Ilona is a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and a certified lactation counselor with expertise in infant feeding/swallowing, child development, infant mental health, and newborn developmental care. She brings an interdisciplinary background to the Developmental Care Team as both a Child Development Specialist and a Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked in a variety of clinical and academic contexts.
As a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, Ilona has served young children and their families in early intervention, center-based care, inpatient rehab, and within the NICU. Her clinical work includes supporting NICU graduates through UC Health’s Children’s Therapy Services, working in NICUs at University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago and The University of Chicago Children’s Hospital, and participating in multidisciplinary assessment clinics (NICU follow up clinic, 0-5 diagnostic clinics, and feeding clinics). She has earned certification and reliability in NIDCAP (Newborn Individualized Developmental Care Assessment Program), which enables her to use neurobehavioral assessment to guide intervention planning based on each infant’s unique strengths and challenges.
Ilona received her PhD in Child Development from Loyola University (Erikson Institute) in Chicago and her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Marquette University. She completed her dissertation research on mother-infant relationships in the NICU, which documented the impact of premature birth and NICU hospitalization on new mothers’ ability to bond with their newborn. Ilona has presented her work to therapists, NICU clinicians, and mental health professionals. Prior to moving to Fort Collins, Ilona was an assistant professor in Child Development and a clinical assistant professor in Speech Language Pathology at Northern Illinois University.
In addition to her work with the Developmental Care Team, she teaches as online adjunct faculty at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. In her free time, Ilona enjoys cycling, knitting, sewing and sharing her love of the outdoors with her family. She and her husband Rad have three children and two golden retrievers.
Qualifications and experience
- Rehabilitation Therapy - Speech Therapy
- Languages spoken
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