Annmarie Zuluaga Yafrate, M.S., CCC-SLPSpeech-Language Pathologist
Annmarie Zuluaga Yafrate received her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Emerson College in Boston, after graduating from Tufts University with an M.A. in Child Development. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, as well as professional licenses in MA, NH, and PA. Prior to becoming a speech-language pathologist (SLP), Annmarie worked in Autism research at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston University and worked with autistic clients abroad. As an SLP, Annmarie has clinical experience working in outpatient multi-disciplinary centers, hospitals, and school-based settings. She has worked with clients with a variety of communication needs and diagnoses (e.g., Autism, apraxia, speech and language delays, social communication challenges, TBI, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy) and has extensive experience working with families from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Annmarie has spent the last 10+ years specializing in Autism and in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She is passionate about her work in AAC and supports client’s communication in many ways such as communication partner training, aided language stimulation, presuming competence, modeling without expectation, honoring all communication, using wait time, using robust vocabulary, promoting literacy, and more. Annmarie strives to keep her therapy targets functional, promotes self-advocacy, and strongly supports a client’s right to autonomous communication. She also aims to keep her therapy sessions interest-based and strengths-based and her therapy practices are neurodiversity affirming. Annmarie has had experience and training in Gestalt Language Processing and utilizes the Natural Language Acquisition approach to therapy with her autistic clients that fit this profile of language learning. She has also developed a strong understanding about the link between sensory regulation, behavior, and communication. To optimize a client’s learning of new communication skills, Annmarie first gets to know her client’s sensory system and identifies strategies to improve their regulation. Collaboration with occupational therapy is many times crucial to this part of her therapeutic process.
After transitioning into telehealth services during the Covid-19 pandemic, Annmarie quickly discovered the many benefits of this evidence-based therapy approach. Teletherapy offered a unique opportunity as sessions often happened in a client’s primary natural environment, their home. Annmarie was not only able to see the home setting and routines, but problem solve and establish strategies in real time, sharing critical information with the people in the client’s home. Teletherapy offered the opportunity to carryover functional skills into the client’s natural environment during everyday activities such as mealtimes, storytimes, and playtimes. Annmarie saw firsthand how gains obtained in traditional therapy could be maintained and even exceeded in a telehealth treatment model. Families reported feeling empowered and experienced an increased sense of confidence via parent education/coaching and modeling. Clients also demonstrated great engagement and reported that the technology provided was fun (e.g., game-based activities, use of green screen, engaging digital materials, videos). Annmarie now exclusively offers teletherapy services to clients and their families with her therapeutic help and support only one click away!
In her spare time, Annmarie enjoys reading a good book outdoors, listening to music, being a ‘dance mom’ to her lovely daughter, vacationing on Cape Cod in the summer, and spending quality time with her extended family in PA, NJ, NYC, and MA.