Allison Orr

Position: Occupational Therapist Assistant
Categories: Entry to School, Occupational Therapy

Allison is a bilingual Occupational Therapist Assistant working in the Entry to School program at ACT’s Pembroke location. She holds an Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Diploma from Algonquin College and is certified in DIR/Floortime. Allison looks forward to furthering her knowledge by completing more courses and training in the field of autism.

“Knowing we are having a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of the children and caregivers is a very fulfilling feeling. Being part of the BOG team and witnessing the growth we are seeing in the children as a multidisciplinary team.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Italy

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Sloth

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Taco’s

This post is also available in: French

Allison Orr

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Allison is a bilingual Occupational Therapist Assistant working in the Entry to School program at ACT’s Pembroke location. She holds an Occupational Therapist Assistant and...

Caitlin Howard

Position: Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Caitlin has been a Registered Early Childhood Educator for nearly two decades. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology as well as a graduate certificate in Autism and Behaviour Sciences. Throughout her career, Caitlin has experience working in daycare centres and schools.

“I have a passion for working with young children. I have worked in full-day kindergarten for 10 years. Working in the Entry To School program allows me to help support these children where they are in their development and help prepare them for their upcoming school transition.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chocolate

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas

Are you a morning person or a night-owl?

Morning person

This post is also available in: French

Caitlin Howard

Registered Early Childhood Educator

Caitlin has been a Registered Early Childhood Educator for nearly two decades. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology as well as a graduate certificate in...

Caitlin Lacelle

Position: Director of Occupational Therapy and Entry to School
Categories: Entry to School, Leadership, Occupational Therapy

Caitlin is a registered Occupational Therapist with the province of Ontario. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from McGill University in 2009 and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Queen’s University in 2011.  Caitlin has spent the majority of her clinical career working with the pediatric population, in the school, community and clinic settings. She has provided consultation and direct therapy to address a wide range of physical, cognitive and sensory-based issues.

Caitlin has extensive experience in assessment and intervention with children with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disorders and developmental delays. Caitlin has completed the Professionals Certificate in the DIR/Floortime  Model and the advanced workshop for the Early Start Denver Model.  She has specialized training in feeding therapy, sensory processing and play based therapy.

This post is also available in: French

Caitlin Lacelle

Director of Occupational Therapy and Entry to School

Caitlin is a registered Occupational Therapist with the province of Ontario. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from McGill University in 2009 and...

Cassandra Danis

Position: ETS Team Lead, Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Cassandra is a Team Lead of our Entry to School program Antares location. Cassandra is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and has years of experience working in childcare and has primarily held positions working with children ranging from ages one to four. When Cassandra isn’t working, you can find her playing volleyball, field hockey or hanging out with her two cats Sevro and Nala!

“I work at ACT because the environment is welcoming and inclusive. I love the standards and practice of ACT Learning Centre and the inclusion they provide for all children.”

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Lion!

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Bananas!

What’s your favourite holiday?
Halloween!

This post is also available in: French

Cassandra Danis

ETS Team Lead, Registered Early Childhood Educator

Cassandra is a Team Lead of our Entry to School program Antares location. Cassandra is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and has years of experience...

Emily Harris

Position: BCBA, Clinical Supervisor and member of Entry to School Supervisory Team
Categories: Behavioural Therapy, Entry to School

Emily is a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst and has been working in the field for over a decade. She holds a Master of Professional Education from Western University. Her clinical area of focus is in evidence-based early intervention for children on the autism spectrum. She also has a special interest in comprehensive ABA programming, verbal behaviour therapy and functional communication training. Emily has completed the advanced workshop for the Early Start Denver Model and has experience delivering ABA/IBI services in the home, school and in centre-based programs.

“I was one of the first employees hired at ACT and was excited to assist in opening a new clinic. I was interested in ACT’s vision of providing a variety of evidence-based therapy and working on a multi-disciplinary team.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas

Are you a morning person or a night-owl? 

