Meet our therapists!

The CI team works in a collaborative manner. Each of our amazing staff members has specific areas of training and expertise. We encourage you to visit us for a free consultation so that we can pair you with the therapist that best meets your needs!


Abbey Eckhoff, BS, Human Development and Family Studies, Support Services

Abbey wanted to be a veterinarian when she was a kid, her favorite thing about being a kid was innocence and playing nonstop and her secret talent is that she is super flexible.


Abbey has always taken interest in working with children and takes pride in working at Communication Innovations. Abbey completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Child Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently attending graduate school for Occupational Therapy. Throughout undergraduate coursework Abbey has had experience working with many children on the autism spectrum and with down syndrome working in homes as well as providing respite care to families and doing volunteer work. At Communication Innovations, Abbey continues to develop professionally and coordinates with insurance companies advocating for therapy services for families. She provides educational and daily living therapy, interactive metronome, handwriting, and yoga support. Abbey enjoys the sense of team collaboration and meeting all the families within the work environment. Outside of work Abbey enjoys hanging out with family and friends, yoga, running, skiing, and making crafts. Maybe someday she will go to India to get her Yoga Certification. Overall, she feels extremely grateful to be a part of a team where families can feel welcome and achieve milestones!

abbey@communicationinnovations.com

Abby Roth, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

Abby lived in Italy for a semester, she is ambidextrous and her perfect morning always includes breakfast at Bluephies in Madison.


Abby earned a bachelors degree in Human Development and Family Studies and Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from UW-Madison. Abby has always loved working with children of all ages. She has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of kids including children with Autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, anxiety disorders, and behavioral disorders. She also has experience using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum and providing therapy with a sensory integration focus. In her free time, Abby enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outside, reading, and trying new restaurants. Abby is passionate about being a part of the CI team and enjoys working closely with children and their families to create a family-centered therapy experience.

abby@communicationinnovations.com

Alison S. MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

Alison’s favorite holiday is Halloween. She is embarrassed to admit her love for quirky ‘jingles’ in commercials. She says "y’all" due to her childhood upbringing.


Alison completed her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy at UW Madison.  She has practiced as a pediatric occupational therapist in various settings including school-based and clinic environments. Alison enjoys working with children of all abilities and has worked with children with a variety of disorders. She has completed the Handwriting Specialist certification with Handwriting Without Tears ®. She has experience and training with sensory processing and sensory motor treatment. Alison has years of experience and knowledge working with children with autism including ABA therapy, programming and staff education. Alison encourages and guides families to help identify the specific skills or interests to be incorporated into therapy so that it is meaningful to the family unit and/or the individual. When not caring for her 3 young children, Alison enjoys the outdoors, reading, and loves animals.

alison@communicationinnovations.com

Amanda Houdek-Hoechst, MS, CCC-SLP, Director, Speech and Language Pathologist

Amanda loves thunderstorms, cupcakes and as a child, was convinced that she was going to be in the rodeo.


Amanda is the director of Communication Innovations, Inc. Amanda has extensive experience with early-childhood, public school, and private speech therapy service models. Amanda's goal is to provide all of the therapy services a family could need under one roof! She oversees and is certified in a variety of specialty therapies including Auditory Integration Training, Interactive Metronome, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Autism based language development, and Social Groups. Amanda is a Certified Autism Specialist. Amanda is proud and excited to be part of this amazing team!!!

amanda@communicationinnovations.com

Anna Vierck, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Anna's favorite food is spaghetti, her ultimate stress reliever is playing the piano, and her best loved childhood toys are strawberry shortcake and lemon meringue dolls.


Anna is a speech-language pathologist who loves reading, hiking and traveling. She also loves working at Communication Innovations! Anna has spent her studies and her career gaining a variety of experiences to become a well-rounded SLP. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She started her collegiate career by working with children with autism and apraxia through the Wisconsin Early Autism Project and then at Communication Development Center. She moved to Puyallup, Washington to work for Good Samaritan Hospital’s-Children’s Therapy Unit where she continued working with children with autism and apraxia, as well as feeding and swallowing difficulties, and augmentative and alternative communication. When Anna’s husband brought her back to Wisconsin to be closer to family, she worked for Rock County’s Birth-to-Three Program where she focused on language development, pediatric feeding, and parent education. She also has worked for Evansville Community School District on the early childhood and elementary teams. Anna loves the energy and enthusiasm from the families and community at CI!

anna@communicationinnovations.com

Ashley Verbick, COTA, Occupational Therapy

Ashley is ambidextrous, she could eat bagels everyday, and when she was a child she wanted to be a figure skater when she grew up. 


