The Hjelte-Phillips Speech & Language Center at Villa Esperanza is a community clinic that provides individualized communication therapy to each unique client that comes through our door. We work with clients to reach their greatest potential in a warm and compassionate therapy environment that includes parents, teachers and caregivers in the process.
Our clinicians have a wealth of experience treating speech and language needs resulting from phonological and articulation disorders, learning differences, neurodevelopmental and intellectual disabilities, and acquired brain injuries. We have specialized expertise in treating children birth to three years old, individuals with autism spectrum disorder, and nonverbal or minimally verbal clients who need assistive technology including augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). In addition, we provide training, support and education to related professionals across the Los Angeles County region.
Villa Speech Center General Information
Speech and Language Assessment
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Assessment, Therapy and Consultation
Treatment is individualized and may include elements of:
Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
Total Communication Approach
Positive Behavior Support
Aided Language Stimulation
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Visualization Strategies for Language Comprehension
Phonological Awareness Training
PROMPT (PROMPTs for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets)
Oral Placement Therapy (OPT)
Villa Esperanza Services is a non-public school (NPS), Kaiser Permanente provider, and a vendor of local regional centers.
Individuals and families also pay privately for assessment and treatment services.
Some private medical insurance providers may reimburse individuals for speech and language therapy; however, the Speech and Language Center does not bill medical insurance or Medi-Cal directly for any service.
Director of the Speech & Language Center
Speech-Language Pathologist, Music Therapist
Gwendolyn is a speech-language pathologist and a board-certified music therapist who has dedicated her professional life to providing treatment to children and young adults with communicative and social-emotional challenges. Areas of specific expertise include the treatment of autism spectrum-related needs with a particular emphasis in visually-based strategies and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
In 2010, Gwendolyn co-founded the Southern California AAC Network and in 2012 she received an Outstanding Achievement award from her local district of the California Speech-Language Hearing Association for her work with the group.
Kimberly has practiced as a school-based speech-language pathologist for the past 14 years. She has experience treating a diverse population of students and specializes in working with adolescents and young adults. She enjoys sharing about the field of speech-language pathology and teaching others by acting as an adjunct faculty member at Chapman University and participating in ASHA's S.T.E.P. Mentoring program.
Ariel is a speech-language pathologist who has experience treating individuals with diverse communication needs from across the age-span, including toddlers, pre-schoolers, elementary and middle-schoolers, teens and adults. She has particular interest and experience in working with individuals with autism-related disorders. Her approach to therapy is based on developing relationships in a nurturing, compassionate environment.