Autumn Smith, MS, CCC-SLP
Director of Speech and Language Services
Autumn is a speech-language pathologist who enjoys creating meaningful relationships with her clients and families throughout the therapeutic process. Autumn earned her Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Upon graduation, she moved to Chicago to complete her clinical fellowship year with PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. and has enjoyed working with the dedicated team of therapists here ever since! Autumn has comprehensive experience working in the pediatric setting, including supporting children with speech and language delays and disorders, motor planning disorders, and feeding/oral motor concerns. She has a passion for supporting clients with childhood apraxia of speech to help them grow into successful, independent communicators. Autumn’s favorite part about working with the PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. team is the collaborative and inclusive environment that she gets to be a part of on a daily basis. As the Director of Speech and Language Services, Autumn enjoys providing clinical supervision to each member of the speech and language team and supporting a collaborative environment for group learning.
Autumn is trained in the PROMPT technique, Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets, which is a multidimensional approach to teaching the specific motor movements needed to produce accurate speech sound targets. This approach has been proven to be widely successful for children with motor planning disorders, such as childhood apraxia of speech. She has also completed the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol training and uses the Kaufman approach for children across the age span.
Autumn is trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding and uses the program's four basic tenets to guide her sensory feeding therapy sessions. SOS is a transdisciplinary program that specializes in assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties/refusals, including children with sensory aversions, limited or restricted diets, and children who struggle to transition between feeding milestones. Additionally, Autumn has completed training for the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol and uses the assessment and intervention strategies from this protocol to create a client-specific oral motor exercise program to support feeding success.
In her spare time, Autumn enjoys reading a variety of fiction novels, hiking the trails at nearby state parks, and visiting her family back in Wisconsin (especially her nephews!).
Andrea Schaefer, MS, CCC-SLP
PlayWorks Prep Co-Director, Food Explorers! Coordinator
Andrea is a speech-language pathologist whose therapeutic philosophy is about fostering meaningful relationships with her clients and families in order to promote the greatest success. Andrea is originally from Springfield, IL. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. In May 2020, Andrea received her master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Elmhurst College. Andrea spent her clinical fellowship year at an outpatient pediatric clinic in Indiana where she continued to expand upon her pediatric therapy skills. She was thrilled to begin working at PlayWorks in 2022, where she could continue her passion of working with children.
Through Andrea’s clinical rotations and previous outpatient clinic setting, she has gained extensive experience working with children of all ages with a wide variety of abilities and disorders. Specifically, she has experience working with fluency, aural habilitation, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, speech sound disorders, expressive/receptive language disorders, feeding, and AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). Andrea is also a credentialed Early Interventionist and through this program has gained experience working with children/families that are bilingual as well as worked alongside interpreters during sessions.
Andrea values collaborating with both families and other team members in order to facilitate functional and meaningful communication. She strives to incorporate daily routines and play-based activities with therapy strategies in order to promote success.
In her free time, Andrea enjoys watching Illini sports, cooking new recipes, participating in any outdoor activity, and spending time with family and friends!
Karen Skylar, MS, CCC-SLP
Karen is thrilled to be joining PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., beginning with her clinical fellowship year! She is passionate about building meaningful and supportive relationships with clients and their families. She is excited to continue to learn and grow as a speech-language pathologist in such an inclusive and collaborative environment.
Karen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Iowa and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Rush University. During her graduate program, she completed clinical work in a variety of pediatric settings, including Rush University Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Rush Kids Pediatric Therapy Clinic. She has gained knowledge and experience providing support for children with speech and language disorders, motor planning disorders, and feeding disorders.
When not in the clinic, Karen enjoys listening to music on her record player, going to concerts, walking along the lakefront, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes (Go Hawks!).
Casey Werman, MS, CCC-SLP
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Coordinator
Casey is a speech-language pathologist who is passionate about building strong relationships with her clients and their families and collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to support her clients' growth. Casey earned her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She completed her Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning at Northwestern University. Upon graduation, she completed her clinical fellowship year with PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., and is thrilled to have continued working with the team ever since. Her clinical interests include neurodiversity affirming pragmatic skills, early childhood language development, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), and autism spectrum disorders. As the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Coordinator, Casey enjoys working with clinicians and caregivers to support clients in obtaining AAC devices. She is passionate about educating families, care providers, and interdisciplinary clinicians on best practices in AAC evaluations, treatment, modeling, and device personalization.
Casey is Meaningful Speech GLP + AAC trained, where she gained specialized skills in using the Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) Framework for supporting gestalt language processors (GLPs) who are, or could be, AAC users. Meaningful Speech GLP + AAC is a comprehensive training on identifying, evaluating, and supporting GLPs who currently or may in the future communicate using AAC. It additionally provides specialized training in customizing AAC software and modeling approaches to support the language acquisition style of GLPs.
In her free time, Casey enjoys walking along the lakefront path, baking, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Michigan Wolverines!
Kayla Jordan, MA, CCC-SLP
Kayla is a speech-language pathologist who is passionate about neurodiversity-affirming care. She grew up in the Chicagoland area before attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Following graduation, Kayla completed her clinical fellowship year at the Westerhold Early Learning Center in Des Plaines, IL. Kayla has worked in school districts across the Pacific Northwest to serve students from a wide variety of backgrounds. She is thrilled to return to Chicago and join the PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. team.
While Kayla enjoys supporting all areas of speech, language, and communication, she especially loves collaborating with families and other professionals to support inclusivity and engagement. Her clinical interests include developmental language disorders, speech sound production, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
In her spare time, Kayla loves reading, listening to new music, and riding her bike around the city.