Robin Williams Harnish, M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech Language Pathologist, Infant Toddler Program; S.P.L.A.S.H. Program

MS, Bloomsburg University 1986
Professional interests include: language development, motor speech disorders, phonology, emergent literacy, and parent coaching.

I’ve been with Excentia since: 1999

Favorite childhood toy: Sticks and rocks

Terri L. Hess M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, Preschool

M.S. Bloomsburg University, CCC/SLP

I’ve been with Excentia since: (S. June Smith - 1991) Excentia via merger

Favorite childhood toy: Books Books Books

Amy Dearing, M.A. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Infant-Toddler and Preschool Programs

Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from the College of NJ 2005
Bachelor of Science in Education from Bucknell University 1997

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2003

Favorite childhood toy: New crayons and some blank paper!

Joy Rice M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Preschool

MS in Speech Language Pathology - University of Rhode Island

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2009

Favorite childhood toy: Books

Heather Appelbaum Smith M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, Early Childhood

Bachelor's Degree from Kutztown 2006, Master's Degree from Towson 2009

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2011

Favorite childhood toy: I've always liked puzzles, beads and string. One of the best parts about being a child, is that anything can be a toy!

Anne Leonhart, M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Infant-Toddler Program

Master of Science from Penn State

I’ve been with Excentia since: (S. June Smith) 1997

Favorite childhood toy: My stacks and stacks of books!!

Mary Antes M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Early Childhood

Bachelor and Master's Degree from Bloomsburg University

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2013

Favorite childhood toy: Chatty Cathy Doll

Julie A. Kramer M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Early Childhood

B.S. Bloomsburg State College 1983, M.S. Bloomsburg University of PA 1984

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2005

Favorite childhood toy: Books

Patricia Krause, MPT

Physical Therapist, S. June Smith Center

B.S. Neuroscience from University of Pittsburgh 1993
Master of Physical Therapy from University of Pittsburgh 2001

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2011

Favorite childhood toy: Bicycle

Jeane Bowerman MPT

Physical Therapist, Early Intervention

Masters Degree from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2014

Favorite childhood toy: "Baby Beans" - a doll filled with beans.

Julie Zimmerman

Physical Therapist Assistant, Preschool

Associate of Science from Alvernia College

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2012

Favorite childhood toy: The playground

June Gehman-Deane, MPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist, S. June Smith Center, Early Childhood

Master's Degree of Physical Therapy from Neumann University 2006

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2006

Favorite childhood toy: The kittens on our farmette.

Nancy Bentz Herrmann, PT, PCS

Pediatric Physical Therapist, Early Intervention - Birth to Three and Preschool

BS University of Pittsburgh

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2011

Favorite childhood toy: Puzzles and playgrounds.

Kristin "Kiki" Davis

Occupational Therapist, Birth to Three and Preschool Early Intervention

Master of Science Occupational Therapy from Towson University 1997

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2002

Favorite childhood toy: Anything relating to adventure.

Erica Wentzel, MOT, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Birth to Three

OT Doctoral Student at Misericordia University: Current
MOT from Chatham University: 1997
BA from University of Pittsburgh: 1991;
Specialized training in Pediatric Feeding

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2003

Favorite childhood toy: Baby Alive Baby Doll

Marcia Maslo Leo

Occupational Therapist, S. June Smith Center

Associate degree from Mount Aloysius College 1970. Became an OTR/L in 1976.

I’ve been with Excentia since: 1976

Favorite childhood toy: Chatty Cathy doll

Michelle Rutt OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Early Intervention, Birth to Three

Bachelor's degree from Elizabethtown College 1990

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2006

Favorite childhood toy musical instruments, cooking pots and utensils.

Donna Walton-Gibbs, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, S.June Smith Center, Early Childhood

B.S. Elizabethtown College major: Occupational Therapy

Certificate in Infant Mental Health from Chatham University

I’ve been with Excentia since: I started at S. June Smith Center in 1994

Favorite childhood toy: When I was a child I loved spirograph, Etch-A-Sketch, and jump rope.

