberly Richardson, M.S.,CCC-SLP
Kim Richardson, M.S. CCC-SLP, is an acute care inpatient speech-language pathologist and has worked at Cook Children's since 1999. She primarily treats infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as children with feeding/swallowing difficulties, cleft palate/VPI and voice disorders. She enjoys presenting at the state level and collaborating with a local university to enhance graduate level education regarding acute pediatric topics. Kim loves assisting families in advocating for their child, empowering them to help their child reach their full potential.
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, 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, 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, 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.
Paige Howell, M.S., CCC-SLP
Paige Howell, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who has been with Cook Children's since 2020. She has extensive background in treating young children with a variety of feeding and swallowing disorders, early language development and AAC needs. Over the last few years, Paige has developed and presented several courses related to these topics. She is passionate about working with families on mealtime dynamics and reducing the stress of eating. One of the things she loves most is seeing caregivers become empowered to help their children communicate and participate more in the home and community. She has spent time working in schools, homes and other medical settings. Paige is so happy to be part of the Cook family and have the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals daily.
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.
Sarah Brill, M.A., CCC-SLP
Sarah Brill, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who has been with Cook Children's since 2020. She is passionate about helping children with speech and language disorders, feeding and swallowing difficulties and voice difficulties. Sarah has specialized in pediatrics since the beginning of her career, and she has prior experience in the outpatient, inpatient rehab and acute care settings. She is passionate about functional communication and family-centered care and loves to help little ones grow and find their voice.
Sara Lopes, MS, CCC-SLP
Sara Lopes, MS, CCC-SLP, is an inpatient speech-language pathologist who has been with Cook Children's since October of 2008. Sara received her Master of Science degree from the University of North Texas in 2005. She has worked with the pediatric population in both the outpatient and inpatient setting. Currently, Sara works primarily with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and cardiac step down unit to improve their feeding and swallowing skills. She has a passion for working with children and their families in order for them to achieve their full potential.
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.
Stacey Stewart, MS, CCC-SLP
Stacey Stewart, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and has worked for Cook Children's since 2020. Stacey has been a speech-language pathologist for more than 20 years in a variety of settings, including previously working at Cook Children's from 1998-2003. She has experience treating children with feeding and swallowing disorders, voice disorders, articulation difficulties, language disorders and cognitive disorders. Stacey has special training with children with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, cleft lip and palate and swallowing disorders. Stacey is vital stim and PROMPT certified and has extensive training in verbal behavior techniques for children with developmental disabilities. Stacey loves to work with children and their families to facilitate feeding, swallowing and communication interactions so that their child is able reach their full potential.
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, 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, 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.
- Baby Talk Speech Guidelines
- Decoding Your Toddler
- Does My Child Need Speech Therapy
- Is My Child Ready for Spoon Feeding?
- Is My Child's Speech Normal?
- Picky Eater or Problem Feeder?
- Technology APPs for Learning
- Teach Your Child to Be a Magnificently Messy and Healthy Eater
- Raising Bookworms
- Talk to Your Baby to Raise Their IQ
- What Can Rhonda Rousey Teach Us About Speech Therapy?
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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.