Ashley is a graduate from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Madison College.  Prior to beginning life as an OTA, Ashley earned her Bachelor's Degree in Educational Studies from Carroll University and taught early childhood for four years. Ashley has experience working with children who have autism, cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, down syndrome, fragile X, ADHD, bipolar disorder, childhood depression and anxiety disorders, along with a variety of other medical diagnosis.  Ashley has always enjoyed working with children and proudly began her path with the Communication Innovations team during her last internship through school.      

ashley@communicationinnovations.com

Becky Lotto, MSW, Director of Support Services

Becky would eat pancakes every day, she plays roller derby and she has always dreamed of developing parkour skills. 


Becky has a Master of Science degree in Social Work and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she specialized in school social work, and completed a certificate program in educational policy studies. She is currently in the process of completing a certificate in life coaching from Erickson College.  She has over 10 years of experience working with children and her formal training encompasses: Verbal Behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and  Motivational Interviewing. Becky specializes in transition to adulthood services, educational support, mental health and wellness and family support.  Becky is passionate about enhancing client and family well-being and supporting the family through life changes.  In her free time, she enjoys running, painting, reading, and being in the great outdoors!

becky@communicationinnovations.com

Beth Larson, PhD, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

Beth loves chocolate, has enjoyed doing all kinds of crafts since she was a young child, and once rode her bike from San Francisco to San Diego.


Beth Larson is a pediatric occupational therapist with 20 year clinical experience and 10 years in academics. She has a bachelors in OT and masters in motor learning from UW-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in Occupational Science from the University of Southern California. She has worked in school systems and in private practice in Wisconsin and California with children with autism, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, severe multiple disabilities,and developmental delays. She has served as a consultant to the Frostig school, a specialized center for children with learning disabilities, and to the M.O.V.E. program (a top-down program to develop sitting, standing and walking for children who are not yet walking at three years of age). She has expertise in the development of fine-motor skills and handwriting; assistive technology for school-based applications and mobility; and collaborative practice with families. Her research was inspired by her work with families in practice; she continues to study the needs and experiences of caregiving families. Recent publications have examined dimension of caregivers' well-being, vigilance in mothers caring for children with autism, and parents attitudes toward caregiving that support well-being.

Beth Laurent, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

When Beth was little she wanted to be a professional figure skater, She has a dream to own a raspberry farm one day, and her favorite activity is camping!


Beth earned a bachelors degree in Psychology and Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from UW-Madison. Working in pediatrics has always been a passion for Beth and she has had the opportunity to work with children with autism spectrum disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sensory processing disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, and behavioral disorders. Outside of work, Beth enjoys spending time with family and friends, the outdoors, running, yoga, knitting, and gardening.  Beth is excited to be a part of the CI team and to continue collaborating with children and families!

bethl@communicationinnovations.com

Breana Mudrock, MS, CF-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Breana was captain of the UW-Madison cheerleading team, she has a wire-foxed terrier named Daisy, and her favorite recipe is her mom’s enchiladas.


Breana received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Communicative Disorders, and her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During graduate school, she gained discipline-specific experience working with children in a variety of educational and clinic environments including an inclusive, next generation early childhood classroom, an intermediate school, a pediatric audiology therapy center, and various on-campus specialty clinics. Breana enjoys working with children of all ages! In her free time, Breana enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, crafting, reading, and exploring all that Madison has to offer. Breana is absolutely thrilled to be a member of the Communication Innovations team!

breana@communicationinnovations.com

Courtney Cullen, BS, Rehabilitation Psychology, Support Services

Courtney grew up in a town with one stoplight, was featured on the Ellen Degeneres Show when the show hosted a contest in Madison and while in high school, she performed with her show choir at Epcot in Disney World!


Courtney received her B.S. in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout her undergraduate career, Courtney enjoyed gaining experience working with individuals with a wide variety of abilities through work and volunteer opportunities, including working as a personal care worker for a young woman with muscular dystrophy and volunteering as an inclusion facilitator with United Cerebral Palsy. She also loved volunteering with the Meriter Hospital Pediatric Therapy Department, where she assisted the therapists with their Developmental Assessment Clinics, for babies and toddlers who had spent time in the NICU. During her semester studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, Courtney volunteered with a non-profit organization that assists families in finding the best possible services and resources for their child with autism. She enjoyed getting to know the children and families and learning about disability services throughout Ireland! When Courtney is not working, she enjoys crafting and scrapbooking, cheering on the Badgers and singing in her church choir. Courtney loves working with such a positive and collaborative team at CI!

courtney@communicationinnovations.com

Dana Bohrer, MA, CCC-SLP, Director of Therapy and Educational Services, Speech and Language Pathologist

Dana loves to be seasonal and sported tinsel in her hair for the holidays, she loves baking and dreams of having a cupcake shop, and as speech therapist, she brags of her great oral motor skills.