Morning person

This post is also available in: French

Emily Harris

BCBA, Clinical Supervisor and member of Entry to School Supervisory Team

Emily is a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst and has been working in the field for over a decade. She holds a Master of Professional Education from...

Helen Lweyeman

Position: Classroom Assistant
Categories: Entry to School

Helen holds a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Childhood and Youth Studies. She is fluent in both English and French. In her spare time, Helen loves cooking African food and blasting loud music to put some groove in the house!

“I love my team and the children, everyone is amazing.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

AFRICA!

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Giraffe

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chapati with meat all day!

This post is also available in: French

Helen Lweyeman

Classroom Assistant

Helen holds a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Childhood and Youth Studies. She is fluent in both...

Idil Hassan

Position: Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Idil is personally and professionally invested in providing optimal learning and development environments for children. In her early learning environments, she advocated for inclusion and representation. Her primary goal as an educator is to ensure all children, regardless of race, ability, gender or other differences, are in environments that make them feel safe, wanted, valued and respected.

Idil holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts – Educational Studies and Digital Technology (specializing in early childhood development), a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Education in Equity, Diversity and Social Justice. She is also CPR, First Aid & AED certified and holds a certificate in Autism 101.

“Relationships between families and the centres where children are involved are critical to the children’s success. I admire the way ACT recognizes and values relationships with children and families. Additionally, I love being a part of a multidisciplinary team. Being a part of the first cohort for the Entry to School program has been a unique experience that has allowed me to pick up different skills and strategies from an amazing group of professionals from various fields.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Maldives

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza

What’s your favourite holiday?

Eid

This post is also available in: French

Idil Hassan

Registered Early Childhood Educator

Idil is personally and professionally invested in providing optimal learning and development environments for children. In her early learning environments, she advocated for inclusion and...

Jennifer Rego

Position: Entry to School Site Manager, Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Jennifer is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with more than 20 years of experience working with children. She is very passionate about her work with children and truly enjoys being a part of their development. Jen loves the outdoors and glamping at her trailer. You can always find her swimming or boating with family and friends.

“I love the entire program at ACT. The children, families, staff and management make it very easy to come to work every day.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Hersheys Eggies

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas

Are you a morning person or a night-owl?

Morning person

This post is also available in: French

Jennifer Rego

Entry to School Site Manager, Registered Early Childhood Educator

Jennifer is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with more than 20 years of experience working with children. She is very passionate about her work with...

Jessica Gwilliam, M.Sc(A), SLP (C) Reg. CASLPO

Position: Speech-Language Pathologist
Categories: Entry to School, Speech-Language Therapy

Jessica is a Speech-Language Pathologist with experience in services for early language, articulation/phonology, motor speech, fluency, alternative and augmentative communication, ASD and social language skills.

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences with a Minor in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa and a Master in Speech-Language Pathology from McGill University. She is certified in PECS Level 1 and 2, Hanen More Than Words, PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills), and has additional training in AAC, motor speech (DTTC- Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cueing), as well as coursework on Natural Language Acquisition. She has also completed the certification course in Play Project.

“I love working in the Entry to School Program supporting children to learn the communication skills they need for school and to be able to communicate with anyone anywhere”.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I really love exploring and visiting Canada! I’d love to visit New Zealand and Ireland someday.

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Indian food

What’s your favourite holiday?
Christmas (everyone is filled with kindness and good cheer).

This post is also available in: French

Jessica Gwilliam, M.Sc(A), SLP (C) Reg. CASLPO

Speech-Language Pathologist

Jessica is a Speech-Language Pathologist with experience in services for early language, articulation/phonology, motor speech, fluency, alternative and augmentative communication, ASD and social language skills....

