Our Speech-Language Pathologists
Deb Fenton, M.S., CCC-SLP
Executive Director / Owner
Deb is a certified member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), the Colorado State Speech and Hearing Association (CSHA) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). She previously served on the board for the Rocky Mountain Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Her pediatric experience includes working in a variety of settings including pediatric outpatient clinics, brain injury rehabilitation hospitals, public school settings, and private practice. She currently serves on a transdisciplinary team of mental health, educational, speech and occupational therapists that provide play-based child assessments for children aged 6 months though 6 years of age through the Child Assessment and Training Center of Denver. She has extensive training relating to early literacy, learning disabilities, and motor speech disorders (apraxia). She is skilled in both the diagnostic assessment and treatment of language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia. She is trained in PROMPT and the Kaufman Program for treatment of apraxia and has advanced training in the Yoshimoto Orton Gillingham approach to teaching reading and is certified through the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI). She is a recipient of the ASHA “ACE” Award for her commitment to Continuing Education. Debra is not accepting new clients at this time.
Debra Received her B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1991. She completed her Master’s of Science Degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Minot State University, North Dakota in 1993.
During her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband, two grown children, and pack of rescue animals (2 Labrador Retrievers and 3 cats- whew!). She enjoys hiking, skiing, traveling, and reading.
Nicole Kessler, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Nicole is originally from Austin, Texas and moved to Colorado in 2018. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Speech Language Pathology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Nicole has gained experience in a variety of areas including: language and literacy, articulation, phonological processes, early language development, feeding, and social communication.
During her time at Baylor University, Nicole participated in Camp Success, an intensive day camp focused on helping children with dyslexia and other language based learning disabilities develop fundamental language and literacy skills. She also participated in the Language and Literacy Clinic where she treated and assessed children with expressive and receptive language disorders as well as other language based learning disabilities.Nicole is trained in the Orton Gillingham Approach to teaching reading and spelling and she is certified through the International Dyslexia Association Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI).
Nicole completed an internship at Children’s Hospital Colorado Briargate in Colorado Springs. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, she gained experience evaluating and treating children with articulation disorders, apraxia of speech, expressive and receptive language disorders, as well as feeding and swallowing difficulties. She ran an early language and literacy group that provided parents with strategies to stimulate their children’s language development. While targeting emerging language, it also taught children early social communication skills and how to participate in a structured environment. Nicole also led a phonology group that treated children with a variety of phonological processing disorders. Her special interests include social communication and early language development.
Nicole enjoys spending time outdoors and in the mountains with her husband and new Goldendoodle Winnie!. She can be found camping, hiking, kayaking and taking pictures of it all!
Amanda Fransen, CET, B.A.
Certified Educational Therapist
Graduate Speech Language Pathology Clinician
Amanda attended college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating with a degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences in 2008. After graduation, she also completed her Speech-Language Pathology Assistant certification through the University of Colorado at Boulder. Throughout her career, Amanda has found working with children who have language-based learning disabilities to be one of her areas of true interest. It is this passion that prompted her to continue her higher education through the University of California – Riverside, and was the catalyst for her becoming a Certified Educational Therapist (CET) in 2015. In early 2018, Amanda completed a 40-hour Yoshimoto Orton-Gillingham continuing education, in order to become better versed with this multi-sensory reading, writing and spelling intervention. She is certified through the International Dyslexia Association Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI). Amanda is currently continuing her professional development in other areas of specialty by working to obtain a certified autism specialist certification through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. She is in her final year of her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Northern Arizona University, for which she has an anticipated graduation date of August 2020.
Amanda has had the opportunity to work with children who have a wide range of speech, language, and educational challenges throughout her career, and has worked predominately in the private practice setting. During her time working as a certified educational therapist and speech-language pathology assistant, Amanda has found her areas of specialty to be working with children on the autism spectrum, working with people who stutter, and working with children diagnosed with a language-based learning disorders. It is the underlying language foundation of many language-based learning disorders that prompted Amanda to continue her higher education in speech-language pathology, versus educational therapy. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys spending time outside, going to concerts, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her cat, Marcel.
