Barbara Laufer, M.S. CCC Director
Barbara received her Masters Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1975 and is ASHA certified and New York state licensed. She has 30 years experience in the field treating children with various speech and language deficits. She is skilled in early speech and language intervention, language processing disorders, oral narrative development and language based learning disabilities. Barbara has maintained a private practice in Rye Brook, NY for the last seventeen years with a specialty in language development as well as pragmatic language disorders. Together with her daughter, Alexandra, Barbara developed the original Dramatic Pragmatics ™ Social Language Groups in 2002, and has been leading these social language groups for the past six years, helping students develop and improve their pragmatic language and social thinking.
Additionally, she consults to local school districts using the specific techniques and strategies she developed through her program. Barbara’s ability to individualize to each student through the writing of original scripts, monologues and stories, as well as her background in acting/drama make her uniquely qualified to successfully provide intervention for students who are struggling to decipher the social code of interaction.
Alexandra Laufer Lobo, M.S. CCC-SLP, Co-Director
Alexandra co-founded Dramatic Pragmatics Speech and Language Center in 2008. She co-developed the Dramatic Pragmatics methodology and continues to create new strategies and concepts for social communication groups for both children and teens, individualizing to meet each client's unique needs. She has vast experience working across the age-span helping clients to maximize their communication abilities. Additionally, she brings her creative and unique expertise in how to reach and empower teens and young adults to acquiring more effective pragmatic language and social skills. She has consulted locally and internationally on the use of the Dramatic Pragmatics methodology.
She received her Masters Degree from Boston University. Before re-locating to NY, Alexandra worked at The School for Accelerated Learning in Waltham, MA from 2005-2008, where she created, developed and implemented a daily, school-wide pragmatic language/social skills curriculum for elementary through high school students with language and learning disabilities that impact social development, as well as provided daily individual speech/language therapy. Her experience in working in a school setting has helped her to make speech, language and pragmatic therapy most effective for carry-over for academic and social success in the school environment. Additionally, Alexandra worked at The Ely Center in Newton, MA, a private practice specializing in social language development from 2004-2008, where she led social language groups for children, adolescents and young adults, provided individual therapy and assisted with consultation to local school districts. Over the summers, Alexandra co-directed Camp Goodtimes, a former Massachusetts program for social skill development, where she trained and supervised the staff in using the most effective social skill treatment interventions. At the Drama-Play Connection, another summer program for social skills, Alexandra was in charge of implementing their pragmatic language program. Alexandra is PROMPT trained. Specific clinical interests include pragmatic language disorders and social skill development, the interplay between language and executive functioning, Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and school-aged language and learning deficits.
Briana McKenna, M.S. CCC-SLP
Briana is a full time clinician at our center who combines her clinical knowledge, enthusiasm, and creativity to each client on her caseload. With dedication and professionalism, Briana utilizes her clinical expertise to individualize treatment to children with a variety of communication disorders through individual language therapy and pragmatic language groups. Her specific clinical interests and expertise include: assessment, language and learning disorders, articulation disorders, autism spectrum disorders , early intervention, as well as the area of pragmatic language disorders/social thinking.
Formerly a speech language pathologist at Prime Time Kids, Briana treated both group and individual children, and also held the title of Coordinator of Speech and Language Services at Prime Time for Kids. Her responsibilities included overseeing the clinical speech and language staff, promoting growth and development among the SLPs , leading the clinical team in delivering the highest caliber of therapy to best fit the needs of the students and collaborating with parents for maximum carryover of the skills. Briana's ability to evaluate as well as design and execute treatment programs for children with various cognitive linguistic deficits span across all age groups from preschool through school age. Her energy, clinical judgment, and outgoing personality make her a favorite with both parents and children. Her understanding of how to motivate children and make it fun while delivering the skills is evident to all of the families who work with her.
Lauren H. Braunstein, M.S. CCC-SLP, received her B.S. from University of Pennsylvania and her M.S. in speech-language pathology from Columbia University. Before her current full-time position at Dramatic Pragmatics, Lauren provided speech and language therapy to children from kindergarten through eighth grade at The Bank Street School in Manhattan. At Bank Street, Lauren treated children with a variety of learning differences, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, language delay/disorder and articulation/phonological disorders. Additionally, Lauren evaluated and treated a variety of children at The Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center. There, she provided individual language therapy as well as planned and facilitated social language groups to children with language and learning disabilities. Areas of experience and clinical interest pragmatic language disorders, autism spectrum disorder, articulation and phonological disorders, fluency, cleft palate and language delay/disorders. Lauren's vibrant, energetic and warm personality helps her connect with children of all ages. Her top-notch clinical skills are evident to each family that she works with.
