Our Team

Now We're Talking Leslie Bigwood

Leslie Bigwood, M.S., CCC-SLP, Owner

Leslie attended the University of Central Florida and received her masters degree from Florida State University.  She previously worked in pediatrics in the public school system serving pre-k-12th grade and in pediatric private practice focusing on early intervention and childhood apraxia of speech. Prior to partnering with Ashley, she owned a comprehensive outpatient private practice in Georgia.  She is excited to bring her passion of practice management to the Low Country.

Leslie lives in Bluffton with her husband and children. She enjoys exploring the shops and restaurants of Old Town Bluffton, traveling, and beach time with her family.

Ashley Cubbage, MSP, CCC-SLP, Owner

Ashley was born in St. Louis Missouri, but grew up in both Tampa, Florida and Washington DC. She attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!!) for her undergraduate degree. She went on to receive her masters degree in speech pathology from the University of South Carolina. While studying at the University of South Carolina she applied for and was accepted to a specialized track within the program focusing on neurogenic and medically compromised patients. Ashley completed her graduate externship at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She has lived and worked in the Lowcountry area since 2014. Prior to partnering with Leslie, Ashley worked within the similar population of birth to 3, and school-age children. Her passion for this community and the families that are within it drove her to partner and start Now We’re Talking Therapy Services with her friend Leslie Bigwood.

Ashley lives in Hilton Head and enjoys taking advantage of everything the Lowcountry has to offer with her husband, son and pup.

 

Now We're Talking Keali

Keali Lay, M.S., Lead CCC-SLP

Keali received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia and her Master of Science in Communication Disorders from Armstrong State University. Keali has experience in K-12 schools and in pediatric private practice, where she has served diverse populations of clients with a variety of communication disorders. Keali has special interest in early language intervention and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). In her spare time she enjoys baking from scratch, going to the beach, and exploring Bluffton/HHI with her dog, Emma Jean.

Amanda Henzler M.A., CCC-SLP

Amanda grew up in New York but moved to Pittsburgh, PA to attend college and graduate school.  She received her master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2004 at the University of Pittsburgh.  Amanda moved to Georgia after graduating in 2004, but finally settled in Bluffton in 2011 with her husband, Chris.  She has experience working with both adults and children, but has a passion working in the pediatric setting.  Amanda loves working in the community and the child’s natural setting, helping caregivers obtain tools and learn the strategies needed to help improve their child’s speech and language skills.  Amanda has hours and hours of play experience with her own two children, which, in her opinion, has made her a better, more understanding therapist.

Ellen Glazer, M.S., CCC-SLP

Ellen was born in Hickory, N.C. and moved to Virginia for high school and college. She graduated from the University of Virginia majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and received her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She has a passion for the Deaf community and is fluent in American Sign Language. She has worked in a variety of settings over the course of her 10-year career with both adults and children, and enjoys working with children with speech, language, and feeding disorders. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist (C.B.I.S.). She also is certified in the A.E.I.O.U. systematic approach to feeding, the Beckman Oral Motor method of intervention, and Myofasical Release techniques. She lives in Hilton Head with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog. Ellen spends her free time near the beach whenever possible, and enjoys playing games with her family and friends. 

 

Now We're Talking Stephanie Verba

Stephanie Verba, M.A., CCC-SLP

Stephanie grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University, where she obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Go Bobcats! She moved to Hilton Head Island in 2016 to begin her career as a speech-language pathologist. Stephanie has worked in both private practice and school settings. Stephanie enjoys working in pediatrics because she gets to be a part of children’s’ growth from day one and form relationships with each child and their family. Stephanie appreciates the youthful spirit experienced daily when working with children.

In her spare time, Stephanie stays active and is always on the go! Some of her favorite hobbies include running, paddle boarding, and teaching Pure Barre. She ran four half marathons over the past two years and believes that the excitement of crossing the finish line never gets old! She explores the Lowcountry by paddle boarding in new areas throughout Beaufort County. Stephanie also teaches Pure Barre in Hilton Head on the weekends and loves connecting with those in the community!

