We are a client and family-centered practice, focused on empowering individuals to find and use their voice, feel confident, and be their full amazing selves
Our skilled and caring therapists and administrative staff strive to provide the highest quality of care, support, and a positive atmosphere for everyone who walks through our doors.
Natalia Lopez is a Russian-English bilingual speech-language pathologist, and the founder of Empower Speech Therapy and Life Skills Center. She obtained her Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, which was rated one of the top Graduate Programs in Speech-Language Pathology in the nation at the time of her graduation. Natalia holds a Speech Pathology license in the state of California, as well as a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is a member of the special interest groups for Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC), Language Learning and Education, as well as Administration and Supervision. Additionally, Natalia is a certified Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI) instructor, and she enjoys providing CPI trainings to the Empower team.
Natalia believes that communication is a human right, and is core to one's ability to feel understood. Empower is the vessel for the greater mission of empowering and supporting the community at large. Natalia is passionate about helping people with complex communication needs, people with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as those who have been disillusioned with therapy. She strongly believes that the supportive and positive environment at Empower can facilitate communication for all who walk through our doors.
Natalia enjoys providing assessments, consultations, direct treatment, as well as supervision for Speech Pathology Assistants, Clinical Fellows, and students completing their externship hours. She honors the opportunity to contribute to new generations of therapists, and appreciates the ongoing opportunities for self-growth and reflection that supervision offers.
Natalia emigrated from Moscow, Russia to Brooklyn, NY at the age of eight. She had first-hand experience of having to navigate the world with limited communication while learning English. She grew up among a very wide range of cultures, ethnicities, and religions, which she feels makes her a stronger and more well-rounded therapist. Outside of work, Natalia enjoys spending time with her husband Robert and daughter Alia, traveling all around the beautiful state of CA, enjoying live music and food trucks, and occasionally checking her horoscope!
Melissa returns to us as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) after completing her Master’s Degree at Idaho State University. Originally, Melissa joined us as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant after completing her Bachelor’s Degree at Sacramento State University. She is a native of Northern California but has enjoyed calling Clovis home!
Melissa has experienced a variety of settings and populations that included both adults and pediatric disorders. Melissa is driven to empower her clients and their families with their communication needs. She is passionate about advocating for her patients and providing them with resources they need to feel empowered.
Melissa enjoys working with children with a variety of communication profiles and disorders, as this is where her initial spark came from for the field of speech-language pathology. What really makes Melissa's day is when she can see it "click" with a child and how quickly communication is enhanced with their communication partners. Additionally, she is absolutely inspired by seeing the growth in communication between her client and their care-givers. It's truly amazing.
Melissa also discovered a new love for the adult population during her clinical experience at Idaho State. She enjoyed working with patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and more and advocating for services to assist in regaining swallowing function, cognitive deficits, and expressive and receptive language.
Melissa is excited to rejoin the Empower team as she knows the supportive environment with the staff creates a positive environment for clients to make growth, develop new skills, and/or regain skills that may have been lost. She is happy to be able to support the Central Valley community!
Melissa Lyness is a licensed Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) and Assistive Technology Professional from right here in Fresno! She received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Biola University, and her ATP certification through Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). Melissa is passionate about the field of speech therapy, and loves helping her clients strengthen their ability to communicate and express themselves. She is very passionate about Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Melissa enjoys providing therapy to individuals of all ages and abilities, and loves the variety in the types of therapy techniques she is able to utilize. Each client presents with new exciting challenges, and Melissa truly enjoys going the extra mile to make sure therapy is fun, meaningful, and functional. She enjoys learning about the various supports that are available for clients that make their lives easier on a daily basis. She has special interest in autism spectrum, social thinking deficits, developmental language delays and disorders, AAC use, oral motor deficits, specific language impairments, accent modification, and TBI rehabilitation. Melissa loves seeing and celebrating progress her clients make each week. She feels that working as a team with families and care-givers is integral to success, and is thrilled that the private practice therapy context allows for such team work to occur. In her free time, Melissa enjoys playing the ukulele, hiking, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog. Melissa is ecstatic to be a part of the Empower team!
