Shelton business expands operation as requests for service grow

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Children’s ability to master communication is significant in their development, and one Shelton speech and therapy operation has expanded to meet that ever-growing need.

As families learn more about the benefits of pediatric speech and occupational therapies, the Speech Pathology Group and Rehab Services of CT has seen a jump in requests for service, leading the business to expand its staff and relocate to larger space at 10 Progress Drive.

“Our practice has been steadily growing over the past years with the addition of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and applied behavior analysis services,” said Rachel Criscuolo, owner and speech language pathologist.

“The old space was great when we were only offering speech, but as our client needs grew, expansion was necessary for us all,” she added. “We are thrilled that we were able to relocate within Shelton and keep the move as close as possible for our families and staff.”

Speech Pathology Group and Rehab Services of CT had been in space on Beard Sawmill Road since 2015 before opening its new facility earlier this month.

The business’ speech therapy service is predominately the pediatric population, but the adult population — which began to grow during COVID — now makes up about 3 percent of the total business. The occupational, physical, and ABA therapies are all pediatric.

“When we began, we only offered speech and aquatic therapies,” Criscuolo said. “We began to expand into other services as requests came in from our current families, doctors’ offices, and new clients. So ultimately as we started to offer more services in our space our client population grew.

“We see many referrals from our current and former families, telling family and friends about us,” she added.

Criscuolo said the business has two locations — the one in Shelton and another at 519 Heritage Road in Southbury. She said they also have a partnership with The Center for Children with Special Needs in Glastonbury where her staff offers speech therapy for their clients.

“We also have many therapists working regularly in multiple school districts in the state,” said Criscuolo, adding that, overall, they have 75 employees between the two locations who see more than 200 patients.

This short distance relocation has allowed her team to grow from operating out of six therapy rooms and minimal waiting room space, to a recently updated 5,000-square-foot office that has more than 13 therapy rooms for speech, occupational, physical therapy and applied behavior analysis.

“This space has also allowed the entire administrative team to return to the office and work cohesively in the establishment,” Criscuolo said. “In addition to this new renovation, we are currently working on the indoor aquatic therapy pool on site that will soon be offering aquatic therapies again for our clients.”

Criscuolo said families are finding out that speech and other services are beneficial to anyone and everyone.

Pediatric speech therapy, she says, helps treat children with communication challenges, both in how they speak and how they understand communication. Speech therapy also treats oral motor concerns, such as chewing and swallowing, as well as articulation, auditory processing, and social skills.

“It’s very common for us to work with kids whose parents point out they are picky eaters or have a dislike for certain food textures and colors,” she said.

“Occupational therapy is a great service for children to help the play, improve school performance, and aids in their daily activities,” she added. “OT helps them develop their fine motor skills and will help with good handwriting or computer skills.”

The new clinic will not only offer the needed space for the current staff and clients, but also give them room to accept new clients and begin new programs.

Currently the business is finalizing plans for the full day kindergarten readiness program that will work within the ABA sector as well as adding transgender voice individualized and group sessions this summer.

“We are always looking to provide cutting-edge services that support our families and our communities,” Criscuolo said. “These are two areas that we have heard need support from clinicians as well as many prospective new clients calling about.”

The kindergarten readiness program allows for some group sessions that will help kids prepare more for a traditional school environment in their future.

“Our program is for patients with an autism diagnosis that can also receive individual services with us in addition to the readiness program,” she said. “This is a huge help for parents and not having to shuffle around the children to multiple locations throughout the day.”

Voice therapy, she said, can be a way for transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive people to alter the tone and pitch of their voice.

“Voice therapy encompasses a series of non-surgical interventions used to change key components of verbal speech that can help a person be audibly affirmed in their gender,” she said. “We will be offering individualized sessions as well as a monthly voice group where our patients can work together to successfully achieve their goals.”