Stephanie Gonzalez, SLP-A
Anaelys Ferrera joined the FOCUS Family as a receptionist in 2022, and was soon after promoted to authorization coordinator. Born in Cuba and raised in Fort Myers, Ferrera is bilingual in English and Spanish. She enjoys the tropical weather and beaches of Southwest Florida, and loves working in an environment with kids. She admires their endless energy, honesty, creativity, and resilience.
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.
SLP-A, Therapy Coordinator
Kylie Pascarelli is speech-language pathology assistant with a Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders, which she earned from Springfield College in Connecticut in 2017. She joined the FOCUS Speech Therapy team in January 2020, later accepting additional responsibility as the team’s therapy coordinator.
Prior to FOCUS, she worked in a school district with a variety of students (ages 10-21) whose needs couldn’t be met in a typical classroom setting. A native of Durham, Connecticut, she had the opportunity to shadow a speech pathologist at her high school – and from that point on was “hooked.”
“I enjoy working with people in general, and I’ve always loved children,” Pascarelli said. “Being a speech pathologist gives me a chance to do that while helping make a positive impact. I love seeing children have fun while they are learning and growing!”
She was drawn to sunny Southwest Florida to be closer to her parents – and ended up discovering a second “family” in FOCUS.
“Everyone here welcomed me with open arms,” she said. “I have grown so close to my co-workers, and feel so blessed to have made lifelong friends.”
Unearthing the unique interests and strengths of each child is a big part of what makes her work at FOCUS so rewarding. She especially enjoys working with kids who benefit from AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), programming the device and using play-based therapies to help the child learn to use it in ways that open the doors to greater independence.
“As an SLPA, I strive to help my clients become effective communicators,” she says. “Success requires collaboration – not just with the FOCUS team, but parents as well. I also make sure every child is confident and comfortable un each session, because kids make the most strides when they know they’re in a caring environment.”
In her free time, she takes every opportunity to explore Southwest Florida – and hosting friends and family for visits from Connecticut. She especially enjoys the beach, golfing, and playing tennis.
Niki Sabatino is a FOCUS speech-language pathologist assistant who has always known she’d seek a career caring for others.
“I enjoy challenges and change,” Sabatino said. “I have always wanted to be in a career that would make a difference in people’s lives.”
A native of Delaware and Maryland, Niki graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and Disorders. She is continuing her studies as a graduate student. As an undergrad, she volunteered and observed in schools, clinics and hospitals throughout the state.
“I learned a lot about speech therapy and what it takes and means to be a therapist,” she said. “I wanted to become a therapist to inspire, help and motivate others, and to be part of a team. I have the desire to be in this unique environment, to focus on individuals and their therapy and to live in the moments of opportunity.”
Several years ago, a good family friend suffered from a stroke. His recovery was substantially aided by speech therapy.
“His story has been inspiring and influential to me, and has played a role in my passion as a speech therapist.”
Sabatino finds working with children on the autism spectrum to be especially gratifying.
“Being with kids and creating bonds with them is such a wonderful experience,” she said. “I truly love making a difference in children’s life. It’s so rewarding because I am able to make an influential impact.”
In FOCUS, she says she’s found a close-knit, positive team of support and collaboration.
“It is extremely important to understand therapy is a commitment and an opportunity to improve the quality of life for all patients so they can express their needs and wants,” she said of her therapy philosophy. “It takes collaboration, time, compassion, understanding and support to provide the best care for patients and their families.”
In her free time, Niki enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, exercising, camping, four-wheeling, boating and diving into new adventures.
“My family means the world to me, and has greatly influenced and motivated me to become the woman I am today.”
Samantha Glosser – AKA “Sami from Miami” – is a Speech-Language Pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Florida State University, as well as a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of South Florida. She started at FOCUS Therapy in October 2020.
Driven to become a therapist by a strong desire to help others, she found inspiration in her parents’ careers.
“My dad is an orthopedic surgeon, and my mom is a social worker. I used to go to ‘Take Your Kid to Work Day’ with them, and loved that their jobs were all about helping others. I decided I wanted to go into a field where I could help others too.”
She chose speech therapy in particular because she saw the impact it had on her older brother, who as a child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“His symptoms were more severe when he was little,” she explained. “As the years passed, I have been proud to watch him grow and mature with the help of multiple therapy disciplines. The skills he’s been taught have helped him come out of his shell and show his kind, loving personality.”
Prior to starting at FOCUS, she treated pediatric clients with a range of conditions and challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, hearing loss, and cochlear implants. She also spent two years working with adults and geriatric patients at Lee Memorial Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as one year working within the D.C. public school system. She completed her internship at Kid Pro therapy services in Tampa. In addition to being a licensed speech-language pathologist within the State of Florida, Glosser has an ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence, and an Interactive Metronome Therapy Certification and is ASHA National Outcome Measures Certified.
She believes the best kind of speech therapy is that which targets functional needs.
“There are lots of different approaches to use and skills to be taught,” she said. “The best thing you can do is talk to the client and family, determine what communication skills are impacting them the most at home, and focus on those that will improve their overall quality of life.”
Helping kids with early language developmental delays and articulation disorders is something she finds especially rewarding.
“I enjoy working with children in a play-based setting because it allows me to let my inner child out!” she exclaimed. “I get excited on days we are having dance parties, making slime, or engaging in other fun activities you wouldn’t find yourself doing in a hospital or office setting. I absolutely love being able to make a difference in these children’s lives while also having so much fun doing it.”
In large part, that’s what drew her to join FOCUS Therapy.
“I think the family environment at FOCUS is really special,” she said. “The people here make the children feel welcome, offer help at every turn, and create an overall atmosphere fun.”