Aly Backhaus, M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Aly is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and recently moved to Denver, Colorado in August 2019. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology & Audiology in 2016 and Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2017 through an accelerated degree program at Marquette University. After graduating, she began her career working with both pediatric and adult populations. Aly most recently worked at a pediatric outpatient clinic where she gained experience evaluating and treating children with a variety of diagnoses and disorders in the areas of articulation/phonology, receptive/expressive language, social/pragmatic language, cognitive-communication, AAC, and feeding/swallowing. Aly administers diagnostic reading evaluations for struggling readers and also provides reading intervention services. She has completed the 40 hour Yoshimoto Orton Gillingham Approach to teaching reading and spelling.
In addition to developing her clinical skills, Aly has a passion for leadership and community development. She recently assisted in planning an adaptive triathlon for children of all abilities and headed a continuing education course for SLPs in Southeastern Wisconsin. She looks forward to continuously meeting professionals and families throughout the Denver area as she joins the Abound Children’s Therapy team!
Aly is excited to explore her beautiful new city! She loves to be outdoors (running, hiking, skiing) and enjoys traveling with friends and family.
Estefania Romera, M.S. CCC-SLP
Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist
My name is Estefania Romera and I am bilingual Speech and Language Pathologist. I am originally from Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Miami, Florida in 2002. I earned both my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and my Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Florida International University in Miami. Both programs had emphasis on cultural and linguistic diversity. I have had the opportunity to gain experience treating clients within the ages of 12 months to adults from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
I completed my clinical fellowship experience in a private pediatric clinic in Gainesville, Florida working with patients within the ages of 12 months to 18 years of age. These patients had a variety of communication disorders including articulation, fluency, expressive/receptive language, phonological disorders, and social pragmatic deficits. I gained clinical experience in literacy intervention and augmentative and alternative communication.
During my time at Florida International University I completed a variety of clinical practicums that drove me to develop a passion for working in pediatric clinical settings. I participated in the Summer Treatment Program (STP) at FIU that focused on evidence-based practice for elementary school children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder to address behavioral and emotional challenges through the Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) model. Additionally, I completed internships that involved intervention for children with a variety of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Cleft/Lip Palate, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Specific Reading Disorders, Dyslexia among others.
I relocated to Denver, Colorado in August of 2019 and began working full -time in the school system with high need students, at the secondary level. I will be working at Abound Children’s Therapy on Saturdays from 8:00-1:30.
I enjoy spending time with my husband, my family, my puppy Cocosette, and exploring all the wonders Colorado has to offer!
Scott Busteed. M.S., CCC-SLP
Lead Speech Language Pathologist
A Nebraska native, Scott received his bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in speech-language pathology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2010 and 2013, respectively. An interim gap year provided him with an introduction to pediatrics while he served as an instructional assistant in an early childhood classroom for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Dublin, Ireland. A member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2013, he began his career in the Chicago area within the public schools before transitioning to pediatric outpatient settings.
Scott is skilled in the evaluation and treatment of childhood apraxia of speech, articulation & phonological disorders, fluency disorders, language impairment and social/pragmatic language. He is experienced with identification of and early intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders, assessing children for use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), implementing positive behavioral supports, working with culturally- and linguistically-diverse learners, and co-treating with social workers, behavioral interventionists and occupational (OT) & physical (PT) therapists. His clinical training includes the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol, Chmela Fluency Intervention, the SOS Approach to Feeding, the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol and Tobii-Dynavox AAC Evaluation & Programming. Scott enjoys facilitating social skills groups for children of all ages and is a Certified Provider for the Secret Agent Society Program.
Outside of the clinic, Scott loves exploring Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their rescue pup, Gia. During his down time, he enjoys cooking, climbing, hiking, camping, running and traveling.
Alexa Herbers, M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Alexa grew up in the south, primarily living in Louisiana and moving to Arkansas to attend college. Alexa attended the University of Central Arkansas where she played four years of Division 1 college soccer while obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2014. Alexa continued school at UCA to complete her Master’s degree in 2016. Alexa gained experience in school, hospital, and clinical settings.
