About Speech Start

Speech Start provides children a safe, supportive and compassionate environment where they can learn and apply the fundamentals of speech and language skills efficiently. Our experienced clinicians create opportunities for children to cultivate natural language and other developmental and social skills. Through beneficial, caring, and hands-on experience, we employ a variety of strategies and teaching modalities as we work with the child and their family.

our team

Therapy Staff

Bernadette Mullen

Bernadette Mullen, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Speech-Language Specialist, Special Education Teacher

Owner and Director of Speech Start, LLC

“I feel privileged to participate in a child’s ability to communicate to the world.”

Bernadette Mullen is a New Jersey licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. Bernadette is highly qualified in her field and she is a nationally certified member of ASHA holding her Certificate of Clinical Competency. She has worked in the field of special education for 35 years. She has owned and operated Speech Start, p.a. for 18 years. In her practice, she specializes in providing evaluations and therapeutic intervention to children and teens with both speech and language disorders. She has extensive training in the areas of apraxia, language based reading disorders, autism spectrum disorder, behavior management and sensory processing disorders. She has worked on providing quality pragmatic therapy to children with social language disorders for many years. Bernadette is fluent in American Sign Language and has extensive experience in the use of AAC.

Bernadette’s current professional focus is on social skills training programs. She is presently curriculum director for SiLAS Solutions. This program is being implemented in multiple schools throughout the state for the purpose of improving special learners ability to socialize with their peers. The program includes both a computer program and a social skills curriculum.

Elizabeth Spina

Elizabeth Spina, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Speech-Language Specialist


“I love seeing progress happen; the moment that you watch the child make a connection and they smile.”

Elizabeth Spina, M.A., CCC-SLP is a supervising speech language pathologist at Speech Start, pa. She has a BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology and an MA in Speech Language Pathology.

She assesses and treats children with a variety of speech and language disorders. Her experience lies in the areas of articulation and phonological disorders, receptive and expressive language disorders, semantic pragmatic disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and behavioral feeding in school-aged children. Counseling families and implementing carryover home programs are also an important aspect of the treatment plan for each child. In addition to assessment and treatment, she is also a supervisor to some of the members of the Speech Start staff with whom she meets regularly to collaborate and discuss progress and future treatment goals.

Marissa Nagy

Marissa Nagy, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

“It’s such a rewarding experience when you see a child make progress; moving forward and having the family say the words thank you.”

Marissa Nagy has her BS in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and her MS in Speech Language Pathology from Seton Hall. She implements speech language therapy goals for young children at Speech Start focusing on clients with autism and other special disorders, apraxia and articulation disorders. She holds special training and certification in the Kaufman
Speech Praxis Method, DIR, and Options.

Marissa’s background in social play, language skills and developmental/behavioral therapy provide a solid foundation from which she helps clients meet their goals.

Kimberly Tuccillo

Kimberly Tuccillo, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Speech-Language Specialist

“Differences are like freckles… we all have them.”

Kimberly is a speech and language pathologist with 15 years experience in pediatric therapy. She has worked with a variety of children ranging from three through eighteen. She has experience working with autism spectrum disorders, auditory processing disorders, language processing disorders, myofunctional disorders, oral motor dysfunction, apraxia, behavioral feeding, as well as, general expressive/receptive language and articulation disorders/delays.

Kimberly received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Ithaca College in Ithaca New York. She then completed her Master’s of Arts degree in Speech Language Pathology from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. Additionally she has taken graduate course work from various universities to continue her education in areas such as supervision, learning disabilities, social skills, and applied behavior analysis.

Kimberly has been working as a Speech Language Specialist in the public schools for fifteen years, servicing grades preschool through twelfth grade. She currently works in an autistic preschool setting using ABA principles to guide therapy. Additionally she has been providing private therapy for twelve years.

Kimberly is currently a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and Autism NJ. She is licensed as a Speech Language Specialist and a Speech Language Pathologist. She has participated in a variety of specific trainings including PROMPT, PECS, Kaufman Apraxia Program, Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program (LIPS), oral motor trainings, behavioral feeding trainings, ABA, Autism, auditory processing trainings, and general language and speech trainings.

