Welcome to Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc., an innovative private practice in the Ruskin area of Southern Hillsborough County, FL. Our practice is dedicated to meeting children at their individual functioning level and promoting their potential abilities. We offer a variety of pediatric and adolescent speech-language and occupational therapy services in a family oriented, child friendly center. We offer assessments, individual intervention and group programs. Our goal is to provide quality and highly professional services in a nurturing and supportive environment to best support your child with the tools they need to navigate the world around them.

Founded by Luz Gaona M.S., CCC-SLP, Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. is a labor of love. Our practice fulfills her vision of providing pediatric therapy in a nurturing, stimulating, safe and fun environment while promoting parental interaction in the therapy process. Our therapeutic services are designed with your child’s and family’s needs as the core component. Parental involvement is strongly encouraged in all of our therapy sessions. Parents can expect to learn first-hand how to incorporate the therapeutic techniques we use during therapy time on a day-to-day basis in their natural environment. We provide a collected +23 years of experience in pediatric therapeutic care. Therapy sessions are tailored to address your child’s global therapy needs while presenting them in a fun, naturalistic play format.


Meet Our Team

Luz E. Gaona



Luz Gaona, M.S., CCC-SLP, is the founder of Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. She is a bilingual speech-language pathologist and owner of Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. She received her master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Florida State University. Luz has provided speech and language therapy in a variety of settings that includes in-home, pre-school, daycare, public school, senior living facilities and hospital outpatient clinic. Her clinical decisions are rooted in evidence-based practice and she believes in looking at the whole child when tailoring goals to the individual child. Luz has received training in PROMPT level 1 Trained, D.I.R. Floortime® and Myofacial Release. She is thrilled to work with the caring, professional, and passionate team of therapists at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. to support children and their families reach their fullest potential! Throughout her professional career, she has worked with children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of diagnoses and speech-language disorders such as articulation and phonological disorders, fluency disorders, expressive/receptive delays, pragmatic disorders, autism, Down Syndrome, cleft palate, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and Cerebral Palsy. She has worked in private clinics as well as outpatient rehabilitation centers alongside therapists from other disciplines and is eager to be able to continue to do so at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. Luz is passionate about creating a safe and fun environment where children can find their voice and reach their full potential by using functional therapy programs while also making sure families/caregivers are involved every step of the way. In her free time, Luz unwinds in the kitchen learning new recipes, practicing yoga, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spend time with family and friends.

Alexus Rivera


Alexus Rivera, B.A. SLPA, is an employee at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. She was born in Rochester, NY and has lived in Florida since the age of 9. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant here at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. Alexus is a recent graduate from the University of South Florida, with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She enjoys spending time with her pets, family, and friends in her spare time. What she enjoys the most about being employed at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. is that she is able to be a part of a hard-working team that is continuously striving to help others in their community.

Vanessa Machado

BS Elem. Ed., MOT, OT/L

Vanessa Machado, MOT, OT/L is a pediatric occupational therapist (OT) with Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. She has over 10 years of experience as a pediatric OT. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Vanessa taught kindergarten and first grade level students with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education. Her love of children began over 20 years ago while caring for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children. As a pediatric OT with Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc., Vanessa’s skilled occupational therapy evaluations and treatment planning are client-centered and based on developmentally-appropriate, contextually relevant and functional occupations. Her approach to evaluation and intervention utilizes evidence-based best practice and includes all of the successful tools that children have taught her through practice-based evidence. Vanessa collaborates with the child and family members/caregivers to learn about the unique qualities that make up the whole child. Vanessa has specialized pediatric occupational therapy training in the following: Learning/Handwriting/Keyboarding Without Tears (LWOT, HWOT, KWOT), Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (SOS Approach) and BrainWorks Sensory Diet Approach.

Amanda Dieppa


Amanda Dieppa, COTA/ L. is a pediatric certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. She recently acquired her OTA license and certification from Keiser University, and started her career here with us, shortly after. Her approach to intervention is very child and family centered, as well as evidence-based. Amanda is passionate about interacting with children and helping them be successful in life. Her intervention approaches vary depending on the child's and family's needs. These intervention approaches include: Parent training and education, sensory integration, handwriting, pre-writing abilities, play skills, behavior management, and more. 

Brittany Cacace


Brittany Cacace, B.S. SLPA, is a Florida board certified Speech-Language Pathologist assistant at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. She was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After receiving her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from SUNY Oneonta; she moved to Florida during the pandemic and continued her education in Communication Sciences Disorders at the University of South Florida. Brittany has experience in strong articulation intervention approaches, and behavioral management skills. Brittany’s goal is to serve the pediatric population. Her innate ability to work closely with children and families allows her to analyze and provide effective techniques that are both individualized and strategic.  On Brittany's free time she loves spending time with family and friends at the beach. Overall, Brittany loves working with kids!!!
Emily Magee


Emily Magee, OTD OTR/ L is a certified occupational therapist at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, inc. She is from Big Rock, Illinois, and loves to travel and explore new places. After completing her residency in Puerto Rico, she realized she was meant to work with the bilingual pediatric population. Emily acquired her Bachelor’s in Rehabilitation Services at the Northern Illinois University, and her Doctorate degree in Occ from Indiana Wesleyan University. She truly loves working with kids because they’re… AWESOME! 

Marisol Garcia


Marisol Garcia, B.S. SLPA, was born and raised in Tampa, FLorida. She is a Bilingual Speech Language Pathology Assistant at Southshore Bilingual Therapy, Inc. Marisol is a recent graduate from University of South Florida, with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science Disorders. Marisol has provided speech and language therapy services in school and private practice settings, via in person or tele-therapy. She is excited to be part of a team that aligns with her values, culture, and collaborating with  passionate professionals to support children and families success. On her free time, she enjoys spending time with her children, family, and finding new parks to explore, and supporting local businesses.