Alexandra Acheson, M.S, CCC-SLP

Alexandra Acheson, M.S., CCC-SLP

Alex received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia and her Masters of Science in Communication Disorders from Armstrong State University. She has worked in pediatric private practice for her entire career. Alex is passionate about providing bilingual therapy to the Spanish speaking community in the area. She loves developing connections with her kiddos and their families through engagement to provide the best level of therapy she can.

In her free time, she is often spending time with her family, enjoying movies and television shows, playing a game of Mario Kart or Dungeons & Dragons, showering her dog, Kona, with love and attention, or cramming in as many attractions as possible at a theme park.

 

Kate Smith, M.S., CCC-SLP

Kate was born and raised in a small WNY village on the historic Erie Barge Canal, not far from the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario. She received her BSEd in Communication Disorders, as well as her MSEd in Speech Language Pathology from SUNY College at Fredonia. She has been a lifelong supporter of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres sports teams (the WNY motto is, “just one before I die!” – referring to winning a national championship). Kate has worked in a variety of settings (skilled nursing, acute care/rehabilitation centers, home health, hospitals, schools, developmental disabilities offices, outpatient clinics, early intervention 0-3, early school age 3-5), in a few different states as a traveling therapist, (New York, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, S. Carolina), and worn many hats (Rehabilitation Director, Lead Therapist, On-Site Director, New Staff Orientation Specialist, as well as Speech Pathologist). While working as a traveling SLP, Kate met a fellow widower, got engaged, and moved to Bluffton, where she married her marvelous husband during COVID – proving that good things can happen despite pandemics!! Kate’s daughter, Bryn, is finishing her master’s degree in medical physiology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland with a 4.0 average and is busy applying to medical schools. She has three terrific stepdaughters, too. Danielle, who lives in Statesboro and works at Georgia Southern University, Amanda, who is earning her PhD and DVM at UGA and lives outside Athens, Georgia with her husband, Michael, and Laura (and her husband Eric), who have given us a gorgeous granddaughter, Ella, and live on the gulf coast in Diamondhead, Mississippi. Kate loves to stay active and spends time outdoors whenever she can. She enjoys hiking, biking, playing pickleball, kayaking, boating, and taking walks with her husband and her new rescue puppy, Delaney. She is looking forward to traveling and embracing new adventures for many years to come.

 

Allison Thatcher, M.S., CF-SLP

Allison Thatcher, M.S., CCC-SLP

Allison was born and raised in Easton, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Pennsylvania State University and her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Baylor University. Allison has a passion for helping kids develop their communication skills while having fun doing it. She is new to the Lowcountry and loves spending time walking on the beach with her puppy, Cassie. 

 

Ciara Figueroa, SLP-A

Ciara is from a small town in central Massachusetts. She attended Worcester State University with a Bachelors of Science, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art. After graduating with her degree, she went on to volunteer in homes and hospitals for special needs children in Haiti and Peru. She also taught English to young girls in Peru. Her volunteer experiences led her to pursue a career working with children. Ciara worked as a one to one instructional assistant to children on the spectrum and children with physical disabilities in the public school system. While working full time in the school system, part time at a local boutique and starting a small side business of black and white paintings, Ciara received her second Bachelor’s degree. Since graduating with her degree in Speech Pathology, Ciara accepted a SLP-A  job at The Lab School of Washington in DC which specializes in children with dyslexia. She has worked and coached soccer, basketball and track with children with dyslexia ranging from grades 1- 12th grade. She decided to explore a different part of the country and moved to Savannah. Ciara is excited to begin her journey in the world of pediatric therapy and can not wait to see where it takes her. She loves connecting with children and being silly with them any chance she gets.

Ciara enjoys good food, checking out new places, going to concerts and listening to loud music as she paints. Even though her family and best friends are back home in Massachusetts and DC, She always values time spent with them when she’s home or through facetime. Her favorite food group is cheese.

 

Brooke Johnson, OTR/L

Brooke received her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern University and her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She has experience working with both adults and children, but found her passion for pediatrics through her work in the public school system, volunteering for various camps, and coaching adapted sports leagues. She values meeting kiddos where they are, capitalizing on their strengths, and helping them achieve their goals through fun and creative activities. She enjoys going to the beach, running, and spending time with her friends and family (including her Aussie, Yeti girl, of course)!