Joanne Silke

Position: Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Joanne holds an Early Childhood Education Honours Diploma, as well as a Working with Children with Special Needs Certificate. Joanne has worked with children and adults with special needs for over 25 years. Joanne describes herself as a lifelong learner who is always keen and excited to learn new things and experience new challenges. A fun fact about Joanne is that she was once a professional clown named “Jelly Bean” who volunteered her time in hospitals to bring joy to patients.

“It is an absolute thrill and honour to be a part of the ACT team of heart-centered leaders!! Everything about ACT’s teaching philosophy completely resonates with what I believe and know to be true of how children. Children grow best when we see life by looking through their eyes and understanding what they need. We must continuously adjust the program and be relentlessly solution-focused to accommodate the ever-changing needs of each individual. Learning is never one size fits all and at ACT Learning Centre there is a complete understanding of how each child learns so they can thrive in all areas of development on the level they are at for optimum success.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sushi

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas and all things that glitter!!

Are you a morning person or a night-owl?

Morning person

This post is also available in: French

Joanne Silke

Registered Early Childhood Educator

Joanne holds an Early Childhood Education Honours Diploma, as well as a Working with Children with Special Needs Certificate. Joanne has worked with children and...

Julie Tessier

Position: Occupational Therapist
Categories: Entry to School, Occupational Therapy, PLAY Project

Julie Tessier is a registered Occupational Therapist (OT) with the province of Ontario. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics and completed a Master of Health Science in Occupational Therapy in 2019. She provides Occupational Therapy services in both English and French. In addition to providing assessments, interventions and consultations in private practice, Julie is also part of many projects such as a registered PLAY consultant for the Play Project, a member of the supervisory team in the Entry to School (ETS) Program and a mentor for the Secret Agent Society (SAS) research project.

Julie’s love of helping kids has led her to acquire several years of experience working alongside experienced pediatric therapists. For the past eight years, she has worked with children on the autism spectrum in different settings. She has skillfully assisted with integration in day cares, has developed and led social groups as well as summer camps, provided respite services to families. She continues to pursue her passion as an Occupational Therapist with a special focus on working with children of all ages.

Julie aspires to help children gain independence in their everyday activities as well as work in an interdisciplinary setting. Julie provides quality interventions that emphasize promoting the child’s motivation and engagement within activities of their daily life. Julie is highly motivated to grow and develop as a therapist as she and completed various trainings.

In her spare time, Julie loves to travel, spend time outdoors, participate in various sports and being surrounded with her friends and family.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Iceland

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Stir fry

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Goat

This post is also available in: French

Julie Tessier

Occupational Therapist

Julie Tessier is a registered Occupational Therapist (OT) with the province of Ontario. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor’s degree in...

Karoline Drozd, Reg. CDAAC

Position: Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA)
Categories: Entry to School

Karoline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Linguistics from Western University as well as a CDA Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College.

Karoline loves working with children, especially fostering meaningful connections and helping them realize their own potential. Karoline has worked as an Early Childhood Educator supply for over six years, implementing Ontario’s “How Does Learning Happen” Pedagogy. She has worked in multiple Children’s Treatment Centres in Ontario, as a CDA with children and youth with speech, language and/or social communication concerns, often in the context of an additional diagnosis such as ASD, Cerebral Palsy, FASD, Down Syndrome, or Rett Syndrome. More recently, she has worked in private practice, where she provided 1:1 speech therapy to clients of all ages and abilities in Ottawa. During Karoline’s career as a CDA, she has worked on client goals ranging from Early Language Development, AAC, Social Communication Strategies, Fluency Strategies, Articulation, and Literacy skills.

“I jumped at the opportunity to work in a clinical multidisciplinary setting, as well as be part of the first cohort of the ETS program! Working with clinicians and professionals in their respective fields is such a great environment for our clients, who receive the best clinical care from an amazing team that strives to meet clients at their level and help them achieve their own goals!”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Greece and Croatia

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Holiday turkey dinner

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl

This post is also available in: French

Karoline Drozd, Reg. CDAAC

Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA)

Karoline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Linguistics from Western University as well as a CDA Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. Karoline...

