Who's Who Top Educators

Renee La Bella

Title: Speech-Language Pathologist
Company: Rockford Public Schools
Location: Rockford, Illinois, United States

Renee La Bella, a speech-language pathologist at Rockford Public Schools, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in speech-language pathology.

Dr. La Bella’s educational journey showcases a profound commitment to advancing her expertise in speech-language pathology. Beginning with her Associate of Arts from Rock Valley Community College in 1982, she then pursued her Bachelor of Sciences in communicative disorders at Northern Illinois University, graduating, magna Ccm laude, in 1984. Subsequently, she completed her Master of Arts in speech and language pathology from Northern Illinois University with summa cum laude honors in 1986. Dr. La Bella continued her pursuit of knowledge by engaging in continuing education coursework, including in behavioral neurology at Harvard Medical School in 1990. 

Over the years, Dr. La Bella also attended specialized programs such as “Advances in Cognitive Neuroscience in the 21st Century” at Northwestern University and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 2009. Additionally, she completed training in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) in 2006 and 2012 and advanced PECS training in 2015. Her dedication to learning led her to further educational achievements, including “Language Acquisition through Motor Planning” training at The Center for AAC & Autism in 2013. Dr. La Bella’s academic pinnacle culminated in her completion of a Doctor of Clinical Science in speech-language pathology from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2016. 

Dr. La Bella’s professional journey as a speech-language pathologist spans diverse settings and demonstrates her unwavering commitment to the field. She commenced her career at the Association for Individual Development from 1987 to 1988. From 1989 to 1994, Dr. La Bella provided her expertise at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital, followed by a tenure at Beloit Memorial Hospital from 1994 to 1996. Her commitment to excellence led her post at Saint Anthony Medical Center, where she worked from 1996 to 2004. Dr. La Bella expanded her scope by engaging in a pro-tech search contract at Belvidere and North Boone Schools from 2004 to 2007, followed by a role at Rockford Public Schools from 2007 to 2010. Notably, she contributed significantly to Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago at the Easter Seals Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research from 2010 to 2015. Her dedication to education continued as she joined Rockford Public Schools in 2015, where she is currently employed.

With expertise in hospital and rehabilitation environments, Dr. La Bella adeptly diagnoses and treats impairments affecting communication, cognition, and swallowing ability in acute care, rehabilitation, and home health care settings. She tailors interventions for conditions such as CVA, brain tumors, head injuries, head/neck cancer, and progressive neurological disorders, catering to both pediatric and adult populations. Her proficiency extends to assessing swallowing disorders, prescribing diets, and conducting video-fluoroscopic assessments. 

Contributing significantly to educational settings, Dr. La Bella conducted evaluations for communication disorders, developed therapy plans, and led social skills groups while creating engaging thematic speech and language programs for diverse classrooms. Additionally, her repertoire includes early childhood interventions, augmentative alternative communication implementations, voice pathologies remediation, and fluency treatments for children and adults. 

Dr. La Bella’s professional trajectory is a testament to her dedication and expertise in speech-language pathology. Her commitment to the field extends beyond clinical practice, as seen in her active involvement in civic responsibilities, notably serving on the Planning Committee of the Northern Illinois Speech Hearing Language Association since 2022. In the coming years, Dr. La Bella aims to pursue a career path that involves teaching at a university or establishing a private practice.

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