My son began working with Shamim when he was 2 years old. He was non-verbal with autism and had severe apraxia. For two years, Shamim worked with him. She is a miracle worker. During his sessions with Shamim, my son was able to say words I had never heard him say before. It made me realize that I needed to set my expectations high for my son. His language is now emerging and, thanks to Shamim, I have learned to provide the proper balance between challenge and support for him to develop expressive language. She has educated me in so many ways with regards to language, communication, structure, motivation...the list goes on and on. I am a better parent because of Shamim! And, more importantly, my son is a happier and more fulfilled child because of Shamim!

Edlyn P, Ph.D. Parent and Assistant Professor Higher Education Leadership California Lutheran University

Shamim has been a familiar face around our center for many years. She started out as a parent and then became much more than that. Shamim was able to share her positive energy and knowledge of development by becoming an excellent trainer for our staff. Shamim presented a thorough, engaging training on speech/language development. Her ability to tailor the information to fit our staff needs was ideal. Shamim is extremely friendly and highly recommended as a resource.

Sara Hannah Director, Camp Amgen Bright Horizons Family Solutions

I had the opportunity to work with Shamim on a number of cases over the years. Through our shared cases, I have found her to be quite knowledgeable about the ways in which speech and language development may be compromised in a pediatric population. She also is knowledgeable about a wide range of intervention strategies that can be implemented to address a range of developmental conditions and limitations. This allows her to develop treatment plans that are tailored to her patients' needs. Perhaps most importantly, she also is alert to the impact of speech and language delays on the family, and shows a great deal of sensitivity in working with the child and providing support and education to the family.

Mary Large Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist and Neuropsychologist

Shamim is a miracle worker. Her talent as a speech pathologist is unparalleled and I would absolutely look no further in choosing her as your child's speech therapist.

We were referred to her by another speech therapist I met through Bing Nursery School due to Shamim's experience with children with apraxia of speech. Prior to meeting her, we were working with a team of SLP's and noticed minimal improvements in his speech.

After her initial evaluation with my preschool aged son, she confirmed his apraxia diagnosis. At that time, he was only putting together one to two words, which he couldn't even say correctly, let alone be consistent with his pronunciation.

He started to look defeated as he became more self-conscious of his speech. It was absolutely heart-wrenching as parents to not know what your child is saying, let alone observe his peers lose interest in playing with him due to his speech.

Shamim immediately made a customized plan tailored to my son's issues. With her PROMPT training, she pushed him from day one to strive to say complete sentences. I observed in amazement witnessing her use her PROMPT training. Her tactile approach helped manipulate his mouth, tongue and jaw placement to help him say words I never thought he could say clearly.

Fast forward to not even a year later, my son is saying complete, clear sentences. He is also being understood by his teachers and peers. (The untrained listeners, folks!)

My favorite part of soaking in how far he has come was one day at our local playground. A child came up to him and asked him, "what do you want to play?" He clearly proclaimed "I want to play tag." They then ran off and played tag merrily together for 30 minutes. I cried tears of joy watching it all unfold. I highly doubt he would of progressed so much without Shamim's help.

Our family is forever thankful for working with Shamim!

Cara M Parent

It is with great priviledge and honor that I am writing this enthusiastic letter of support for Shamim Haldankar. Shamim Haldankar has been a dedicated speech and language pathologist in practice for almost 15 years, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of children with a wide range of communication disorders. I have known Shamim through her work as a speech pathologist for almost 10 years in Los Angeles as she has transitioned from a group practice in Tarzana to a private practitioner providing much needed in-home speech services in Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas.

As a Developmental Pediatrician who specializes in childhood developmental disorders ranging from autism, apraxia, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and other related disorders, I have referred my clients for Shamim’s speech and language expertise in managing these children’s communication disorders.

Shamim’s extensive knowledge and clinical experience in her field makes her a valued professional and colleague in the community. Her approach has been insightful, compassionate and collaborative as she welcomes input from a broad array of therapists, and other professionals working with children. It has been a pleasure to work with Shamim in a collaborative manner with so many wonderful families over the years.