Kathryn Paul (Kat)

Position: Behavioural Therapist
Categories: Entry to School

Kat has worked with children of all ages for over a decade and currently specializes in the field of ABA. Kat holds a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology from Carleton University. She is currently working towards a Master of Special Education – Applied Behavioural Analysis from Arizona State University (online). Kat is currently working towards becoming a BCBA.

“I chose ACT because I have heard nothing but the best about them. I also see ACT and the ETS program as a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pizza 😊

What’s your favourite holiday?
Christmas!

Are you a morning person or a night-owl?
Morning person

This post is also available in: French

Kathryn Paul (Kat)

Behavioural Therapist

Kat has worked with children of all ages for over a decade and currently specializes in the field of ABA. Kat holds a Bachelor of...

Katie Jenkins

Position: Lead Instructor Therapist
Categories: Entry to School

Katie holds a degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University) and is certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, she is also looking to pursue a Master of Education in the coming years. Katie began her career working in an ABA clinic providing 1:1 therapy to children diagnosed with ASD. She went on to work as an Education Assistant with OCDSB at a special needs school in Ottawa allowing her to engage with students with different types of skills and disabilities. Katie’s dream is to open up a forest school for kids and adults on the spectrum! She sees the positive impact connecting with nature has on her clients.

“Being a part of the first cohort of the Entry to School program was an opportunity I could not pass up. Working in a multi-disciplinary setting sounded like a great chance for growing my professional skills. This program is unique as it allows me to combine my passion for behaviour intervention while in a more natural setting.”

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Chimpanzee

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Baked beans on toast

What’s your favourite holiday?

Halloween

This post is also available in: French

Katie Jenkins

Lead Instructor Therapist

Katie holds a degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University) and is certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, she is also looking to...

Lina Ahmed

Position: Behavioural Therapist
Categories: Entry to School

Lina has extensive experience teaching ESL to toddlers and preschoolers and speaks both English and Arabic. She has also worked providing ABA therapy one-on-one, in group settings as well as in-school support as an educational assistant. Lina holds an Honours Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Toronto, as well as a Master of Psychology from the University of Liverpool.

“I admire the goal of the ETS program, and the mixed skills and talents combined to provide the best possible support for autistic children. I truly believe this program will have a huge positive impact on enabling autistic children with the necessary skills to succeed in school. Working with so many skilled and knowledgeable individuals from various fields has benefitted me in terms of knowledge and practice and enabled me to perform my job in the best possible way.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Maldives

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Monkey

What’s your favourite holiday?

Eid

This post is also available in: French

Lina Ahmed

Behavioural Therapist

Lina has extensive experience teaching ESL to toddlers and preschoolers and speaks both English and Arabic. She has also worked providing ABA therapy one-on-one, in...

Lynne Begin

Position: Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Lynne holds a Diploma of Early Childhood Education from St. Lawrence College. Before joining the ACT teams, Lynne operated a home-based childcare program for 16 years. Throughout this time, she consistently delivered developmentally appropriate enriching activities in all areas of child development. She then worked in the role of ECE educator with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Working alongside teaching teams, she had many opportunities to deliver developmentally appropriate enriching activities to school-age children in both the classroom and in the Extended Day Program.

“I love being part of a multi-disciplinary team and making a positive impact in the lives of these little people!”

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

Monkey

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza

Are you a morning person or a night-owl?

Morning person

This post is also available in: French

Lynne Begin

Registered Early Childhood Educator

Lynne holds a Diploma of Early Childhood Education from St. Lawrence College. Before joining the ACT teams, Lynne operated a home-based childcare program for 16...

Natasha Patry

Position: Registered Early Childhood Educator
Categories: Entry to School

Natasha has over 14 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. She holds a diploma in Early Childcare Education from Algonquin College and has experience working in daycare and school settings. Natasha loves the Ottawa Senators and elephants!

