What’s this blog all about?

  • Current and relevant techniques to improve communication
  • Ideas, worksheets and audio on improving your English skills and pronunciation
  • Tips and suggestions on childhood speech & language development, and effective communication for children and adults with autism/aspergers

How will I benefit from this blog?

I want you to feel confident with your language and communication skills. I share with you the knowledge I’ve gained by teaching accent modification, and by working with clients with autism and delayed language skills. I share personal stories, too, about raising my own children, including my adult son who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2006. By reading here and practicing the techniques I recommend, you will improve your skills.

Why do I have to read and type in those oddly shaped letters when posting a comment?

Technology is wonderful, isn’t it?  But with technology comes a few problems too. One big problem is spam. I welcome your input, but if I don’t use the “captcha” (those pictures or oddly shaped letters you are asked to put in) then I get too much spam! I really want your comments, so please enter the captcha letters/numbers and I’ll know you are a real reader (and not just a machine trying to fill my inbox). Thanks so much!

Santa Barbara

What’s your education and experience?
I have a BS from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and an MS from the University of Redlands, California.  I am a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and I hold a California license in Speech-Language Pathology.  I began my career working at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, Solutions of Santa Barbara (a transitional living facility for head-injured adults) and a private practice in Santa Barbara. I then took time off to raise a family. When my son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (a kind of high-functioning autism) in 2006, I learned techniques to serve families with autism.

San Jose CaliforniaI returned to speech therapy in 2008 and have worked at clinics and schools with K-8 kids, both typically developing and severely behaviorally challenged. I worked for 3 years with Early Intervention groups for children 18 months to age 3. I have worked with kids with Myofunctional Disorders (tongue thrust) and taught social thinking skills to young adults with high-functioning autism.

Since 2011, I’ve been volunteering in an ESL program in the Silicon Valley, teaching American English pronunciation. I obtained training in the Compton PESL program (Pronouncing English as a Second Language), and teach lessons to adults who want to improve their English speaking skills.

ESL Classes Information: WestGate South Hills Church sponsors ESL classes. We meet on Mondays at WestGate South Hills Church (6601 Camden Ave, San Jose, CA), For more information on our adult ESL English classes in San Jose, California (runs from September to May every year) contact WestGate South Hills Church at 408-268-1676 or ESL@westgatechurch.org. List of last year’s ESL classes here.  Information on this year’s classes here.

How did you get into speech /language pathology?

In high school, I was in drama club, choir, and speech & debate. I began college by studying communications and broadcasting (radio/t.v.) During college I worked as a teacher’s aide in a school for deaf children. This is where I fell in love with speech language pathology.

What other interests do you have?Not Your Average Biker Chick!

  • Riding a Harley-Davidson
  • Learning and playing piano
  • Reading
  • Writing – check out my stories posted at www.familyshortstories.com.
  • Genealogy
  • Photography and scrapbooking – I was a Creative Memories consultant for 16 years.

Where can I get help for my special needs child in the San Francisco Bay area?

A great place for parents to become familiar with is Parents Helping Parents in San Jose, CA. Parents Helping Parents (PHP) strives to improve the quality of life for any child with special needs of any age, through educating, supporting and training their primary caregivers. You can contact them at 408-727-5775.


9 thoughts
  1. Nanette says:

    Hi! I came upon your website via Pinterest, and wanted to tell you what a great job with your work and site!!! Glad to know there’s so many local SLPs who are passionate about our field! Thank you!

    Nanette ;o)

    1. paula says:

      Thanks Nanette! I really appreciate hearing that. Thank you for taking the time to read here. I hope you find some useful ideas. Please let me know if there are any topics you’d like to hear more about.

  2. Alexia says:

    Hi, I just sign in to receive your emails. I live in Austin, TX. I am interested in to find local professionals in Speech Therapy to help me with the accent reduction and the communication at work in general. I was relocated to work in US 7 years ago, since them I have been studying ESL but I am still receiving feedback from my peers and my manager that I need to improve my communication style, this is not about the grammar and English as itself but this is more the way I communicate. I need to learn how to be more concise and better pronunciation of words.

    Thank you so much!

    1. paula says:

      Hi Alexia,
      I’m looking for an SLP in your area who might be able to help. If you are interested in lessons by videochat, please get in touch with me at avspeechtherapy@gmail.com.
      Thanks so much!

  3. Hallo, my name is Maureen and i work here in Kenya. I have a three year old with Down syndrome who has around 20 words of vocabulary. The main problem is that he has never had speech therapy (no speech therapists here) and so his tongue keeps interfearing with his words. I was referred to your website through a discussion group on children with special needs. Do you have any oral motor therapy techniques that i could use as a parent at home?

    1. paula says:

      Hi Maureen,
      Many of the exercises I post here can be used for kids 3 and up. Search “myofunctional” for my posts that show exercises. Talk Tools (talktools.com) also gives therapy techniques and sells products for tongue thrust in Down Syndrome kids.
      Thanks for your question,

  4. Sarah A says:

    Hi Paula, I came on your site through a pinterest pin from a friend (who lives in Nepal!). I’m a lot closer to you geographically. 🙂 My son just turned 8 and still says the “th” sound instead of “s.” Do you think I should have him evaluated for possible speech therapy? Do you know of any good exercises I can do with him at home? Also, we live in the East Bay, so if you know of any good therapists near us (or if you ever travel out this way), I’d love to know about it. Thank you!!!

  5. Hi Paula,
    I came across you on Facebook and saw your blog and then this way to contact you.
    With your being a SLP and having a true understanding Autism, I’m hoping you might be able to point me in the best direction to get my son the most effective help and support for him.
    My son didn’t get his Aspergers and Language Based Learning Disability diagnoseses until the end of 7th grade and was finally given an IEP.
    He is 16 now and still struggling academically and we’ve been given the runaround badly with getting him the proper instruction for his LDs from our school district which is a very long story. There are a couple of Dyslexia programs and schools in our area but they do not works with kids with an Autism diagnosis sadly.
    I’m wondering if having him work with a Speech Therapist would be a good route to try because we have pretty good health insurance.
    He’s quite high functioning, has the Aspergers monotone Speech, very bright and he really hopes to go to college but needs a lot of help to get there still with his unnadressed LDs and Executive Functioning issues.
    We are from Boston and any insight that you can share with me would be greatly appreciated!

    1. paula says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Thanks for contacting me. I’m not sure why a dyslexia program would specifically NOT work with kids who have an autism diagnosis. Kids who have several learning challenges are common. 🙁 A Speech Language Pathologist will be trained for communication disorders. Your son will need someone who has had additional training in autism and social thinking/ executive functioning. It tends to be a rather specialized field. SLPs are not likely to have dyslexia training, but you could always ask! I’ll ask around as well, if someone knows a clinician in your area.
      Best Wishes,

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