To equip children with hearing loss and their families with a foundation for lifelong learning through listening and spoken language and to build productive partnerships in research, professional training, and collaborative outreach programs to promote best practices in language learning for children with hearing loss.
Who We Are
Potomac River Clinic is a non-profit agency providing an array of services for children with hearing loss and their families. Programs are anchored by Auditory-Verbal Therapy both at our MacArthur Boulevard Center and throughout the Washington Metropolitan Region. The transdisciplinary staff includes professionals in audiology, deaf education, and speech language pathology with specific expertise in the oral language development of children with hearing loss. Team members are skilled in the use of state-of-the-art hearing technology and act as coaches and guides for families to support development of auditory skills, facilitate spoken language, create supportive listening environments, and integrate listening and language into the routines of family life. An Auditory-Verbal Approach relies on the natural developmental patterns of audition, speech, language, cognition, and communication, while promoting education in mainstream schools with typical hearing peers who have typical hearing and with appropriate services from early childhood onwards. Ongoing formal and informal diagnostic assessments are used to develop individualized treatment plans, to monitor progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention for the child and family.
In addition to center-based therapy, Potomac River Clinic partners with public and private agencies to provide children and families with innovative programs and to support professionals in the field of hearing loss. Educational services and early intervention are provided through contracts with school districts and local agencies. Expertise of the organization is shared through professional development program and parent workshops. Innovative programs to target listening and language for children with hearing loss include theater workshops for elementary students, music-based classes for preschoolers and parents, and targeted academic support for children with hearing loss. Potomac River Clinic also works with leaders on the state and national level to advocate for issues related to early identification and intervention.
Dr. Adams holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and a minor in Business from the University of Kentucky. She received her Clinical Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) from The Ohio State University. Dr. Adams completed her externship at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children in San Antonio, Texas, where her desire for educational audiology and early intervention developed. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, she served as a pediatric and educational audiologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Dr. Elizabeth Adams Costa is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at the Potomac River Clinic. Dr. Adams holds a BA with Distinction from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts in Psychology and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University. Dr. Adams specializes in child development, and has expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children with behavioral, cognitive, and developmental differences. Dr. Adams provides training and education to graduate students in psychology and related fields, and is a certified Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) therapist and trainer. Dr. Adams is an active clinical researcher, and serves as a special population consultant for Pearson Clinical on the assessment of children with hearing loss. She has published on topics including parenting stress associated with a diagnosis of hearing loss, parent support in the intervention process, the cognitive assessment of children with hearing loss, and cognitive profiles of children with cochlear implants and hearing aids.
Dr. Addington, our skilled pediatric audiologist, joined our clinic as an extern in 2020 and transitioned to a full-time audiologist in 2021. She holds a BA in Hearing and Speech Sciences and a Clinical Doctorate of Audiology (AuD) from the University of Maryland – College Park. During her academic journey, Dr. Addington completed clinical rotations at The River School, where she appreciated the collaborative environment among staff, students, and parents. Additionally, her involvement in a cochlear implant lab fostered her love for cochlear implants. With a focus on pediatrics, cochlear implants, and early intervention, she brings expertise and enthusiasm to our team, providing exceptional care to our patients. In her leisure time, Dr. Addington enjoys participating in trivia, spending quality time with her spouse and close-knit family, and indulging in her love for reading books.
Liz Farrelly, M.S.Ed. CCC-SLP, received her Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University and Master of Science Education from Old Dominion University. She is a board-certified speech language pathologist with clinical experience in early intervention, autism spectrum disorder, and language acquisition. Liz particularly enjoys the parent coaching aspect of speech therapy, as it empowers parents to apply strategies and confidently guide their child as they grow. She has been in the field for four years and was previously at a private clinic before coming to work at River.
Sasha Grunza, M.S. CCC-SLP, received a dual degree from West Chester University, graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Disorders and a Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education. She received her Masters of Science from Gallaudet University in 2015. She is a board-certified speech language pathologist with clinical experience in preschool and elementary language development, social pragmatic language coaching, and articulation disorders. Sasha has training in a variety of therapeutic approaches and interventions for phonological disorders, apraxia, social pragmatic difficulties, and written language interventions. She has a passion for integrating yoga, literacy, and play within her therapy.
Sanjana Jayaram M.A. CCC-SLP is a board-certified speech language pathologist with clinical experience in pediatrics, early intervention, she has previously worked as a behavioral therapist for 5 years, where she collaborated with and coached children with autism and their families in order to foster independence, communication skills and self-advocacy. Her passion lies working in autism and early intervention and collaborating with children and their families in order to support and strengthen the development of each individual child and their family!
