Over 20 tutoring hours

Mary W.

Highland Park, NJ


Speech, Language, Reading and Writing

In-person lessons
Replies in 19 hours
4.9 Avg. Rating
9 Ratings
19hrs Response Time

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University of Washington
Rutgers University MFA
William Pateron College MS Speech-Language Pathology


University of Washington (Drama)

Rutgers University MFA (Master's)

William Pateron College MS Speech-Language Pathology (Master's)

About Mary

Hi there. I am a licensed speech-language therapist, though I prefer the term communication specialist currently working in the public school system full-time. As a therapist, I have worked at all age levels. Being in the school district means that I am certified by NJ State Department of Education, with criminal background check completed. I also maintain a professional license through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

I do absolutely love to teach and help students. Working one-on-one is especially rewarding. I combine competence with compassion to get an individual where they need to be, whether it's a minor boost in a single area, or a major shift in approach. For me, nothing is more rewarding than helping people learn, and I bring a playful spirit my tutoring, which is designed to help building confidence, tamp down fear and recovery any joy that has been lost through frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed by a subject or assignment.

My areas of specialty are speech and language. This covers a wide range of individual of skill areas, including grammar, vocabulary, social communication, fluency and voice.

With regard to speech, I'm specially trained to help students who have tongue thrust swallows and lingering difficulty with the speech sounds r, l, and s. (This particular area is called oro-facial myology and I am working toward certification with the International Association of Oro-Facial Myology).

My experience in a regular education environment has equipped me with the knowledge and experience working with students to improve their reading and writing. Please read what I have written about these two areas in here at the Wyzant website.

A couple of additional areas of expertise: my first career was in acting, so I love incorporating performance techniques and creative arts therapy whenever possible. I should add that it's also a pleasure to help a budding actor find and prepare a great audition monologues

I should mention that voice improvement, public speaking and self-presentation skills are three other areas that I have extensive background in. I worked a number of years teaching public speaking at the college level while working toward my second masters. I loved it! when it comes to working in this area, I am sensitive and kind while also being spirited, fun and motivating.

I live in Highland Park with my two daughters, 9 and 14, and my dog Maggie.
Hi there. I am a licensed speech-language therapist, though I prefer the term communication specialist currently working in the public school system full-time. As a therapist, I have worked at all age levels. Being in the school Read more

24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 12 miles of Highland Park, NJ 08904
In-person lessons
Grammar, Public Speaking,
TOEFL, Vocabulary, Writing
Elementary Education:
Grammar, Phonics, Reading,
Spelling, Vocabulary
Special Needs:
Phonics, Special Needs
Test Preparation:
Career Development,
Corporate Training:
Career Development,
Grammar, Public Speaking

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.


As a speech-language specialist, I have worked with a number of students on the autism spectrum. I know there is a debate whether there is a true difference between High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. I fall into the camp of professional who feel that the main issue is whether the student wants to connect with others but lacks the skills, or whether a student the student is indifferent to people and only needs them to transact particular aspects of daily life. I guess the new DSM may be a game-changer with regard to this question. I have experience diagnosing Nonverbal Learning Disability; the key difference is that a person with NVLD will also have fairly normal levels of empathy, whereas, for the person with autism, empathy/theory of mind/perspective-taking is one of the key weak areas.

Working with people on the spectrum really requires the use of visuals, often decreasing the amount and speed of verbal input in order to account for decreased auditory-verbal processing. It also requires the use of ways to really make the concepts concrete. For this reason, I use a lot of self-made social stories and charts. Topics have to be a relevance.

I have great results using comic book and manga formats for teaching social skills. I also use snippets from films and am part of a listserve of professional who gather clips that reinforce certain social concepts.

I use a multi-sensory approach, along with ABA-type behaviorism (reward system) in order to keep the student on-task.

I think it's important to focus on anger management/emotional regulation if it's requested/needed or if it comes up incidentally. I do this through teaching I-Messages. Problem-solving is an important thing to be working on, and emotional regulation is often a form of social problem-solving, particularly for older students.

I work on reading social cues and sending correct social cues. And conversational skills.

Working with persons with Aspergers in an area of have a lot of experience in. When I have found a way to be effective and made a true difference in a student's life, I find it beyond rewarding!