Peggy Bennett, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Birth to Three Program

Bachelor' Degree from College Misericordia 1985
Positive Behavior Intervention Training 2014

I’ve been with Excentia since: 1988

Favorite childhood toy: Tony the Pony

Carol Johnston

Special Instructor/Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Infant-Toddler

Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education From Millersville University
Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy From Penn State University

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2001

Favorite childhood toy: Play-Doh

Jennifer Creason

,

Jessica Brown

,

Susan Oberholtzer

Preschool Special Education Teacher and Associate Director of Preschool Services, Early Childhood - Preschool

Bachelor's Degree from Catawba College, 1982
Director's Credential from HACC, 2012

I’ve been with Excentia since: 1982

Favorite treat: Crispix and cashew snack mix

Ariel Leader

Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood - Preschool

Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Millersville University 2015

I’ve been with Excentia since: 2015

Favorite childhood toy: Play-Doh

Sally McKinney

Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood - Preschool

Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree from Millersville University 1979

I’ve been with Excentia since: 1979

Alannah Babauta

Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood - Preschool

Ms. Babauta is a new teacher at our Mount Joy Preschool. Her information will be updated shortly.

Services

Early Childhood

Early Childhood

We provide therapeutic and educational services for children with developmental needs.

Welcome

Early childhood and early intervention services help children, from birth to five, who are experiencing developmental delays or disabilities. While we don’t believe that growth and development occurs on a strict timetable, we do strive to provide our parents and caregivers with a proactive approach to ensure that their children are put on a healthy path of development. We have a collaborative approach and we work with the individuals involved in a child’s life that could enhance a child’s development, such as the family, caregivers, teachers, other support providers and members of the community.

Birth To Three

Early intervention Services help children from birth to age five who are experiencing developmental delays or disabilities. A child’s early experiences play a vital role in brain development. Addressing delays or disabilities early can be beneficial to a child’s development both now and in the future.

Our staff addresses needs in areas such as:

  • Physical skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills
  • Cognitive/Learning skills
  • Adaptive skills (eating, dressing, sleeping).

Depending on the need, a child may work with one or a combination of:

  • Special Instructors
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech Therapists
  • Physical Therapists

Services are provided in environments that are part of a child’s daily routine such as the home or day care. Our staff act as coaches to empower parents and caregivers to provide learning opportunities during a child’s routine. This approach gives the child many chances to practice and develop skills during everyday activities.

Preschool

Our preschools are inclusive environments where children of all abilities learn together. Children who attend our preschools range from age three to school age. Our teachers meet state licensing requirements. We use state recognized preschool early learning standards as a guide in developing early learning activities which help all children prepare for kindergarten and school age programs.

 

Our classrooms have fewer children and more staff than most of the preschool programs in the county.  We meet the educational needs of all children in our classrooms by using a variety of learning strategies and approaches specific to the unique learning styles of each child in our program.

Our teachers find that the inclusive environment of our preschools is mutually beneficial.

  • Children with disabilities or delays are more motivated by and actively listen to their peers without disabilities or delays.
  • Children without disabilities or delays are more inclined to develop qualities of compassion, understanding, mutual respect and leadership.

Every child referred to an S. June Smith preschool class has an individualized educational plan specific to the child’s needs and services. The parent is an active participant in making this plan. Physical, occupational and speech therapies are provided in an integrated setting in the classroom, on the playground or wherever else needed.

 

Our preschools follow the educational extended school year calendar, which provides regular breaks and holidays. The typical school day is from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and includes the lunch meal. Our preschools are conveniently located in Ephrata, Lancaster City and Mount Joy.

Interested in enrolling your child in an S. June Smith Center preschool classroom? We are currently accepting enrollment applications. Please call 717-299-4829 for more information.

S.P.L.A.S.H.

Our Sound Play and Language Awareness Story Hour (S.P.L.A.S.H.) classes are for children between the ages of 24 and 36 months.

 

This isn’t your ordinary story hour! S.P.L.A.S.H is a hands-on engaging story hour for children and caregivers alike. In these classes, caregivers will learn fun and playful ways to encourage your child’s development and communication.

