First Words Speech Therapy


About Us
Thank you for visiting First Words Speech Therapy, a private speech-language pathology practice serving children with communication disorder birth through 12 years of age. We are located in Long Beach, California and currently offer evaluation and intervention services at our clinic and in the home. Our therapists are extremely experienced, highly qualified, and have graduated from this country's top Speech-Language Pathology programs.

Melissa von Leffern, M.A, CCC- SLP
A proud graduate of San Diego State University (program ranked #1 in California by U.S. News and World Report), Melissa received a Masters of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology with an emphasis in Early Intervention (birth to three years). Melissa has also earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence and a Rehabilitative Services Credential in Language, Speech and Hearing. Professional experience has been achieved in various settings- including a private clinic, Special Education Center, Children's Hospital, and elementary schools. She is Hanen certified to run the “It Takes Two To Talk” and “More Than Words” programs, which teach family members how to become competent participants in language intervention. Melissa is PECS trained and has experience using picture exchange to facilitate communication in children with Autism and language delays. She is also qualified to provide the "Links to Language" Program - providing effective methods for training the language skills and managing the behavior of language-impaired children. When Melissa is not working, you can find her enjoying the company of her husband, friends and family, playing with her nieces and nephew, traveling, or scuba diving.

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