Leslie Fortner MHS, CCC-SLP

636-485-8240 (text or call)

Leslie is an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Certified Speech-Language Pathologist with over 15 years experience providing therapy and evaluations for students with articulation & phonological disorders, fluency & voice disorders, language disorders & delays, Autism, AD/HD, emotional and behavioral delays, specific learning disabilities, and a variety of neurodevelopmental delays across several different settings. She is currently in private practice, and has previously worked for Special School District, SSM Rehab, and Missouri First Steps.

In her spare time Leslie enjoys spending time with her husband, three kids (ages 11, 8, and 6 and their French Bulldog, Zeus.

Leslie looks forward to talking with you about your child! She loves talking about all things speech and language, so text or call today for a free 20 minute consultation.

Services include assessment and treatment of:

  • Articulation delays/disorders
  • Phonological processing delays/disorders
  • Developmental Apraxia of Speech
  • Fluency (stuttering)
  • Voice
  • Language delays/disorders
  • Literacy including phonological and phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, and written expression
  • Autism & pragmatic language
  • Behavior supports & consultations

Leslie’s 4C’s of Successful Therapy:

I believe therapy is a dynamic partnership between the therapist, child and their caregivers. That is why I strive to keep my 4C’s of successful therapy at the heart of every session I conduct.

  • CALM - finding a therapist can often be a stressful process for families. I like to meet families where they are to provide education and support, not add stress to their already busy to-do list.
  • CURIOUS - caregivers know their children best. Being curious about the whole child is what drives my treatment goals and strategies. I’m curious to know how your child’s strengths and challenges have impacted their life.
  • CONNECT - Children learn best in an atmosphere where they are respected for their own unique perspective. Truly getting to know students and their families helps me provide a connected, meaningful therapy experience.
  • COLLABORATE - I work together with caregivers and students to select treatment goals and therapy strategies. Children who have more autonomy in the therapy process have more successful outcomes.


Q: How do I know if my child needs a speech-language pathologist?
A: You’re not the only parent who has noticed their child’s speech/language skills being delayed, but are unsure if it’s time for therapy. There is a wide range of normal when it comes to development, so ask yourself these questions when trying to decide if therapy is right for your child:
  • Do familiar listeners (i.e. yourself, siblings, caregivers) have difficulty understanding your child out of context?
  • Does your child become frustrated when they are trying to communicate?
  • Does your child easily “give up” when trying to communicate is difficult?
  • Has school become a struggle despite best efforts to succeed?
  • Has your child stopped trying at school because it’s “too hard”?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to involve a professional. If your child is an infant to five years old, contact your St. Louis area First Steps or Parents as Teachers organization or a speech-language pathologist. If your child is school-age, consult with your school’s counselor or a speech-language pathologist.

Q: What is the difference between speech and language?
A: Speech refers to the way in which sounds are produced. Examples would be articulation, fluency, and voice. Articulation disorders are characterized by a distortion of sounds or a substitution of one sound for another. For instance, a child says, “wed” for “red” or due to a frontal lisp says, “theat” for “seat”. Fluency, or stuttering, affects the easy, forward flow of speech production through blocks, repetitions and prolongations of sounds and words. Voice disorders impact the quality of speech, as people may sound raspy, hoarse, hyper- or hyponasal when they talk. Language refers to a person’s ability to use and understand words effectively. Examples would be semantics, syntax, morphology and pragmatics. Semantic skills are a person’s knowledge of words, word relationships, classifying and describing. Syntax and morphology skills are a person’s ability to put words in the correct order to convey meaning and their use of grammar. Pragmatic language refers to the social use of language including use of humor, negotiating, and ability to express emotions.
Q: How does this process begin?
A: Typically, a speech-language pathologist will want to meet with you or your child for an informal assessment. At this meeting, you can further share your concerns and/or provide the therapist with any formal evaluations that you may have had previously conducted. The therapist may want to observe or work with your child to help develop initial goals for treatment as well as recommendations for frequency and duration of sessions. Fees and payment options are generally discussed at this meeting.
Q: Where are therapy sessions typically conducted?
A: The great thing about speech and language is that it is everywhere, so therapy can be conducted just about anywhere! Parents typically prefer sessions be conducted in their home as this allows them more flexibility in their busy evening schedules. However, public libraries in and around St. Louis serve as excellent therapy locations. Therapy can also be conducted at your child’s pre-school, private school, or after school program with permission from the establishment.
Q: What do therapy sessions look like?
A: Depending on the age and needs of your child, therapy sessions will vary greatly. Therapy sessions typically consist of 50 minutes direct service with the client and 10 minutes of consultative discussion with parents, resulting in approximately one hour sessions. Younger clients are provided with opportunities for movement, sensory input and immediate reinforcement while older clients are involved in their own goal setting and strategy development. Data is consistently obtained and analyzed to track progress and drive decision-making in regards to therapy goals and techniques.
Q: Can a speech therapist help my child in all subjects?
A: Yes! All subjects, math, science, social studies, reading and writing all require language skills. Older students benefit greatly from a curriculum-based therapy approach to promote generalization of skills learned during therapy to their classroom.