About

About Chattering Children

Our Mission

To equip children with hearing loss and their families with a foundation for lifelong learning through listening and spoken language and to build productive partnerships in research, professional training, and collaborative outreach programs to promote best practices in language learning for children with hearing loss.

Who We Are

Chattering Children is a non-profit agency providing an array of services for children with hearing loss and their families. Programs are anchored by Auditory-Verbal Therapy both at our MacArthur Boulevard Center and throughout the Washington Metropolitan Region. The transdisciplinary staff includes professionals in audiology, deaf education, and speech language pathology with specific expertise in the oral language development of children with hearing loss. Team members are skilled in the use of state-of-the-art hearing technology and act as coaches and guides for families to support development of auditory skills, to facilitate spoken language, to create supportive listening environments, and to integrate listening and language into the routines of family life. An Auditory-Verbal Approach relies on the natural developmental patterns of audition, speech, language, cognition, and communication, and promotes education in regular schools with peers who have typical hearing and with appropriate services from early childhood onwards. Ongoing formal and informal diagnostic assessments are used to develop individualized treatment plans, to monitor progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention for the child and family.

In addition to center-based therapy, Chattering Children partners with public and private agencies to provide innovative programs for children and families and to support professionals in the field of hearing loss. Educational services and early intervention are provided through contracts with school districts and local agencies. Expertise of the organization is shared through professional development programs, and parent workshops. Innovative programs to target listening and language for children with hearing loss include theater workshops for elementary students, music-based classes for preschoolers and parents, and targeted academic support for children with hearing loss. Chattering Children also works with leaders on the state and national level to advocate for issues related to early identification and intervention.

Our Team

  • Audrey Adams
    Audrey Adams
    Educational Audiologist
  • Sydney Bednarz
    Sydney Bednarz
    Pediatric Audiologist
  • Colleen Caverly
    Colleen Caverly
    Clinical Psychology Intern
  • Elizabeth Adams Costa
    Elizabeth Adams Costa
    Clinical Psychologist
  • Meredith Dougherty
    Meredith Dougherty
    Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Arielle Gates
    Arielle Gates
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Rachael Howell
    Rachael Howell
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Nicole Hutchinson
    Nicole Hutchinson
    Deaf Educator
  • Kate Maina
    Kate Maina
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Nancy Mellon
    Nancy Mellon
    Executive Director
  • Gloria Menezes-Furtado
    Gloria Menezes-Furtado
    Auditory Verbal Therapist
  • Sharlene Ottley
    Sharlene Ottley
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Meredith Ouellette
    Meredith Ouellette
    Director of Clinical Services
  • Natalie Potter
    Natalie Potter
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Vanessa Poynter
    Vanessa Poynter
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Veronica Sabogal
    Veronica Sabogal
    Executive Administrator
  • Lauren Walence
    Lauren Walence
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Sam Wasilus
    Sam Wasilus
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Shannon Weynand
    Shannon Weynand
    Speech Language Pathologist
  • Jeanne Wilson
    Jeanne Wilson
    Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Amanda Wittman
    Amanda Wittman
    Speech Language Pathologist
Audrey Adams
Educational Audiologist
Audrey Adams, Au.D., CCC-A

More info coming soon!

Sydney Bednarz
Pediatric Audiologist
Sydney Bednarz, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Bednarz holds a BS in Communications Sciences and Disorders from St. Cloud University in Minnesota, and a Clinical Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) from Central Michigan University. She completed her externship at Boston Children’s Hospital and participated in the LEND program, an interdisciplinary training program dedicated to improve health and counseling professionals’ knowledge on working with children, adolescents, and young adults with developmental and related disabilities. Dr. Bednarz is certified through the American Speech Language Hearing Association.

She participates in the DC Early Detection and Intervention Advisory Board. Her areas of interest in audiology include: early intervention, the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening program, hearing aid fittings, cochlear implant programming, and educational audiology.

Colleen Caverly
Clinical Psychology Intern
Colleen Caverly

More info coming soon!

Elizabeth Adams Costa
Clinical Psychologist
Elizabeth Adams Costa

Dr. Elizabet​h​ Adams Costa is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Chattering Children. Dr. Adams holds a BA with Distinction from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University. Dr. Adams specializes in child development, and has expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children with behavioral, cognitive, and developmental differences. Dr. Adams provides training and education to graduate students in psychology and related fields, and is a certified Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) therapist and trainer. Dr. Adams is an active clinical researcher, and serves as a special population consultant for Pearson Clinical on the assessment of children with hearing loss. She has published on topics including parenting stress associated with a diagnosis of hearing loss, parent support in the intervention process, the cognitive assessment of children with hearing loss, and cognitive profiles of children with cochlear implants and hearing aids.

