Harbor Education Strategies Offers Speech, Language, & Literacy Growth Success For All Ages

Melissa and one of her students

November 21, 2023 By Marisa Olsen

Meet Hingham resident Melissa Ghiringhelli of Harbor Education Strategies, a full service private practice for in-person speech, language, and literacy that supports toddlers to adults. After years of working in schools, hospitals, and executing home visits, Melissa has pivoted to open her own private practice and office in Hingham.

Melissa’s expertise is far-reaching. She yields a wide range of specialties, such as providing support to toddlers learning how to talk, helping children learn how to pronounce specific speech sounds, developing communication skills for people on the autism spectrum, and providing structured literacy instruction to school age children with reading disabilities. Melissa offers a comprehensive evaluation to provide an individualized treatment plan that can specifically target an array of issues. Everyone’s treatment plan is unique, and Melissa outlines specific steps for the individual based on their profile of strengths and areas for growth. Melissa prides herself on digging deep to help identify the “why” causing a client to struggle with communication.

We sat down with Melissa to learn more about her expertise and how Harbor Education Strategies can help South Shore families:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am originally from Central Massachusetts but now live in Hingham with my husband and three children. I have a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders, with a minor in Spanish and Psychology from UMass Amherst; and a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology; and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Reading from Mass General Hospital-Institute of Health Professions.

Following graduate school in 2003, I began working at Mass General Brigham in the Pediatric Outpatient department, specializing in language and learning disorders for monolingual and bilingual students. I have spent many years supervising graduate clinicians from various Boston-based graduate programs and have previously taught a diagnostics class at Northeastern University. I also have worked in public schools as a speech and language pathologist in Boston, Chelsea, Hingham, and in Milton as a reading specialist.

What is Harbor Education Strategies (HES)?
HES is a speech, language, and literacy private practice specializing in serving clients who experience difficulties in oral and written communication. We strive to identify a person’s profile of strengths and areas of growth, and then strategize to develop a plan to help clients achieve success academically and socially.

HES was started due to the need for empathetic service providers with a deep understanding of the connections between spoken and written language, and who are able to identify a specific evidence-based treatment plan based on a client’s learning profile in order to target areas of need in the most efficient manner possible.

Given my personal experience attempting to find experienced service providers for my own child, who is diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, the options are limited and the wait lists are long. It is especially difficult to find service providers who understand the intricate relationship of spoken and written language and how both must be addressed to ultimately advance in verbal and written communication (speaking, reading, and writing).

How does it work?
We offer a three-pronged approach:
Evaluation: Clients contact me with a concern that their child may have difficulty understanding or using language, engaging socially, reading, writing, or performing academically. I then spend time talking with the parent/guardian/referral source to better understand the concern and purpose of evaluation. Following the intake, I schedule an evaluation, which is typically a four-hour appointment to evaluate all areas of communication. After this initial evaluation, I formulate an impression based on standardized test results, dynamic assessment, and parent and teacher reports. I will provide a specific diagnosis with applicable recommendations for direct service and accommodations as necessary. Following evaluation, I meet with the guardian to ensure they understand the findings and recommendations.

Consultation: Consultations are offered to interpret test findings from outside sources including school reports and IEPs. Following interpretation, we are able to advise on next steps to ensure that needs are met across settings. In addition, these services are beneficial for families applying to private schools with an IEP. We are able to break down the IEP and specific needs of the student to ensure the private school is able to provide the necessary support.

Treatment:  We provide 1:1 direct services to improve expressive and receptive language skills, speech production, social communication, speech fluency, reading, and writing skills. One unique aspect of my practice is that I am happy to service children during the course of the school day, as is allowed by individual school settings. It can be a nice option to meet at the client’s school, speak with teachers, and understand the context of the student in the classroom. Meeting during school hours can also help alleviate the stress of after-school planning, which can often get complicated with sports and other extracurricular activities.

I have a detailed section of FAQs on my website that outlines and explains specific questions parents may have.

What ages do you work with?
I work with children from 18 months through adulthood, all for various and specific reasons. For toddlers through college age, I tend to focus on language, literacy, cognition, and executive function. For adults, I generally focus on literacy skills. I also offer a bilingual component for all of my work for Spanish-speaking or bilingual-speaking families.

How much do services cost?
Costs can range depending on the type of service provided, but many of my clients can invoice their own insurance companies for out-of-network reimbursement.

What do you want families and parents to know?
In a day where advocating for children with spoken and written communication difficulties feels like an uphill battle with limited options, the future is bright. While these students face unique challenges, they also possess various strengths and abilities that should not only be celebrated, but utilized to grow identified areas of need. In-depth evaluation can guide the path to success and save time and money by identifying evidence-based supports that are individualized to a specific student’s learning profile. Comprehensive treatment planning will recognize and nurture areas of strength while providing appropriate support and accommodations to help students with spoken and written communication disorders succeed academically and socially.

My work is incredibly rewarding–in particular when I see “things click” and my students feel successful.

Melissa Ghiringhelli, MS, CCC-SLP can be reached at Melissa@harboreducationstrategies.com.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.