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Welcome

Our company, Reach for the Stars, LLC, is a private practice predominantly serving the pediatric population under the direction of Lisa Jiannetto-Surrusco, MA, CCC-SLP.  The Staten Island location, formerly known as Speech and Language Therapy Associates of Staten Island, has served the Staten Island community since 2002.  Expansion into New Jersey occurred in 2012. Our clinical team is compromised of highly qualified NYS/NJS licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologists with diverse training and clinical backgrounds in a variety of sub-specialty areas. This includes childhood articulation and language disorders, motor-speech disorders, voice and resonance disorders, fluency disorders and complex feeding disorders.  We work collaboratively with many of the best clinics and practices within the NYC Metropolitan area. We pride ourselves on repeat referrals from some of the finest institutions throughout the city for post-surgical treatment for cleft palate repair, velo-pharyngeal insufficiency, and laryngeal pathology.  We are also among the few practices to treat adult voice and resonance disorders (at our Staten Island office only).

 

Our therapists also possess training in some of the most sought after therapeutic approaches. This includes PROMPT to treat apraxia of speech, Orton-Gillingham and Wilson for literacy disorders, and SOS Feeding Approach to treating feeding disorders. In 2011, we launched the Find the Fun in Feeding Program to treat complex feeding disorders through the use of a systematic 12-week program. We offer our very own clinician-designed session activities customized to meet the individual needs of children needing a multi-sensory approach to treatment.  Some of our therapists are also trained in techniques such as ABA and Verbal Behavior. Please note that not all providers are specialized in all areas, so when you contact us feel free to discuss your unique needs with our office. 

 

Our Clinical Staff: 

  • Lisa Jiannetto, MA, CCC-SLP, Feeding Specialist, Director

  • Sharon Eger, MS, CCC-SLP

  • Chelsae Dell Elba, MS, CCC-SLP, Feeding Specialist

  • Emily Peluso, MA, CCC-SLP

  • Megan Papandrea, MA, CCC-SLP, Clinical Lead

  • Johanna Chacon, MA, CCC-SLP

  • Isabelle Filiciello, MS, CCC-SLP

  • Shannon Smith, MA, CF-SLP

  • Cristina de Oliveira MA, CF-SLP

  • Anjali Modi, MS, CCC-SLP

  • Casey Bevacqua, MA, CCC-SLP

  • Amna Ismail, MA, CCC-SLP

  • Carly Weshner, MS, CF-SLP

  • Lauren Dignazio, MS, CCC-SLP

  • Noreen Ponik, MS CCC-SLP

    Office Manager/Case Manager: Toni Marie Edwards
    Office AssistantsKatie Weber/Kaitlyn Mercorelli

 

Consultative Associate:

  • The Perfect Playground  (Staten Island location, for NYCDOE CPSE and CSE assignment)

School Children
Our Mission

We believe in providing the highest quality services possible, in a safe and nurturing environment, where each and every client is granted the opportunity to achieve his or her own personal best, no matter how difficult the challenge, thus ensuring a bright and successful future.

Lisa Jiannetto, MA, CCC-SLP, Director

Upon earning a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from New York University, Lisa Jiannetto-Surrusco, MA, CCC-SLP, began her career in 1999 working in NYC in a variety of pediatric settings.  This included working as a home-based early intervention therapist, while also providing services for the NYC Department of Education within numerous elementary and middle schools.  In 2002, she decided to fulfill her life-long dream of opening a private practice. She began as a sole practitioner, opening Speech and Language Therapy Associates of Staten Island.  In response to the overwhelming high success rates of her clients and the outstanding reviews of satisfied parents, her practice grew.  In order to keep up with the need, she eventually began hiring other highly qualified speech-language pathologists who shared her same vision.  That vision of excellence and professionalism is the foundation on which the practice was built and the reason why it continues to thrive. In 2012, she decided to open Reach for the Stars in Downtown Cranford, NJ, since it is the town she calls home.  Both offices now operate under the name Reach for the Stars, LLC. 

 

Throughout her years of practice, Lisa (also affectionately known as "Miss Lisa" by her young clients) has gained the respect of many of her professional colleagues.  In addition to the steady flow of referrals to her practice, she is regularly invited to speak at numerous professional workshops and graduate school seminars as a guest lecturer.  She has also written a variety of local professional workshops throughout the NYC/NJ area pertaining to the treatment of complex feeding disorders in children and the delivery of high-quality clinical services within the school setting.  She is also contracted throughout the City of New York to evaluate and devise treatment plans to assist with the management of feeding disorders during the school day for students throughout the five boroughs. She is thrilled to be an off-campus clinical supervisor for several top graduate programs in the area.  