Emily Grant, M.S. CCC
Emily earned her Bachelors degree from Penn State University and her Masters in speech-language pathology from Hunter College. With a strong clinical skill set and a warm, child-friendly personality, Emily is able to help children progress towards their speech and language goals while engaging them in the process. Prior to full-time employment at Dramatic Pragmatics, Emily provided speech-language therapy at both a NYC developmental pre-school and a public elementary school.
Emily has experience treating children with a variety and language and learning needs including autism spectrum disorders, language processing disorders, receptive/expressive language delays, articulation and phonological disorders, executive functioning deficits and pragmatic language disorders. Prior to going back to school to earn her Masters degree in Speech-language Pathology, Emily taught both learning disabled and typically developing students full-time in elementary schools in NYC and Westchester. Emily is able to use her teaching background to help support students with curriculum based language goals as well as social language goals. Additionally, Emily is PROMPT trained. Emily offers her dynamic teaching abilities with her enthusiasm, professionalism and passion for speech-language intervention.
Heather Neville Warwick, M.S. CCC SLP
Heather Neville Warwick is a speech-language pathologist who completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders with a minor in psychology at the University of Houston and a Master's of Science in Communication Disorders at the University of Texas Dallas. She is a certified member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and holds a speech-language pathology license in the states of New York and Texas. Heather has over 12 years of experience working in pediatric speech-language pathology in a variety of settings including multi-disciplinary private practices,a pediatric hospital out patient clinic, public school districts. Although Heather has extensive experience working with children in all areas of speech-language pathology including articulation/ phonological processing, voice, oral motor, swallowing disorders and language development, she has a cultivated a special love and focus for working with children in the areas of language development and pragmatics. Heather demonstrates an extremely child -friendly approach and is able to impart her knowledge to parents in a way that is easy to understand and carry over both at home and in academic settings.
Elizabeth DeSantis Correa, M.S. CF
Liz, a full-time speech language pathologist at Dramatic Pragmatics, earned her Bachelors degree from Cornell University. Prior to pursuing a career in speech language pathology, Liz was a professional actress and classically trained singer. Additionally, she was employed as clinical assistant to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. With a love of learning and a desire to mix her passions for theater, voice, language and working with children, Liz pursued her Masters Degree at Southern Connecticut University as a merit scholar. Liz has experience treating a wide range of communication impairments including autism spectrum disorders, receptive and expressive language delays/disorders, written language disorders, voice disorders, articulation/phonological disorders and deficits in executive functioning. With her background in theater, Liz is especially skilled and enthusiastic about using role-play to enhance and reinforce pragmatic language skills. Additionally, Liz's prior experience in the public schools afforded her the opportunity to help children succeed by using curriculum based intervention. This included a leadership role in a drama-based literacy summer program. Liz's energy, enthusiasm and systematic child friendly approaches make her intervention a hit with families and children.
Hillory Peters, M.S. CCC-SLP
With over 10 years of clinical experience, Hillory is a seasoned speech-language pathologist who has expertise in treating a broad range of speech and language disorders in the preschool, school age and adolescent population. Her specific clinical interests include assessment, disorders of language comprehension and expression, auditory processing, fluency disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorders, and pragmatic language disorders. Her professional experience has included working as a senior therapist at The Crimson Center for Speech and Language, a private practice in San Diego, CA. Additionally, she was a clinical therapist at Children's Hospital in San Diego. After moving to NY, she worked as an SLP at Park Slope Speech Therapy where she evaluated and provided therapy to children with varying speech and language disorders in a private practice setting. Most currently, Hillory worked for Interactive Therapy Group in Manhattan before relocating to Westchester. She is PROMPT trained and is also bilingual in Spanish and English, with basic skills in American Sign Language as well.
Hillory ‘s professional demeanor and out-of-the-box thinking make her a valued clinican at DP. With her clinical expertise and warm, child friendly therapy approach, she is skilled at helping our children progress toward their speech and language goals while having fun!