Dana has been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist for the last 13 years. Dana currently provides case management and IEP support for families at CI that need advocacy or help working with other agencies. She co-founded and oversees the CI Succeed educational enrichment program for students. For the last six years, she has specialized in treating children on the Autism spectrum. Furthermore, she provides individual and group treatment including: initial assessment and evaluation of communication delays; therapy for disorders in articulation, voice, or fluency; treatment for functional and social language skills; treatment for language and auditory processing delays; treatment for oral and sensory dysfunction for speech and feeding; second opinion assessments and consultations. Dana has provided speech and language services for children with autism and other speech and language disorders in a variety of settings including public schools, health care centers and private practice. She earned her graduate and undergraduate degrees in communication disorders from the University of South Dakota and has practiced in Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

dana@communicationinnovations.com

Jennifer Rae, MT-BC, Music Therapist

Jen's favorite pastime is hanging out with her three daughters dancing, singing or playing sports, she loves to be silly and she could eat ice cream everyday!


Jennifer is registered with the state of Wisconsin in music therapy. Since graduating from Alverno College, Milwaukee WI, she has served adults and children with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and neurological disabilities. Jennifer began her private music therapy practice in order to serve people around the Madison area and raise her family. This has led to her working at several places including Sun Prairie Area School District, Madison Area Rehabilitation Center, Prairie Music Academy, VSA of Wisconsin, The American Family Children’s Hospital, and in private practice. She is excited to bring her experience in early childhood education and music therapy to Communication Innovations. As Public Relations Chair for the Wisconsin Chapter for Music Therapy, Jennifer promoted the profession of music therapy and became an advocate for her clients. Her work in music therapy was highlighted most recently as she appeared on “Live at Five” channel 3000, Madison WI.

Jenny Gilles-Bauer, BS, Educational Studies, Clinic Director

Jenny's childhood dream was to own a flower shop, she caters for social events and parties and her favorite food is red gummy bears.


Jenny has a Bachelor of Science degree in Educational Studies from Edgewood College. She has over 11 years of experience as a reading and academic support specialist for clients pre-kindergarten through high school, with learning challenges in a private clinic setting. She enjoys meeting and talking with families and working to ensure that their experience at Communication Innovations is of the highest quality. Jenny has been with Communication Innovations since its founding days, and is excited to be an integral part of the team!

jen@communicationinnovations.com

Jenny Kuckuk, MSW, Support Services

Jenny loves dogs (especially huskies), chocolate, and hiking and exploring outdoors.


Jenny has a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point specializing in mental health. She completed a certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health through UW Madison and is in the process of becoming nationally endorsed. She has experience working with children and families with developmental disabilities, a variety of mental health concerns, and providing psychotherapy. Jenny is passionate about promoting mental health and well being while working with children and families. Jenny is excited to be part of the CI team!

jennyk@communicationinnovations.com

Jill Quinn, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

Jill studied abroad for 6 months in England and would love to go back, she never saw snow until she was 10 because she grew up in Texas, and the most random place she has ever traveled to is Kusadasi, Turkey.


Jill completed her undergraduate degree in psychology and her graduate degree  at Washington University in St. Louis.  She has worked in pediatric clinic and early intervention settings.  She has experience working with children with autism spectrum disorder, down's syndrome, stroke, sensory processing disorder, seizure disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Something she enjoys about pediatrics is helping children and their families work on goals that are meaningful and make a difference in their everyday lives. Outside of work Jill enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, yoga, and reading.  Jill is excited to learn and grow as a part of the CI team!

jillp@communicationinnovations.com

Joan Abendroth, COTA, Occupational Therapy

Joan's favorite snack is goldfish crackers, she can sing the ABC's backwards and her most loved childhood toys are the etch-a-sketch and crocodile dentist.


Joan received her Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy in 1990. She started her career as a COTA in the Madison Schools where she has worked for 20+ years. Her passion for working with children with disabilities is evident as she has worked with a variety of children with various disabilities including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, mental health illness, autism, traumatic brain injury, and developmental delays. Joan has experience and training in assistive technology, sensory processing, self-care needs and specific fine motor delays. She is also a certified provider of the Interactive Metronome. In her free time Joan loves spending time with her husband and two sons, hiking, doing yoga and reading a good book!

joan@communicationinnovations.com

Joshua Brown, OTD, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

When Joshua was little he had a pet chicken named Candy that rode around on the handlebars of his bike.  He once played the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical and his favorite food is hummus and he could eat it for every meal.  


Joshua graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in 2003 and a master’s degree in occupational therapy in 2005.  After practicing as an OT for several years, he went back to USC in pursuit of a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree, which he completed in 2013.  Joshua’s doctoral work focused on utilizing drama as a therapeutic tool to address social skills challenges in children with mental health diagnoses.  Joshua is also a graduate of the California Interdisciplinary Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders fellowship, which is located at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  Joshua’s areas of expertise include working with children on the autism spectrum, children with sensory processing disorders, and children with social skills challenges.  Additionally, he has extensive experience working with children with feeding disorders, as well as mental health and behavioral concerns.  Joshua has presented his work utilizing drama in his practice at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s national conference, and his work addressing complex feeding challenges at the Occupational Therapy Association of California’s annual conference.  Additional teaching experiences include guest lecturing to master’s and bachelor’s students, as well as co-teaching a course on fine motor development and handwriting to occupational therapy practitioners in Mumbai, India.