Finally, I have found Shamim to be a very personable, thoughtful colleague, and an immensely likable and respectful individual who makes her clients and families feel appreciated and respected. Collectively, these attributes imminently qualify her for the valuable service she provides to individuals with special needs.

Anshu Batra, M.D., F.A.A.P Developmental Pediatrician

Shamim is a very talented speech and language pathologist. She has been extremely effective with working with my son, and he has made a lot of progress with her. AND... he really enjoys working with her! He often using the phrases he learns soon after his sessions with her. She takes a very collaborative approach to working with other professionals, and empowers everyone with her depth of knowledge and ability to identify learning gaps in language development. She helps everyone who works with Kyle to work more effectively to make his learning appropriate to his developmental level. She is always proactive, wanting to learn what everyone is doing, so she can help generalize language skills, and help keep everyone on the same page. Shamim is so creative, always coming up with great ideas, and works to make sure the parents are learning as well. She is amazing!

Jennifer M Parent and Past President, Ventura County Autism Society

Raising two children who experienced speech delay was definitely a challenge. But working with Shamim was a bright spot in the process. Her expertise and knowledge base got results fast. Shamim was also extremely responsible, proactive and professional at all times. But what set her apart from other service providers was the patience, energy and compassion that she shared with our children. The time that we spent with her was never a chore, but rather a fun time of playing and learning that we all looked forward to. Shamim is an excellent speech pathologist and we have two chatty children to prove it!

Joy S, Ed.D Parent and Professor of Education

When we first met Shamim our son was 3 ½ years old, and had just been diagnosed with high-functioning autism as well as a sensory/delayed processing disorder. Although Shamim’s official title is speech & language therapist, she has been so much more than that because she always has gone over and far beyond the definition of that title. Shamim is always researching current literature to adapt the most current techniques to best suit and challenge our son.

She gives us weekly updates and has spent hours helping our son learn to express his thoughts and emotions in a meaningful way. Shamim is extremely organized and passionate about her work.  She makes sure her lessons are fun and stimulating so that Chase enjoys the learning process and does not get bored.  By the time Shamim had been working with Chase for one year, his speech was on the same level as his mainstream peers.

Shamim is by far the best teacher/therapist our son has had and any child or family who is lucky enough to have her will soon realize what a gem they have found. With Shamim’s help our son's future is profoundly brighter.

Amy M Parent

When you are a parent of a special-needs child, it’s so important to surround yourself with a team of therapists who are not only dedicated to your child’s treatment, but can also reach him or her to pull out their full potential. Shamim really helped our daughter progress. She really understands autism spectrum disorders and can tailor a program to fit your child's needs.

Her activities are engaging and she has the right mix of fun and structure. Our children really need assistance with day-to-day language skills, and she has just the right techniques to bring those skills out. Also, she is an advocate for children on the spectrum and we feel she has helped our daughter reach her potential. I highly recommend Shamim as a speech therapist and a caring partner in helping our beautiful children.

Heather L Parent

Shamim's ability to establish a quick, trustworthy rapport with my son and I, provided the essential foundation for my son's successful therapy.  Shamim's communication of theory, techniques, goals and homework for the week was easily incorporated into our daily life.  My son looked forward to Shamim's visits and, as a result, progressed at a fast pace.  We miss our weekly appointments but Shamim's thoughtful advice remains an integral part of our lives.

Stephanie V. Parent and B.A. Psychology with emphasis in child development, MBA Marketing and Management

Shamim has been working with our son since he was 2 ½ years old. Initially, we were not sure what to expect from speech therapy as our son was rigid and had difficulty with language, communications and interactions. Not only would he be defiant, he would often run away or get physically sick.

Imagine our surprise when by the third week, Shamim had our son not only speaking and communicating with words, but actually sitting at the table and engaged for the entire session! Her methods are not only valuable to encourage speech and language, but also for learning to communicating with your child in a positive and constructive way.

Finding a good speech therapist is difficult, but finding one who really takes the time to understand each child’s needs is nearly impossible.