Meredith Dougherty
Speech-Language Pathologist
Meredith Dougherty, M.S., CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Arielle Gates
Speech Language Pathologist
Arielle Gates, M.A., CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Rachael Howell
Speech Language Pathologist
Rachael Howell, CCC-SLP
Nicole Hutchinson
Deaf Educator
Nicole Hutchinson, M.A.

More info coming soon!

Kate Maina
Speech Language Pathologist
Kate Maina, M.H.S, CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Nancy Mellon
Executive Director
Nancy K. Mellon

Nancy Mellon became Executive Director of Chattering Children in 2010 when Chattering Children partnered and co-located with The River School. Ms. Mellon founded The River School in April 1999 and has served as its Head of School since the School’s opening in January 2000. She earned a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. From 1994 to 2001, Ms. Mellon served as Clinical Coordinator of the Listening Center at Johns Hopkins, the cochlear implant program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Nancy was a founding board member at The River School and currently serves as Vice-President; she also sits on the Board of Trustees of Chattering Children and River ACCESS. She served as the public member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Governmental Relations Public Policy Board for six years, and is currently serving her second year as Board President of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington.

Gloria Menezes-Furtado
Auditory Verbal Therapist
Gloria Menezes-Furtado, M.E.D., LSLS Cert AVT

Gloria holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Literature, as well as a Master’s of Education of the Deaf. She is a certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist and holds certification as a Teacher of the Deaf. She has worked with children and their families for more than fourteen years. Her experiences include supporting mainstream students with hearing loss in areas of language and academics, as well as individualized instruction in speech and auditory skills. Gloria has become a mentor to others in the field because of her expertise in the Auditory-Verbal approach to therapy for deaf children. Her interests include integrating technology into intervention and using a whole-child approach, and working with children with additional disabilities.

Sharlene Ottley
Speech Language Pathologist
Sharlene Ottley, CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Meredith Ouellette
Director of Clinical Services
Meredith Ouellette, MS CCC-SLP

Meredith Ouellette is the Director of Clinical Services at Chattering Children, as well as Assistant Head of School at The River School. Ms. Ouellette holds a BS from the University of Florida, specialized coursework in Communication Disorders from Howard University, and a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Gallaudet University. She supervises all the clinical operations of both Chattering Children and The River School, has experience providing individual speech and language therapy to children with hearing loss, and participates in clinical research projects relating to outcomes in children with cochlear implants. Ms. Ouellette has certification/training in cochlear implant rehabilitation; PROMPT Oral Motor Training; and in the evaluation and treatment of children with Apraxia of speech. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Gallaudet University and the George Washington University.

Natalie Potter
Speech Language Pathologist
Natalie Potter
Vanessa Poynter
Speech Language Pathologist
Vanessa Poynter, M.A., CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Veronica Sabogal
Executive Administrator
Veronica Sabogal, M.S

Veronica holds both bachelors and master’s degrees in management in addition to graduate studies in deaf education. Veronica has worked with children with hearing loss both domestically and abroad, in school and vocational settings. As native speaker of Spanish and a parent of a child who is deaf, Veronica has a unique role as facilitator and advocate for the twenty-plus percent of our clients whose home language is Spanish, in addition to her administrative role.

Lauren Walence
Speech Language Pathologist
Lauren Walence, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Lauren Walence holds a BA from Clemson University in Communication Studies, and an M.Ed. from University of Virginia in Speech-Language Pathology. She worked at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters after graduate school, where she began her training in Auditory-Verbal Therapy. Lauren moved to the DC area and now works with children with hearing loss in a one-on-one setting and in a Parent-Infant group.

Sam Wasilus
Speech Language Pathologist
Sam Wasilus, M.A., CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Shannon Weynand
Speech Language Pathologist
Shannon Weynand, M.S., CCC-SLP, *LSLS Cert AVT

More info coming soon!

Jeanne Wilson
Speech-Language Pathologist
Jeanne Wilson, M.S., CCC-SLP

More info coming soon!

Amanda Wittman
Speech Language Pathologist
Amanda Wittman, CCC-SLP

Board of Directors

Grace Mai, President
Mary Carpenter
Hendi Crosby Kowal
Shawn Lipinski
Christina Marmor
Nancy Mellon
Dennis Whittle

“We chose Chattering Children because we believe a team approach is instrumental in identifying, developing, implementing and assessing short and long term language goals for Dawson. When you combine feedback and participation from your child’s audiologist, school educators, speech & language pathologist and the family, you have a recipe for success. Because of the efforts and dedication of this team, Dawson will mainstream into kindergarten in the Fall! Thank You Chattering Children for being an ongoing part of Dawson’s Journey to the hearing world.” – Michael