Our Staff

Our comprehensive team of ASHA certified speech and language pathologists provide executive function based services for students and their families.  Each team member specializes in working with students of various ages and specific disorders.  We match your child to the specific clinician that will best meet his or her needs.  Click on the clinician's name below to learn more about them.

 

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Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP and Co-Director has over 15 years experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and 
case management of children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of developmental and 
acquired brain based learning difficulties and behavioral problems not limited to but including:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Verbal Learning Disabilities
  • Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Other Social-Cognitive Learning Disabilities
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Acquired Brain Injury


Her particular interest is in the assessment and treatment of executive function deficits.

Sarah also provides consultation and expert witness testimony regarding the symptoms and functional 
presentation of deficits associated with brain based learning disabilities and the appropriateness of 
academic placement and treatment programs.

She became a specialist in the assessment and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury with an 
emphasis on the treatment of executive functions. She subsequently began to train graduate students 
in speech and language pathology, medical and special education professionals on the symptoms and 
treatment methods to improve the language, cognitive, executive function and social skills of brain 
based disorders.  

Sarah is a Past President of the Massachusetts Brain Injury Association,  member of 
the Massachusetts Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Board and the National Institutes of Health Model 
Systems Traumatic Brain Injury Grant Advisory Board and is a member of the American Speech and 
Language Hearing Association.  She holds a faculty appointment at the Massachusetts General 
Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she provides instruction to graduate level students in the 
assessment techniques, development of therapeutic objectives, and intervention strategies for 
individuals with traumatic brain injury.

Sarah is dedicated to developing innovative treatment strategies and educating the community to 
understand, care for and celebrate the learning and behavioral based differences in individuals with 
brain based learning differences.

A popular speaker, Sarah regularly presents locally, nationally and internationally on the topic of executive functions 
to a variety of professional and parent organizations, school and lay groups.  She has presented to 
and consulted with over 350 public and private schools in Massachusetts and across the United States.

Awards Received:  

  • Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute 
    of Health Professions, May, 2005.


  • Recipient of the Faculty in Excellence Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute 
    of Health Professions, May, 2002 and 2011


  • Recipient of the Partners in Excellence Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital , 
    December, 1998


  • Recipient of the Stephanie Macaluso Expertise in Clinical Practice Award for the Massachusetts 
    General Hospital , June 1998.



LICENSURE AND CERTIFICATION

  • Licensed Speech and Language Pathologist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


  • Certificate of Clinical Competence of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

 

Ms. Kristen Jacobsen, MS CCC-SLP is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist who is Co-Director at the Cognitive Connections Executive Function Practice.  She provides parent consultations, coaching, student assessments and observations and comprehensive therapy services. She has strong interests in cognition, language and mindfulness.  Ms. Jacobsen works to research and develop new methods and programs that can maximize a student's ability to learn to their potential and increase self-esteem as they become more independent learners. She enjoys seeing students make new gains, as well as training teachers and therapists in the use of executive function teaching approaches. 

She is a specialist in pediatric and adolescent speech-language pathology in the areas:  

Executive Function

Language and Literacy

Nonverbal Learning

ADHD

Post Concussive Syndrome

Asperger's Disorder and Autism spectrum disorders

Ms. Jacobsen has worked as a speech-language pathologist in public education, private schools and hospital settings.  Ms. Jacobsen has provided teacher training seminars and school consultations nationally. 

Prior to establishing a private practice, she worked with colleagues to create and implement comprehensive group therapy programs for language and cognition at Massachusetts General Hospital. She focused on working with adolescents diagnosed with ADHD and Post-Concussive Syndrome. She developed programs to successfully transition students into their school settings following mild traumatic brain injury.  

Ms. Jacobsen was the recipient of the MGH Expertise in Clinical Practice Award.  

During personal time, she enjoys biking, traveling as well as spending time with her husband and their 3 children.

Diane Nesman is a certified speech and language pathologist with 20 years experience who specializes in treating young children ages 2-10.  She graduated from the University of Maine with a B.A. in Communication Disorders in 1986 and a Masters Degree in Communication Disorders from Montclair College in 1988 and received the honors of Summa Cum Laude. Ms. Nesman has performed diagnosis and treatment of receptive language disorders, expressive language disorders, articulation, 
phonological processing, oral-motor functioning disorders, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders and pragmatic language disorders in infants, preschool and school-aged children.  She has worked in 
preschools, middle and high schools, hospital and Early Intervention centers.  She is proficient in use of the Picture Exchange System and is familiar with Applied Behavioral Analysis.  Ms. Nesman holds Massachusetts teacher's certification, is an ASHA certified speech/language pathologist, is a licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Examiners of Speech Language Pathology and is a current and past recipient of the ACE continuing education award.  She is an avid fan of the Story Grammar Marker and Relationship Development Intervention.