Shamim is one of those therapists who only comes along once in a blue moon. She takes great pride in her work and the children she works with. She is engaged, thoughtful and incredibly helpful in finding ways to gain the best results for your child.

Our son is now 5 years old, and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. Shamim continues to be an incredibly valuable asset and someone who we will remain eternally grateful.

She gives us weekly updates and has spent hours helping our son learn to express his thoughts and emotions in a meaningful way. Shamim is extremely organized and passionate about her work.  She makes sure her lessons are fun and stimulating so that Chase enjoys the learning process and does not get bored.  By the time Shamim had been working with Chase for one year, his speech was on the same level as his mainstream peers.

Shamim is by far the best teacher/therapist our son has had and any child or family who is lucky enough to have her will soon realize what a gem they have found. With Shamim’s help our son's future is profoundly brighter.

Shawn J. Parent

My son was diagnosed with Autism two months before his third birthday.  We were devastated.  He was completely non-verbal.  The doctors told us that it was very possible that he would never speak, be potty trained, ride a bike or do anything that a “typical” child does.  The only thing they told us is we needed to get him into early intervention.  Where do we go and what does he need.  They throw you out there and there is no prescription for this diagnosis.  You have to listen to other parents and try to find what works for your child.

 We began a very intensive intervention program privately, and through the school district.  He was enrolled in it all but I can say the one thing that I know changed his path in life was Shamim Haldankar.  Speech therapy was very difficult to find because every therapist was overloaded.

 The school district was only giving him ½ hour a week and he was making no progress.  They kept telling us that he would never speak.  He was working for 2 hours with another private speech therapist, also no progress.  I started calling.  By luck I found Shamim and she was able to take my son.  She immediately goes to work on the very first session. With autism speaking just is not natural and is hard work.  My son did not like going and this broke my heart but Shamim continued to work hard with him.

 After just three sessions my husband called and asked me if I wanted to hear the list of words my son had said that day.  I cried.

 My son had never spoken any words he just made grunts.  This let us know that he had the ability to speak but this was just the beginning.  She worked with him to then put words to things, then put two words together and then make a sentence.  She continued to change her therapy to meet my son’s needs.  Every therapist he had he outgrew except for Shamim.  When he mastered one thing she adapted his sessions to take him to the next level.  She also spent time teaching my husband, myself and my daughter how to teach him when he was outside of therapy.  She constantly gave us “homework” so that he could practice what he learned.  She taught my four year old daughter that it was OK to tell him to use his words and wait until he did.

 Shamim empowered the whole family to teach him.  When he did learn to speak, she then changed his therapies so he learned not just to ask for what he needs but how to have a conversation.  There are so many nuances of speech that we all just take for granted.  Shamim broke it down to manageable steps.

 She then worked with him for social conversation with friends.  I saw my son grow over the years with her that I never saw in any other therapy.  She taught him life skills not just how to do one task.  She is constantly going to classes, seminars, whatever it takes her to find out what is the latest to help the children she works with.

 My son started as completely non-verbal trapped in his own world that we were not a part of to now being fully included in a fifth grade class with no support.  He is an honor roll student with friends and is doing amazing.

 I know he would not be where he is today without Shamim Haldankar.

Joanna S. Parent

I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone the speech therapy services of Shamim Haldankar. My son received speech services for almost a year with Ms. Haldankar, and his improvement was phenomenal. Having observed her many times, there are a few reasons she is so successful in her work. First, she is able to utilize multiple speech therapy methods to help her clients. Where most therapists only utilize play therapy. Ms. Haldankar has used her years of experience and skills as a speech therapist, combined with her knowledge in behavior therapy working with children with autism, to develop her own method of speech therapy; the results speak for themselves. After my son’s sessions with Ms. Haldankar, it was as if she had turned him into a fountain, with new sounds and words gushing out for the rest of the day. This was in stark contrast to his typical self. Because of her, he progressed so quickly that he graduated from speech services in less than a year.