Jessica is a Spanish-English Bilingual Speech Pathology Assistant (SLPA), licensed in California and Texas. She received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Texas A&M International University in 2012. In addition to speech therapy, Jessica also had experience working as a Behavioral Therapist, and Special Education Instructional Assistant for CUSD. Jessica has had the opportunity to work with a wide array of children, varying in ages, personalities, skills, interests, and communication challenges, which she believes helped shape her into the therapist she is today. She is passionate about working with individuals who come to speech therapy in search of a voice – a means to express themselves, whether it be verbally, visually, or with the aid of a communication device. Teaching a client an alternative way to communicate (ex: using a picture to request a favorite food), when, for whatever reason, verbal communication is too challenging, is incredibly rewarding for Jessica. The moment a client is able to produce a sound or word, or reach a new milestone, reminds her of why she chose to be in this profession. Jessica loves using music in therapy, and frequently integrates music and colorful visual supports in her sessions. She has special interest in bilingual therapy, autism spectrum disorders, early intervention, and motor planning challenges.
Born and raised in the great state of Texas, Erica is now calling Fresno home! After graduating with her BA in Healthcare and Business Administration from University of Texas at Arlington, Erica worked in higher education administration for five years, and is now thrilled to be a part of the Empower family. She is passionate about making sure all the “behind the scenes” processes at Empower run smoothly, and loves connecting and forming relationships with each and every family she works with. Erica understands the importance of imbuing each and every client/family interaction with care, empathy, and compassion, and thoroughly enjoys the professional growth this position offers.
Outside of work, Erica enjoys traveling around California, exploring the Fresno/Clovis area and attending/being involved in church activities. She is also part of the Zipper Club since 2016, as she is an open heart survivor. Serving the community is a passion and she is grateful that Empower also shares that value.
Make sure to stop by and say hello!
Evie is a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA), licensed in California. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from California State University, Fresno, and her SLPA license from California State University, Northridge. Evie is thrilled to be a part of the Empower team, as she is passionate about serving children and their families by helping them find their voice, so they can then in return make a difference in the lives of others.
Evie’s passion for the well being and quality of life of her clients drives her to work hard and to keep the mindset of a lifelong student, always learning and growing, as she continues to hone her skills.
In her off time, she has worked many years as a camp counselor in the summers at Hume Lake with Jr. High and High school aged kids, and also worked at an entertainment company for children dressing up as Disney Princess acting in character at birthday parties. Evie enjoys a good book, her favorite coffee, and time with loved ones.
Cristina is a Spanish-English Bilingual Speech Pathology Assistant (SLP-A), licensed in California. She attended Fresno State University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders. She obtained her license to become a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant through Loma Linda University in Los Angeles CA.
Cristina has a special interest for early intervention and working closely with parents to help carry over skills practiced in therapy to other settings. She is inspired by the importance of communicating, which is why she is thrilled about being in this field. Cristina is excited to continue learning about this wonderful field and enjoys the collaborative and supportive environment Empower offers.
She loves working closely with families to support communication development and is passionate about contributing to the young lives of the community especially the Spanish speaking families.
Lauren Harper is currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education, with the hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher in the near future. She is originally from Bakersfield, CA, but recently moved to the Fresno area, and looks forward to what is in store.
Lauren has a passion for working with children, and she loves working in an environment where families are able to see their children grow and be empowered through communication. She feels very blessed to be a part of the Empower team, and to serve as an Administrative Assistant.
Empower Speech Therapy
& Life Skills Center - Clovis
420 Bullard Ave #104,
Clovis, CA 93612
Empower Speech Therapy
& Life Skills Center - Fresno
745 E Locust #110,
Fresno, CA 93720