 

Joshua recently relocated to Madison from California and he is having a great time exploring the city.  He loves to try out new restaurants and going on early morning walks with his dog.  In his spare time, Joshua directs youth theater and acts in shows from time to time.  He loves to travel and has been to such places as Nepal, Thailand, Scotland and Costa Rica.  

josh@communicationinnovations.com

Katie Leskovar, BS, Elementary Education, Support Services

Katie has met 2 vice presidents and one president, she loves Bruce Springsteen and has seen him in concert 3 times, and her secret talent is organizing-she loves to organize!


Katie is an Elementary Education major with a degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Katie is certified in Nebraska and Wisconsin. Katie has 14 years classroom experience ranging in ages from Pre-school through fifth grades. Katie has been with CI working the CI Succeed program since January 2013. Katie has taught in a wide variety of situations, as well as a number of states, including, Nebraska, Texas, and Maryland. She has extensive experience in the areas of reading and language arts. Most recently, Katie has had continuing education in the areas of Inclusion and Modification in the classroom, as well as, learning about Autism spectrum disorders as they relate to children in the educational setting. When not working, Katie enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children. Katie is thrilled to be a part of the CI family!

katie@communicationinnovations.com

Kelly Lonergan, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist, SOS/Pediatric Feeding Specialist

Kelly wanted to be an astronaut and went to Space Camp in Florida when she was 8 years old.  She enjoys riding her bike in the summer and eating ice cream of almost any flavor.


Kelly grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota and moved to Wisconsin where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and Disorders at UW- Eau Claire and her Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology at Marquette University.  Kelly brings with her over 7 years of experience working with children and adults in clinics, hospitals, and in the Wisconsin Birth to Three program.  She has a lot of experience treating patients with neurological, feeding, and swallowing difficulties, including, but not limited to craniosynostosis, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, SMA, cleft lip and palate, and seizure disorders.  Kelly is passionate about helping and empowering her patients and their families to reach their goals.  Kelly is certified in the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding, Beckman Oral Motor Approach, SOFFI (Supporting Oral Feedings in Fragile Infants), and is trained in rib cage mobility techniques.  In 2014, Kelly will complete her certification in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT).    

Kelly moved to Madison in October 2013 and enjoys exploring the city.  She also enjoys traveling with her husband, shopping, and getting together with friends.

kellyl@communicationinnovations.com

Kim Eimer, COTA, Occupational Therapy

Kim loves travelling and has been to 6 countries in 6 years. Her favorite seasons are fall and summer and her favorite food is pizza rolls.


Kim is a graduate from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Madison College. Prior to studying OT, Kim completed 2 years of coursework in Special Education- Early Childhood at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire. Prior to college, Kim completed 350 hours of volunteer work in an adaptive physical education class. She has experience working with kids with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and sensory processing disorders. She is certified in the Intensive Model of Therapy and the TheraSuit Method ® and is also trained in the Handwriting Without Tears ® method.
Kim has always been passionate about working with children and found her place on the Communication Innovations team during her last semester at Madison College when she completed an internship at CI. 

kim@communicationinnovations.com

Kris Wright, MS, CF-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

The weirdest place Kris has ever visited was the glow worm caves in Waitomo, NZ, her secret talent is singing karaoke and she has cycled around the world on a tandem bike! 


Kris received her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.  After graduation, she traveled through 29 countries on 5 different continents with her husband on a tandem bicycle.  It was on this trip that she discovered speech-language pathology, and she pursued her goal of being a therapist at UW-Madison where she earned her Master’s Degree.  During graduate school she gained experience working with children and adults in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Head Start, and public schools.  While Kris enjoys all aspects of speech pathology, she is especially excited about working with children who use alternative and augmentative communication devices (AAC).  When she is not providing therapy, Kris enjoys biking, doing yoga, cooking, and making her own jewelry.

kris@communicationinnovations.com

Kristen Allison, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

 Kristen spent a summer working at a dolphin-assisted therapy center in Florida.  She enjoys sailing and playing the piano.


Kristen has over 8 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist.  She earned her bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders at Northwestern University, and her master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Texas at Austin.  Before moving to Wisconsin, Kristen worked for 6 years at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, where she gained extensive experience working with children with acquired brain injuries, cerebral palsy, autism, and  other neurodevelopmental disabilities.  Kristen moved to Wisconsin in 2011 to pursue her Ph.D. in speech-language pathology at UW-Madison.  Her doctoral research, conducted at the Waisman Center, focuses on communication skills of children with cerebral palsy.

Kristin Hurley, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist

Kristin learned how to Surf and Hula dance in Hawaii, her favorite musician is Jack Johnson but she also enjoys country music, and most of all she loves dancing!


