Speech & Language Therapy

The Spero Academy Speech Department employs a multidisciplinary approach that involves:  

  • Collaborating with teachers and paraprofessionals
  • Utilizing the push-in model of service
  • Leading classroom social skills groups
  • Preparing and instructing individualized articulation sessions
  • Supporting language during reading centers
  • Collaborating with Occupational Therapists
  • Teaching functional life skills
  • Facilitating social skills during lunch bunch
  • Modeling how to support language during academics
  • Using PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) to facilitate articulation as needed
  • Using Social Thinking social skills curriculum
  • Promoting play and development of problem solving skills
  • Overseeing development and implementation of STACK (School-wide Technology and Augmentative Communication for Kids) Program: programming and use of iPads for communication for children that are functionally non-verbal or have limited verbal skills
  • Assisting in the development of The Spero Academy Skills Inventory: a measurement tool of joint attention and social play, self-regulation, communication, functional life skills and technology use

Speech Therapists

Sharla McIntosh-Ziegler M.A. CCC-SLP
Hi there!! I’m Sharla, one of the Speech-Language Pathologists here at Spero Academy. I have been at Spero (Fraser) Academy for the last 10 years….most of my career! I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and moved to Minneapolis to complete my graduate studies 11 years ago. My masters’ degree is in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Minnesota where I had an amazing graduate school experience! I love working with the inquisitive students at this school and am able to learn from them regularly. Since my time at Spero, much of my focus has been on working hard on implementing systematic programming for our non-verbal students. The collaborative and supportive nature of the staff at Spero make it an incredible place to work, which attributes to the success of our students! I love working at a place where I am regularly challenged and being around people who make me smile. When I’m not educating young minds, I’m spending time with my husband Jeremy and our two little ones Rielle (6) and Keston (2).

Katie Hansen, Speech-Language Pathologist
Hi! My name is Katie Hansen. I will celebrate my 9-year anniversary at Spero the beginning of September! My passions are helping children learn how to play, teaching story narrative telling and retelling and using Social Thinking vocabulary. I love watching the combination of these areas help students learn and generalize their social skills and problem solving skills. I’m excited to implement the STACK program in many of my classrooms again this year. I completed my undergraduate degree and graduate degree from the University of South Dakota. Before arriving at Spero Academy, I spent almost 3 years with Anchorage School District at Aurora Elementary. When I’m not at school, I’m spending time with my nieces and nephews and dreaming of future travels.

Ashley Sellwood, M.S CCC-SLP
Hi, my name is Ashley Sellwood. I am a licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and am certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association. I earned my master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Minnesota State University, Mankato. I currently work in both the academic and medical setting. I began my career at Spero Academy, 6 years ago. I have post-graduate training in the area of PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets). This suggests a way of conceptualizing and approaching communication breakdowns across multiple domains through auditory, visual and tactile cues. I have a strong passion for our students to help them achieve their full potential in everyday life. The multidisciplinary approach here at Spero Academy sets our students up for success in all areas of cognitive linguistic, social emotional, and physical sensory. When I am not working with our students here, I am enjoying my time at home with my husband Nick, daughter Abigail (2 years), our newest addition, Joseph (10 weeks), and my dog Drake. Parenthood has been a new and exciting chapter in my life.