Lauren Ayala is a speech-language pathologist who’s been on both sides of the table. From the age of 3 until middle school, she herself received speech and language services.
“Each one of my speech therapists throughout the years made such a tremendous impact on my life,” Ayala says. “I knew I wanted to go into that field and impact others the way they impacted me.”
Ayala earned her Master’s of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of South Florida before joining FOCUS Speech Therapy team in 2021. A valued member of our speech teletherapy team, she describes herself as an “eternal student” who revels in learning, researching, and growing in her profession.
“Each area of speech and language pathology is unique, and I have experience with all walks of life,” she says. “Areas that I have specifically grown to love are early intervention, articulation therapy, and school-aged language intervention.”
Her therapy philosophy can be summed up in four words: ALL HANDS ON DECK!
“Success for kids mean we need the whole family is on-board with therapy so that what they’re learning in speech therapy is carried over at home,” she explained. “A good support system is really critical, and I love creating a bond with families, coaching them through the best ways to help their child succeed in all situations in life.”
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with her husband and two pooches.
Rebecca Haber, MS/CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist who has worked at FOCUS Therapy since 2021. A native of New York (Go Bills!), she earned her Master’s of Science & Education in Speech Pathology from Buffalo State in 2020 and the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2021. She has a TSSLD teaching certification.
Previously, she worked in a school setting with students diagnosed with developmental delays and disabilities. Her passion is helping kids build functional communication skills so they can engage with the people and world around them.
“It’s incredible to watch all our little humans grow and all the new skills they have each week!” Rebecca said. “My favorite quote is, ‘Be the reason someone believes in good people.’ Positivity and kindness are so important. If I can make even a small impact on our children and their families, that’s what it’s all about.”
Watching how fast they grow and latch onto key concepts, she says, is an incredible thing to witness. “Plus,” she says, “They are HILARIOUS.”
FOCUS, she says, feels like a family.
“It’s awesome how close everyone here is and how well we all work together,” she explained. “Everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand, collaborate, and give our kids the best therapy possible.”
When she’s not “playing” at FOCUS Therapy, she enjoys spending time cooking with her parents and her puppies.
Krystle is a double-board certified and licensed occupational therapist who has been with the FOCUS team since its founding. A native Canadian, she graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. In 2009, she earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Dually growing up in Canada and Fort Myers gave rise to her lifelong love of travel, discovering new places and appreciation for all cultures and ways of life. Practicing occupational therapy in both countries afforded her unique insight into both healthcare systems and cemented her belief in the efficacy of client-centered therapy. In this approach, the aim is always to first view the world from the client’s perspective. It also taught her the vital importance of flexibility – whether it’s in learning a new skill or coping with the unexpected. Stemming from this is her enthusiasm for using occupational science as a means to help kids learn self-regulation in ever-changing environments.
“I became an occupational therapist because it’s a profession that allows people to be their true selves, their best selves,” Lopez explained. “Occupational therapists work to bridge any gap, demolish any barrier standing between a person and their goals and dreams.”
Krystle, who treats patients both in-clinic and in teletherapy sessions, is trained and certified in Microcurrent Point Stimulation (MPS/ETPS) treatment, Myofascial Release, Therapeutic Listening, Interactive Metronome and the S.O.S. Approach to Feeding. She is also experienced using the Handwriting Without Tears and ALERT programs. A proud member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), her special areas of interest are Sensory Integration Solutions, feeding therapy, aquatic therapy, teletherapy and functional life skills coaching.
Early in her career, she was drawn to working primarily in pediatrics.
“I love working with children because their spirit, creativity and innocence is so fresh and bursting with promise,” Lopez said. “They are so proud of themselves when achieving something on which they’ve been working hard – it just beams from every fiber of their being!”
But perhaps her most favorite part is working with parents, equipping and empowering them to help their child develop, learn, be independent and most importantly, be their happiest selves!
“This is the main reason I’ve really fallen in love with teletherapy,” said Lopez. “It offers this unique chance not only to work with kids in their home environment, but also to be hands-on in guiding parents toward workable solutions and strategies for maximum carryover of key life skills.”
Whenever possible, Krystle strives to combine the movement principles of yoga, dance and sports to maximize functional movement, help kids self-regulate and boost their self-esteem. She believes in constantly seeking innovative ways to tap into each child’s strengths and interests, ensuring therapy stays both meaningful and fun.
Aside from occupational therapy, Krystle loves sunshine, dance instruction, traveling, art, holistic health & wellness, Erick, Ethan and their fur baby. She and her husband, Erick, especially enjoy collaborating on bus conversions, van conversions, RV renovations and other creative projects.