About, Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Robyn Merkel-Walsh, M.A., CCC-SLP is a Licensed Speech Pathologist with over two decades of experience in the state of NJ. In addition to owning her own practice, she works full time for the Ridgefield Board of Education where she is housed in the Magnet School Program for children on the Autism Spectrum.
Her publications include: SMILE (Systematic Intervention for Lingual Elevation), Art Talk, Handy Handouts, and she co-authored Sensory Stix, A Sensory Motor Approach to Feeding, Oral Placement TO Speech (OPTS) and OPT Goals for Speech Clarity. She has also written several articles for the TalkTools® website, The ASHA Leader, and Advance Magazine for Speech Pathologists.
Robyn is a lecturer for professional enhancement courses as part of TalkTools® . She has presented Tongue Thrust and Autism courses that have been offered for ASHA CEUs. She has been invited to speak on Oral Placement disorders by the New Milford Board of Education, The Apraxia Network, AAPPSPA and the MOSAIC Foundation. She is actively involved in parental support groups for apraxia and autism, and monitors an interactive Oral Placement Discussion Board on Facebook. Robyn was a chief clinician in a research project for the Moebius Foundation, and trains Level 3 and 4 Talk Tools candidates. She is actively involved in gathering Evidenced Based Practice to support Oral Placement Therapy through her work on the Board of Directors for the Oral Motor Institute. She sits on this board amongst great clinicians in the field including: Sara Rosenfeld -Johnson, Pam Marshalla, Lori Overland and Diane Bahr.
Robyn received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Montclair State University, where she was later invited to be an adjunct/clinical supervisor. She also taught classes at Bergen Community College, and is a former clinical site coordinator for Seton Hall University. She is a member of ASHA, served a term on NJSHA Board of Directors, is the Board Chair of the Oral Motor Institute, the Committee Chair of NJSHA Private Practice, member of the NJEA, and of the The Bergen County Apraxia Association.
Robyn has specialized training in Oral-Placement Disorders, feeding, Apraxia, Applied Behavioral Analysis, autism, cranio-facial anomalies, Beckman Techniques and PROMPT. Robyn also has a specialized interest in integrative medicine and holistic healing.
Shira Kirsh, MS, CCC-SLP, COM™
Shira Kirsh, MS, CCC-SLP, COM™ is a N.J.-licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Orofacial Myologist with extensive experience in acute and rehab hospitals prior to opening a private practice in 2005. With a background spanning everything from neonatal, pediatric, school-aged and adult communication and swallowing disorders to coaching adult professionals in foreign accent modification, Shira is well-versed in many areas of medical and educational speech therapy as well as corporate communication issues. She received her Master of Science degree from Boston University in 1989.
Shira’s hospital work began at an acute rehabilitation facility in the Boston suburbs. She also worked at Jersey Shore University Medical Center for 14 years. As a therapist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Shira treated infants with sucking difficulties and provided follow-up care to graduates of the NICU through the Infant Toddler Assessment Program. Throughout her career, she helped inpatients and outpatients of all ages, including children with autism and apraxia. With many years experience performing Modified Barium Swallow and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing diagnostic tests, Shira also has extensive knowledge of pediatric and adult feeding and swallowing disorders.
Shira is a Certified Orofacial Myologist, credentialed by the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM), the American Academy of Oromyofunctional Sciences (AAMS), the International Association of Tongue-Tie Professionals (IATP) and the Buteyko Breathers Educators Association (BBEA). .
Shira’s specific areas of expertise are oromyofunctional disorders including tongue thrust, tongue ties and thumb sucking habit elimination, voice disorders, and speech and language difficulties. As a Buteyko Level 2 trained educator, she continues to further her studies in treating disordered breathing, including a mini residency for Orofacial Myologists alongside dentists and osteopaths on the ALF in 2017. She is trained in Voice Gym and Myofascial Release, both for myofunctional and voice disorders.
In private practice since 2005, she offers the full range of traditional and innovative techniques to address speech and language issues of all kinds. Shira provides innovative treatment for those with auditory processing problems and ADD/ADHD. She has also treated communication issues related to head injury, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. She is certified to provide LSVT Loud in person as well as through tele practice.
Shira is also a Certified Provider of the brain-based programs Fast ForWord®, Interactive Metronome® and The Listening Program®. She is PROMPT Level 2 trained to help treat apraxia and other oral motor disorders.
Soroush Zaghi, MD
Otolaryngology - Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Zaghi graduated from Harvard Medical School, completed residency in ENT (Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery) at UCLA, and Sleep Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University. The focus of his sub-specialty training is on the comprehensive treatment of nasal obstruction, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea. He is very active in clinical research relating to sleep disordered breathing with over 60+ peer-reviewed research publications in the fields of neuroscience, head and neck surgery, and sleep-disordered breathing.
Dr. Zaghi is particularly interested in studying the impact of tethered-oral tissues (such as tongue-tie) and oral myofascial dysfunction on maxillofacial development, upper airway resistance syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea. He is an invited lecturer, author, and journal reviewer for topics relating to the diagnosis and management of sleep-disordered breathing and tongue-tie disorders.
Research interests include: Study design, literature review, and statistical analysis. Special interest in collaborative and multidisciplinary research projects relating to airway and breathing disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, nasal obstruction, upper airway resistance syndrome, pediatric sleep disorders, myofunctional therapy, frenuloplasty, facial and airway development, and maxillofacial reconstructive surgery.
Clinical interests: Airway and Breathing Disorders, Tongue-tie, Snoring, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Nasal Obstruction, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, Deviated Septum, Tonsil Hypertrophy, TMJ Pain, Teeth-grinding, Mouth Breathing, Maxillary Expansion, Maxillary-Mandibular Advancement, Facial and Airway Reconstruction Surgery, Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation, Septoplasty, Turbinate Reduction, Frenuloplasty, Sinus Surgery, and Aesthetic Jaw Surgery (Genioplasty).
Scott A. Siegel, M.D., D.D.S., F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S., F.A.A.P.
Dr. Scott A. Siegel is a Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Pioneer of Lip and Tongue-tie Surgery. Dr. Siegel's full-scope OMFS practice is located in New York City and Huntington, Long Island. He is also the Founder and Medical Director of the Center for Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs), including Lip and Tongue-tie Diagnosis and Treatment, located in New York City. As the only Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) CO2 Laser Surgeon in NYC & Long Island, Dr. Siegel's surgical expertise and groundbreaking research and treatment on the association of Aerophagia Induced Reflux (AIR) and Lip and Tongue-Tie in breastfeeding infants was recently published by the journal Pediatrics.
As a solo practitioner, Dr. Siegel exclusively oversees each patient's treatment, while delivering the highest standard (MD, DDS)
of training and experience. A native of Long Island and third generation doctor, Dr. Siegel treats patients from the Tri-State Area, East Coast and internationally.
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