General class format:

  • Free play (important movement & socialization time)
  • Song time and sound play
  • Story time
  • Art, snack, and/or sensory activities
  • Good-bye routine

The general yearly calendar is as follows:

  • Fall: Mid September to Mid November
  • Winter: Early January to Early March
  • Spring: Late March/Early April through May
  • Summer: Late June to July

This program is open to children of all abilities. Space is limited. Please call Excentia’s S. June Smith Center option 7 at 717-299-4829 to register.

Who is S. June Smith?

Dr. S. June Smith was a psychologist who gave many years of dedicated and innovative service to individuals with special needs in Lancaster County.  Because of her hard work and persistence many great programs are available throughout Lancaster County today.

 

Born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Dr. S. June Smith graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education. Dr. June, as she was commonly known, received her Master’s degree at Columbia Teachers College. She furthered her education at Penn State University, where she was awarded a Doctorate of Psychology in 1945.

 

In 1965, Dr. June helped establish preschool programs for children with special needs which included what is now known as the S. June Smith Center. Today, the S. June Smith Center is part of the Excentia family and continues to provide early intervention services to children.

 

Dr. June retired in 1971 after 30 years as director of special pupil services for the former Lancaster County Public Schools, now the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13. She passed away on April 25, 2001 at the age of 95.

Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority

“I never imagined that the two organizations that mean the most to me – Alpha Sigma Alpha and the S. June Smith Center – would join forces in support of young children.  I am so pleased!”
– Dr. S. June Smith at the Alpha Sigma Alpha National Convention, 1992

In 1990, Alpha Sigma Alpha adopted the S. June Smith Center as a national philanthropy. Dr. S. June Smith, founder of the Center, was a lifelong Kappa Kappa Chapter member. Because the national service focus of Alpha Sigma Alpha is to support individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, the S. June Smith Center was a natural choice as a beneficiary.

 

Sorority members and alumnae chapters regularly contribute their time and talents, as they have made a lifetime commitment to philanthropy and community service.
Alpha Sigma Alpha Philanthropy Resources

 

S. June Smith Center Amazon Wish Lists:
Birth to Three
Preschool
S.P.L.A.S.H.
General/Office

Have Questions?

If you have a question and would like to speak with someone at Excentia, please direct your inquiry to one of our Program Champions. Our Program Champions can be reached by phone during their office hours or you can send them an email.

We know that life is complicated. We can figure it out - together.

Preschool

Early Childhood

Therapists

Robin Williams Harnish, M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech Language Pathologist, Infant Toddler Program; S.P.L.A.S.H. Program

Terri L. Hess M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, Preschool

Amy Dearing, M.A. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Infant-Toddler and Preschool Programs

Joy Rice M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Preschool

Heather Appelbaum Smith M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, Early Childhood

Anne Leonhart, M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Infant-Toddler Program

Mary Antes M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Early Childhood

Julie A. Kramer M.S. CCC/SLP

Speech and Language Pathologist, S. June Smith Center, Early Childhood

Patricia Krause, MPT

Physical Therapist, S. June Smith Center

Jeane Bowerman MPT

Physical Therapist, Early Intervention

Julie Zimmerman

Physical Therapist Assistant, Preschool

June Gehman-Deane, MPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist, S. June Smith Center, Early Childhood

Nancy Bentz Herrmann, PT, PCS

Pediatric Physical Therapist, Early Intervention - Birth to Three and Preschool

Kristin "Kiki" Davis

Occupational Therapist, Birth to Three and Preschool Early Intervention

Erica Wentzel, MOT, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Birth to Three

Marcia Maslo Leo

Occupational Therapist, S. June Smith Center

Michelle Rutt OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Early Intervention, Birth to Three

Donna Walton-Gibbs, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, S.June Smith Center, Early Childhood

Peggy Bennett, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist, Birth to Three Program

Carol Johnston

Special Instructor/Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Infant-Toddler

Jennifer Creason

,

Jessica Brown

,

Preschool

Susan Oberholtzer

Preschool Special Education Teacher and Associate Director of Preschool Services, Early Childhood - Preschool

