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Every Word Counts for This Riviera Native

Isabelle Nastaskin, Cali Kids Speech Therapy
Isabelle Nastaskin, Cali Kids Speech Therapy

Isabelle Nastaskin teaches children to talk back. Their parents are thrilled.

As a pediatric speech therapist, Isabelle helps children ages 1-18 do what most of us take for granted – communicate. Take the case of Tyler (not his real name), a four-year-old, non-speaking autistic boy. When Isabelle first started working with Tyler he had a vocabulary of five words that only his parents could understand. Isabelle taught him to use a speech-generating device that let him finally express himself to the world around him.

“I’ll never forget the joy in the room the first time Tyler said ‘I love you mommy’ to his mother using the device,” says Isabelle. “Every child has the potential to communicate. It’s just a matter of properly diagnosing their challenges and then applying the right techniques to support their speech and language development. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.”

Last fall, Isabelle opened a private practice — Cali Kids Speech Therapy — to provide one-on-one speech therapy services to children in the South Bay at their home, daycare, preschool, or online. Her approach to therapy is child-led and play-based so that treatment is tailored to the child’s unique interests and needs.

“Many people imagine speech therapy as sitting at a table drilling flashcards, but there are more functional ways to make learning effective and fun,” Isabelle says. “More often than not, you’ll find me conducting therapy with kids while going down slides, dancing around the room, or laying on the floor reading a book together. Therapy works best when the child is engaged and doing activities that are meaningful to them.”

Before opening her private practice, Isabelle treated children at Momentum Pediatric Therapy Network in Torrance and NAPA Center in Los Angeles. An alumni of Riviera Elementary, Richardson Middle School, and South High, Isabelle earned her bachelor’s degree at UCLA and her masters in Speech-Language Pathology at Boston University.

  • Does your child need speech therapy? According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, your child may be a candidate for speech therapy if they are:
  • Making only a few sounds and not using gestures like waving or pointing (by 7-12 months)
  • Saying only a few words (by 12–18 months)
  • Not putting two words together (by 18–24 months)
  • Not saying the sounds for p, b, m, h, and w correctly in words most of the time (by 1-2 years)
  • Not saying the sounds for k, g, f, t, d, and n correctly in words most of the time (by 2-3 years)
  • Not using location words (e.g. on, under), comparative words (e.g. bigger), and words such as “a” and “the” when talking (by 3-4 years)
  • Not telling stories including main characters, settings, and words like “and” to connect ideas (by 4-5 years)

To learn more about pediatric speech therapy, visit Cali Kids Speech Therapy at calikidsspeechtherapy.com or contact Isabelle at 310-461-8826 or info@calikidstherapy.com