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Our Team

Tara L. Koker-Noia | PROMPT Therapist & Instructor

Tara attended Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois where she obtained an Associates of Arts degree in 1993. Tara then enrolled in the Communication Disorders and Sciences program at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. From there she obtained her bachelors degree in 1995 and her masters in 1997. Tara was awarded a Certificate of Clinical Competence in May of 1998. Since graduation, Tara aggressively continues her pursuit of knowledge and cutting edge, holistic techniques through seminars, workshops, and in-services. Tara belongs to ASHA (American Speech-Language and Hearing Association) and OSLHA (Ohio Speech-Language Hearing Association) and is a member of Special Interest Division 13 for Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and Special Interest Division 2 for Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders through ASHA. Tara has also received 2 prestigious, coveted ACE (Award for Continuing Education) awards from ASHA which recognizes those who far exceed the requirements for continued education.

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Professional Activities

  • 5/19-20/2018 | Oral Function: Assessment and Comprehensive Care for the Pre-Crawling Infant
  • 06/08/2017 | Tobii Dynavox Discovery Lab: Learn. Do. Apply
  • 04/20/2017 | Neuroplasticity for Children-Advanced Techniques
  • 10/28/2016 | TOTS: Tethered Oral Tissues Specialty Training
  • 08/12/2016 | Animal-Assisted Interventions
  • 12/31/2015 | Orofacial Myology/Tongue Thrust
  • 08/20/2015 | Neuroplasticity in Pediatrics
  • 07/16/2015 | Dynamic Brain-Based Interventions (The Body-Brain Connection)
  • 03/21/2015 | Pediatric Swallowing & Feeding: Simple to Complex, Let’s Figure it Out
  • 12/31/2014 | Oral Mechanism/Cranial Nerve Examination: What Every SLP Needs to Know
  • 10/29/2014 | Unlocking the Mystery of Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety
  • 03/09/2014 | Prompt Annual Instructor Training
  • 09/30/2013 | Ethics, Evidence and Clinical Decision Making
  • 09/30/2013 | Professional Ethics in a Changing Professional Landscape
  • 09/30/2013 | Introduction to Ethical Decision Making in Speech-Language Pathology
  • 09/30/2013 | Ethics and Boundaries in Healthcare
  • 09/30/2013 | A Decision-Making Model to Address Ethics in the Workplace
  • 02/28/13, 03/1-3/13 | PROMPT Instructor Camp
  • 10/20-26/12 | PROMPT Instructor Training and Certification
  • “Processing” Disorders: Multi-disciplinary Assessment and Treatment February 13, 2010
  • Sensory Aspects and NDT Treatment for Feeding Disorders November 7, 2008
  • Pediatric Dysphagia Series: Practice Patterns in the Evaluation and Management of Pediatric Dysphagia September 26 & 27, 2008
  • Literacy, AAC and Assistive Technology September 22, 2008
  • PROMPT certification awarded January, 2007
  • PROMPT certification project January-November, 2006
  • Pediatric Dysphagia—Management of the Whole Child, October 19, 2005
  • Advanced Pediatric Dysphagia-Interactive Forum, July 17, 2005
  • The Third Patient Education Conference for Eosinophilic Disorders July 16, 2005
  • Inservice: Kinesio Taping, April 2005
  • Pediatric Dysphagia Series: An Interdisciplinary Approach, October 8 & 9, 2004
  • Practical Procedures to Generate Speech Development, March 25-26, 2004
  • Developing Oral-Motor and Feeding Skills in Young Children with Down Syndrome, March 19, 2004
  • PROMPT: Bridging to Technique, March 12-14, 2004
  • Beckman Assessment and Intervention, July 18-19, 2003
  • PROMPT Level 1: Assessment and Technique-audit, June 11-13, 2003
  • Pediatric Dysphagia: Evaluation and Treatment Protocols, June 1-2, 2002
  • PLAY Training Module for Autistic Children in-service, June, 2002
  • Sensory Integration: Diagnosis, Evaluation and Treatment, in-service, May, 2002
  • Swallowing, the Mouth, and More, by St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, April 3-4, 2002
  • Voice: Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment Procedures in-service, March, 2002
  • Fluency: Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment Procedures in-service, February, 2002
  • ASHA Award for Continuing Education (ACE), May 1, 2001
  • Why Won’t a Child Eat? Beyond the Mouth, by St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, April 4-5, 2001
  • Advances in Feeding, Swallowing, and Growth: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment,
    October 27-28, 2000 by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • PROMPT Level I: Assessment and Technique, April 13-15, 2000
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), March 24-25, 2000
  • Advance Topics in Assessment and Treatment of Dysphagia in Infants and Toddlers,
    February 27, 2000
  • Wolf Training and Programming in-service, November, 1999
  • DynaVox/Dynamite Programming and Use Training, July, 1999
  • Practical Applications of Sensory Integration Principles, June 4-5, 1999
  • AAC in the Big Apple: Engineering Training Environments for Adolescents and Adults, May 1999
  • Attended ISHA Conference 1996
  • Attended ASHA Conference 1995

Instructed PROMPT Courses for Therapists

  • 06/6-8/13 | Introduction to PROMPT: Technique Workshop
  • 05/11-13/13 | Introduction to PROMPT: Technique Workshop

Professional Presentations to Organizations & Clients

  • 03/9/13 and 4/13/13 | PROMPT Parent Course/Training
  • 03/31/12 and 04/28/12 | PROMPT Parent Course/Training
  • 11/02/12 | Apraxia Support Group PROMPT Presentation
  • Assistant to Instructor for Introduction to PROMPT course, November 16-18, 2009
  • Uncovering/Discovering Hidden Foods Allergies August, 2009
  • PROMPT Parent Course July, 2009 PROMPT Parent Course May, 2009
  • Assistant to Instructor for Introduction to PROMPT course, September 18, 2008
  • Poster Session Walk Now for Autism Kick off Brunch, March 2008
  • PROMPT Parent Course October, 2008
  • PROMPT Parent Course May, 2008
  • PROMPT Parent Course September, 2007
  • Infant-Toddler Feeding Issues/ Techniques — DSAGC Parent Group, July 2007
  • PROMPT Parent Course May, 2007
  • Cincinnati Apraxia Parent Group: General info to PROMPT, April 2007
  • PROMPT Parent Course March, 2007
  • PROMPT Parent Course January, 2007
  • Second instructor for Introduction to PROMPT course, April 20-22, 2006
  • Guest Lecturer on Apraxia — Miami University, April 2006
  • Cincinnati Apraxia Parent Group: General info to PROMPT, March 2006
  • Toddler to school Age/Adult Feeding Techniques — DSAGC Early Matters Parent Group, February 2006
  • PROMPT Overview: Northern Kentucky Apraxia Parent Group, February 2006
  • Feeding, swallowing, oral motor development from birth to 3 years in children with Down Syndrome for DSAGC Early Matters parent group October, 2005
  • Cincinnati Apraxia Parent Group: General info to PROMPT, March 2005
  • Guest Lecturer on Apraxia and PROMPT technique — Miami University, October 2004
  • Infant to Toddler Feeding Techniques — DSAGC Parent Group, January, 2004
  • Introduction to Oral Sensory Motor and Feeding Strategies and Techniques, October, 2003

Administered & Instructed Inservice Trainings

  • St. Rita’s Preschool Apraxia class: Assist with program development April 2007
  • St. Rita’s Sign and Say Apraxia classroom: Assist with program development, Feb. 2007
  • St. Rita’s Sign and Say Apraxia classroom: Assist with program development, Sept 2006
  • St. Rita’s Sign and Say Apraxia classroom: Assist with program development, Oct. 2005
  • PROMPT: Overview of Evaluation and Treatment, Jan, 2002; March, 2002; June, 2002
  • Oral Motor Assessment and Techniques, April, 2002; July, 2002
  • Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing: Diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment, Jan, 2002; Feb, 2002

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Katie Reese | PROMPT Therapist (Level 1)

Katie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Pyschology in 1980 from Oberlin College and her Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Ohio University in 1984. She has held her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Assosciation (ASHA) since January of 1985. She has held licenses to practice speech therapy in California, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio.

Katie has been a member of ASHA since she was a student at Ohio University and is currently also a member of Special Interest Group 12 for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She is a life long learner and regularly participates in continuing education opportunities and is currently in the process of becoming PROMPT certified

Katie has a passion for working with children who are struggling to communicate and their families. She has worked for over twenty years in the area of early intervention, working closely with families to help their young children overcome a variety of speech, language and feeding concerns. Katie has been a certified P.L.A.Y. Project Consultant since August of 2008 and has used this program in working with young children with autism and their families.

Jenn Carroll | PROMPT Therapist
(In Process of Completing Level 2)

Jenn received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Miami University in 2008 and her Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology from The University of Akron in 2010. She has held her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech Pathology from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) since August 2010. She also has her Professional Pupil Service License from the State of Ohio Department of Education. This allows her to see students who attend OHVA as well as facilitate academic state testing. Jenn has received one ACE (Award for Continuing Education) awards from ASHA which recognizes those who far exceed the requirements for continued education and on track to receive a second one.