Ariel Leader

Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood - Preschool

Sally McKinney

Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood - Preschool

Alannah Babauta

Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood - Preschool

Related Articles

Making "Book Time" Fun

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Research tells us that early experiences with books have an incredibly significant impact on a child’s language and learning. Many of us know that books are a great way for children to learn new vocabulary words and begin to learn about letters and words. Furthermore, book-sharing experiences early on can create positive feelings toward books. Think about it: your child is cuddled in your lap, with your full attention, interacting with you, his loving caregiver!  The positive emotional experience promotes a love of book, one that can carry on into the school years and beyond. Here are some tips for making “book time” a fun time for toddlers:     Choose books that are visually simple. Look at the illustrations on the pages. Are they very busy with a lot of details? This might be too much visual information for a young child. I like starting out with board books that have a few pictures on each page, preferably brightly-colored photo-style pictures of objects that are familiar to a child. The “Bright Baby” series is a good example.   Choose books with simple language. Young children respond best to books with few words, and better yet, repetition throughout the book. A favorite of mine is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” by Eric Carle.  The beautiful, brightly colored images on each page, combined with the simple, repetitive language, make it a great choice.   Books whose words have a natural cadence or rhythm are enticing to children. For young children who might not be ready to attend to the words in a book, this rhythm or cadence can be an attractive quality. Try to read the book with this quality in your voice.  Another favorite of mine is “Moo Baa La La La” by Sandra Boynton.   There’s no need to ask a lot of questions. For some children, asking questions or trying to have them name pictures or repeat your words can turn the experience into a negative one. This is particularly true for children with delayed speech, language, and/or cognitive skills. It is perfectly okay for your child to remain silent!  It is better to have the child engaged non-verbally than to pressure him/her into talking. How can you do this?  Point out and name pictures.  Instead of asking a question, rephrase it as a comment:  “I wonder where the star is. Oh, I found it!”   Follow your child’s lead. Name the pictures he or she points to.  If your child is not yet pointing, try to attend to his/her eye gaze: What is he/she looking at?  Keep your language simple. You don’t need to do a lot of talking for a successful book-sharing activity!   Make your own books! Children love to look at pictures of people and items they know and love.  The easiest way to do this is to take pictures and place them into a 4×6 photo album.  You can take pictures of family, friends, favorite toys, and familiar objects.  Or, make a photo album with pictures from a fun outing or event your child participated in.   Try books with different textures or other interesting elements, such as mirrors. These can be interesting for children.  However, pay attention to how your child responds. Some children can get so fixated on these elements that it can be very difficult to engage them in other aspects of the book-sharing experience. This is especially true for books with buttons that make sounds. Sometimes the child becomes overly interested in pushing the buttons to hear the sounds.   Remember that the goal is to create a positive, enjoyable experience for your child. This will help prepare your child to be a successful reader later on!

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Routines are Learning Opportunities

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My kids haven’t been infants or toddlers for more years than I would care to mention, but my memory of those times would be that those days were anything but “routine.” I think that most families with young kids feel like the only thing routine about their day is “unpredictability.” For most people, a routine is doing the same thing, at the same time and in the same way each day. When trying to use routines as a learning opportunity for kids I find that parents or caregivers often respond that they don’t have a routine.   What does it mean to teach children during daily routines? We think of routines as the parts of your day that have a start and a finish.  This changes our thinking from a schedule to events. I would like to note that for most people schedules seem to imply structure.  While young children thrive on structure and predictability this article is focusing on how to use your daily routines to enhance your child’s learning.   Figuring out your Routine All families are different however we all generally share routines that involve eating, playing, bathing and bedtime.  These routines are great learning opportunities for any child.  For example, when your child is learning to walk, you might carry her to the highchair for breakfast or you could use that opportunity and help her walk to the highchair instead.   Ideas for using Routines as Learning Opportunities First, consider these questions: Think about the daily routines of your family. What skills are you child working to master?  Where are they in their development? What are your priorities as a parent? Consider your own needs. For example, my son was not a morning child.  On the days that I needed to get him to daycare, getting out the door on time was my only goal.  It probably took him longer to learn to dress himself than it took his friends but I was confident that he would learn it one day. In the morning I just didn’t have the time to make it a priority for him to practice that skill. On the other hand, he was a late talker so it was a priority to bring communication strategies into our daily lives. Take the high priority skills your child is learning and your daily routine to see how many opportunities you can give your child for mastering a skill. Practice, Practice, Practice – young children love repetition!   Using Routine Based Learning for kids with unique developmental needs Back in the day (as my grown-up children say), as a young occupational therapist, I would meet the family of a child in the waiting room of a specialized clinic, take the child away for “my” therapy, and return them to their parents at the end of 30 minutes with instructions for “their” home therapy program. Thank goodness we have evolved to understand that parents are the most important and most consistent teacher that children will have.  We have also recognized that children learn best when the task is relevant to their interests and needs.  Out of this research, we have what we call Routines-based Intervention. This process is more natural and creates a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience for your child. Those 30 minutes of therapy that I was able to give a child made little impact on his/her development compared to the number of minutes a child can practice each week with caregivers who have learned to enrich their routines with the learning opportunities that are so important to young children. My role as a therapist has changed from working in a one-to-one situation with the child to being a mentor and coach to the family.  I believe that with my background in development and the family’s knowledge of their child, their activities, and their priorities, we become a powerful team that can problem-solve and invent unique ways to help young children master new skills.

