Meet The Staff
Erin Bernett M.S., CCC-SLP has been a licensed speech-language pathologist for over 21 years. Before opening Monkey Mouths in 2003, Erin worked in the pediatric hospital setting. Erin has formal training in: Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD), PROMPT therapy/Advanced PROMPT Bridging, Vital Stim Therapy for swallowing, Langmore Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES), myofascial release therapy, S.O.S. Feeding therapy, Lori Overland Feeding Therapy, Talk Tools Oral Placement Therapy and Beckman Oral-Motor Therapy, Visualizing and Verbalizing/Seeing Stars/LIPS by Lindamood Bell, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking. She has also completed advanced training in Applied Behavior Analysis--both through continuing education and the University of North Texas. She has trained in Oralfacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) with both the IAOM and the AOMT is currently working on OMT certification.
Erin has presented to both SLPs and parents in the areas of Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Oral-Motor/Feeding Therapy, the Sound Card System and Teaching Children with Down Syndrome through Visual Cues. She has served on the Board of Directors at the Green Oaks School of Arlington for 10 years. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Independent Therapy Providers Association of Texas (ITPA).
Erin and her husband Matt are co-owners of Monkey Mouths. Erin has a passion for issues of injustice--both in the United States and abroad. She spends her free time advocating for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Green Oaks School of Arlington and the Texas Independent Therapy Providers Association. Matt, Erin and their 15-year-old son Carter attend 121 Community Church where Matt teaches a 4th grade Lifegroup, Erin helped start In My Image--a ministry for families and children with special needs and Carter serves alongside Erin in the iMi Ministry. Above all, the Bernett family wants others to know the love that Jesus has for all people and to experience the same hope they have in Jesus Christ.
Nikki Wensel Rustad, M.A., CCC-SLP joined Monkey Mouths in 2006 and has been sharing the power of communication with children and their parents for over 20 years. Prior to joining Monkey Mouths she worked for Children's Medical Center of Dallas and was in management at Cook Children's Medical Center as the graduate student liaison. Nikki has a passion for educating families on the power of play (90% of what preschoolers learn at school is through play) and has trained with the Social Thinking Program designed by Michelle Garcia Winner M.A., CCC-SLP. She also has significant experience with behavioral and communication strategies for children with autism including training with Vincent Carbone PhD, ABA, Mark Sundburg PhD, BCBA, Tamara Kasper, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA, Crafting Connections program, and Love and Logic. Based on a child's specific needs, Nikki has used auditory-verbal techniques and total communication to treat speech and language issues related to hearing impairment. She uses PROMPT therapy, the Sound Card System and the Kaufman Apraxia System in treating her patients with motor-planning disorders and apraxia. Nikki has had extensive training in oral motor and feeding issues with such experts as Deborah Beckman M.S., CCC-SLP, Lori Overland M.S., CCC-SLP, Sara R. Johnson M.S., CCC-SLP, Catherine Shaker, M.S., CCC-SLP, and Jeri Logemann PhD, CCC-SLP. Nikki loves to use books whenever she can, which is what prompted her to begin utilizing the Literacy Speaks program. She believes that therapy should be fun and functional and that parent education is crucial for each child's success. Nikki enjoys spending time with her husband Eric (who is also a speech pathologist) and their son. She also loves baking, gardening, volunteering, and decorating for the holidays.
Patricia Gurinsky, M.A., CCC-SLP joined Monkey Mouths in 2015 as the Clinical Director of the Ft. Worth clinic and has been working as a Speech-Language Pathologist for over 12 years. Prior to Monkey Mouths she worked at Therapy 2000 home health agency, serving as a Team Manager II and supervising a team of speech therapists and mentoring other team managers. In addition to management duties, she provided mentoring for therapists in feeding and hearing disorders in addition to serving her own patients. Patricia also worked at Arlington Memorial Hospital as the primary pediatric outpatient therapist with cross-training in adult acute care. She collaborated with occupational therapists, case managers, physical therapists, referring pediatricians, specialty physicians (ENTs, GI, pulmonologists, neurologists, dietitians, etc.) and social workers in both settings to provide the best services for each of the patients she served. Patricia has extensive education and training in working with autistic children (SCERTS model by Barry Prizant, The Hanen Program More Than Words), apraxia of speech (Kaufman Apraxia System, PROMPT/Advanced PROMPT Bridging, Deborah Beckman Oral Motor approach, Talk Tools), cleft palate/lip and velopharyngeal dysfunction, voice disorders, articulation and phonological processing disorders (Sound Card System, Hodson Approach to Phonological Disorders), language disorders (The Hanen Program It Takes Two to Talk, Tamara Kaspar Sign to Talk), and fluency disorders. Patricia has experience with programming and integrating alternative augmentative communication into daily activities (Dynavox/Mayer Johnson, Tobii, IPAD/My Talk and ProLoQuo2Go, CommLink 3G, PRC, PECS, Tango, LAMP), therapeutic handling for support, and modifications for children with visual impairments. Patricia is passionate about feeding and hearing disorders and has training which includes Advanced Vital Stim, MBSS (Jeri Logeman), G-tube weaning and transitioning to oral feedings (Marsha Dunn Klein), SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) approach, Special Populations in Feeding: Extreme Food Hyperselectivity, Frasier Water Protocol, Get Permission Approach to Feeding, Breathing, Digestion, and Swallowing in High Risk Infants, AVT techniques for hearing impairment (attended TCU Listening and Spoken Language Summer Institute), use of amplification (BAHA, FM systems), and some sign language. She has provided patient/family training on Passy Muir Valve to produce voice and support safe swallowing for patients with a tracheostomy and/or ventilator dependence and assists in successful carryover of home programs. Patricia encourages interactive positive therapy with patients that involves parents/family for meaningful experiences that can be carried into the home and community. Patricia loves watching hockey, attending TCU football games, traveling, singing, and spending time with her husband David.
Alex J. loves having a good time at speech. Whether he’s movin’ or shakin’, there’s always a reason for a good PECS exchange!