Phone: 201-943-1861

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Masters of the Arts , Speech Pathology Bachelor of the Arts, Communication Sciences and Disorders Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA NJ License NJLYS003053 Certified TalkTools Instructor Beckman Certified PROMPT Trained Certified Orofacial Myologist

Mrs. Robyn Merkel-Walsh MA, CCC-SLP/COM®

Robyn Merkel-Walsh MA, CCC-SLP/COM® is a Licensed Speech Pathologist and Certified Orofacial Myologist® with over 25 years of experience in the state of NJ. She is employed full time by the Ridgefield Board of Education and runs a private practice in Ridgefield, NJ. She has been elected NJ Kids Top Doctors in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018. Mrs. Walsh is proud to have been awarded a highly effective teacher by her administrators.

Robyn specializes in oral-placement, feeding and orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) in children. Her private practice focuses on oral-placement Disorders in children who have muscle-based or motor-based speech sound disorders, feeding issues or Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs).  She conducts evaluations and Program Plans for children across the tri-state area. Her publications include: SMILE (Systematic Intervention for Lingual Elevation), Art Talk, Handy Handouts, OPTS Kit, and she co-authored Sensory Stix, A Sensory Motor Approach to Feeding, The Functional Assessment and Remediation of TOTs and OPT Goals for Speech Clarity. She has also written numerous articles for the TalkTools® website, Ages and Stages and Advance Magazine for Speech Pathologists. As a subject matter expert in Tethered Oral Tissues (ankyloglossia/tongue-tie/lip tie), Robyn  has been invited to speak in NYC with top TOTs surgeons and bodyworkers, and is an Ankyloglossia Bodyworker Preferred Provider. Robyn was invited as a keynote speaker  in 2018 at the International Association of Orofacial Myology where she spoke on orofacial myofunctional disorders in complex populations. Robyn is also the creator of a new webinar series with topics on OMD, autism, lisps, feeding in the schools,  word choices, tongue thrust  and craniofacial structure/disorders. Robyn has presented numerous posters and lectures at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. She is the Associate Editor of the International Journal of orofacial Myology and was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics. 

(Baxter, R., Merkel-Walsh, R., Baxter, B. S., Lashley, A., & Rendell, N. R. (2020). Functional improvements of speech, feeding, and sleep after lingual frenectomy tongue-tie release: A prospective cohort study. Clinical Pediatrics, 000992282092805).

Robyn is a national and international lecturer for professional enhancement courses as part of TalkTools®  Speakers Bureau. She  teaches OPT, Feeding, Orofacial Myofunctional , TOTs and Autism classes that have been offered for ASHA CEs, and has been invited to speak on Oral Placement and related disorders by the New Milford Board of Education, The Apraxia Network, AAPPSPA , IAOM, Untethered Podcast, Conversations in Speech with Jeff Stepan, AOTA and the MOSAIC Foundation. She is actively involved in parental support groups for CAS, TOTs and autism, and monitors an interactive Oral Placement Discussion Board on Facebook. Robyn was a chief clinician in a research project for the Moebius Foundation, and trains Level 3 and 4 Talk Tools candidates.   She spoke at the ASHA Connect Conference 2016  and attended the 2016 ASHA Convention where she spoke on Self-Limited Diets in Children on the Autism Spectrum and in 2018 and 2019 when she spoke on TOTs: A Hot Topic with Lori Overland and the SLPs Role in Post-Frenectomy Care. She was once again accepted to speak at the 2020 ASHA Convention, but due to COVID the vent was canceled. . Mrs. Walsh also published a poster for ASHA 2017 conference for her research on assessing ankyloglossia in children. In 2019, she published multiple posters with Renee Roy-Hill and  Lori Overland on various topics regarding orofacial myology. Moving forward to the virtual 2020, Mrs. Walsh will be a keynote speaker for Gold Lactation on post-operative TOTs care as well as Feeding Foundations: Connect and Collaborate where she will teach speech pathologists how to conduct proper structural assessments. 

Robyn works closely with otolaryngologists(ENTs) and orthodontists throughout Bergen County and also collaborates with numerous professions in the school setting to ensure the students at Bergen Blvd. school have the best plan of care for educational success. Mrs. Walsh has won two ACE Awards from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association which signifies Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists that meet the requirements of the ACE by earning seven ASHA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) which is equivalent to 70 contact hours in a thirty-six month period. This indicated that she has taken 140 contact hours in continuing education in the past 3 years. Credit toward the ACE must be earned within a three-year period; however, some individuals complete the requirements in less time and are awarded successive ACEs in less than three years. ASHA encourages professionals to continue learning throughout their professional career and to maintain current knowledge and skills. Mrs. Merkel-Walsh joins a select group of individuals who have made a concerted, personal effort to continue professional learning beyond an academic degree and takes pride in how this helps assist her students.

For example, Mrs. Walsh used the introduction of teletherapy in our program, as an opportunity to take self-study courses on telepractice and to work closely with parents to be speech and language facilitators, as well as learning how to use oral motor tools. Throughout the COVID pandemic she has worked closely with the New Jersey Speech and Hearing Association as a volunteer, and collaborated with Pat Pine, RDH, COM® colleague and OSHA instructor to learn about proper disinfection, sanitization and proper PPE for speech pathologist working in a variety of settings. 

Robyn received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Montclair State University, where she was later invited to be an adjunct/clinical supervisor. She also taught classes at Bergen Community College, and is a former clinical site coordinator for Seton Hall University and was recently an invited guest virtual speaker at Kean University. She was also clinical site supervisor for Malloy College here with the RBOE. She is a member of ASHA, NJSHA, the NJEA, AAPPSPA, IAOM, ICAP and The Bergen County Apraxia Association.  She is the Board Chair of the Oral Motor Institute which was founded by Pamela Marshalla. She served on a term on the NJSHA Board of Directors and was the co-chair of the Private Practice committee along with DR. Jennifer Moore , PROMPT Instructor. She is the volunteer CE coordinator for Pam Marshalla and Associates.

Mrs. Walsh is married to Christopher Walsh and has a son Jaden. Her family has 2 cats named Pinky and Vader. The family enjoys trips to Disney, Star Wars Movies and day trips to NYC.  Mrs. Walsh's hobbies are cooking and shopping  and her favorite music is Yacht Rock Radio.

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EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY
 
"I believe the children are our future , teach them well and let them lead the way............." Whitney Houston
 
Robyn's educational philosophy is based on the ideology that all children are different, but yet all need to be treated the same........... with compassion and kindness. While a teacher can be a guide or a master, the apprentice who learns from that teacher will only do so if there is a mutual respect of learning style.
 
It is always the hope that the learner can someday become the teacher as well. This is when the true cycle of education is completed. Robyn has had the pleasure of some students who followed her path, and chose a career in speech pathology. What a great gift, when the apprentice becomes the master.
 
Years ago, when Robyn directed elementary school plays with various grades, she choreographed a number the the song "Hands" by Jewel. The lyrics read:
 
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
 
 
This song was a perfect representation of many of the children Robyn works with who are non-verbal. If we treat education with character and respect, everything else can fall into place. These children do have a voice, but it is finding the right key to unlock it that takes time and patience.