Sonia Culver, M.A., CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist | North Liberty
My passion is to change kids’ lives by helping them to achieve effective communication skills and academic success. I find true joy is seeing a parent’s reaction when his/her child succeeds in a task or goal for which they had been hoping for so long.
As a child, I struggled more than my peers in school. My academic performance was average but I had to study much harder than most my age in order to get the grades I did. I came to realize later in life that I struggled so much in school because I was not creating a visual representation in my head of what I was reading, listening to and learning.
I can identify with the frustrations and sadness that your child may be experiencing. I use my childhood struggles to set an example and empower students to feel successful. I often tell my clients about my struggles and how I worked through them and ended up graduating from one of the top speech-language pathology programs in the nation. I teach them to not only visualize information for learning purposes but to visualize themselves succeeding in whatever goals they set. I love watching a child walk out of my office with their head held high and proud of their accomplishments.
Speech development is another area that fascinates me. Going above and beyond to acquire the training of innovative techniques to help children to acquire sounds and words is why the Enrichment Programs are so successful. I am devoted to furthering training in the newest research-proven strategies and techniques. However, a successful therapist has to know more than just the techniques. I am able to “read” kids and identify that fine line between encouraging them to try sounds or language skills that they have never done and pushing too hard causing increased frustrations and feelings of failure. I love to discover a child’s motivation and empower him/her to be persistent in their efforts so we can all celebrate their success.
Haley Hall, B.A. | Learning Specialist | Des Moines
I have always wanted to be a teacher and remember many days throughout my childhood that I would spend playing school in my basement. I later realized that my passion for teaching and my inspirations lie in an environment where students thrive and experience amazing success. That is why I love being a learning specialist and lead teacher in the Des Moines LEAP program.
My number one inspiration is the students with which I work. Each unique personality and set of strengths inspire me to do everything I can to help them reach their full potential. I am also motivated by the successes each day holds; for example, a reading group moving up to the next level, or a student solving a high level math word problem on their own. The LEAP classroom is designed so that we see these celebrations all of the time and it is so rewarding.
My goal is to facilitate an environment that allows children to feel comfortable with trying difficult tasks and knowing that they will get nothing but praise for trying. Before they know it, they are finding themselves succeeding in the areas they once found frustrating and overwhelming. Walking out of the classroom at the end of the day knowing I have made a difference in the life of a child is why I am so passionate about teaching!
Megan Van Laar, M.A., CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist | North Liberty
For as long as I can remember, I have gravitated toward spending time with children and helping others. Becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist brought these two passions together and I feel blessed to be able to do what I love every day.
Pediatric feeding and swallowing therapy is one of my passions. Growing up, I was a picky eater, which helps me to relate to my clients who struggle to enjoy food. I find great joy in working with infants and children and discovering their unique relationship with food and then helping them learn to try new things. Mealtimes are such an important part of a family’s relationship. Often they can be a stressful and discouraging time if a child struggles with eating. I love that I can contribute to transforming mealtimes into a fun and happy experience for the whole family.
It excites me that my profession truly makes a difference in children’s lives. Communication and the ability to read are skills that are so important for daily life. I enjoy knowing that my help in these areas will impact a child’s ability to succeed in all aspects of their future.
At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center, I genuinely enjoy the opportunity to form real relationships with my clients and their families. Getting to spend quality time with each child and sharing their progress with their families every time I see them is priceless to me. A parent knows their child the best and is his/her greatest advocate. By collaborating with them, we become a team that establishes the most effective therapy for their child and, therefore, promotes success.
Megan Hughes, M.A., CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist | North Liberty
I have always had a knack for working and connecting with children. Knowing that I was passionate about building a career in a pediatric setting, I was immediately drawn to the field of speech-language pathology. This field has proven to be full of challenges and opportunities, making it the perfect fit for me.
I continually am fascinated by the individual skills and successes of each child I work with. No two children, despite having the same “diagnosis” are ever the same, making this profession exciting and rewarding. My strength lies in the ability to determine what motivates each child and figure out how to use that motivation to change behaviors and promote success.
Watching a child meet a goal and continue to progress over time is truly the most fulfilling part of this job. Knowing that my interventions are helping a child communicate and that those skills will be utilized their entire life is the reason I am so passionate about being a speech-language pathologist.
Elizabeth Drewelow, B.A., M. Ed. | Learning Specialist | North Liberty
My name is Elizabeth Drewelow and I am the Learning Specialist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. It is so great to be a part of the ETLC team! I am the lead teacher for the Coralville LEAP program. Prior to this, I was a special education teacher in the public schools for 5 years. It has been my pleasure to work with children and adolescents throughout my career!
When deciding upon my career path, my greatest desire was to pursue work that would better the lives of others. After working at a camp for those with special needs, I realized that becoming a Special Education teacher would allow me to serve a variety of children. Since graduating, I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach students at the preschool, elementary and middle school levels. I recently obtained my Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language so that I may have the potential to serve children of different cultures and backgrounds, as well.
Joining the ETLC team has been an amazing opportunity! I am so fortunate to team with my fellow staff members in delivering the highest quality services possible. Together, we engage in professional education and research in order to create unique programming that keeps the interests of all children at the heart of our work!
