When Janine Stiene first purchased the Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation, she inherited a small practice.
“I bought a practice from a gentlemen that was retiring 12 years ago and it was just a small home-based business,” Stiene said. “I’ve been growing it and growing it ever since.”
Under Stiene’s guidance, former therapist George Isserles’ home-based practice has now grown to incorporate six locations across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation, which includes a Village of Lake Success office at 444 Lakeville Road, has a network of 50 therapists who treat 600 patients per week at the practice’s six locations, Stiene said.
“I never expected it to get this big,” she said. “I bought the practice and I thought that was as big as it could be. I had this very, very small office and we just kept adding space.”
Stiene, 37, grew up in Port Jefferson and now lives in Mount Sinai with her husband Brian and the couple’s 7-year-old daughter, Taylor.
After inheriting the Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation under humble auspices, Stiene said she and her husband have taken great pride in building the practice from the ground up.
“We started with one filing cabinet with three files in it and we joked ‘do you think we’ll ever fill it?’” Janine Stiene recalled.
Along with its location in Lake Success, the Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation has offices in East Yaphank, Commack, Wantagh and Stony Brook.
Stiene said she next plans to open additional practices in Farmingdale and Jericho.
“The one thing that we always say to the staff is that ‘I’ll never grow it further or bigger than we can manage, or manage the patients and their needs and their expectations,’” Stiene said. “I still continue to feel that way, but at the same time I know that we’re providing such a great service.”
“Our therapists are so amazing,” she added, “that if we can continue to just provide that service across Long Island then I will do it, but only like I said if we can do it well.”
The Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation treats patients who Stiene said suffer from feeding and swallowing disorders. She said the practice’s services also include treating patients with lisps, tongue thrusts and other “language needs.”
“We work with mostly children, but we do work with adults,” Stiene said.
And one of the Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation’s most successful locations has become its Lake Success office, Stiene said.
Since opening in Lake Success nearly four years ago, Stiene said the office has grown exponentially.
Over the past two months, Stiene has expanded her Lake Success location from three to six therapy rooms. She said the practice has added five new therapists during that time span, to include 15 health-care professionals, who treat 95 patients each week.
“Lake Success has been amazing,” Stiene said. “We have a really diverse clientele and population.”
Being located next to the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Care System’s Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Stiene said, has helped her Lake Success practice grow.
“I always try to look at the island and see what areas are really lacking (myofunctional therapy) services,” Stiene said. “We knew that it would probably be a benefit to open (in Lake Success) in terms of proximity to the city and proximity to Queens.”
Stiene holds a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Loyola University in Maryland along with a master’s degree in speech pathology from Hofstra University. She said she maintains a “hands-on approach” with her practice.
“I kind of micromanage everything, so I read every evaluation that comes into the office and I read and write every progress report that comes into the office,” Stiene said. “ It allows me to be on the pulse of everything - even as the offices grow.”
Leading the development of the Suffolk Center for Myofunctional Therapy and Speech Rehabilitation has been “extremely rewarding,” Stiene said.
“The most rewarding part of this job is not only helping the people, but hiring the staff that is having that same effect or is the extension of you,” she said. “It’s rewarding every day because you know if you’re not helping someone, you know someone you have picked or chosen is having that effect.”