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 since 2007….most of my career! I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and moved to Minneapolis to complete my graduate studies. My master's 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 makes 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 children Rielle and Keston.

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, 7 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, daughter Abigail (2.5 years), our newest addition Joseph (1 year), and my dog Drake. Parenthood has been a new and exciting chapter in my life.


Tim McCarren, M.A. CCC-SLP

Hello there! My name is Tim McCarren. I am one of the Speech-Language Pathologists here at Spero Academy. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and my master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. My education has taught me the benefits of a well-rounded, multimodal approach to therapy, along with the power of saying, “Yes, and.” I am fortunate to have experience in educational, clinical, and private practice settings. As a person who stutters, I understand how frustrating it can be when your message isn’t getting across. However, I firmly believe that having a communication disorder does not prevent anyone from being an effective communicator. Every voice is unique, and every voice deserves to be heard. When I am not at Spero Academy, I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids. I look forward to working with all the wonderful students at Spero Academy.

Eryn Segar, M.A. CCC-SLP

Hello! My name is Eryn Segar and I am a new team member here at Spero Academy. I completed my undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Minnesota - Duluth and went on the earn my Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. Before working for Spero Academy, I worked at the Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) for five years. During my time at MAC, I developed a passion for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and all the unique ways children can communicate their wants and needs. I enjoy helping children find the right communication method for them and assisting parents in implementing these methods at home. Here at Spero I work with the Kindergarten, PLSK, ASR 1, First Grade, and PLS-3 classrooms. When I am not at Spero I enjoy baking, fostering dogs, playing games with my husband and preparing for our first child due in December of 2019.