The Mission of Advantage Speech Therapy Services
My mission is to provide a warm and loving environment where children love to play and play to learn and where parents and caregivers learn strategies to carryover skills and enhance therapeutic progress.
Robyn Drothler M.ED. CCC-SLP & Owner
As the owner of ASTS, Inc., I graduated from the College of Wooster in 1995 with an undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a minor in Psychology. I then worked for 3 years in the Manatee County School District in Florida after which I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Masters in Education in May 2000.
During my three years in Gwinnett County, post graduate, I earned my Certificate of Clinical Competence while also simultaneously working for other private therapy companies on the side. ASTS was founded in 2002.
I am an ASHA member and am both nationally and state certified with continuing post graduate education courses to continue to develop my knowledge in the field.
I have experience in, but am not limited to, Articulation/Phonological disorders, Developmental Delays, Autism/PDD, and Down Syndrome.
My Personal Philosophy
Reflecting back on my babysitting years, I think I always knew exactly what I was interested in, well before I was truly aware of it. I can remember times that I would be playing with the children I was babysitting and working on language tasks for no other reason than wanting to get them to talk or to help them to learn something new. So, once in college, I started taking required classes and landed on a Language Development in Children class and fell in love with it and only wanted more! The rest is history!
I value the experience I had at my undergraduate school - The College of Wooster (Ohio), as it gave me hands on experience at the undergraduate level since we had a Speech and Hearing Clinic right on campus. Upon entering graduate school, I felt years ahead of my peers because of the hands-on experience I had at my small liberal arts school compared to their larger universities without that experience.
I believe in having fun and "playing" with kids while they learn. My hope is that I make therapy seem like fun and they don't realize they are really "working." At the same time, I find that I take a structured approach and guide the therapy sessions in such a way to reach the goals I am wanting to achieve. Yet, if a child wants to share a story or tell me about a new game he/she got, I'm all about working "that" into the session. I want to make therapy reflect real life and what they are interested in so that it's not about worksheets and specifically drilling a certain sound, but working on words they say and using topics they are interested in.
I love using my iPad in therapy as it works as a motivational tool as well as a fun learning tool. There are so many apps out there that help kids in all different ways that even a simple game can have underlying bonuses! I remember when I got my first iPhone with only a few apps and was working with a non-verbal child. All it took was showing him a few fun things he would be able to do on my phone "if only" he would sign/say something to earn it. Sure enough it worked! He was working hard to play on my phone after that! I was happy that my purchase was for a greater good than just making calls!
I've been working in the field long enough to know that I feel much more effective as a therapist working privately, one on one, with kids compared to the school system. Not only do I see more progress and achievement towards goals, but the parents are also more involved and there is more carryover of skills as a result.
- Robyn Drothler
Natalie Bowen M.ED. CCC-SLP
Natalie graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with her undergraduate degree in English literature and a minor in religious studies. Her love of learning and language led her back to the University of Virginia in 2014 for a graduate program in speech language pathology after she spent a year working as an instructional assistant in a regional autism program at a Virginia middle school.
After graduate school, Natalie worked as a school SLP at both an elementary and high school. There she worked with students ages 3-21 with a variety of speech and language needs including students with developmental delays, social communication disorders, articulation/phonological disorders, language disorders, and students with ASD. She is excited to be moving to the Atlanta area with her husband and to be joining Advantage Speech Therapy!
Since graduate school, I have been known to quite literally “get on the child’s level.”
A supervisor once told me that she knew it was my session when she walked into the observation room and couldn’t see anyone…because I was crawling on the floor with the 2-year-old I was working with. That is still my mantra—Get on the child’s level. Every child is different, so this does not mean the same thing for each child, but figuring it out is the fun part!
My goal is to provide a safe environment in which I can help a child go from where they are to where they could be. As the clinician, I want to be the bridge between the skills the child has already mastered and the skills the child has yet to achieve. The first step in this process is to determine where the child is, and the next step is to develop goals and targets to help move the child along in their speech and language development.
The process of developing and targeting goals involves cooperation and coordination between the parents, other therapists, daycare providers, teachers and myself. I enjoy this process, and I am more than happy to talk to the school speech language pathologist, the ABA therapist, OT, and whoever else works with your child to make sure that we are all supporting one another.
In terms of therapy sessions, sometimes therapy sessions will look like more structured drills and other times this will look like incorporating goals into an activity the child has selected. I bring a variety of toys and activities to each session and I often let the child lead by selecting an item that peaks his or her interest. Next, we will use this as a starting point to address the target goals. This is something that I encourage parents to do as well with their children. If your child wants to play ball over and over again, maybe you can incorporate practice on speech sounds inbetween tosses; if your child loves reading the same books, maybe today we can talk about all of the actions in the pictures (bird flying, toads jumping) and tomorrow we can talk about the location of the animals. Where are they? On the grass? On the road? In the tree? My favorite part of therapy is the synergy that happens when structure meets creativity. And I just love those eureka moments where skills that were previously difficult, “click!”