Sherry Y. Artemenko M.A., C.C.C.
Speech Language Pathologist, Writer, Toy Consultant
For more than 35 years, Sherry Artemenko has worked with children to improve their speech and language, serving as a speech language pathologist in both the public and private school systems and private practice.
Working and playing with children daily, Sherry has become an expert in evaluating children’s toys, games, and books for their language-building value. She founded the PAL Award (Play Advances Language), to recognize exceptional examples of these products. She has been referenced as a speech expert in Parents Magazine, parenting.com, San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune, as well as contributed guest blogs to ASHAsphere, Love That Max, and ASTRA’s blog. Her blog, playonwords.com is frequently highlighted in ASHA Leader Magazine.
Sherry is featured regularly as an expert and her insights shared on FOX and NBC TV News affiliates recommending “Smart Toys” and her “Top 10 PAL Picks.”
She advises children’s authors and startups for children’s toys and media.
Sherry started Play on Words LLC in 2003, after 16 years with the Fairfield Public Schools. The mission of her practice is threefold: 1) to serve as a therapist to children with special needs, helping to build their speech and language skills and 2) to assist new moms and dads of typically developing children, ages birth to 3 years, as a personal trainer, teaching parents how to talk, read and play with their child to enhance language, and 3) to advise parents, companies and authors on the attributes of the best toys, games and media to build language.
Prior to establishing Play on Words LLC, Sherry’s career as a speech language pathologist spanned 22 years in the Illinois and Connecticut public and private schools, where she worked with pre-school to high school-aged children with special needs. In this capacity, she served on multidisciplinary diagnostic teams at the preschool and elementary levels. In addition, she helped to develop programs for teaching language through literature and worked in collaboration with classroom teachers to bridge language, reading and writing in school curriculum.
Sherry graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Communicative Disorders, where she currently serves on the Alumni Council. Licensed in Wisconsin, she is a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is Chair of the National Board of Directors for “Young Lives,” providing support for single teenage moms and their babies.
Sherry and her husband Bob were long-time residents of Connecticut and recently moved to Wisconsin. They have three sons who served as Sherry’s first Play on Words clients: Bill, Yale 2000, Andrew, Northwestern University 2003, and Peter, Duke University 2005, and acquired three amazing daughters through marriage. Sherry and Bob are blessed with 10 precious grandchildren who love to play with Sheshe and Artie.
B.A., Economics, M.M. Marketing, Northwestern University
Chief Marketing Officer
Word Lover, Toy Builder and Reviewer
Bob Artemenko began his 34 years with IBM selling and managing sales in Chicago and New York. He was an executive in international marketing and strategy, working with computer server, services and financing divisions. He was recognized for his abilities to interpret complex, competitive and organization challenges, communicate coherent problem statements with solutions, and lead teams toward issue resolution and growth.
Translating his experience to other industries has come naturally.
1. Working at IBM, teaching in Fairfield University’s business program, and getting his Masters from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management have shown him that “marketing” is centered more around the profession’s principles and disciplines than the plethora of products introduced continuously. Assembling Lego and Playmobil’s pretend play vignettes and vehicles, playing all kinds of spinner and strategy games, wowing kids with realistic Folkmanis hand puppets or lovingly created books – have demonstrated that it’s still all about satisfying markets with uniqueness and value as seen through that consumer segment’s eyes. “Knowing their hearts, you can delight them and build successful business models serving them – everyone wins.”
2. Serving the Toy Industry advances on the written and spoken word like other ventures. Customers, developers, producers, publishers, influencers and their management all need to be understood and helped via communicating. An avid reader and writer, Bob has always honored the value of words.
3.He loves to play. An All-Big Ten Big Ten shortstop, Yankee minor league pitcher and cyclist riding thousands of miles a year (with Sherry!), he’s always balanced the cerebral and relational with the recreational. His love of airplanes lead him to get his pilots license in 2009.
Bob finds great fulfillment in partnering with Sherry at Play On Words LLC to help parents, care givers and educators use the pervasive media of mass marketed toys, games and books to go beyond the $ Billions spent entertaining, to show the ways that the very best of them can fortify language, the power of which enables productive lives, careers and character.
“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”