Lisa is overwhelmed with gratitude to both the Staten Island and Central NJ communities for embracing her practice.  She is grateful to have the opportunity to assist all of the families that both practices serve. Her greatest satisfaction and joy are watching children grow, advance, and overcome.  

 

 

Sharon Eger, MS, CCC-SLP

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Sharon Eger, MS, CCC-SLP, is from Staten Island, New York, and practices in our Staten Island location.  She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at St. John’s University, where she minored in Audiology. In 2010, she graduated from New York University, receiving a Master of Science degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Sharon has her New York State licensure in Speech Language Pathology and earned her Professional Certificate as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD).  She also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).  
 

During her studies, Sharon had the opportunity to work with both children and adults in a variety of settings throughout New York City, including pediatric and adult rehabilitation centers, pre-school and school-based settings, as well as the NYU speech and hearing clinic.
 

Sharon has been a practicing SLP for 10 years.  She splits her time between a 12-month school setting and Reach for the Stars, specializing in the treatment and evaluation of children with receptive/ expressive language impairments, articulation/ phonology disorders, developmental delays, fluency disorders, and emotional disturbances.  She also has experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses including, but not limited to: learning difficulties, ASD, ADHD, ODD, CAPD, sensory processing delays, and subsequent feeding difficulties.
 

Sharon finds importance in taking a strength-based approach when treating clients. She is excited to be a part of the Reach for the Stars team, where she feels privileged to help all children grow and achieve success!

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Chelsae Dell Elba, MS,  CCC-SLP

Chelsae Dell Elba, MS, CCC-SLP, is a graduate of Seton Hall University and earned and Master of Science Degree in Communication Disorders. She is both NYS and NJS licensed, and is ASHA certified.


Chelsae's experiences include inpatient and outpatient pediatric speech-language-feeding services. She also has experience in the school setting working with multiple handicapped and medically fragile populations. She has a special interest in working with youngsters impacted by complex feeding difficulties.  Working with children has always been her passion. To her, children are "a constant reminder of how to enjoy the simple things in life". Hearing a child "find his or her voice and watching a child with eating difficulties thrive", "means the world" to her. Chelsae considers herself lucky to have a career that she loves.


Additional training includes PROMPT and SOS Approach to Feeding.​

Emily Peluso, MA, CCC-SLP

Emily Peluso, MA, CCC-SLP, is a NJS and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She is a graduate of Towson University with a degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She continued onward to pursue a Master of Communication Disorders and Deafness from Kean University.  She has experiences in both early intervention and school settings. She is PROMPT trained and proficient in PECS.  Emily has a true passion to facilitate communication skills in all individuals.  She loves working with children and showing them that communication is powerful. She live in Cranford with her husband and she is so is happy to serve her hometown community! She is so excited to be part of the Reach for the Stars team.

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Megan Papandrea, MA, CCC-SLP

Megan Papandrea M.A., CCC-SLP is an ASHA certified NJS speech-language pathologist.   She is a graduate of Kean University - School of Communication Disorder and Deafness with a Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology.   In addition to working at Reach for the Stars, Megan also works as a SLP in Woodbridge Township School District, where she won Support Staff Educator of the Year in 2019.  Megan has nearly five years of experience delivering services in a public school, through home-based early intervention, and in a private practice setting.  She is PROMPT trained.  Megan has experience of working with children with a variety of disorders and classifications, but has a special interest in working with children with language-literacy disorders. She is passionate about speech-language pathology, and believes in forming a genuine relationship with each of her clients and their families. She is currently accepting new clients and is excited at the possibility of meeting your little one soon!

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Johanna Chacon, MA, CCC-SLP

Johanna Chacon, MA, CCC-SLP is a New Jersey State licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist, with nearly 5 years of clinical experience. Johanna graduated from Kean University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, and her Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

 

Johanna has clinical experience working in a variety of pediatric settings including home-based early intervention, public schools ranging from preschool aged to high school aged, and private practice. She has worked with diverse populations and treated children with a wide range of communication difficulties, including: articulation/phonological disorders, fluency disorders, receptive and expressive language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and social communication disorders. Johanna is a big proponent of using a play-based therapeutic approach in order to enhance and facilitate speech and language development in a fun and engaging environment. Johanna feels lucky to be in a field she loves and is thrilled to be part of the Reach for the Stars clinical team!

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Isabelle Filiciello, MS,  CCC-SLP 

Isabelle Filiciello, MS, CCC-SLP, is a New Jersey State licensed and ASHA certified Speech Language Pathologist. She received her undergraduate degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Loyola University Maryland and her Master of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Seton Hall University. She is a PROMPT trained therapist and received certification in Augmentative and Alternative Communication through Stockton University. As an experienced public school provider she treats a diverse population of students with fluency/articulation impairments, communication impairment, auditory processing deficits, social communication disorders, and receptive and expressive language deficits. In addition, she works closely with school team members and families to provide training and support regarding language and communication needs. Her passion for dance is exhibited through the Dragonfly Program at the Westfield Area YMCA where she is employed as a dance instructor for adults with special needs. Through this experience, she has found a passion for facilitating language through movement and play-based therapy which creates an engaging language-based environment that helps her friends find their voice. She hopes to facilitate similar programs for her pediatric patients at the practice, and is so excited to be a part of the Reach for the Stars team!  

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Shannon Smith,  MA, CCC-SLP

Shannon Smith has earned her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Kean University and her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Montclair State University.

Shannon has gained clinical experience working with both pediatric and adult populations across various settings including university-based clinics, public schools, outpatient hospitals, and private practice settings. She has evaluated and treated a variety of disorders including articulation, expressive/receptive language, fluency, pragmatics, aphasia, auditory processing disorder, and apraxia. Shannon also has experience working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder utilizing high and low-tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. She has collaborated with occupational therapists, physical therapists, classroom teachers, and parents in order to help maximize student learning and patient progress. Her clinical practice revolves around evidence-based practice and individual-centered therapy to ensure optimal care for her clients.
 

Currently, Shannon holds her Speech-Language Specialist certification from the New Jersey Department of Education and is completing her Clinical Fellowship with Reach for the Stars. Shannon feels that it is vital for speech therapy to be a personal and engaging experience that puts the "fun" in functional. She is excited to embark on her career in speech-language pathology at Reach for the Stars  💜

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Cristina de Oliveira MA, CCC-SLP

Cristina de Oliveira earned her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Kean University’s Nathan Weiss Graduate School. Her undergraduate studies were in Psychology and Spanish, wherein she had the opportunity to take part in research learning more about the psychology of language itself. Cristina is bilingual, and able to speak proficiently in Spanish and at the conversational level in Portuguese (Brazilian). 

 

Cristina’s clinical experience focused on the evaluation and treatment of both pediatric and adult clients in a university-based clinic, a private practice, and in an autism program in the public school setting. She has experience treating children with a range of diagnoses such as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), language disorders, articulation/phonological disorders, and fluency disorders. 

 

Her passion is empowering children to become better communicators in their day to day life. She finds joy in forming a bond with her clients. Her goal is to create a safe and fun therapeutic environment that her clients enjoy returning to week after week. 

 

When she is not working, Cristina enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family. 💜

Anjali Modi, MS, CCC-SLP

Anjali Modi, M.S. CCC-SLP is a NJS and ASHA certified speech-language pathologist who has eight years of experience working with school-age children. Over the years of working in a public school setting, Anjali intrinsically understands that not every child learns the same way, and she strives to incorporate student-specific interests as well as his or her unique learning styles within her therapy sessions, As a result, Anjali has seen her students grow tremendously in their language skills in a relatively short time period. However, to Anjali, there is no greater joy than seeing her students gain confidence in their own abilities to be listeners, speakers, readers, writers, and communicators. Although Anjali has experience with working with a wide variety of speech,language, and communication disorders, Anjali enjoys working on improving social-pragmatic awareness, narrative language skills, and bridging oral language to literacy. 💜

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Casey Bevacqua, MA, CCC-SLP

Casey Bevacqua, M.A., CCC-SLP is a NJ state-licensed and ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist who is passionate about working with children and young adults of all ages. She graduated from Stockton University with a B.S. in Health Science, concentrating in Communication Disorders and minoring in Childhood Studies and Writing. She received her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Kean University. Her clinical experiences there included supervised experience in a public school and an inpatient/outpatient hospital setting.


Since then, her focus has been serving children and young adults in a variety of settings including but not limited to her full-time service in the schools at all grade levels and her patients at Reach for the Stars since 2021. She has evaluated and treated individuals with a variety of communication needs including or secondary to receptive/expressive language disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, social-pragmatic disorders, articulation/phonology, apraxia, hearing impairment, fluency disorders, and other motor-speech difficulties.


Casey is most passionate about meeting all patients and their families exactly where they are considering all strengths and needs. Her treatment experience and ongoing education has included training in a variety of techniques and approaches including but not limited to PROMPT, PECS, and Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) modalities. Casey is so proud to be a part of the incredible Reach for the Stars clinical team! 💜

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Amna Ismail, MA, CCC-SLP

Amna Ismail, MA, CCC-SLP, earned her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Kean University’s Nathan Weiss Graduate School. Her undergraduate studies were in Communication Deafness Disorders with a minor in Psychology. Amna is bilingual and able to communicate at a conversation level in Urdu/Hindi. In addition to working at Reach for the Stars, Amna is a full-time school-based speech-language pathologist.

 

Amna’s clinical experience focused on the evaluation and treatment of both pediatric and adult clients in a university-based clinic and hospital setting. She has experience treating children with a range of diagnoses such as articulation/phonological disorders, language disorders, fluency disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. She has a special interest in early childhood development and feeding therapy. Amna is proud to be an SLP and is committed to lifelong learning ensuring she utilizes evidence-based practice when working with your little ones.

 

When she is not working, Amna enjoys reading mystery novels, working out, and spending time with her family. 💜

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Carly Weshner, MS, CF-SLP

Carly Weshner, MS, CF-SLP, practices in our Cranford location.  She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in General and Special Education from Seton Hall University, with a concentration in Speech Language Pathology. In 2023, she graduated with a Master of Science from Seton Hall University, in Speech Language Pathology. Carly obtains New Jersey and New York State licensure in Speech Language Pathology and earned her Professional Certificate as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD).


During her studies, she provided speech and language services across the lifespan in a variety of settings. Her clinical experience included working in an elementary and specialized school, hospital, and private practice setting. Carly enjoyed each settings' unique clientele, however, after years of working with children, this population has always remained special to her. Her goal is to advocate for her clients while increasing their ability to self-advocate and looks forward to engaging with their family members in order to provide the highest level of care and support while working at RFTS! 💜

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Lauren Dignazio, MS, CCC-SLP

Lauren Dignazio, MS, CCC-SLP is a NJS and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She graduated from Monmouth University with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, minor in communication sciences and disorders in May 2020. Lauren continued her education at Monmouth University, graduating with her Master’s in Speech Language Pathology in May of 2022. In June of 2021, Lauren was a published researcher in the perspective journal of ASHA discussing the importance of utilizing sources such as podcasts as a means of support for individuals who stutter (“Stuttering related podcasts: Audio-based Self-Help for People Who Stutter”). 


Lauren has experience working with individuals across the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatric patients. She currently splits her time working full time at a subacute rehabilitation center, per-diem at a community hospital working with geriatric patients specializing in dysphagia, cognitive communication/ speech-language disorders as well as Reach for the Stars specializing an array of communication disorders with pediatrics targeting: expressive/receptive language, fluency disorders, articulation, and auditory processing. Lauren prioritizes building relationships with not only her patients, but their families. Lauren is excited to be a part of the Reach for the Stars clinical team. 💜

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Noreen Ponik, MS CCC-SLP

Noreen Ponik, MS CCC-SLP, earned her Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology from Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Science.  She holds New Jersey State licensure, Speech Language Specialist certification from the New Jersey Department of Education, and a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).  Noreen is PROMPT trained and has over 14 years of experience in the evaluation and treatment of communication disorders in the public and non-public school setting working with diverse populations alongside child study teams and families.  She has experience with a wide range of diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorders, phonological/articulation disorders, developmental delays, childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), receptive and expressive language disorders, fluency disorders, and social pragmatic disorders amongst others.  Noreen utilizes a variety of individualized therapeutic evidence-based interventions which include play-based and child-led therapy in addition to literacy-based approaches.  She believes in teaming with parents to facilitate and strengthen communication strategies.  When Noreen is not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.  She is very excited to be part of the Reach for the Stars team! 💜

Toni Marie Edwards, Office Manager/Case Manager

Toni Edwards has been a part of the Reach for the Stars team since the inception of the practice here in Cranford.  She began her career in medical billing and office administration working at Speech and Language Therapy Associates, the original practice in Staten Island.  She feels grateful to get to know the parents so well, checking on their benefits, assisting with the preauthorization process, and scheduling. As a parent of three boys herself, she relates especially well to parents easing their concerns as they get through the initial process.  She is so happy to be part of the Reach for the Stars "family" as she calls it!💜

Katie Weber, Office Assistant

Kaitlyn Weber is an enthusiastic, aspiring speech language-pathologist. Kaitlyn graduated from Montclair State University with a bachelor's degree in Family Science and Human Development with a focus in Child Advocacy. Post graduation, Kaitlyn has completed the Speech-Language Pathology Pre-Professional Program at Kean University.   Kaitlyn has experience with children of varying ages and abilities in school, camp, and home settings. She is thrilled to be a part of the Reach for the Stars team/office staff. 💜

Kaitlyn Mercorelli, Office Assistant

Kait is an aspiring SLP studying Speech Pathology with a minor in Psychology at Kean University. Kait has experience with children at specialized camps and in the home setting. She is thrilled to be apart of the Reach For The Stars team. 💜

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