Nancy Mellon became Executive Director of the Potomac River Clinic in 2010 when the Potomac River Clinic partnered and co-located with The River School. Nancy founded The River School in April 1999 and has served as its Head of School since the School’s opening in January 2000. She earned a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. From 1994 to 2001, Ms. Mellon served as Clinical Coordinator of the Listening Center at Johns Hopkins, the cochlear implant program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Nancy was a founding board member at The River School and currently serves as Vice-President; she also sits on the Board of Trustees of Potomac River Clinic and River ACCESS. She served as the public member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Governmental Relations Public Policy Board for six years, and is currently serving her second year as Board President of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington.
Will Mellon is the Billing Coordinator at the Potomac River Clinic. He holds a BA in Psychology and History from Skidmore College and previously served as the a research and clinical assistant at the Potomac River Clinic since 2015. Will now helps in handling the billing processes, answering phone calls, and liaising with insurance companies on behalf of our patients. As the first point of contact for our patients, he warmly assists them with their inquiries and ensures that their intake process is smooth and efficient. Being a cochlear implant user since the age of two, Will’s personal experience enables him to deeply empathize and connect with our patients. In his free time, Will enjoys reading and hiking.
Gloria holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Literature, as well as a Master’s of Education of the Deaf. She is a certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist and holds certification as a Teacher of the Deaf. She has worked with children and their families for more than fourteen years. Her experiences include supporting mainstream students with hearing loss in areas of language and academics, as well as individualized instruction in speech and auditory skills. Gloria has become a mentor to others in the field because of her expertise in the Auditory-Verbal approach to therapy for deaf children. Her interests include integrating technology into intervention and using a whole-child approach, and working with children with additional disabilities.
Dr. Sharlene Ottley obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology from Andrews University. After completing her masters in Speech-Language Pathology at Gallaudet Univeristy with an emphasis in Pediatric Aural Rehabilitation, Dr. Ottley spent time in Mexico as a missionary, where she taught English and courses and completed coursework in Spanish. Dr. Ottley has worked in variety of outpatient, early intervention, and school based settings providing services to children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including those with hearing loss and Spanish-English bilingual students. She completed her PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders, with focus on children with cochlear implants from bilingual Spanish/English speaking homes. Dr. Ottley recently lead the Intensive Literacy Enrichment Activities for Diverse Populations (I-LEAD) program, funded by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. This program was designed to meet the needs of diverse populations from low-income backgrounds with hearing loss, with a goal of improving access to services in this population. The primary goal was to employ a variety of interactive reading techniques in an intensive summer program in order to improve overall receptive and expressive vocabulary and language skills. Dr. Ottley has overseen and conducted a number of research projects related to language development and use and literacy development in children with hearing loss.
Meredith Ouellette is the Director of Clinical Services at the Potomac River Clinic. Ms. Ouellette holds a BS from the University of Florida, specialized coursework in Communication Disorders from Howard University, and a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Gallaudet University. She supervises all the clinical operations of both Potomac River Clinic and The River School, has experience providing individual speech and language therapy to children with hearing loss, and participates in clinical research projects relating to outcomes in children with cochlear implants. Ms. Ouellette has certification/training in cochlear implant rehabilitation; PROMPT Oral Motor Training; and in the evaluation and treatment of children with Apraxia of speech. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Gallaudet University and The George Washington University.
Erin Royer Shetter is the Director of Development for Potomac River Clinic. Ms. Royer Shetter holds a BA in Political Science and Marketing from York College of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University. Ms. Royer Shetter joined the River community in early 2023, following 8 years at the National Park Foundation. With more than 15 years of nonprofit experience, Ms. Royer Shetter has experience in individual, institutional and corporate fundraising. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Women in Leadership program at Florida International University and previously served on the Advisory Council for the same program at George Washington University.
Dr. Dorothy White is a clinical psychology Ph.D. at Potomac River Clinic. Dr. White holds a BA, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. from the George Washington University. She is an experienced provider of psychological services to children with a variety of presenting challenges, specializing in developmental and behavioral concerns. Her training includes inpatient, outpatient, telehealth, and school settings, where she has worked with children across the age range. Dr. White has expertise in working with children who have hearing loss, specifically in cognitive assessment that is sensitive to the needs of cochlear implant and hearing aid users. Dr. White is an active researcher whose program of study has centered on behavioral genetic research in temperament and personality development. Her research has been presented internationally and published, most recently in The Routledge Handbook of Adoption (2020).
Board of Directors
Jaynie Lilley, President
Hendi Crosby Kowal
“…we believe a team approach is instrumental in identifying, developing, implementing and assessing short- and long- term language goals for Dawson. When you combine feedback and participation from your child’s audiologist, school educators, speech & language pathologist and the family, you have a recipe for success. Because of the efforts and dedication of this team, Dawson will mainstream into kindergarten in the Fall! – Michael
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