Stacey Klene

Stacey Klene, OTR/L

Born and raised as a Hoosier back home in Indiana, Stacey attended the University of Indianapolis on a soccer scholarship while achieving her bachelors degree in Psychology Pre-OT. She continued her education as a UIndy Greyhound to obtain her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy. Her passion for working with children, along with a curiosity to understand mental health, lead to her discovery of ABA therapy. Achieving more than five years of certified training working as an ABA/RBT, she provided parent education, encouraged natural environment learning, and worked with kiddos within the schools and home. Prior to moving to Lowcountry, Stacey held a PRN position at St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital where she had the opportunity to be trained and work within the pediatric outpatient and inpatient setting. All the education, experiences, and training, verified her passion as a pediatric Occupational Therapist and she is so excited to share her energy, positivity, humor, compassion, and knowledge with all of her new friends and families!

Always a homebody, Stacey spends her spare time FaceTiming/calling her parents, sister, brother, two nephews (and another on the way), and friends back in Indiana, or snuggling her spoiled lionhead bunny, Lenard (Lenny). She also enjoys being active, doing hot yoga, pretending to be a good dancer/singer, hanging out with friends, napping, cooking, and going to the beach to relax and listen to Mother Nature! Very pleased with her decision to move out of her comfort zone and follow God’s plan for her, Stacey cannot wait to use her skills to help her patients grow in their abilities while spreading her wings in such a beautiful place!

 

Samantha Wright, OTR/L

Sam was raised in Lancaster, PA and recently moved to the Lowcountry. She was a student-athlete at Lebanon Valley College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and played soccer. She received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Messiah University. She has worked with children in school-based settings as well as adults in both SNF and inpatient settings. She found her passion working with children through coaching soccer at both the high school and youth levels as well as through working in the school system’s special education programs. Sam is excited to use her skills to capitalize on children’s strengths in order to reach their goals and maximize their potential through play. She is also excited to be in a beautiful area and close to the beach as it is one of her favorite places to be. She also enjoys being active, going to the mountains, going on hikes, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. 

 

Nicole Frediani, OTR/L

Nicole was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, San Marcos. She loves working with children but is equally passionate about working with families and teams of professionals that integrate each child’s needs.
She is a military spouse, which is what brought her to the beautiful Lowcountry in 2019. Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter while exploring Beaufort County and beyond.

 

Allison Johnson

Allison Johnson, PT, DPT

Alli grew up in New Jersey but moved to South Carolina in 2008 to attend the University of South Carolina for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with an emphasis in motor development and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She has worked as a travel physical therapist, allowing her to explore the country while treating individuals of all ages in a variety of settings. Within the past year, she has moved to the Low Country and decided to make it her permanent home to pursue her main interest of working with children. She has a special interest in early intervention, neurological disorders, torticollis, and sports injuries. She has additional training in TMR teens and tots, a modified positional release concept that can be used to treat postural asymmetries, such as torticollis. She values working with new kiddos and families to educate them on various play techniques that will help their kids hit developmental milestones in a fun and interactive way. She also hopes to become a trained yoga instructor and incorporate this into her treatment styles for her older kids. In her spare time, Alli enjoys spending time on or by the water, reading, exploring new places with her boyfriend and dog, Bandit, and being the “fun” aunt to her nieces.

 

Kristina Schmidt, DPT

Kristina grew up in New Jersey but decided to move south to avoid the snow and cold. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern University. She moved to South Carolina in 2017 to pursue her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of South Carolina. She moved to the Low Country to start her career in pediatric physical therapy. She became interested in working with kids during school when she got the opportunity to do a clinical rotation at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC. She is excited about starting her career and getting the opportunity to work with children and their families to reach their developmental milestones. In her spare time, Kristina enjoys going to the beach and exploring her new home with her golden retriever, Jade. 

Sadie The Therapy Dog, S.D. Gunner Fund Graduate

Sadie is a goldendoodle from Atlanta, Georgia.  She graduated from the S.D Gunner Fund Therapy Dog training program.  Sadie enjoys greeting children in the waiting room, helping nervous kids transition back to therapy, celebrating therapy successes, and comforting kiddos during challenging tasks.

When she isn’t working, Sadie enjoys belly rubs, nudging your hand for more belly rubs, chasing a ball at the beach, and paddle boarding.