Allison Traister, M.S. CF
Allison Traister (Ally) earned her B.A. from Emory University in sociology and her Master's degree from New York University where she received a prestigious academic award for outstanding scholarly achievement. After college, Ally tutored both children and young adults with emotional and learning challenges to help them achieve their highest potential. With a passion for both psychology and education, Ally pursued the field of speech language pathology. Ally's clinical experience includes providing both individual and group therapy to children and adolescents with language and learning disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, non-verbal learning disability, apraxia , language processing disorders and disorders of articulation and phonology . With a specialized interest in pragmatic language and social skills, Ally was selected to clinically train with leaders in the field of social thinking where she ran pragmatic language groups and administered comprehensive evaluations. Clinical experiences include providing language therapy at Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and providing language, articulation and pragmatic language therapy within a private clinical setting in Minnesota. Ally's professionalism, clinical skill, results-driven intervention and child friendly approach make her a highly regarded clinician by both parents and children.
Amy Podolak, M.S. CCC-SLP
With over 10 years in the field, Amy brings experience and expertise in the area of speech and language development. Prior to working at DP, Amy worked in the White Plains school district for nine years, providing therapy to children from kindergarten through 8th grade with various speech, language and learning needs. Additionally, Amy also worked at a private practice in Westchester, providing evaluation, treatment and parent training. Amy is PROMPT trained and enjoys working with children with articulation disorders, motor speech disorders, language delay, autism spectrum disorders and language and learning disabilities. As a seasoned therapist, she is quite adept at creating treatment plans where children can make systematic progress while having fun throughout the learning process. Amy knows how to motivate children, manage behavior and create enjoyable lessons to help children reach their communication potential. She earned her Bachelors degree from Penn State University and her Masters degree from Hofstra University.
Kikki Short, Executive Functioning Coach, Academic Tutor
Kikki Short has both a Bachelors and a Masters degree from Yale, and has been teaching both learning and non-learning disabled students for the past 14 years. She excels in helping students write, study, organize, and learn in their own best way. She has served as an "executive functioning coach" teaching and empowering students to plan, initiate and break down their assignments into manageable, achievable steps. Having studied everything from Biology to Stage Performance, Kikki is able to support students in a variety of subjects at many different levels. She trained at The Windward School and has been tutoring students privately for 8 years.
Kate O'Connell, M.S. CCC-SLP
Kate is a talented, experienced speech pathologist who brings her varied experience and warm, up-beat demeanor to all of her clients at Dramatic Pragmatics. Kate served as a full-time speech-language pathologist for the Katonah-Lewisboro school district for three years, working with students in both elementary and middle school. Additionally, Kate worked at Alcott pre-school full time, providing speech language therapy for young children with language and learning disabilities. From her experience working in schools, she is able to create speech and language goals and strategies that are applicable for academic success and carry-over. Additionally, she has been extensively trained in the Wilson Reading Program and is able to use this method to help support and improve her clients reading and writing abilities. Kate currently works full time at Blythdale Children's Hospital treating children across the age span. Kate brings her love of children of all ages and dynamic teaching abilities to every client she works with.
Kristina Cafagno, B.S. Office Manager
Kristina Cafagno, who earned her Bachelors degree at Mercy College in speech language pathology, is our valued Office Manager and the "glue" that holds all of us together at Dramatic Pragmatics! With her upbeat and friendly personality and attention to detail, Kristina is sometimes the first person our parents come in contact with and she sets the tone for the warmth and caring that we try so hard to give to our families here at Dramatic Pragmatics. Possessing a background in sales and client services, Kristina is able to combine her knowledge of speech pathology with her interpersonal and organizational skills to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently.
Rosanne Veneziano, Office Assistant
Rosanne, a former paralegal and mother of two brings her organization, attention to detail and friendly demeanor to Dramatic Pragmatics. Rosanne is to happy to assist parents and therapists with tasks big and small. She is a valued member of our team and a talented multi-tasker.
Where Language Competence Meets Social Empowerment
The Dramatic Pragmatics Speech and Language Center is a unique, comprehensive speech, language and social development center that provides an individualized approach to remediating communication disorders for students from the preschool age to elementary school through young adulthood. We offer the highest quality individual and group treatment to individuals with speech, language and pragmatic deficits. We have recently expanded and re-located to our two thousand square foot, charming new location in Rye Brook, NY in order to provide a greater range of services and recreation activities for our clients. Our center has several individual and group treatment rooms along with space for professional training and parent workshops.
Additionally, the new center is stocked with the latest video game systems and other fun recreational activities that will be used during “drop-in nights” to facilitate naturalistic, positive social interaction while supervised by Dramatic Pragmatics staff members. Our younger children also will have the opportunity to utilize age appropriate recreational equipment as well. These activities will additionally be used as rewards during session time.