By Donna Abemayor
As I entered the office of Isa Marrs, MA CCC-SLP, board certified speech language pathologist, I found her friendly waiting area decorated with primary color furniture and children’s toys and books a warm welcoming environment. Children played in the waiting area with their parents, while others were participating in children’ groups, and the sound of children’s laughter was heard throughout the office.
In the Beginning
Isa knew from the time she was a teenager that wanted to be a speech language pathologist. At age 15, she took a summer position at Jawanio in New City, New York, as a teacher’s aide for preschool children with special needs. Isa describes seeing a speech language pathologist with a preschool child at a picnic table.
She reports “at that moment” she decided she wanted to work with children with special needs and be a speech language pathologist. She obtained a Masters Degree in Communication Disorders from New Mexico State University and became a board certified speech pathologist.
In 1999, she began working with Etoile LeBlanc, world-renowned expert in the area of craniofacial speech disorders. In 2003, she opened her own practice, Isa Marrs Speech Language Pathology in Valhalla and in 2007, her current office in Briarcliff.
Isa has in-depth experience treating children with a wide-variety of medical conditions and genetics syndromes, but not limited to Cleft Palate, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 18, Aperts Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Fragile X, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Autism.
The Balancing Act
Isa Marrs has been practicing speech language pathology for nearly 20 years. As a mother of
4 1/2 year old Maya and 18 month old Aaron, she manages to balance the demands of her growing practice and parenting. Isa, along with her husband Jason assume almost all of the caretaking of their two children. She often brings her children to work. Maya and Aaron can often be found playing in her office or participating in groups within her practice. When her children are not with her, they can be found with their dad, Jason, participating in an array of activities. Isa reports that “being a parent” helps you to truly relate to other parents and grandparents. “Understanding their struggles and appreciating their efforts” is an important part of her communication with parents and grandparents.
Isa has developed an array of programs for children with speech language disorders. Two of these programs are Where I Can Be Me and Jumpstart Talking. Where I Can Be Me is a social skills program that is facilitated by board certified speech pathologists and utilizes behavior techniques, social communication, music, art, and social skills training to improve a child’s play skills, social interaction and behavior. Isa describes “teachable moments” that emerge when working with children in groups that incorporate art, play, and other social activities. For further information about this program, go to www. WhereICanBeMe.com. Another creative program that Isa has developed is Jumpstart Talking. This program is designed for children who are late talkers and often get “lost in the shuffle in traditional preschool.” This engaging communication based program is designed to get children talking while preparing them for school. For further information, go to www.JumpstartTalking.com.
Practice made Perfect
Isa feels that the best ways to assess the effectiveness of speech language therapy are testimonials by families that have utilized her practice. Currently, she has seven board certified speech language pathologists and a special educator who is a reading therapist that are part of her practice. Isa’s philosophy is for the therapists to deliver “one-hundred and twenty percent” when working with children and families.
Isa feels this can be done by continuing to review and assess the engagement process; asking such questions as “ What can I do different with this child and family?”; and “ How, as a therapist, can I be more creative?” Isa’s goal is to deliver “quality care” which is evident from families that come from as far away as Putnam County., Connecticut, and New Jersey. Isa Marrs Speech Language Pathology is located at 127 Woodside Avenue, Suite 201 Briarcliff, New York. You can call her directly at 914-488-5282. Visit her on the web at www.SpeechLanguageFeeding.com.
Donna Abemayor is a frequent writer for Inside Chappaqua.