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Speech Therapy

Speech language pathologists work with a wide range of patient populations and address impairments in cognition, speech sound production, expression, comprehension, swallowing, and voice. Our speech language pathologists provide rehabilitation services for patients recovering from medical events such as stroke or traumatic brain injury. We also work with individuals with neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia or Parkinson's Disease. We have speech language pathologists with advanced training and certifications in Parkinson's treatment programs including Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD) and SPEAK OUT!

Our licensed speech language pathologists will perform an evaluation and work with you and your family to develop an individualized treatment plan to improve your functional communication and cognitive skills.

Our Services

Children's Speech Therapy

Pediatric speech therapists work to strengthen verbal and non-verbal skills essential for effective communication across the lifespan. Our therapists treat a range of diagnoses including, language delays, expressive and receptive language difficulties, articulation difficulties, stuttering, and cognitive aspects of communication. Following a comprehensive evaluation, our multidisciplinary team will create a plan of care to help your child learn and grow in a fun environment. Our program focuses on how to support families at home and help plan for future needs of your child.

Children's Swallowing/Feeding Issues

When children avoid certain foods, it may be due to texture or a tactile issue, but it may also be attributed to low tone in the mouth, a motor-planning problem or trouble with muscles in the throat responsible for safely getting food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. A speech language pathologist or occupational therapist with special training and experience in treating feeding or swallowing disorders can provide a treatment plan to improve your child's eating and swallowing skills, increase the amount and variety of foods that they will accept, and turn mealtime from a dreaded experience into a pleasant experience for your family.

Learn more about swallowing and feeding disorders.

Dysphagia

Swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) can occur when the muscles and nerves we use to eat and swallow are affected as a result of medical or neurological issues, such as stroke, Parkinson's, dementia, cancer, etc. This may include muscles in the lips, tongue, or neck. Some swallowing problems may be obvious like drooling, coughing or choking but others may be harder to spot (e.g., feeling food stuck in the throat). Dysphagia can also lead to further medical issues such as malnutrition, dehydration or pneumonia.

Occupational therapists or speech therapists work with individuals with swallowing issues in order to assess and treat this condition. Treatment includes diet changes, exercise and muscle re-education, instruction on compensation strategies, and caregiver training, as appropriate. We also offer VitalStim therapy, a dysphagia treatment which uses small electrical currents to stimulate and re-educate the muscles involved in swallowing.

If a person shows any signs of eating or swallowing difficulty, it is important for swallowing to be tested. Ask your physician for a swallowing assessment.

Your Care Team

Your Speech Language Pathologist

Choosing a speech language pathologist for yourself or a loved one is an important decision that impacts recovery. Please select a speech language pathologist from the list below to learn more about their experience and expertise:

Livermore

Paula Flessatti, MSP, CCC-SLP

Biography

Paula received her master's degree in Speech Pathology from the University of Washington in 1983. She is certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Paula has been with Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare since 2000. She primarily provides outpatient speech therapy services for adults with a variety of speech, language, and cognitive impairments. Born and raised in Livermore, Paula is happy to be able to provide services to her community and the Tri-Valley area. When she is not working, Paula enjoys reading, baking, volunteering in her community, and hiking with her family.

Areas of Expertise
  • Stroke
  • Neurological Conditions
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Kristy Hirokawa, MS, CCC-SLP

Biography

Kristy is originally from Iowa and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa. She holds a master's degrees in Cultural Anthropology from UC Davis and Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University. Kristy has the privilege of serving adults with speech, language, cognitive and swallowing disorders in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Kristy is passionate about building strong relationships with her patients and their families and helping them identify and achieve their goals. In her free time, Kristy enjoys spending time with her husband and son, watching movies, doing arts and crafts projects and is always looking for a new hobby to try.

Areas of Expertise
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Parkinson's disease treatment program - LSVT LOUD and SPEAK OUT!

Danielle DeWitt, MS, CCC-SLP

Biography

Danielle began her career as a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist in 2011. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands, her Master of Science degree from California State University East Bay, and she is currently a Ph. D candidate at Loma Linda University. Danielle has worked in a variety of settings including pediatric hospitals, schools and outpatient clinics, evaluating and treating children with a range of speech, language and feeding disorders. She found a passion for pediatric rehabilitation/habilitation early in her career. She has specialized training in velopharyngeal dysfunction, early intervention and P.R.O.M.P.T. Danielle strives to continue to make a difference in children's and their families' lives. Danielle is a Bay Area native and grew-up in Livermore. She is passionate about serving the community where she grew-up. In Danielle's spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, being outdoors, bike riding and exploring new places.

Areas of Expertise
  • Infant and pediatric feeding and swallowing
  • Cleft and craniofacial
  • Early intervention speech and language

Dublin

Danielle DeWitt, MS, CCC-SLP

Biography

Danielle began her career as a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist in 2011. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands, her Master of Science degree from California State University East Bay, and she is currently a Ph. D candidate at Loma Linda University. Danielle has worked in a variety of settings including pediatric hospitals, schools and outpatient clinics, evaluating and treating children with a range of speech, language and feeding disorders. She found a passion for pediatric rehabilitation/habilitation early in her career. She has specialized training in velopharyngeal dysfunction, early intervention and P.R.O.M.P.T. Danielle strives to continue to make a difference in children's and their families' lives. Danielle is a Bay Area native and grew-up in Livermore. She is passionate about serving the community where she grew-up. In Danielle's spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, being outdoors, bike riding and exploring new places.

Areas of Expertise
  • Infant and pediatric feeding and swallowing
  • Cleft and craniofacial
  • Early intervention speech and language

Claire Pinson, MS, CCC-SLP

Biography

Claire was born and raised in the Bay Area. She received her bachelor's degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion from CSU Fullerton. Following her undergraduate program, she worked as a behavior therapist in the school and home settings where she closely collaborated with speech-language pathologists (SLPs), solidifying her decision to become an SLP. Claire later attended CSU East Bay for graduate school where she earned a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. While attending CSUEB, she completed clinical work in a variety of settings including schools and hospitals with both pediatric and adult populations. Claire has always had a passion for working with kids and is excited to continue growing as a professional while working with toddlers through school-aged children. In her spare time, Claire enjoys hiking with her dogs, tending to her chickens, and spending time with family.

Areas of Experise
  • Autism