Kristin graduated from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where she received her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.  She is the new State Representative for the Pediatric Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and she recently attended the National Physical Therapy Conference where she completed 8 different courses specific to pediatric physical therapy.  Kristin has experience working with children with Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delays, Hypotonia, Spina Bifida, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Spinal Cord Injury, Epilepsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hydrocephalus, Down Syndrome and other genetic conditions including, but not limited to, Dandy Walker Syndrome, Lisscencephaly, and Epidermolysis Bullosa.  Kristin has always enjoyed being around children, and has known from the beginning that working with children is what she was meant to do. She believes that by using therapy to benefit individuals at such a young age she can truly help to make a positive difference that may last a lifetime. She had a motivating pediatric clinical experience through the School District of Beloit Turner and a Birth to 3 Program in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. This experience confirmed her love and passion for helping children and young adults. Interestingly, she began college as a Graphic Design major, and uses her creative background to try to make therapy sessions fun and appealing for the kids. Kristin also devoted much of her time to serving the community, including being a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Western Wisconsin. She hopes to join the organization again someday very soon. In addition, Kristin enjoys warm summer weather and accompanying outdoor activities. She especially likes to stand-up paddleboard, a sport she just recently learned how to do! Kristin is thrilled to be part of the Communication Innovations team!

kristinh@communicationinnovations.com

Kristin Ward, MA, CCC- SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Kristin loves watching college basketball and football and is a HUGE Michigan State fan, the weirdest place she has ever traveled to is Turkey and she moved to Madison from Louisiana.


Kristin earned her Bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and a Master's degree from Indiana University-Bloomington in Speech Language Pathology. After working in a pediatric outpatient facility in Louisiana, Kristin recently moved to Madison and is excited to join the CI team. Some of her favorite clinical experiences include working with preschoolers in an Early Child Special Education program and participating in a multi-disciplinary screening and and intervention team for any child, birth-3 that was born in the NICU to promote early intervention and educate parents. Kristin has worked with children with a variety of syndromes and speech/language disorders. In her free time, Kristin enjoys reading, watching funny movies and being outside.

kristin@communicationinnovations.com

Laura Nagel, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Program Support, Occupational Therapist

Laura absolutely loves cheese, she knows how to play the clarinet and sing, and she likes to do scrapbooking on the weekend.


Laura completed her collegiate career at UW-Madison, with degrees in Rehabilitation Psychology and Occupational Therapy. Throughout her collegiate career, Laura conducted research on children's executive functioning and worked extensively with children on the autism spectrum for over 5 years while providing in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. Laura is now a Certified Autism Specialist, though she has also worked pediatric and adult populations across a variety of diagnoses, including burns, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, traumatic burn injury, spina bifida, and other medically fragile populations. Additionally, Laura has experience with Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT), Intensive Method with TheraSuit, Alert! Program (Engines), and adolescent transition groups. Laura also enjoys pursing leadership opportunities at the community and state levels. In her free time, Laura enjoys hiking, coloring with crayons, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

laura@communicationinnovations.com

Liz Hedrich, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Liz is a Packers shareholder, has been to Hawaii five times, and spent a semester in college studying tropical biology in Costa Rica.


Liz received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UW-Madison. Before becoming a speech therapist she spent three years providing in-home therapy to children with autism. During graduate school she gained experience working with children in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, the Waisman Center, Head Start, and public schools. She was also part of the LEND program at the Waisman Center where she received specialized training in interdisciplinary care for children with developmental disabilities. While she enjoys working with children of all ages, she especially loves providing early intervention services. In her spare time, Liz loves cooking, watching Packer and Badger football, and playing outside with her dog.

liz@communicationinnovations.com

Luke Lang, BS, Support Services

Luke used to work with monkeys, he won a hula hooping contest when he was a kid and he likes to do things around his house with his eyes closed. 


Luke has has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and is currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Madison College.  Luke has a wide variety of experience within the field of therapy.  He has worked within the Madison School Distrist, where he focused on adaptive physical education,and has done in-home therapy, where he created individualized strength and conditioning programs.  He also has experience with geriatrics and manual therapy, but his true passion is pediatrics.  Luke is fascinated with the human brain and the powerful effects it has personal function.  He enjoys reading about the brain during his down time and gets very excited when he learns a new "brain game."  Luke is also an avid sports fan, which includes watching and playing almost every sport that exists. He especially loves basketball, football, baseball and golf.  Luke has been a part of the CI team for the past four years and is thrilled to continue to be a part of the team. 

luke@communicationinnovations.com

McKenzie Hoffman, MA, CCC-SLP, SOS/Pediatric Feeding Specialist, Speech and Language Pathologist

McKenzie adores the beach and spent one summer living the island life in Okinawa, Japan. She loves boating and can slalom ski and she used to be an extra on the TV show One Tree Hill.


