Speech Pathology & Audiology

The Stavros Niarchos Center for Speech Pathology and Audiology provides evaluations and therapy services to children with varying acquired, congenital, neurological and developmental disorders. The clinical expertise of the department leads to better outcomes for children with medical-based speech and feeding needs.

Contact information

Rita Erlbaum Kotorac, CCC-SLP, Director of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Referral Information

To make a referral for outpatient therapy services, please download our referral form

Outpatient Referral Form

About Our Department

Blythedale is has a staff of more than 25 highly trained Speech-Language Pathologists. These therapists are passionate about the field and dedicated to the children and families that they serve. They strive to optimize success by developing customized treatment plans which includes collaboration with other team members. Our therapists also understand that parental involvement is a key component to a child's success, incorporating parents into the child's programs to optimize skill developmental and carryover to the home.

Our Services

Speech and Feeding Therapy

Blythedale is skilled in diagnosing subtle developmental differences that are often difficult to identify. We provide services in the areas of language (understanding and expression of thoughts), speech (or clarity), voice, fluency (or stuttering), pragmatic (or social language) and feeding (dysphagia). 

The department provides both individual and group therapy services, depending on what best matches the child's needs at any given time.

We work diligently to include families in the therapy programs to enhance carryover and skill generalization. Blythedale has state-of-the-art evaluation, technology and therapy tools. We also strive for ongoing clinical education so that we can provide cutting-edge, evidence-based intervention programs.

These interventions support each child’s customized treatment plan to allow each child to realize his or her potential, restore function and move forward. Empowering families with knowledge and skills through ongoing education also enhances the rehabilitation process.


The Audiology Department in The Stavros Niarchos Center for Speech & Audiology strives to identify hearing loss and manage the hearing impaired inpatient and outpatient pediatric populations at Blythedale Children’s Hospital. 

Specialty services are available in the following areas:

Assistive Technology which includes identifying and training children in use of a high or low-tech communication device when there is a mismatch between understanding and ability to express thoughts.

Which includes: 

  • Working with infants as they acquire or improve the ability to coordinate suck, swallow eat and breathing
  • Behavioral feeders
  • Working with children who can eat but don't due to sensory or medical complications, such as Gastro Esophageal Reflux and allergies
  • Working with children with functional weakness of the muscles in the mouth that influences the ability to drink and eat foods of varying consistencies

Traumatic Brain Injury, which includes working with children who have suffered an accident or medical issue (such as a stroke or tumor) has resulting in loss of language.

Passy Muir Speaking Valve (PMV), for tracheostomy patients, which includes working with pediatrician, pulmonologist, and respiratory therapists to identify candidates for use to build tolerance when prescribed.

Blythedale Children's Hospital is pleased to announce that it has opened an additional classroom within its popular Day Hospital program for young children with specialized medical needs.

Children admitted to the half-day program receive daily medical supervision and nursing care, comprehensive rehabilitation services (including physical, occupational, speech and/or feeding therapy), and specialized programming in a classroom setting designed to promote development and socialization.

Programs are individualized to meet each child's unique needs, and snack and lunch are provided. Children as young as 13-months old may be eligible, pending evaluation.

Click here to learn more!

Speech Pathology & Audiology Team

Profile photo for Rita Erlbaum Kotorac, C.C.C.-S.L.P.

Rita Erlbaum Kotorac, CCC-SLP

Director of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Marnina Allis

Marnina Allis, CCC- SLP, ATP

Assistant Director of Speech Pathology/Assistive Technology Professional

Profile photo for Ida  Wise, Au.D., C.C.C.

Ida Wise, AuD, CCC

Senior Audiologist

Treatments We Support

With the only dedicated post-acute pediatric brain injury unit in New York State - specifically constructed to treat children and adolescents with brain injuries - and our expertly trained clinical team, Blythedale is uniquely positioned to provide the best environment for recovery.

As technology continues to advance, children with special needs are becoming increasingly more integrated into the world around them. Blythedale's comprehensive Assistive Technology program, one of only a few such programs in New York State, is opening doors for these children.

Blythedale is the only specialty children’s hospital in New York State with the capability of providing the highest level of medical care and rehabilitation for children recovering from complex medical conditions, including childhood cancers.

Blythedale’s commitment to the highest level of medical and rehabilitative care, and ongoing integration of the newest cardiac support technologies for medically fragile children, is evident in our Cardiac Rehabilitation program.

As an expert in helping medically fragile children achieve their highest potential, Blythedale is well-suited to help transition a child with multiple complex chronic conditions from hospital to home.

For children recovering from multiple traumatic injuries, extensive orthopedic surgery or complex surgery, Blythedale offers a highly specialized, integrated approach to care.

Blythedale is a center of excellence in treating children with complex burns and wounds. The goal of the complex wound rehabilitation team is to obtain maximum autonomy and functionality while maintaining the optimal integrity of the healing wound or grafts with scar control.

Blythedale is widely recognized as a leader in treating children with rare conditions, spinal cord injury, neuromuscular disorders including muscular dystrophy and other myopathies, neuropathies, motor neuron diseases and neuromuscular junction disorders as well as complex genetic syndromes.

Blythedale has a commitment to achieving the best outcomes for infants coming for intensive rehabilitation following Neonatal Intensive Care stays. With a staff of full-time neonatologists overseeing the care our infants, and the addition of neonatal fellows, Blythedale continues to push the boundaries of what post-acute neonatal care can provide to medically fragile infants.

Pulmonary hypertension is relatively rare, occurring in only two children per one million. Despite its low occurrence, Blythedale treated 30 children with pulmonary hypertension last year.

Blythedale’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is widely recognized as a national center of excellence due to the Hospital’s extraordinary success weaning fragile infants and children from respiratory support machines for an improved quality of life. Our parent training programs help ensure that caregivers are both confident and competent in caring for their child.

At Blythedale Children’s Hospital, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, pediatric attending staff supports infants, children and adolescents prior to and following complicated transplant procedures including heart, liver, kidney, bowel, and even multi-organ transplants.

As the only pediatric specialty hospital in New York State, Blythedale Children’s Hospital has the ability to evaluate and treat complex feeding difficulties in children with a team of pediatric specialists who work exclusively with medically fragile children.