Next, Ms. Haldankar is effective because she is an exceptional communicator. By helping our family to understand what we could do to help my son, we in effect became speech therapists for our son as well! She provided us with a few simple methods that enabled us to help our son with some of his goals, and each time those methods proved to help him progress between his sessions with her. Then, she would inform us of his new goals, and of his progress.

Lastly, I can recommend Ms. Haldankar as a professional and as a person. She is amiable, considerate, dependable and kind. She serves both parents and their children well, because she has a deep understanding of her client’s emotional needs. She helped me realize that, as parents, we develop emotional relationships with our children that can interfere with their progress. She carefully and thoughtfully observed those dynamics in our case, and provided respectful and necessary feedback about how we were relating to our child, and how we could more effectively help him.

I have worked with numerous speech therapists during my prior teaching career, and I can say without a doubt that Ms. Haldankar is by far the best at what she does. If you have the opportunity to work with her, by all means, take it.

Christopher D. Parent and Attorney at Law

Shamim has been our speech therapist twice.  She saw my daughter, several years ago (she’s now 9).  At first my daughter was very shy with Shamim and didn’t want to engage but Shamim was able to pull her out of her shell and work with her so she could learn to talk.  Every time Shamim came to the house she would get down at my daughter’s level and say a very enthusiastic “Hi” with a huge smile on her face and ask if she wanted to play with her toys.  The way Shamim engages kids is amazing – she makes the kids work when they think they’re just playing.  My daughter began talking at age 3 and hasn’t stopped!  She is an extremely bright, straight A honor roll student.

Our second child, my son, began seeing Shamim when he was 18 months old and continued until just after age 3.  He was a completely different story.  Right away Shamim could see that in addition to speech issues he also had behavioral issues and issues that required occupational therapy.  Although Shamim approached my son in the same manner (a great big “Hi” and “let’s play”) he was unwilling to participate initially.

She identified his behavioral problem which was so instrumental in helping him learn how to communicate orally.  She provided a home program for me to work with, helped me wean him from the bottle and showed me exercises to do with him so that his oral muscles could improve.

I was really doubtful that my son would begin speaking properly by age 3 but he did!  I am so thankful for all of Shamim’s help with my children.  I don’t know what I would have done without her.

I have tried working with other speech therapists and they just don’t have that same touch with the kids.  They seem to look at their work as just a job and don’t seem to really care about the kids or if they will improve.  For Shamim, I really believe this is her calling because she is so knowledgeable and so willing to help, not just during the sessions but by providing great home programs as well so they kids will really learn.

Barbi T Parent

At 2 years old, my son was saying approximately 5-10 words. We were aware that this was much less than the average 2 year old but were informed by our pediatrician that we should evaluate his progress at 2 years 6 months. At that time, our son’s vocabulary greatly improved, however, he continued to appear to struggle with articulation. We had him assessed by Shamim who validated our concerns that yes he had a mild expressive disorder with articulation difficulties. However, she informed us that with speech therapy he could gain the skills needed to improve both. My husband and I were on the fence whether to go ahead with speech therapy or not. For many reasons, the idea of speech therapy filled me with much anxiety. I did not want him to feel self conscious and/or hate the experience. We decided to follow through with the caveat that if our son was miserable we would stop.

Luckily, our son quickly bonded with Shamim. He felt as if he was playing with her and her cool toys while gaining the tools necessary to assist him with his language expression and articulation. Shamim was warm and empathic while continuing to provide him with the tools necessary to improve his language development. She was careful to take cues from him as to when he was willing to have her him and when he needed her to move on to another task.

After only 2 months, our son has internalized her as a caring and supportive teacher. He spontaneously pretends he is the speech therapist by providing me with “tools” on improving my articulation. Anytime the doorbell rings he smiles and shouts “Shamim mommy!” I smile and feel great relief that this experience not only gave him and continues to give him support in language development but has provided him with a memory of the fun of learning.

I cannot recommend Shamim more as a speech therapist. My husband and I are more than amazed at how quickly our son has improved his articulation and expression of language. In addition, the experience has left our son with a positive childhood experience.

Carrie Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology