The Speech Emporium

About Us

The Speech Emporium is a speech and occupational therapy practice with offices based in Cypress and Houston, Texas. All of our therapists are committed to providing the highest quality of speech and occupational therapy. 


Speech Pathologists


Jennifer Swearengin, MA, CCC-SLP

Jennifer graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders in 1999 and received minors in Psychology and English.  She was a member of the Honors College and received the honor of Magna Cum Laude.  Jennifer earned a Master of Arts degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston in 2001.  She received the Outstanding Clinician award from the University of Houston while attending graduate school.

Jennifer's experience includes working in private practice, public schools, early childhood intervention, hospitals and two aphasia research projects: "Intensive Speech-Focused Treatment for Chronic Aphasia" and "Treatment for Aphasia and Related Disorders: Subproject 3: Contrasting Treatment for Sentence Production Deficits."

Jennifer has performed diagnosis and treatment of expressive language, receptive language, articulation, voice, fluency, dysphagia, oral motor functioning and pragmatic disorders in children and adults.

Jennifer's publications include:
  • "An Errorless Learning Approach to Sentence Production in Aphasia." Journal of International Neuropsychological Society;
  • Co-author on a poster presented at the 3rd Annual VARR&D Research Conference (2002);
  • Poster and published abstract at the International Neuropsycholgical Society Meeting (Toronto, 2002): "An Errorless Learning Approach to Sentence Production in Aphasia;"
  • Co-author on a poster presented at the 2003 ASHA Convention: "Impact of Different Stimulus Attributes on Narrative Discourse in Aphasia."

Jennifer was a Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Districtwide Educational Improvement Council Member from 2012-2013 and served on the University of Houston Community Advisory Board from 2010-2012. She also served as VP for Finance for the Houston Association of Communication Disorders (HACD) from 2009-2010.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys co-leading her daughters' Girl Scout troops, teaching Sunday school, and spending time with her family.



Patricia Breaux, MS, CCC-SLP

Patti graduated from Nicholls State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders in 1999.  She earned a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2002.  Patti is certified by the Texas Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology. 

Patti's experience includes working in public schools, private practice, and a rehabilitation center.  She has performed diagnosis and treatment of receptive language, expressive language, articulation, phonological processing, oral-motor functioning, voice, fluency, dysphagia, and pragmatic language in toddlers, preschool and school-aged children, and adults.  She has experience with individual and group therapy, augmentative communication (including pictures and device-based communication), social stories, play therapy, Language Intervention in the Classroom Setting (LINC), and the Kaufman Speech Praxis Treatment Approach.  Patti has experience working with children with developmental delays, various syndromes and autism.  She attends continuing education classes to remain current on speech therapy techniques and approaches.



Dana Wierzbicki, MA, CCC-SLP

Dana graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Houston in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders and a minor in Psychology.  In 2011, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Houston and was awarded the Outstanding Graduate COMD Student award.  Dana chose electives with a focus on pediatrics, completed supplemental diagnostic experience in voice and fluency, and volunteered wth the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center.  She is a member of the Houston Association for Communication Disorders (HACD). 

Dana believes in thorough assessments to ensure the best speech therapy treatment plan.  She aims to help individuals and families understand a diagnosis and plan of care, incorporating their goals into the treatment.  Dana's experience includes evaluation and treatment of children with communication disorders in the areas of expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language disorders, articulation, oral-motor functioning, voice, and fluency.  She has worked at summer camps for children with language disorders and hearing impairment and volunteered with Special Olympics.  In addition, Dana has evaluated and treated adults affected by stroke, voice disorder, and brain injury in an adult rehabilitation setting.  In her free time, Dana enjoys spending time with family and friends, camping, reading, and outdoor photography.



Muniba Patel, MA, CCC-SLP

Muniba earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Houston in 2008, with a double major in Psychology. Muniba graduated from the University of Houston with a Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2011. She is certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed by the Texas Speech Language Hearing Association (TSHA). 