Jenn has taken the first course in Sonia Story’s Brain and Sensory Foundations through Move Play Thrive (Brain Development through Movement and Play). She has also completed her Introduction to Prompt training and getting ready to complete the next level of PROMPT therapy certification in the fall of 2019.

Jenn has a passion for working with children and their families, helping them feel comfortable in their own skin as well as strive for gains in their own unique communication journey. She also has a passion for social skills-and helping students and their parents find confidence and joy in relationships.

Jenn has been working with S.M.I.L.E.S. since 2014 and loves their approach to treat families with a holistic and team-based approach.

Leah Bistor | Occupational Therapist

Leah received her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Occupational Therapy in 2003 from Xavier University. She is a member of the Ohio Occupational Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association and certified by the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy and has an Ohio Occupational Therapy License. Leah has a passion for learning and growing in her skills as an occupational therapist. She has worked in a variety of settings both Adult and Pediatric including Ohio schools for 5 years. She has attended courses and been trained in a variety of areas including:

  • Primitive Reflexes
  • Brain Gym
  • Astronaut Training Protocol
  • Sensory Integration
  • Mindfulness
  • Neuroscience
  • Assistive Technology
  • Visual Process Training
  • Self-regulation (The Zones of Regulation and The Alert Program)
  • Handwriting without Tears
  • Executive Functioning

Leah is passionate about partnering with families and children to improve independence and overall quality of life. She wants to help each child succeed in areas that are challenging for them and celebrate their strengths. Leah’s background working in a variety of settings and with a variety of trained individuals allows her to pull from an eclectic mix of resources to meet individual needs of each child and remain child-centered. She strives to see increased confidence as each child becomes proud to be able to meet their needs and goals through occupational therapy.

Alison Nurre | Occupational Therapist

Alison attended The Ohio State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Hearing Science in December 2014. She then completed the Master of Occupational Therapy program at Shawnee State University in December 2017. Alison is certified by NBCOT (National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy) and maintains occupational therapy state licensure in Ohio and Kentucky.

Alison continues to expand her clinical knowledge with certification in Astronaut Training: A Sound Activated Vestibular-Visual Protocal, and completion of Mary Massery’s course “If You Can’t Breathe, You Can’t Function” for integrating cardiopulmonary and postural control strategies in the pediatric and adult populations. Alison has prior occupational therapy experience working for a pediatric nonprofit and an adult inpatient rehabilitation hospital. She is passionate about helping children develop maximum independence in daily living skills and enhance motor planning for participation in home, school, and community activities.

Emily McNamara | Education & Intervention Specialist

Emily is a licensed Intervention Specialist who has worked with students from kindergarten through 12th grade in both inclusion and resource settings for the past 7 years. As a graduate from Miami University, she also spent her final year of college working with adults with disabilities, helping them transition to the workforce through the learning of life skills and employment skills.

Emily has her Masters in Educational Leadership and is highly qualified in math and reading. In addition to this, she has been developing her knowledge in behavior to again help students translate appropriate skills to their everyday environment throughout their academic learning time. Her time spent leading a resource classroom for students with Autism, Down Syndrome, and Multiple Disabilities, has given her the training and experience needed to lead a structured setting, as well as positive reinforcement for learned skills.

Emily is excited to work in small group and one-on-one settings with your child. Since public school can oftentimes lead to high classroom numbers, social group and intervention times here at S.M.I.L.E.S. will allow for a more individualized and structured approach to learn appropriate skills. This setting will give your child the opportunity for immediate reinforcement or redirection of learning, increasing the number of skills that can be learned and maintained here at therapy and across other environments.

Paul Noia | Business Manager

Paul understands the frustrations of verbal communication struggles very well as he has been struggling with speech issues since 1998. Paul’s motivation and passion in developing and evolving S.M.I.L.E.S. is driven by his personal challenge with speech and his empathy for children with speech and other deficits.

Paul attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993 in the field of communications. Upon graduating, he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with companies such as Laerdal Medical Corporation and General Binding Corporation, where he cultivated marketing and sales skills within a B2B market as an Account Executive. During this time, he realized his potential of being a successful entrepreneur and in 2001, Paul made the decision to recognize his entrepreneurial spirit and set a plan to realize his dream of business building.

Pursuing his passion for technology, Paul received a dual certification in web and digital design from Sessions College for Professional Design in 2003 and has worked independently as a web designer, developer and internet marketer, providing exceptional services to small and medium sized businesses nationwide. He is constantly broadening his skill-set through on-going education in technology and leadership.

Paul has been working with S.M.I.L.E.S. since 2005 and manages the day to day operations and development of S.M.I.L.E.S.