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Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy is offered in clinic or at the child’s home environment to improve speech and language skills after a delay has been identified. Frequency of services are determined following a formal assessment. Typical frequencies of service range from twice weekly to monthly. Sessions generally last 45 minutes to one hour depending upon the child’s needs and tolerance of therapy.

Our Speech Language Pathologists

 
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Sarah Ziemba, MA, CCC-SLP/L

CEO

Sarah founded Shine Therapy Services in 2011, after having worked in a variety of settings.  She has been a provider of speech therapy services in the Early Intervention system since 1999.  She was trained at Northern Illinois University as part of a grant through Early Intervention and graduated with her Masters in 2000.  She was then employed in a clinic setting where she worked with speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.  Sarah provided speech therapy in this setting until 2004, when she began seeing clients through Early Intervention in their natural environments.  Sarah was also employed part-time in the Early Childhood (3-5 year old) Program in the schools for 2 years, which gave her a unique perspective into the transition process for Early Intervention. Sarah’s favorite part of her role as an SLP is working with families/caregivers as well as other professionals to enhance therapies and improve a child’s skills. As CEO, her mission is to provide a supportive work environment for therapists so they can continue doing the job they love outside of a corporate environment. She also loves creating new programs within Shine to better serve the community. Sarah is the mother of three wonderful teenagers who keep her busy outside of work.  She enjoys reading, home improvement projects and traveling with her family.

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Erin George, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Director of Speech Department

Erin graduated magna cum laude with a Master of Science in speech language pathology from EIU in 1998.  She has been working with children and families for the last 15 years in both hospital and outpatient settings. Working with pediatrics is a great joy for her and she works carefully to foster trusting and productive relationships with the families, other therapists and physicians with which she works.  She is passionate about providing families with the knowedge and resources to improve their child's skills. Erin has 6 years credentialed as an EI therapist. She has experience with pediatric speech, language and feeding disorders, including newborn feeding and swallowing disorders. She has one very energetic 8 year old son who loves all things Lego and who amazes her daily with each new creation he designs. She loves big dogs and counts her own two as extensions of her family.  In her spare time, Erin enjoys swimming, getting lost in a good book and shoe shopping. 

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Kristin Faulkner, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Director of Feeding and Nutrition

Kristin Faulkner, M.S., CCC-SLP, is  a certified speech language pathologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of children with feeding disorders.  Using strategies developed during the past 16 years of practice, Kristin works closely with families as well as a team of providers including occupational therapists, physical therapists, and dietitians to promote safe feedings for the child and enjoyable mealtimes for the entire family.  Kristin's experiences include working at the Children's Hospital of Illinois, developing the current feeding program at Easter Seals, and visiting homes and schools to promote successful feeding for children.   Kristin's experience has included working with a wide variety of children including children transitioning from g-tube feedings to oral feedings, children on the autism spectrum, as well as "picky eaters.” Kristin has had the opportunity to publicly speak regarding pediatric feeding at the local level as well as through Illinois State University.  Kristin is currently involved and has held past board positions through the Peoria Area Speech and Hearing Association (PASHA).

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Paula Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Paula has been working as a speech-language pathologist since 2010, after receiving her M.S. in speech-language pathology from Nova Southeastern University. Although the majority of her clients have been young children, she has experience working with clients across the lifespan, from infancy to geriatrics. She has experience providing speech therapy in the school setting as well. She has been credentialed to provide speech therapy in Early Intervention since 2013 and is also a credentialed evaluator. Paula has a unique perspective on the Early Intervention system as both a professional and a parent, after having her extremely premature twins receive many services through EI for their first three years of life. Paula lives in Washington with her husband and four children, two of whom have special needs (one with autism spectrum disorder, and one with both autism spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy). Her areas of interest and expertise include autism spectrum disorder, receptive and expressive language delays/disorders, and speech sound production disorders. Paula is Hanen certified in "It Takes Two to Talk" and is passionate about providing parents with strategies to help their children communicate better. She provides home-based services to maximize the progress of young children by working with their families in their natural environment.

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Amy Beck, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Amy has been providing speech therapy services in the Peoria area since 2002, after graduating with her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Illinois State University. Her career began in a pediatric clinic setting working alongside therapists from other disciplines and obtaining Early Intervention credentials in 2003.  Amy has also worked for a local school district, evaluating and treating speech and language disorders for preschool to high school aged students.  Her work experience includes working with geriatric populations, providing speech, language, cognitive, and feeding therapy.  Amy’s more recent pediatric experiences include evaluating and treating receptive and expressive language disorders, apraxia of speech, and phonological disorders.  She has specific interest in the area of pediatric feeding disorders.  Amy has completed extensive training for childhood feeding and swallowing disorders, including Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) strategies.  She enjoys working with children and families, along with other professionals, to enhance a child’s skills and watch them succeed in everyday activities.  Outside of work, Amy loves spending time with family and friends, especially her husband and 3 children.

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Allie Zuercher, MS, CCC-SLP

Allie received her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Illinois State University in 2015. She began her career in speech pathology servicing a variety of schools in the Chicago suburbs. Allie then started working for a multidisciplinary clinic where she got to collaborate and work alongside occupational and physical therapists.  She has experience in the areas of Autism spectrum disorder, receptive/expressive language disorders, auditory processing disorders, phonological/articulation disorders, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. In 2018, Allie decided to escape the Chicago traffic and specialize further in her favorite age group of pediatrics. Later that summer, she moved back to Central Illinois and got her Early Intervention certification.  She enjoys working with the toddlers and empowering families to support their children’s communication needs. When she’s not playing with kids, you can find Allie reading, doing yoga, listening to a podcast, spending time outdoors, or with family and friends. 

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Meghan O’Malley, MS, CF-SLP

Meghan received her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Iowa and her Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Being the oldest of four children and spending many summers coaching young children in swimming at the local country club, Meghan has always loved working with little ones and their families. She enjoys that Early Intervention allows her to work closely with children and their families in their most natural environments. Meghan treats speech and language disorders in children with a variety of diagnoses. She has a particularly strong passion for working with children with hearing loss. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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Heather Wessels, MA, CCC-SPL/L

Heather began providing speech therapy services in 1994, after earning her Masters degree in Speech - Language Pathology at the University of Illinois that same year.  She began her career working for a private practice in the Peoria area. She worked with a variety of ages, ranging from very young children to geriatrics. In 1999 she obtained her Early Intervention credential for speech therapy. Heather provided diagnostic and therapy services in the clinic and daycare settings. In 2004, Heather took time away from her career to spend with her own children and family.  She returned to Early Intervention as a speech therapy service provider in 2012. Currently, she provides home-based speech-language services, allowing the clients to be seen in their natural environments. She works part-time primarily in Early Intervention system, but also has a small caseload of children over three years of age. Heather has treated children with a variety of disorders including Apraxia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Phonological Disorder, Articulation Disorder, Fluency Disorder, and Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders.  Heather enjoys working with children and their families/caregivers in their natural environments, which enables her to provide more individualized therapy to best serve the client and family. She is a member of the American Speech Language-Hearing Association, Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the Peoria Area Speech-Language-Hearing Association, where she has served on the board and as a committee chairperson. In her spare time, Heather enjoys traveling with her husband and children, helping with events at her children’s school, and watching her children participate in their various activities.

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Liz Groeper, MS, CCC-SLP

Liz Groeper received her Master’s in Science from Illinois State University in 2017. She has a passion for working with children and loves helping them reach their maximum potential. Liz treats a variety of children with disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders, Articulation Disorders, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and Phonological Disorders. She enjoys collaborating with families and caregivers to create individualized therapy plans to improve a child’s skills. In her free time, Liz enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, and shopping.