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Communication Through Music

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When music casts is magical spell on us, it can impact our feelings, make us have fun, trigger memories, and it can facilitate language development. The power of music is well-documented and well understood by those who have experienced it.   In my experience as a speech language pathologist, I have seen the positive impacts of music in all aspects of my career. From infancy to elderly, music is powerful.  I have further proof of this having been privileged to work in one of the S June Smith Center of Excentia’s preschool classrooms. We have the great honor of working with Certified Music Therapist, Katie Eshelman, over the past few years.  And because of the obvious benefits of music, I implement it in my therapy and coaching with families daily.  Below I will share a few ideas for how music can be used to support communication development.   1. Fun: One reason why music works for learning, is because it’s fun. There are affordable resources available such as youtube.com or Pandora Radio.  You can have fun with your child by watching videos on youtube.com or listening to music together. This removes you from the demand of teaching your child, and enables you to create fun, silly, dancing, sound-making memories with your little one… who will most likely learn to request or remember parts of the song because they will have so much fun doing the activity with you. Pandora Stations to create for children: Raffi, Toddler, Family Road Trip. Youtube videos to watch together: Laurie Berkner Band, The Wiggles, Barney songs, movie clips from a favorite movie (I have watched the Frozen song video for “Let it Go” with many families!), or any band or song your child seems to like.   2. Repetition: Repetition facilitates learning, and repetition is much more fun in the context of song! Use song to repeat ideas and build vocabulary. Sing the same sound or word repeatedly to the tune of a familiar song. (i.e. To the Tune of B-I-N-G-O sing- “Sarah puts her jacket on, she puts her jacket on, jacket on on on, jacket on on on, jacket on on on and now her jacket’s on!”) Sing repetitive songs (Old McDonald, 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, etc). Make a song up using 1 or 2 words to whatever tune you want!   3. Gestures: Pairing movements with song/sound can often help facilitate sounds more easily, make the use of sounds more fun, and increase the child’s attention to the words/sounds. Use of gestures is also helpful for children already using or learning sign language. Singing songs that incorporate gestures is a great way to develop these skills. Songs that are easily paired with gestures include: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees Toes, Wheels on the Bus.   4. During routines: Singing about what we are doing throughout the day makes learning the narratives and vocabulary of our routines more exciting. Any routine can be made into a song. Bed time, bath time, waking up, potty, washing hands, etc. (Again, use words to the tune of a familiar song, or make a song up!)   5. Sentence Completion: You can help your child increase their independent ability to produce words and sounds by using a “sentence completion” approach with repetitive songs.  The steps for using this approach are as follows: Sing a familiar and enjoyable song with your little one enough times that you become confident that they have learned it. Continue to sing the song with them, but begin to implement an occasional pause at a familiar part that you know your child likes. (I.e. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider __pause___”) Look at the child with an expectant, excited face… and wait. If they do not respond, you can model the correct word “OUT” with over emphasis and exaggeration. And try again. Eventually, your child may learn to complete the sentence on their own!   Hopefully, you will find some of these ideas helpful and maybe even find that you will also have fun in the process of using music to help children with communication development!

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