Career Development

As a speech-language specialist with a background in theater and acting, I am uniquely qualified to provide smart and compassionate coaching for people looking to improve their presentation and networking skills. I have a good eye for where a person's strengths and weaknesses lie. Most important, I know how to design and implement the kind of experiences that will unlock new skills and levels of awareness.

In this insanely unfair economy, it's more important than ever to feel confident and prepared. Whether it's interviewing, problem-solving, starting and maintaining a conversation, video-conferencing or making a sale, dealing with clients or working as part of a team, there is a ton of great information out there that I can share with you. The process will feel safe. The process will be fun. I want you to walk away with skills you can use tomorrow.

It may sound corny, but you have gifts to give the world. Sometimes it's just a small skill-boost that is needed to make good things happen. Call me and let's talk.


My training -- and ongoing education -- in speech-language pathology has required me to maintain a deep understanding of all aspects of language and communication, including language comprehension, language processing, reading, writing, vocabulary, morphology, grammar, literature, phonological processing and attention and the much taken for granted ability to plan and organize. I have spent the past nine years working at the middle and high school levels where I really enjoy collaborating and consulting with English teachers to help kids thrive. Please get in touch if you'd like to explore the ways in which I can help your child reach his or her potential.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is both simple and complex. It's simple in the sense that it is, in many ways, an extension of "just talking" to one or two people. It is complex because it involves generating and organizing a message that takes into account the type of audience that is it is going to be presented to, blending in visuals, timing the actual presentation to make sure it fits in the time allowed, and tending to voice, speech and body language. Context is key: what is the occasion, how formal? What is the range of audience members' ages, level-of-knowledge? What is the purpose for this talk you're giving? Technicalities are crucial: will there be an outlet for that laptop and projector? Will there be a table to put it on? Mic or no mic?

With regard to public speaking anxiety, everyone is different. However, just about everyone benefits from learning a few basics about the body's instinctive fight-or-flight reactions, along with the good news about how quickly that reaction starts to subside once the speech begins.

Because I have a background in speech, as well as interpersonal communication (In my current day job, I work with students with high-level autism on reading and using body language appropriately), I'm able to analyze and quickly help a student present themselves effectively.

I am both a trained actor and communications specialist, so I'm uniquely qualified to help persons get their skills where they need to be as quickly, and efficiently, as possible. I'm sensitive. I believe in building on a person's strengths while helping a student to make the few, key fixes that will make all the difference.

I think many of us yearn to share our ideas and our best selves to a wider audience. I think it's an important way in which we experience ourselves within a community, whether it's our work community (giving a presentation for work), our school community (asking a question at the school board meeting), our family community (giving a toast at a wedding) or our neighborhood community (organizing a block party or running for mayor). We deserve to be taken seriously by our communities. We have ideas which are worth being expressed at this more "public" level of discourse. Sometimes it's just a little coaching boost that is needed to make this happen.


Every child facing a task like reading a story or an essay, deserves to have that task feel do-able. With a little bit of persistence and concentration, the task should make sense and be something they can complete. What happens when a child is handed a task that falls outside of their ability? They begin to feel shame. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I think this is a terrible terrible crime.

And yet, reading is such a complex process task that it's hard to cast too much blame when a serious reading delay persists. Reading involves many individual skills: visual, sound-symbol correspondence, vocabulary, grammar, background knowledge, verbal reasoning (figuring out the main idea), inferring (catching the implied meaning). It's really crucial to make an accurate assessment with regard to where the difficulty lies so that intervention can be effective and -- most important -- success-building for that child.

I would be more than happy to meet with you to talk about what your child is struggling with so that the right helping strategies can be made available to him or her.


As a speech-language pathologist with a prior background in acting and professional voice, along with experience teaching public speaking and presentation skills, I am uniquely qualified to help you with any and all aspects of voice, speech and communication.

I love this work.

My approach is practical: I want to find the most direct line to a great outcome (you achieving your goals).

My approach is holistic: you are a human being first, and I never forget that.

My approach includes solid technical information: I bring knowledge of all four systems involved in speech production (respiration, phonation, resonance and articulation) to my assessment and treatment.

My approach is well-rounded: I bring to our work together the best of the arts and sciences, as well as good old fashioned common sense.