Sara Westemeyer | Office Manager | North Liberty
I come to Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center with a background in Medical Insurance, Law and Management. As a parent, I have witnessed firsthand the life changing impact that speech therapy can have on a child.
My husband, Bruce and I have two sons. Ryan, a University of Iowa graduate who works in Des Moines. Ross, a junior at UNI majoring in Communication Disorders. Ross has known from a young age he wanted to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. He was very delayed in speech as a young child and had several years of speech therapy. He faced many frustrations from his inability to communicate effectively. I am thankful for the opportunity to help Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center provide services that have such a positive impact on the lives of others. It is a pleasure to work with a team of dedicated and passionate professionals.
Jaimi Bird, M.A. CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist | Des Moines
Speech language pathology has been a perfect career fit for me. I have always loved working with children and helping others, being an SLP allows me to do both. There is no better feeling than seeing the moment a child succeeds in an area in which they have struggled. Partnering with families to facilitate that success is priceless.
It is very rewarding to see a child’s language and literacy skills grow. I truly enjoy all aspects of pediatric speech language pathology. From building a foundation for communication with toddlers, to helping school-aged children achieve academic success as their speech and language skills improve — it is all gratifying. Each goal met, no matter how big or small, can make such a difference in a child’s and family’s life.
Connecting with kids and seeing the potential in all children is one of my strengths. I believe that all children can, and will, be successful if given the tools to achieve. Speech-language therapy that gives each individual an opportunity to reach milestones in a positive environment that instills confidence is so important. I am proud to be part of such an environment at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.
Tessa Lancaster, M.A. CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist | North Liberty
Working with children of all ages, each possessing their own unique strengths, is particularly exciting. It is wonderful to see each child achieve new skills, knowing that those skills will lead to academic, social, and vocational success. Whether improving articulation and phonology, increasing expression of wants and needs, or aiding in social language development, I experience great joy knowing that my clients have gained functional abilities through speech and language therapy.
Beyond each therapy session, clinician-family collaboration is key to children’s growth and progress. I am so grateful to be a part of Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center, where clinicians and parents partner to ensure that each child meets his or her potential!
Jamie Seibert| Learning Specialist and Administrative Assistant| Des Moines
I have always enjoyed working with children and teaching them important skills. I love motivating them, challenging them and seeing the benefits of the hard work. I focus on helping the child believe in themselves and improve their self confidence. From the first experience of working with a four-year-old child with autism, helping that child develop fundamental skills ignited my passion and became the foundation for my career choice.
At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center, I am doing what I love. It also parallels my career avenue of becoming a successful speech-language pathologist. I graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and a certificate in Disability Studies. I am encouraged to have this opportunity to implement a language enriched curriculum that is designed to meet each child’s specific needs. I am empowered by working alongside other professionals who have the passion and drive that I have to make a significant difference in many children and their families’ lives.
Kristin Ebeling | Relations Coordinator | North Liberty
My dream job has always involved helping people. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, no matter how many times my answer changed, my reasoning would always be because I could help someone. After receiving a degree in Communication: Public Relations, I was ready to pursue my desire to help people.
At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center I am able to help build relationships with families and help inform and connect them to the services the office provides. Being able to witness the differences that are made in the student’s lives is extremely rewarding. I feel very blessed to be able to work with such a hard working, compassionate and dedicated group of professionals.
Sarah Sitzmann, M.A. CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist | Des Moines
I love the art of communicating as it is one of, if not, the most important skills a person possess. Growing up I was the youngest in a large family and I often struggled communicating within my family. I would allow my siblings to speak for me and it took me a long time before I was able to articulate my wants and needs. After discovering my communication skills I have become incredibly talkative, realizing that the ability to effectively communicate impacts many aspects of everyday life. I am privileged knowing that as a pediatric speech-language pathologist my job is to help children discover the tools they need to communicate successfully. Knowing that I helped make an impactful difference in a child’s life leaves me with an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment.
Speech-language therapy is unique because progress made in therapy can be seen in different aspects of a child’s life. Progress in speech-language therapy often leads to success in academics, social skills, and other everyday activities. I am grateful that my job allows me to help each child make a functional difference, whether it is in improving an articulation error, facilitating a social language discovery, or aiding in literacy development.
My passion for children, combined with my love of my work as an SLP has led me to Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. This is a place where I can form lasting relationships with my clients and their families, as well as work alongside like-minded genuine individuals dedicated to finding success for every child. I am elated to be a part of this hard-working team!
Stacy Taylor, M.S.E | Administrative Assistant | Des Moines
For over 30 years I have been involved in the field of education. I have always enjoyed working in an environment that helps people grow and succeed. I was a third grade and junior high teacher and after receiving my Masters degree in Adult Education worked developing and facilitating training programs for corporate and government clients.
I now have two grandchildren, Caitlin and Rachel, and was ready to spend more time being their grandma! I am so pleased to now be assisting the Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center team as their part-time office assistant. They are truly dedicated to their clients and create such a positive and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. In addition to assisting the team, I love getting to know the children and their families. Watching the children advance their skills is very rewarding.