Play for Real Therapy welcomes Amy Gadapee, MS, CCC-SLP, pediatric speech-language pathologist

PlaAmy Gadapee, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologisty for Real Therapy welcomes Amy Gadapee, MS, CCC-SLP, pediatric speech-language pathologist to our team!

Amy is excited to join the Play for Real staff!  She has 25 years of experience in a variety of settings, but Amy’s passion is early intervention and helping children learn to communicate effectively with their family and peers.

Amy has an undergraduate degree in American Sign Language with a specialty in Deaf Language Development. She began her career in the Pinellas County School system while also earning her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology.  She then moved to Jacksonville where she worked for Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital and Baptist Hospital providing inpatient and outpatient pediatric speech therapy for children birth through 16 years of age.  In 1998, Amy joined a private practice in St. Augustine, Florida and fell in love with Early Intervention Services and private practice.  This led her to begin researching best therapeutic intervention for children with childhood apraxia of speech.

In 2000, Amy and her husband decided to move back home to Titusville to raise their family. Since returning, she has worked part time as a contractor with Space Coast Early Intervention, Brevard County School System and Parrish Medical Center providing a wide range of pediatric therapy services including articulation, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), language, and feeding services. Amy is licensed by the Florida Department of Health and has her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA)

Amy and her husband have been married for 20 years and they have two teenage boys, Chace and Ian. Her spare time is spent supporting her boys as they pursue their passions of sports and the theater, which sometimes includes joining her son Ian on stage.


Meet Chelsea, our new admin assistant!

Our office staff - meet Chelsea, our office assistant Meet Chelsea, our new admin assistant!

Play for Real is delighted to welcome Chelsea Rhoades, admin assistant, to our team. She will be working Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm and Friday 9 am to 3 pm, so this is when you stand the best chance of getting a real person if you call our office!

Chelsea is a Mid-Western girl who grew up around cattle and cornfields for 22 years and then decided to make a change of scenery to a much more tropical view of the beach and palm trees. She was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from college in Missouri. Chelsea has a Bachelors Degree from Culver-Stockton College in Management, Marketing, and Communications, with an emphasis in sports. She has been living in Florida for close to 3 years and cannot get enough of the sunshine and great people.

During her time up north Chelsea spent most of her days on the court. She played collegiate volleyball for 5 years during her time at Culver-Stockton College and also coached a 12-14 year old youth girls team on her own for 3 years. Teamwork and working together plays a huge role in Chelsea’s life and makes her part of who she is today. Team work makes the dream work, and that is something she strongly believes in.

Some of Chelsea’s favorite things to do are to bake and cook. She has a huge sweet tooth! She also enjoys being outside and reading a good book.

Goodbye Kerry!

A photo of KerryGoodbye Kerry!

At the end of February, we said goodbye to Kerry Rowland, who had been a part of the Play for Real team for the last year. Kerry is going back to school to pursue a degree in education and we wish her every success in her future endeavors!

Please bear with us for the first week in March as we shall be without office support. We shall respond to your emails and phone messages but there may be a delay before we get back to you. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Watch this space for our new office assistant who will joining the Play for Real therapy team soon!

Welcome to Deb Bannon, MS, CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist

Play for Real Therapy welcomes Deb Bannon, MS, CCC-SLP, pediatric speech-language pathologist to our team!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Deb Bannon, MS, CCC-SLP, pediatric speech-language pathologist to our team! We are particularly happy that she has joined us at this time as, in the last quarter of 2017, we said goodbye to Miss Meg and Miss Liz, who had both decided the time had come to enjoy a full retirement.

She relocated  from Rhode Island to Florida in September of 2017 to be closer to her family and is excited to be working for Play for Real.  She attended the University of Rhode Island for both her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her graduate degree in Communicative Disorders.  Deb has 26 years of experience evaluating and treating children aged birth to high school that present with a wide range of communication impairments.  Her professional career began in Early Intervention in January 1991 where she worked providing speech-language services for the birth to 3 year old population.  In September 1992, she obtained a job providing services in a small rural school district where she enjoyed her career for last 25 years.  Most of her professional career was spent with children in the early elementary grades (K-2) who had a variety of speech language needs.  Deb has a passion for  working with children of all ages with speech, language, and learning needs helping them to build the foundational skills necessary for being successful communicators across settings.  

Deb is licensed by the Florida Department of Health, has lifetime certification from the State of Rhode Island Department of Education, and has her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).  She recently earned the Award for Continuing Education (ACE) from ASHA and strives to be a lifelong learner in her professional career.  

Deb has been married to her husband, David, for 33 years and has raised three beautiful daughters, Kristen, Jenn and Amy,  who also have careers in the helping professions (look for Jenn on our occupational therapy staff page!).  In her spare time, Deb enjoys spending time with her family and her pets, Ellie and Reese.  She loves taking walks on the beach, boating, exploring new places and living vicariously through her children and their adventures!  

Play for Real limited opening on Tuesday and open as usual from Wednesday

Play for Real limited opening on Tuesday and open as usual from Wednesday

We hope you all weathered the storm safely and with minimal damage! Play for Real Therapy Services will be open with a limited staff on Tuesday, September 12 and may offer some sessions in the afternoon as clients and staff are available. We will be open as usual from Wednesday September 13. Once again we hope you all fared well and look forward to seeing you all again as things get back to normal.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma

Play for Real Therapy Services will be closed Monday and Tuesday, September 11 and 12 while the storm passes over us. We tentatively plan to reopen on Wednesday September 13, assuming that we have electricity and there is no major damage to the clinic. If you have an appointment on Wednesday or Thursday and we have not contacted you, please call ahead to check we are open. We will try to keep you updated via the website and our voicemail.

We wish you all the best and please, stay safe!

Backpack Safety

Backpack safety

Backpack Safety

Schools will soon be back in session and children wearing backpacks to and from school will be a familiar sight once more. But did you know that heavy backpacks can cause long-term health problems if worn incorrectly? Here are some backpack safety tips to help your child.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is so concerned about this problem that they created National School Backpack Awareness Day to help children Live Life To Its Fullest by avoiding the pain and injury that can come from heavy backpacks and bags. They recently released these backpack buying tips and urge parents and caregivers to consider the following when selecting a backpack this school year:

Backpack Shopping Tips

  • Appropriate size. Make sure the height of the backpack extends from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or slightly above the waist.
  • Shoulders. Backpacks should have well-padded shoulder straps that can be worn on both shoulders so when packed with books, the weight can be evenly balanced by the student.
  • Hip belt. Backpacks with a hip or chest belt take some strain off sensitive neck and shoulder muscles and improve the student’s balance.
  • Fit. Just as your child will try on clothes and shoes when back-to-school shopping, experts say it is important to try on backpacks, too. “The right fit should be your top criteria when selecting your child’s backpack,” says Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CPE, clinical professor of occupational therapy at Boston University, and an expert on school ergonomics and healthy growth and development of school-age children. “If you order online, be sure that the seller has a return policy just in case the backpack is not quite the best fit for your child and needs to be exchanged.”

AOTA also recommends that, when school is back in session, check that your child’s backpack weighs no more than 10% of his or her body weight. If it weighs more, determine what supplies can stay at home or at school each day to lessen the load. If the backpack is still too heavy for the child, consider a book bag on wheels.

Here is a link to AOTA’s tips for backpack safety: 1, 2, 3’s of Basic Backpack Wearing,