McKenzie received her both her B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders and M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Northern Iowa. She grew up in Freeport, IL and moved to Madison from Des Moines, Iowa. In Des Moines, she gained experience working with feeding and swallowing in the NICU at Mercy hospital and experience working with a variety of children at a pediatric outpatient clinic. McKenzie has a great deal of experience working with individuals with autism, Down Syndrome, language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, neurological disorders and feeding and swallowing. She is trained and certified in the SOS Approach to Feeding, Pediatric Dysphagia and the treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech. When she is not at work, McKenzie loves spending time with friends and family, running and being outdoors. McKenzie loves being a part of the CI Team!

mckenzie@communicationinnovations.com

Meg Leonard, MS, CCC-SLP, Director of Clinical Services, Speech and Language Pathologist

Meg knows how to ride a unicycle, she loves cheesburgers and she does not own a television.


Meg attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she earned both her Bachelor of Science degree in Communicative Disorders and Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology. Meg has worked in the public education system as a preschool itinerant therapist as well as a school-based therapist for children in 3rd-12th grades. Meg is a Certified Autism Specialist and has gained experience with a diverse population of pediatric patients. She has also served as an evaluator and expert witness for the state of Wisconsin. Meg enjoys spending time with her family and dogs – especially eating good food and exploring Madison in all seasons!

meg@communicationinnovations.com

Megan (Janssen) Wisniewski, MS, OTR/L Occupational Therapist

Megan's favorite part of childhood was having picnics in her backyard, she wanted to be a princess when she was a kid and her secret talent is that she can touch her tongue to her nose!


Megan earned her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, then moved back to Madison to complete her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Megan gained valuable experience working at both the Central Wisconsin Center and the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. She has experience working with individuals with a wide variety of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, autism, TBI, burns, SCI, stroke and developmental disabilities andshe has attended continuing education in the Analysis of Movement from an NDT Perspective. In her free time Megan enjoys spending time with her family, running, crafting, going on adventures and spending time outdoors. Megan loves being a part of the CI team!

meganw@communicationinnovations.com

Megan Schiele, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

Megan has moved 6 times in the past 2 years, she wanted to be a ballerina when she was a kid and she could not live without tea.


Megan has a Bachelors of Science Degree and a Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary College. She has had the pleasure of working in the area of birth to three in Lake County, IL. Megan's trainings include:  Introduction to Brain Gym, Kinesiotaping, Tools for Tots, Using Infant Massage as Therapeutic Tool, Analysis of Movement from an NDT Perspective, Sensory Defensiveness: A Comprehensive Treatment Approach (Therapressure and Oral Tactile Techniques), Aquatic Therapy, Promoting Motor Skills Postural Control and Motor Planning in the Classroom (Drive Thru Menu). Megan has experience through both clinical and work experience in working with children with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, athrogryposis, spinal muscle atrophy, cognitive and developmental delays, and strokes. Megan has enjoyed using her talents in the areas of sensory integration, fabrication of splints, and assistive technology. In her time outside of work Megan loves to be outside and practice yoga. She is very excited to be part of the collaborative and always welcoming environment at CI!

megan@communicationinnovations.com

Melissa Schlimgen, COTA, Clinic Administrator, Occupational Therapy

Melissa used to sing in a rock and roll band, she does flower arrangements for weddings and her favorite candy is sour patch kids.


Melissa graduated from Madison Area Technical College in 2007. She began working at Communication Innovations shortly after becoming a licensed COTA. Melissa has a passion for working with children in the private pediatric model where she has the ability to work one to one directly with the child and the family. Melissa has experience with the Therasuit Method and utilizing the Intensive Model of Therapy. Melissa is also well versed in the Hand Writing Without Tears program as well as creating a variety of sensory diet options to fit any child's needs. She is trained in Interactive Metronome, The Alert Program, and the SOS Approach to Pediatric Feeding. Melissa is a Certified Autism Specialist Associate. Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and crazy dog. She is delighted to continue to learn and grow through her work at CI.

melissa@communicationinnovations.com

Mike Sansom, BS, Movement Science, Support Services

Mike was born is Australia, he likes to DJ and he wanted to be a soccer player when he was a kid. 


Mike earned his B.S. in Movement Science from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. He was born in Australia where he lived until 2001, when he moved to Royal Oak, Michigan. Mike has had a variety of experiences working with children including coaching soccer, tutoring, being a summer camp counselor, teaching kids how to sail and most recently teaching at a child care facility. Mike is trained in multiple different early childhood programs including the Pyramid Model.

 

Outside of work, Mike enjoys reading, playing video games, watching Netflix, exercising, and taking care of his 5 fish tank aquariums!

Molly Palzkill, BS, Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology, Support Services

Molly wanted to be an architect when she was a kid, she loves kayaking and yoga and she is a photographer in her spare time. 


