Speech Therapists

  • Autumn Smith
  • Ana Burgoon
  • Andrea Jachino
  • Molly Klein
  • Karen Skylar
  • Casey Werman
  • Megan Ward

Autumn Smith, MS, CCC-SLP

Director of Speech and Language Services

smith

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!).

Ana Burgoon, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech & Language Team Lead

ST Assistive Technology Coordinator

Ana Thrall

Ana came to PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. from Michigan, where she earned both her Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Science with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Grand Valley State University. During her graduate program, Ana enjoyed supporting elementary-age children in both general and special education classrooms as they worked towards their speech and language goals. Ana completed her graduate level externship at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she had the opportunity to work with children with varied needs in the areas of aural rehabilitation, expressive and receptive language, pragmatics, phonology, and more. Ana then began her clinical fellowship at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. and has been with us since! As an Assistive Technology (AT) Coordinator at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc., Ana enjoys conducting research on available AT options as well as pathways for obtaining these options. She also enjoys working collaboratively with team members across disciplines to ensure that each child has access to these tools as needed. Ana also enjoys her role as a co-leader in the PlayWorks Prep therapeutic preschool program. Being a speech-language pathologist allows Ana to combine her love of science with her love of language and learning. She enjoys shaping therapy sessions into highly motivating and communication-rich experiences for children. Ana also values working with parents and feels privileged to have a career that is rewarding, ever changing and fun!

Ana 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 need support transitioning between feeding milestones.

Ana and her husband enjoy long walks, watching classic films, and spending time with their friends and family (including their two nephews)!

Andrea Jachino, MS, CCC-SLP

Food Explorers! Coordinator

Andrea Jachino

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!

Molly Klein, MS, CCC-SLP

Molly Klein

Molly is a licensed speech-language pathologist passionate about developing strong relationships with children and their families to support them in achieving their individualized goals. Molly is originally from Michigan, where she graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She moved to Chicago to pursue her master’s degree in Speech, Language, and Learning from Northwestern University. Molly completed her graduate school clinical work in a variety of settings, including at a children’s hospital working with children with a history of cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial anomalies, Chicago Public Schools, and the Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning. Molly completed her Clinical Fellowship at a multidisciplinary pediatric clinic where she grew to love a holistic and interdisciplinary model of treatment.

Molly is thrilled to join the PlayWorks Therapy team! She looks forward to working alongside occupational therapists, social workers, developmental therapists, physical therapists, and families to foster holistic treatment for each individual child. Her specific clinical interests include autism spectrum disorders, early childhood language development, articulation disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, and cleft lip/palate-related speech disorders.

In her free time, Molly loves exploring Chicago restaurants with friends, attending concerts and shows, watching TV, cooking, and visiting family back home in Detroit. She can’t wait to learn and grow alongside everyone at PlayWorks!

Karen Skylar, MS, CF-SLP

Karen Skylar

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, CF-SLP

Casey Werman

Casey is ecstatic to join PlayWorks Therapy Inc. for her clinical fellowship! She is passionate about building strong relationships with her clients and their families and collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to support her clients' growth. Casey looks forward to working, learning, and growing as a clinician alongside the talented multidisciplinary team at PlayWorks Therapy!
Casey is originally from the suburbs of Chicago, and 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. During her graduate program, Casey gained extensive clinical experience in a variety of pediatric settings; including a public elementary school, multidisciplinary pediatric clinic and therapeutic preschool, and the Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning. Her clinical interests include pragmatics, early childhood language development, articulation disorders, AAC, and autism spectrum disorders.

In her free time, Casey enjoys walking along the lakefront path, exploring new restaurants in Chicago, baking, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Michigan Wolverines!

Megan Ward MS CF-SLP

Megan Ward

Megan is excited to be completing her Clinical Fellowship at PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. She previously completed a graduate level externship with PlayWorks Therapy, Inc. and is thrilled to return and continue learning and collaborating with the incredible multidisciplinary team!

Megan grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Saint Louis University, and completed her Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning at Northwestern University.

During her graduate program, Megan gained extensive experience working with children with a variety of needs including expressive and receptive language disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, motor planning disorders, AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), autism spectrum disorder, and fluency. Megan is passionate about providing individualized, family-centered services to all of the children and families she works with!

In her free time, Megan enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, being active outside, and exploring new places in the city!