Muniba has experience working in hospitals and private practice settings. Her work has included the evaluation and treatment of both children and adults with communication disorders in the areas of expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language disorders, articulation/ phonological disorders, fluency, and dysphagia. Muniba has worked with patients with developmental delays, Autism, Down's syndrome, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, aphasia, traumatic brain injury, and cognitive communication disorders. She has worked in individual, group, and play-based therapy settings with preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school aged children.


Muniba completed her clinical fellowship in Speech Language Pathology in Pakistan, as part of a Speech Pathology program that was the first of its kind in the country. She worked to raise awareness about speech language pathology and educated parents, teachers, doctors, and healthcare professionals, as well as mentored students in the field. After completing her fellowship, she returned to the US and joined The Speech Emporium in 2013.



Vanessa Treece, MS, CF-SLP

Vanessa is new to the Houston area as she just completed her Master of Science decgree in Speech-Language Pathology at Loyola University Maryland. Vanessa is originally from Michigan, but spent a year working in South Texas as a SLP assistant before travleing to Baltimore, Maryland for graduate school.

Vanessa has worked in a pediatric clinic and early intervention programs for children with Autism as a behavior therapist prior to graduate school. During her graduate program, she was also exposed to working in a hospital, voice and swallowing center, headstart programs, and a specialized language learning disorders school. Vanessa is an enthusiastic therapist, excited to be the newest addition to the Speech Emporium Team!


Tiffany Tucker, MA, CCC-SLP

Tiffany received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders from Louisiana State University in 2002 and her Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Louisiana State University in 2004.  She is certified by the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed by the Texas Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology.  Tiffany is also a member of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA).

Tiffany's experience includes working as a speech pathologist in a public school setting for 8 years and in private practice for 6 years.  Her work has included evaluation and treatment of children with communication disorders in the areas of expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language disorders; articulation; oral motor functioning and feeding; voice; and fluency.  Tiffany has experience working with children with autism, Down's syndrome, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, ADD/ADHD, and other physical impairments.  She has worked in individual, group, and play-based therapy setting with toddlers, preschool and school-aged children, and adults. 

In addition to her work as a speech pathologist, Tiffany volunteers as a "family friend" to a family that has children with disabilities.  She also serves as a committeeman with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.



Karen Rivera, MS, CF-SLP

Karen Rivera is a native Houstonian and is bilingual (Spanish and English). In 2011, Karen completed her Master of Science degree in Speech-language Pathology at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. During her graduate program, Karen volunteered in a variety of capacities: camp counselor at Camp Superstar (a camp for children with cleft lip/palate and craniofacial anomalies); Florida Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (FCPA); and as a research assistant for a FCPA presenter.  She attended the University of Houston and in 2001 earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Cultural Anthropology.

Karen also has diverse experience working with the bilingual community in research, social services, and educational settings.  Research experience consists of bilingual research assistant, psychometrician, and participant recruiter in studies targeting traumatic experiences, spinal cord injury, and Alzheimer’s disease.  As an Education Coordinator, Karen managed bilingual family-based services focusing on early childhood development and adequate prenatal care in the Houston and Pasadena service areas. Karen promoted grassroots efforts as a Family Education Coordinator for overall family wellness and developed Individualized Family Service Plans. Karen has also provided culturally sensitive support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Karen is currently completing her Clinical Fellowship. Her clinical experience includes working in private practice and a rehabilitation hospital. She has experience in the evaluation and treatment of adults and children with communication disorders in the areas of receptive/expressive language, articulation, feeding/swallowing, cognition, fluency, Autism, oral-motor functioning, Alzheimer’s, and a variety of neurological diagnosis.

Karen volunteers at a non-profit created by her husband targeting at risk youth to promote emotional intelligence and effective communication skills to further students’ personal, professional, and educational achievement.