Molly received her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies as well as Psychology at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She grew up in Mineral Point, WI and is now currently living in Madison. In her undergraduate career, Molly gained a great deal of experience working at the Waisman Center assisting in research on how having a child with autism affects a marital relationship. Molly also worked as an inclusion staff member for Madison School and Community Recreation where she worked directly with children with autism, down syndrome, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and emotional behavioral disorder. She is also trained in the Crisis Management Intervention Technique from the Madison Metropolitan School District. Molly is especially interested in how teens with autism transition into adulthood, as well as child and teen mental health. When Molly is not loving her work at CI, she spends time doing photography for her photography business, going kayaking, doing yoga, and discovering new places to eat fish fry. 

molly@communicationinnovations.com

Patricia Smith, OTR/L IBCLC, Occupational Therapist

Patty loves to play Banana Grams, she has been to 12 countries and 40 states, and she could not live without her homemade pizza!


Patty is a Chicago native and received her BS in Public Health from Northern Illinois University and her OTR from University of Illinois. She has worked in a variety of settings from schools, NICU, Birth to three, hospitals, the Madison Birth Center and in Integrative medicine.

She is an internationally board certified lactation consultant as well as an infant massage instructor. She has a special interest in feeding issues and has specific training in Cranial Sacral therapy, visceral manipulation and lymphatic techniques, Neurodevelopmental treatment, Sensory Integration, Advanced kinesiotaping, the ALERT program, and the Engine Program. She loves working with children of a variety of ages and enjoys thinking outside the box for treatment solutions and finding practical ways to help families and kids feel successful.

When she is not working at her private practice or CI , she enjoys doing anything outside no matter what the temperature, biking, skiing, playing music, cooking and yoga and travel, travel, travel! She spends a lot of time with her husband, two kids and sweet puppy.

patty@communicationinnovations.com

Rachel Cunningham, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist


Rachel is originally from Pembroke, Kentucky. She received her masters degree from the University of Kentucky. Rachel has worked for the Birth to 3 program in Dane county for five years since moving to Wisconsin. One of her favorite things about being a therapist is building relationships with children and their families. Rachel has experience with a wide variety of communication delays and disorders. She loves helping children learn the power of communication! Rachel is very excited to be a part of the team here at Communication Innovations!

rachel@communicationinnovations.com

Rachel Petersen, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Rachel has never broken a bone in her life, her favorite candy is banana Laffy Taffy.


Rachel received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point in Speech Language Pathology. She grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and moved to Madison when she began her externship placement at CI in January of 2013. In 2011 Rachel joined the CI team as office support and is now excited to re-join as a Speech Language Pathologist! Rachel has experience working with individuals with feeding and swallowing disorders, cognitive/neurological disorders, Augmentative and Alternative Communication needs, language disorders, motor speech disorders, and articulation and phonological disorders. Rachel also enjoys being part of the social groups at CI and will be a Boost Leader this summer! When she is not at work, Rachel enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and being outdoors! She is extremely excited to be part of CI’s team again!

rachelk@communicationinnovations.com

Rachelle Eugster, MA, CF-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Rachelle loves mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate, and most of all, coffee! Her perfect Saturday morning starts with a trip to the Madison Farmer’s Market.


Rachelle received her B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Marquette University and received her M.A. in Communication Disorders from Louisiana State University. She grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana before moving to Madison and returned to Wisconsin after finishing graduate school at LSU. She has gained experience at Pediatria Healthcare, Baton Rouge Speech and Hearing Clinic, and various school and private practice settings.

Rachelle has always loved being involved in the community and has worked closely with Autism Speaks to promote autism awareness and the advancement of autism research. She has a great deal of experience working with individuals with autism, language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, neurological disorders, and pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders. Rachelle’s interests include birth-to-three intervention, pediatric feeding and swallowing, language intervention, and the incorporation of a family-centered intervention approach. When she is not at work, Rachelle enjoys cooking, being outdoors, trying new restaurants, and spending time with friends and family. Rachelle is excited to be a member of the amazing CI team!

Rachelle@communicationinnovations.com

Sadie Bassette, MS, CF-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Sadie has been to the home of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, she volunteered for a Scottish SLP at a boarding school for kids with special needs in Scotland and her secret talent is that she can make ANYTHING fit in a suitcase!


Sadie received her Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. During her undergraduate career, Sadie discovered her passion for working with the pediatric population through volunteering in schools, tutoring, and mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters. She traveled to Scotland during the summer of 2011 through UW- Eau Claire's Special Education in Scotland program where she volunteered in a boarding school for students with special needs. Her personal interests within the field include childhood apraxia of speech and early childhood. 

In her free time Sadie enjoys spending time with family and friends, being active outside, reading, and traveling. Sadie is originally from Rhinelander, Wisconsin and enjoys weekend trips back to Northern Wisconsin to spend time with her family and pet Boston Terrier, Bella. 

sadie@communicationinnovations.com

Samantha Runde, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist

Sam was a New Years baby, has run 2 half marathons, and has the world’s biggest sweet tooth!


