MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.-- A new business on Smith Avenue in Mount Kisco is already the talk of the town.
Talk of the Town, at 39 Smith Ave., is a speech and language therapy center co-founded and owned by Shaina Rotstein, a Norwalk resident, and Carla Commisso-Kelvin, who lives in Pawling, N.Y.
The center assists people from one to 21 with speech and language issues, as well as helping people learn social skills, organizational skills and time management,
The center opened in July with the goal of making people feel at home. Parents can watch their kids lessons on an iPad in the waiting room, and there is a fun room where kids can learn while going down a slide, shooting a basketball or jumping on a trampoline.
Talk of the Town even has a washer-dryer to drive home the at home feeling.
"We use these set-ups to help teach kids in a variety of ways," Rotstein said. "We want to set it up like a little house so they can bring home their lessons and replicate it.
Rotstein and Commissio-Kelvin said they want to help impart everyday life experiences.
"They can have fun which helps them absorb the lesson," Commissio-Kelvin said.
Commisso-Kelvin and Rotstein had been working in the field for years and felt the time was right to apply their philosophy to one community.
"We fell in love with Mount Kisco and Smith Avenue," Commissio-Kelvin said. "There are so many offices that are not office building. It lends itself our home theme. It really does feel like a house."
At Talk of the Town, Rotstein and Commissio-Kelvin work with kids with a range of issues, including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
"We give them a context and a way to express their ideas," Rotstein said. "We give them the executive functioning to help organize and place things. We teach them organization, planning and time management."
Commissio-Kelvin said they teach kids how to use evidence to express their thoughts and make good decisions.
"A lot of children with autism are not reading social cues," Commissio-Kelvin said. "They don't pick up the information or are not picking it up fast enough."
They often use cooking as examples, teaching kids how to make macaroni and cheese by knowing when water is boiling and by knowing when to wash out a dirty pan.
"We help them use reasoning skills," Rotstein said. "We develop their perspective skills."
The job requires a lot of patience, and Rotstein and Commissio-Kelvin said it takes a lot of time to develop a learning strategy for each child, since everyone is different.
"Everyone has their own specific skill-set," Commissio-Kelvin said.
They say speech therapy has evolved through the years and that kids that previously "slipped through the cracks" are now being discovered and getting the therapy and learning strategies they need.
Commissio-Kelvin and Rotstein are required to take continuing education classes to maintain their licenses in Connecticut and New York. They said it is all worth it when they see a student have a breakthrough.
"It's amazing," Commissio-Kelvin said. "To see them finally get the concept and when their parents see them saying a word for the first time, it is one of the most rewarding things."
Commissio-Kelvin and Rotstein said a child might need speech or language therapy if they are not hitting usual milestones with their speech, or may be sloppy and disorganized. Teachers saying a student lacks focus is another warning sign.or if student rushes through or takes too long for an assignment.
"We help bring language to life," Rotstein said.
For more information on Talk of the Town, visit www.talkofthetownspeech.com or call 914-244-9600
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