I am an ASHA certified, California, Colorado, and Oregon licensed speech language pathologist born and raised in San Diego, California. I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Masters of Speech Language Pathology program after earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Wheaton College. I completed my post baccalaureate studies at Portland State University. I have enjoyed living all over the country the past 15 years. I am grateful to once again call San Diego home.
Few people know exactly what a speech language pathologist does. We wear many hats in medical, academic and outpatient settings. My scope of practice includes speech, language, voice, feeding, swallowing and cognition.
I have worked with a wide variety of patients, ranging from adults diagnosed with aphasia and traumatic brain injuries at a university clinic to children diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Autism, microcephaly and early speech and language delays in the private outpatient and public school settings. While I love my field and the many populations it serves, I am most passionate about treating feeding, swallowing and orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). OMD is what drew me to the field in the first place. For over 15 years, I lived with chronic head, neck and jaw pain. It wasn’t until after seeing over 25 specialists that I was finally diagnosed with an OMD (e.g. tongue thrust). Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy was foundational to my healing. As a patient, I learned that proper feeding, swallowing and breathing habits are critical not only to survival but also to enjoying a thriving and happy life. (Click here to learn more about my personal journey as a patient.)
Since my diagnosis, a growing body of research has shown that atypical orofacial developments and swallowing patterns (often observed in patients with OMD) are correlated with disordered-sleep breathing, obstructive sleep apnea and/or pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. Breathing and swallowing are the first and most important actions an infant takes when entering the world. Breathing and swallowing (up to 1000 times a day) are the body’s way of establishing a state of homeostasis. Treating OMD with Myofunctional Therapy not only improves tongue posture and swallowing but also supports healthy airway and facial development. Myofunctional Therapy has also been shown to support patients with sleep-disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea.
Wherever these words find you, I hope that you are on the path to greater health. The body and brain are miraculous, as they are constantly regenerating themselves and capable of reprogramming, even in the later stages of life. I wish you the best on your journey and am eager to offer my services to foster greater wellness in your life.
I look forward to meeting you!
Danielle Klee, M.A., CCC-SLP