Sam graduated from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT) and a Bachelor of Science in Biology.  She gained pediatric experience in PT school helping run an after school program to increase physical activity in kids with disabilities, researching the effects of martial arts on children with autism spectrum disorder, and acting as a personal care assistant for a young boy with cerebral palsy.  After completing a pediatric clinical in Abilene, TX, she knew a career in pediatrics was the right choice for her! Seeing kiddos achieve their own goals to help make daily life easier and more fun became her passion. Sam has experience working with children with Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delays, Spina Bifida, Down syndrome, toe walking, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Torticollis, Hydrocephalus, and genetic conditions including Turner syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Ataxia Telangiectasia, and Prader Willi syndrome among others. In her free time, Sam loves doing anything outside, including volleyball, basketball, softball, and golf, as well as hiking and running.  She also enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her friends, family, and fiancé. Sam is so excited to be part of the Communication Innovations team and to work in such a fun environment!

samantha@communicationinnovations.com

Shannon Lisowe, MS, CF-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist

Shannon has traveled to Kenya, her favorite part of childhood was building forts in the woods and she can do a back handspring!


Shannon earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from Radford University in Virginia. Before moving to Virginia, she worked for Communication Development Center, Integrated Development Services, and United Cerebral Palsy in Madison. She has experience working with children with cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, language disorders, alternative and augmentative communication needs, motor speech disorders, fluency disorders, and articulation & phonology disorders. Outside of work, Shannon enjoys spending time with family and friends, and playing with her puppy. Shannon is so incredibly excited to be part of the CI team!

shannon@communicationinnovations.com

Tabitha Gehrmann, PT, Physical Therapist

The weirdest place Tabitha has ever traveled to is Fairbanks, Alaska during the month of July (daylight 24/7), she cannot live without her dansko clogs and she cannot help but pick up every frog or toad that she sees.


Tabitha has been practicing physical therapy for the past eighteen years.  After graduating from UW-Madison in 1996, she began her career at United Hospital in St. Paul working with adults in the outpatient clinic, inpatient orthopedics, acute care and sub-acute rehabilitation.  She was a prenatal instructor, teaching exercise, positioning and body mechanics to pregnant women in the community.  From there, she moved to the Boston area and gained experience working with the elderly in skilled nursing facilities, specialized in pulmonology and neurology at Shaughnessy-Kaplan Rehabilitation Hospital, and specialized in spinal cord injuries with teens and adults at New England Rehabilitation Hospital.  In 2001, she moved back home to the Madison area and began working with infants and toddlers through Dane County’s Birth to 3 program.  In Birth to 3, she met inspiring children and their families and developed a passion for helping children who face physical challenges. Tabitha has been delighted to work with children of all ages since 2012 at CI, as well as recently through the Madison Metropolitan School District.  She has experience working with kids with Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delays, Hypotonia, Spina Bifida, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Congenital Heart Defects, Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, Epilepsy, Autism, Down Syndrome and other genetic conditions.  Tabitha is renewed by spending time in nature (walking, hiking and mountain biking).  She also enjoys cooking and spending time with her husband, son and daughter.  

tabitha@communicationinnovations.com

Taylor DeValk, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist

Taylor is a high school and college basketball referee, loves country music, and could eat pizza every night, including Hawaiian pizza!


Taylor is a physical therapist and received his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has worked in multiple clinical settings including outpatient pediatrics, birth to 3, school district pediatrics and orthopedics. He is certified in the Intensive Model of Therapy and the TheraSuit Method ®. He received his B.S. in Kinesiology-Adaptive Physical Education from UW-Madison. Throughout his college career he worked with adolescents and adults with disabilities in the Adaptive Fitness program both in the gym and in the pool. He also volunteered with the Special Olympics of Wisconsin. Taylor has worked with pediatrics his entire life. He had two younger sisters with neuromuscular disabilities that shaped his life and developed his passion to work in the field of pediatric physical therapy. Taylor loves working with kids and their families to develop the most effective physical therapy treatment approach. He understands that therapy should be family centered and has had life experience to accomplish this first-hand. In his free time Taylor is a high school football referee, a high school basketball referee and NCAA Division 3 college basketball referee. He has worked the girls and boys State Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center multiple times. He also plays golf as much as he can when the weather allows! Taylor has also helped run the Combined Locks Recreation Department back in his hometown for the past 10 years. That gave him the opportunity to teach kids baseball, softball, basketball and golf. Taylor is very excited to be part of the fun environment at Communication Innovations and is happy to be part of the team!

taylor@communicationinnovations.com

Tom Miller-Bishoff, BA, Elementary and Special Education, Support Services

Tom loves board games, has a schnoodle named Tonks, and plays music at the farmer's market whenever possible.


Tom has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary & Special Education from Luther College and is working toward a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been working with children on the autism spectrum in home- and clinic-based therapy settings since 2007, with one hiatus to teach English in Japan for a summer. Tom has training in the Early Start Denver Model (behavioral therapy program) and Motivational Interviewing. Tom loves learning new things and is excited to learn from the clients and therapists at CI!

tom@communicationinnovations.com
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