After graduating, Alexa moved to Denver where she began working in public schools for her first three years as a speech-language pathologist. There she gained experience treating and evaluating students from pre-school through high school age with articulation, receptive and expressive language, pragmatic language, literacy, and fluency disorders. Alexa has worked with students with high needs, multiple disabilities, and mild-moderate speech/language impairments. Alexa was a speech therapist in the Autism center-based program for all three years where she gained experience in augmentative alternative communication (AAC), running social communication groups while partnering with psychologists, and developed strengths in emotional regulation de-escalation strategies. With a strong area of interest in social communication, Alexa enjoys using different pragmatic language programs and adapting it to different learning levels, styles, and different personalities. She is a Certified Provider for the Secret Agent Society social skills program.
With a love for the outdoors, Alexa is very active in her free time. She enjoys going to the park, playing soccer, running, and hiking through the mountains with her dog, Maggie.
Rachel West, M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Rachel was born in Orange, California, but mostly grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. She received her B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences and English minor from the University of Iowa in 2013. She then went on to Rush University in Chicago to obtain her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. After receiving her Master’s in 2015, Rachel gained experience in both school and private practice settings. She has experience working with children with needs related to apraxia, ASD, expressive/receptive language delays, feeding, and literacy, as well as augmentative/alternative communication devices. Over the years, she has deepened her knowledge by receiving advanced training for the following treatment approaches: Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum, DIR/Floortime, Interactive Metronome, LAMP Words for Life AAC software, and the Orton Gillingham reading approach. She is certified through the International Dyslexia Association Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI).
With a desire to be closer to family, and a love of the great outdoors, Rachel journeyed west to Denver, Colorado. She is thrilled to be part of the team at Abound Children’s Therapy, and looks forward to helping children learn and grow! In her spare time, Rachel enjoys riding her bike, creative writing, and camping.
Allison Jarboe, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Allison was born and raised in Maryland. She received her Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science with a concentration in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Delaware in 2014 and her Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Radford University in 2016. Allison began her professional career in Roanoke, Virginia before relocating to Denver in January 2018.
Allison currently works full-time at an outpatient clinic for children with Autism ages 3-15 and will be working at Abound Children’s Therapy on Saturdays! Allison is skilled in evaluating and developing a plan of treatment for school-aged children with autism spectrum disorders, language disorders, phonological disorders, articulation disorders, pragmatic deficits, attention-hyperactive deficit disorders as well as developing and training children and their families in the use of augmentative alternative communication (AAC) devices. Allison greatly values and enjoys collaborating with Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Occupational Therapists, teaching instructors and family members to discuss, strategize, and implement care delivery strategies in order to provide the best therapy for her clients.
In her spare time, Allison enjoys camping, hiking, skiing and exploring Colorado! Allison is so excited to join the Abound Children’s Therapy team!
Lindsay Nemeth, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Lindsay works full-time with preschool to elementary school-aged children during the week at an area public school and provides Saturday coverage at Abound. While she has spent most of her career working in the school system with preschool through elementary aged students, she also has experience treating adults in a subacute care setting. Prior to obtaining her degree in speech language pathology, Lindsay worked as an ABA therapist for children with autism in both the home and school settings. She is skilled in the assessment and treatment of a wide range of communication disorders including speech and language delays and disorders, phonological disorders, and social pragmatic disorders. She has vast experience in working with children with autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, intellectual impairments, and English second language learners.
She grew up in Manalapan, New Jersey, about 25 minutes from the Jersey Shore. She traded in the beach for some mountain views and has been living in Denver for close to two years. She loves nature. hiking, going to see live music with family & friends, and exploring the Denver food scene. She is excited to be working with Abound Children’s Therapy!
Our Occupational Therapists
Celeste James M.S. OTR/L
Celeste was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and relocated to Denver in 2019. She earned her undergraduate degree in Recreational Therapy from Central Michigan University and her graduate degree in Occupational Therapy from Wayne State University in 2017.
Celeste started her career in Detroit at Henry Ford Hospital, as well as at Sensory Systems Clinic (a private pediatric clinic). Celeste has always had a passion for working with children to support their development in areas of sensory processing, emotional regulation, fine motor, visual motor, and motor planning skills. Celeste’s professional interests include sensory integration and fine motor skill development.