I
n her personal time, Karen enjoys spending time with her family and perusing professional and personal goals. Presently, her main focus is enjoying motherhood and running after her toddler.

Julie Kastor, M.Ed, SLP-A
Julie has a bachelors degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston and a masters degree in Special Education from Sam Houston State University. She has worked in the public school setting for over 20 years in several capacities which include speech therapist, general and special education teacher, PPCD teacher (preschool program for children with disabilities), and an educational diagnostician.


Nikita Shah, BS, SLP-A
Nikita completed her Bachelor’s at the University of Texas at Dallas in 2012. She was trained in the Speech-Hearing Clinic at Dallas, with some research background in the phonetics lab. She was also a leader in the National Speech and Hearing Organization on her campus. Nikita helped raise funds to send to organizations that helped underprivileged children in the local areas, along with any families who had children with speech or language disorders.

Prior to joining The Speech Emporium, Nikita worked as a speech language pathology assistant for two years in a pediatric clinic in the Houston area. Her passion is working with children with Autism and behavioral issues. She also enjoys treating children diagnosed with articulation disorders, apraxia of speech, expressive and receptive disorders, adolescents, children with ADHD, and children with Down syndrome.

Nikita learned Spanish and earned her certificate to provide therapy with bilingual children under the age of 5 years. She is currently enrolled in school to further pursue her education in speech language pathology and special education services.


Kaye McLaughlin, BA, SLP-A

Bio coming soon!



Occupational Therapist


Erika Cornejo, OTR

Erika graduated from Texas Woman's University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She earned a Minor in Spanish, including foreign coursework completed at a national university in Lima, Peru. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and was also a member of Pi Theta Epsilon Occupational Therapy Honor Society.

Erika is licensed to practice Occupational Therapy in the State of Texas through ECPTOTE. In addition, she holds certification through NBCOT, with practice emphasis in Pediatrics. Erika has experience working in the public school setting, outpatient rehabilitation facilities, an adult inpatient rehabilitation unit, and early intervention programs. She has served as a lead therapist in school and outpatient rehabilitation settings. Erika is also a Level I and Level II fieldwork educator for occupational therapist students and occupational therapy assistant students completing clinical fieldwork in pediatric settings. She is fluent in Spanish and able to conduct caregiver interviews, evaluations, and treatment sessions in Spanish, when needed.

Erika has experience working with children and adolescents with a variety of disabilities/conditions, including: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (with and without Hyperactivity), learning disabilities, developmental delays, sensory processing disorders, genetic syndromes, traumatic brain injuries, Aspergar's Syndrome, seizure disorders, coordination difficulties, and feeding aversions. Erika has completed trainings for handwriting intervention (including Handwriting Without Tears), Brain Gym, Therapeutic Listening, assistive technology, sensory processing/sensory integration techniques, and behavioral interventions, among others. She believes in assessing the impact of the child's disability on everyday occupations, such as learning, play, daily living/self-care skills, and relationships. Erika encourages active caregiver involvement in developing goals and setting priorities for intervention and strives to equip caregivers with strategies for use at home, school, and in the community to promote the highest levels of function with daily tasks. She is excited to develop and lead the Occupational Therapy program at The Speech Emporium!

 
Administrative Team


Tiffany Kirk - Office Manager

Tiffany is the Office Manager for The Speech Emporium. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and earned a Bachelor's degree in Fashion Merchandising and Business in 1998. Tiffany's career background includes work in medical sales, retail management, and most recently non-profit. Tiffany joined The Speech Emporium team in September 2011.


Susan Lee - Billing Manager


Susan was born in Oklahoma but moved to Texas as soon as she could.  She moved to the Cypress area 3 years ago when she married her husband, Daniel.  She had previously worked in College Station, Texas where she was the Practice Manager for a 6 physician group for 16 years.  She has 3 teenage children and loves to travel in her down time.

Cherish Whitfield - Evening Administrative Assistant