I have two degrees in theatre, a B.A. and a Masters of Fine Arts, working with a master teacher, Bill Esper. I have also taught acting to folks of all ages.

Finding good acting material for you: One of my greatest talents as a teacher is helping a student find material that matches their type and temperament, so that they can have the wonderful feeling of stepping into a role that is wonderful fit.

Creating a great piece for you: Another one of my strengths is in directing your scene or audition monologue. This is a highly creative (and fun) process. We explore all elements of the piece and arrive at the acting choices that really work and make your performance experience very fulfilling for you and effective for the audience. Perhaps you want to develop a theatre piece based on something you've written? We can do that too.

Because of a recent second career in speech pathology, I happen to have a highly technical background in voice and speech production. This allows me to add, if you're interested, a very useful production component to the work we do.

I'm able to asses what is going on with you and your acting instrument -- both strengths and weaknesses so that we can highlight your strengths and address your areas of weakness. Speech production is complex and involves four processes: resonance (nasality is one example), phonation (vocal fold vibration), respiration (how you're using your breath the power your voice), or articulation (how clearly you are speaking). To make it even more complex, these four processes can interact with each other. I am able to make a quick and accurate determination of what you need to work on; then we get to work, fix it without getting bogged down -- and move on.

Interpreting the text: It's all about using what's within the text to best dramatic effect, understanding and inhabiting your character, and telling the story fully and vibrantly.

This is the most fun thing in life for me, which is why I've devoted my life to it. So, let's "work" together!


Reading and writing are extensions of listening and talking. Reading is essentially listening to the words inside our head; writing is capturing the sentences we silently think inside our head and putting them down on paper or inputting them into a word processing program. Of course this is an oversimplification; more is involved. However, it's often possible to reconnect a child to his or her interest in writing -- his or her creative spark -- if the mechanics of writing (spelling, punctuation, grammar) are dealt with in a way that reduce their ability to overwhelm the child as he/she sits down to write, whether it be an essay, article or letter.

Another facet of writing is "ideation". Some kids have sincere difficulty at this "idea" level. For this child, the challenge is in thinking of something to say, even when the most seemingly fascinating writing prompt is given. For this child, time needs to be spent building the child's confidence in his or her own convictions. Other kids have ideas but they have difficulty putting them into words or organizing them. These kids need to spend a lot of time in the pre-writing stage, finding the key vocabulary to fit the topic, "talking through" the ideas, formulating a structure through use of graphic organizers. Some kids (I was like this as a child)cannot sit still and attend long enough to the writing process to produce a decent product, or to get better at writing in general. For me, the writing process made me feel restless and annoyed. A different set of strategies are necessary to help a kid with this kind of difficulty. (In writing my masters thesis, I rewarded myself at the end of every paragraph with a chocolate chip cookie, which was not perhaps the best choice for my waistline -- but it's hard to argue with a strategy that, at the time, got me where I needed to be academically and professionally.)

I sincerely believe that one-on-one tutoring is really great for kids struggling with writing. So many other subject areas can be studied through a good web-based program, but with writing, there is no substitute for a human being sitting at that student's side. I think this for two reasons. First, writing is so complex -- it is really a multi-process skill. It's critical to pinpoint which process or processes is/are affected. A good tutor can make this diagnosis and plan treatment accordingly. Second, difficulty with writing can become very emotionally charged for a child, and for the family trying to help him or her. A good tutor sometimes has to play the role of psychologist, slowly unraveling the fear and frustration that has built up over years of the student experiencing difficulty. This is sometimes referred to as "emotional overlay" and it is a very real phenomenon.

In sum, you want to find a competent, sensitive tutor who will draw out the best in your child and boost his or her confidence. A good tutor will modify, scaffold, individualize topics and approaches, and partner with parents -- and sometimes even teachers -- to not only achieve a good short term outcome, but ensure that the student is able to move forward independently, with new awareness, writing and self-advocacy skills.

If you have read to this point, you are a obviously a committed parent who is exploring every possible way to help your child succeed. That's pretty awesome. Good luck to you!

University of Washington
Rutgers University MFA
William Pateron College MS Speech-Language Pathology


University of Washington (Drama)

Rutgers University MFA (Master's)

William Pateron College MS Speech-Language Pathology (Master's)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $55.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Mary will travel within 12 miles of Highland Park, NJ 08904.

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