Denise Ortlieb-Herbert

Denise Ortlieb-Herbert, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

“I don’t believe in putting a ceiling on a child’s potential. We are all unique learners with infinite possibilities.”

Denise is a licensed speech-language pathologist with nearly five years experience in pediatric therapy. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Communication Disorders and Deafness from Kean University in Union, N.J. She has worked in a variety of settings including schools, early intervention, and private practice. She has experience working with children, aging from 18 months to 18 years. In her experience, she has worked with children with a vast array of communication deficits including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Apraxia, articulation and myofunctional disorders, auditory processing disorders, receptive/expressive language disorders/delays, fluency, pragmatic language disorders and behavioral disorders.

Denise is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and has special training in PROMPT therapy, The Kaufman Approach to Apraxia, Verbal Behavior, and many general trainings in the areas of articulation, fluency, language,feeding, social skills and augmentative alternative communication (AAC).

Shaylyn M. Stilwell

Shaylyn Stilwell, M.S. Ed., CF-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Speech-Language Specialist

“The best tool that you can give a child is individualized education and, with that education, they are limitless.”

Shaylyn has recently graduated from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ with a Master’s of Science in Education in Speech-Language Pathology. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology with a minor in Special Education from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, MD.

Shaylyn completed external clinical practicum placements in a specialized school as well as in both adult inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and pediatric outpatient settings. Shaylyn has worked with diverse pediatric populations, with experience in the areas of cleft lip and palate, chromosomal abnormalities, and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Shaylyn has served as an office staff member and academic instructor at Speech Start for 8 years. She has instructed children both individually and in small group settings in a variety of areas including mathematics, science, and literacy. In addition, Shaylyn has organized and facilitated numerous pragmatic language groups for children with various diagnoses. Shaylyn is excited for her new transition into the clinical side of the practice.

Administrative Staff

Laura Fanizzi

Laura Fanizzi

Paraprofessional, Office Manager

“My goal is always what’s best for a child; working with families through challenges to become successful.”

Laura Fanizzi is a Developmental Therapist with Speech Start, p.a. Since 1999. She has been providing behavioral therapy in individual and group settings, creating and implementing individual behavior programs for clients. Her experience with DIR, OPTIONS, and Verbal Behavior are part of a toolbox to assess and provide clients with the appropriate interventions.

Laura has assisted teachers in preschool classroom settings as well as shadowing special needs children in typical environments. Additionally she is a inclusion specialist who provides training for staff on current inclusion practices for teachers and paraprofessionals and in-services to school staff on social skills training. When not wearing these hats, Laura can be found managing the Speech Start offices, overseeing scheduling, scheduling, billing, building maintenance, and more.

Nicole Salviolo, B.S.

Graduate Student, Office Staff

Nicole is currently a graduate student at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ studying to become a speech-language pathologist. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology with a minor in Special Education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Nicole has served as an office member and academic instructor at Speech Start for the past 6 years. She has assisted in many of the academic and social skills group run at Speech Start. She has worked with the children at speech start in the areas of mathematics, literacy, and social skills. Nicole has worked with a diverse pediatric population including many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Olivia Ortolani, B.A.

Office Staff

“After recently graduating, I am both excited and eager to jump start my future in the field of Speech Language Pathology. Working in this field provides endless opportunities to teach and facilitate communication for others, and it is something special to be a part of.”

Olivia recently graduated from Loyola University of Maryland in Baltimore receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. Olivia is currently taking a gap year before continuing to graduate school to receive her Masters degree in Speech Pathology.

This will be Olivia’s first summer at Speech Start beginning as an office manager. She has been working with children of all ages for several years with past summer internships and summer volunteer positions in local hospitals and pediatric clinics. She looks forward to beginning her journey at Speech Start and to continue her future in Speech-Language Pathology.

1 Bethany Road Suite 60, Bldg 5 Hazlet, NJ 07730

560 River Road Suite C Fair Haven, NJ 07704