For fun, Celeste likes to cook, hike, and travel. Her favorite place to travel is Costa Rica but her farthest trip was to Indonesia and Australia. Celeste also enjoys spending time at home with her fiancé and cats.
Julie Skafidas, M.S. OTR/L
Julie grew up in New England, moving to Virginia to begin her career as an occupational therapist in 2015, following her graduation from the University of New Hampshire with her master’s in Occupational Therapy. In Virginia she worked in a variety of settings, including pediatrics, skilled nursing, and assisted living facilities where she discovered her passion for working with children. Her pediatric experience includes working in a large Certified Autism Center where she became skilled in evaluation and treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In this role, she collaborated with speech language pathologists, ABA therapists, and certified occupational therapy assistants to support the unique needs of each child and family. She relocated to Colorado in 2017 and continued her work with pediatrics, providing individual and group therapy to children diagnosed with, but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder, global developmental delays, fine and gross motor delays, and sensory integration deficits. Julie’s areas of professional interest include sensory integration, as well as visual and gross motor skills.
Julie’s hobbies include cooking and traveling across the country to run marathons. Her goal is to complete a race in every state.
Marie Therese Schmechel, M.S. OTR/L
Marie Therese or Miss MT the OT is an occupational therapist. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI in 2011 and then earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL in 2013. She is originally from Chicago so is a huge fan of the Chicago Bears, the Blackhawks, and the White Sox. She has practiced as an occupational therapist in three states: Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado.
MT loves working with children! Even before she was an occupational therapist, she worked at a group home for children with autism. Since graduating with her Master’s in occupational therapy, she has primarily worked in the schools including alternative day schools, self-contained classrooms, blended classrooms, and general education classrooms. However, she has also worked in alternative settings and has provided hippotherapy services focused on providing rhythmic, repetitive movements through the medium of a horse! Additionally, she has worked in pediatric clinics previously.
MT’s areas of professional interest include sensory integration, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and handwriting skills. In her practice, she likes to use both yoga and mindfulness techniques. She is a big proponent of sensory processing integration and helping kids be able to self-regulate. She focuses on child and family-centered therapeutic interventions.
In her spare time, MT enjoys baking, being in nature, and playing volleyball.
Stacey Kesner, MOT, OTR/L
Stacey is originally from Wisconsin and graduated from Utica College, NY with a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy in 2016 and completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology with a minor in Disability Studies at The Ohio State University in 2013. Prior to graduating, she has been involved in working with the special needs population in a variety of settings including the classroom, community/day camp, and private clinics.
Between undergraduate and graduate school Stacey worked as an ABA therapist, broadening her knowledge of a variety of therapeutic approaches.
Stacey has focused on pursuing professional development courses which offer training in the areas of Feeding Therapy, Sensory Processing, Self-regulation, Handwriting and Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has completed the courses: SOS Approach to Feeding, Food Scientist Adaptation of the SOS Approach to Feeding, Talk Tools-Feeding Therapy Level 2, Zones of Regulation, Handwriting without Tears™, and Therapeutic Listening®.
Stacey believes in implementing a holistic, family-centered approach to treatment. Incorporating play-based and evidence-based models to therapy sessions offers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and to supply families with strategies and tools which promote their own success.
In her free time, Stacey enjoys yoga, running, reading and knitting. She also enjoys trying out new restaurants, traveling, camping and hiking with her husband.
Joey Rhoton, COTA/L
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Jocelyn (Joey) Rhoton was born in Denver and grew up in Broomfield Colorado. She earned her degree in Occupational Studies from Pima Medical Institute and received her certification from The National Board Certification of Occupational Therapy in 2016. After being placed in a preschool setting for fieldwork, Joey realized it was her passion to work with children.
Joey’s pediatric career began at a local outpatient clinic called Unique Prints in 2017 where she gained experience in areas of fine and gross motor skill development, sensory processing disorder and Autism. In 2018 Unique Prints changed owners and transitioned from an outpatient clinic to home health. Home health allowed Joey to apply play-based therapy not only in the home but also in community and school settings. Joey is excited to apply all she’s learned at Abound!
For fun Joey loves going to hot yoga, swimming, cooking, reading, going to the movies and spending time with her husband and 2 dogs, Brooklyn and Sierra.