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Liz Ryan, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Liz has been providing speech and language therapy services for nearly 30 years, specializing in autism, language processing, learning disabilities, cognitive recall issues, processing issues with organizational difficulties, executive functioning difficulties, augmentative alternatives and phonological disorders. Creating a functional communication system for a child to be successful with family, peers, and friends within the school environment has been the main focus of her therapy. “Every child has the ability to communicate when we increase their weakness and utilize their strengths to give them the tools to be successful,” Ryan says.  Liz has provided direct therapy services within the school setting, clinic setting and medical setting. She prides herself in her ability to think outside the box, to pull information from other fields, and to consult with professionals to create learning strategies or set of communication goals that will work for each and every child. Liz is currently working fuilltime with the Pekin School District. She is excited to join the Shine Therapy staff on a part-time basis, to provide much-needed after school therapy services! A four-year starter on the softball team at Western Illinois University, Liz earned her Master of Science in speech and language pathology from the school in 1986 and continues to mentor the young SLPs as they complete their degrees. Liz is also certified as a Reading Recovery Specialist and she and her husband of 29 years, Bo, have been blessed with four wonderful daughters and recently a healthy grandson. When she is not working or watching her children participate in sports or the arts, you will find her reading her newest favorite book. Liz is also an early bird at the gym and enjoys staying as healthy as you can.


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Rachel Yontz, MS, CCC-SLP

Rachel began providing speech therapy to the pediatric population after graduating with a Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2001.  She served children in a clinic setting while doing occasional in-home therapy. Rachel also did evaluations, pediatric feeding and therapy for children over 3 years old and students in the school setting.  In 2005, Rachel took time to be a stay-at-home mom to her children. While parenting, Rachel gained much insight into the Early Intervention system through the eyes of the family as the mom to children requiring early intervention services. She will be providing services to children primarily in Tazewell County and looks forward to working with families in their home environment!  


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Colleen Beavers, SLP, MA, CCC-SLP

Colleen received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Eastern Illinois University in 1991. She developed an interest in working with young children during her clinicals in graduate school. She graduated with her Master of Arts in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Saint Louis University in 1993. She maintained her focus on young children for the past 20 years and has worked with a variety of speech and language disorders including autism, receptive and expressive language disorders, apraxia, phonological/articulation disorders, and fluency. She began her career at a non-profit preschool in St. Louis, MO. She soon moved back to her home state of Illinois where she worked with children in private/clinical, preschool, and child care/home settings. Colleen finds it rewarding to see the progress that these children can make by collaborating with families and other therapists and professionals to provide quality speech and language services. She is a credentialed specialist in Early Intervention both as a therapist and evaluator. In her spare time, she enjoys running, hot yoga, shopping, and spending as much time with her family as possible. Colleen’s three children have now grown into young adults, who are all either in college or post graduate work. She and her husband, Matt, are recently adjusting to an “empty nest” and have a newly engaged son!

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Alexandra Jones, MS, CCC-SLP

Alexandra (Alex) Jones received her bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Augustana College and Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Eastern Illinois University. Alex grew up in Chillicothe and went through the parochial school system here in Peoria. During her schooling, she focused a lot on research involving ethics and therapy with various culture groups. With this research, Alex was able to travel and present work nationally, internationally, and locally. Following the completion of her schooling/research, she returned to Peoria to use my skills in her hometown. Alex currently works full time in 2 autism-only classrooms at a local school district and works as needed at a nursing home. She has treated individuals with a variety of disorders including Apraxia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Articulation Disorder, Voice Disorder, Social Pragmatic Disorder, Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders, and Fluency. Alex has experience with Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) and providing AAC treatment for individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability, Apraxia, and various degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's Disease, ALS, and MS. When she is not working as an SLP, Alex teaches workout classes 2-3 nights a week. She enjoys travelling the world, going to concerts, playing piano, and spending time with family and friends.

We are currently hiring speech language pathologists! Apply below!