“I have an appreciation for the children we work with. They keep me curious and I learn something new every day. Watching our students grow and progress throughout the program is incredibly rewarding.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Poutine or Mac and cheese

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas

Are you a morning person or a night-owl?

Night-owl

This post is also available in: French

Natasha Patry

Registered Early Childhood Educator

Natasha has over 14 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. She holds a diploma in Early Childcare Education from Algonquin College...

Robyn Chaput

Position: Instructor Therapist
Categories: Behavioural Therapy, Entry to School

Robyn is an Instructor Therapist with over four years of experience working with children with disabilities and 16 years of experience working with adults with a variety of disabilities. Robyn holds a Diploma of Recreation and Leisure as well as a Registered Behaviour Therapy certificate.

In her spare time, Robyn enjoys spending time with her children, walking her dogs and playing soccer.

“ACT Learning Centre is an inspirational company that is doing amazing things for children on the spectrum, and I am excited to be a part of such an inspiring team.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Figi

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?
Monkey

What’s your favourite holiday?
Christmas

This post is also available in: French

Robyn Chaput

Instructor Therapist

Robyn is an Instructor Therapist with over four years of experience working with children with disabilities and 16 years of experience working with adults with...

Sandy Ghobrial

Position: Instructor Therapist
Categories: Entry to School

Sandy holds a Bachelor of Psychology and is currently working towards a Master of Counselling Psychology and an RBT certificate. Sandy can speak both English and Arabic and describes herself as very adventurous, going paragliding is at the top of her list!

“ACT is the best organization I have ever been to. Great working as a team and accommodating employees and clients.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Greece

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

dolphin

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Hot Chicken Wings

This post is also available in: French

Sandy Ghobrial

Instructor Therapist

Sandy holds a Bachelor of Psychology and is currently working towards a Master of Counselling Psychology and an RBT certificate. Sandy can speak both English...

Vera Lapczak

Position: Occupational Therapist, Entry to School Supervisor
Categories: Entry to School, Occupational Therapy

Vera has been an Occupational Therapist since 2005, working with children predominantly in school settings, but also in private practice.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Costa Rica, New Zealand

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chips

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas

This post is also available in: French

Vera Lapczak

Occupational Therapist, Entry to School Supervisor

Vera has been an Occupational Therapist since 2005, working with children predominantly in school settings, but also in private practice. If you could visit anywhere...

Victoria Samson

Position: Quality Manager and Speech-Language Pathologist
Categories: Entry to School, Speech-Language Therapy

Victoria is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated with a Master of Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2014. Victoria has pursued additional training in the areas of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), motor speech disorders (including PROMPT and DTTC, Dynamic Tactile and Temporal Cuing) as well as autism spectrum disorder  (including the advanced workshop for Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and The Hanen Program’s More Than Words and TalkAbility). Victoria has completed courses on the Natural Language Acquisition approach to supporting children who communicate using echolalia (Gestalt Language Processors). Victoria is also an Individual Authorizer for Communication Aids through ADP.

Victoria has worked as a pediatric SLP since 2014 in various roles including preschool speech and language services, school-based rehab services and an expanded level AAC clinic. She has worked in the Entry to School Program at ACT since January 2022. Victoria has a particular interest in and passion for early intervention, supporting young children with ASD and their families to thrive through strengths-based intervention.

“ACT fosters collaboration across disciplines and provides opportunities for learning and growth for its staff. Victoria believes strongly in the importance of a collaborative, interdisciplinary and evidence-based approach to intervention taking the whole child into consideration in order to develop functional and meaningful goals with the family. This holistic, interdisciplinary approach is accessible to families who seek services through ACT.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Antarctica

If you could have any exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?

A jaguar

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas

This post is also available in: French

Victoria Samson

Quality Manager and Speech-Language Pathologist

Victoria is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist who graduated with a Master of Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2014. Victoria has pursued additional training in the...

This post is also available in: French