Demetra Hajidiacos M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A. Hons

Education Consultant & Co-Founder

 
Demetra has a Master's Degree in Education (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning) and a passion for helping children, families and institutions navigate the world of autism.  She provides support in a broad range of topics including educational planning or IEPs for students; she also assists with care plans for newly immigrated families, and funding applications for students (Level 2 or 3).  All students entering Autism Learning Centre are given a complimentary consultation from Demetra and she directs families to the appropriate professional on our team.  In addition to having 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher, Demetra has attended training sessions in ABA (through St. Amant), DIRFloortime (through Autism Outreach) and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).  In 2008 she completed a one-week course in RDI that was held in Glassboro, New Jersey.  In addition, she is also a certified Early Childhood Montessori Teacher (NAMC).  As an educator, Demetra borrows from research-based therapy models and uses her understanding of how classroom systems work to prepare her students for greater success at school.  

 

 

 

Leanne Howlett Ph.D. Student (Child Dev.), ASD Cert., B.A. 

Autism Specialist & Co-Founder
 
Leanne holds a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders  from the University of North Dakota where she also completed a post-baccalaureate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Leanne is a Certified DIRFloortime Provider, working with newly diagnosed children, helping them to engage with others and regulate their emotions.  She also runs several Social Skills groups for children and teens, helping children on the spectrum understand the nuances of conversations, friendship skills and perspective taking.  Leanne is currently working towards completing her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities at ICDL Graduate School in Maryland, USA.  She holds a Psychology degree from the University of Manitoba and has extensive experience working with children on the autism spectrum including working at St. Amant as an ABA tutor and at OHEYS as a camp leader. In addition, Leanne has worked with individuals in crisis through Klinic Community Health Centre.  Leanne uses her wealth of education and experience in the field of autism to provide clinical support to children and families.   
 

 

 

Naomi Goerz RSLP, MSc., SLP (C), B.A.

Speech-Language Pathologist 

 

Naomi holds a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Linguistics and Psychology.  Naomi has a particular interest in treating paediatric speech and language disorders, helping to address the communication challenges facing children with developmental delays.  This includes supporting articulation skills, language development, and social communication.  Naomi's professional philosophy is to provide services through family-centered practice.  She believes in the importance of building strong client-focused relationships, and collaborating with families to determine the best intervention goals and treatment frameworks.  Naomi is currently leading the Social Explorers program, working on social skill development for children in preschool and early elementary school.  She is also now accepting new clients for 1:1 services!  

 



Marcie Smeltz M.S., B.A. 

Behavioural Consultant 

 

Autism Learning Centre is the leading private provider of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapy in Winnipeg.  Marcie Smeltz began implementing ABA programs in Manitoba in 1999.  In 2001, she was one of the initial therapists who offered services through St. Amant's pilot ABA program.  In 2003, she began working as a consultant in St. Amant's preschool ABA program where she remained until 2014.  Her background includes providing one-on-one instruction, parent and staff training on ABA principles and procedures, and providing program supervision and consultation for families and schools throughout Manitoba.  Marcie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Brandon University, Manitoba, in 1998 and received her Master's Degree in ABA from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota in 2010. Marcie has a wealth of experience in the field of autism and strives to meet family's needs with immediate behavioural improvements.  With close to two decades of experience working successfully with families and schools, Marcie is a trusted household name in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) in the autism community.  

 




Leah Borchert M.A., B.A. Hons

Therapeutic Drama Instructor, I Can Pretend!

 

Leah is a Drama Therapist and Canadian Certified Counsellor. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology and Theatre from the University of Winnipeg, and earned her Master of Arts in Drama Therapy from Concordia University.  Leah has additional certifications in the methods of Developmental Transformations and the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. She specializes in Drama Therapy with children and youth, and is passionate about the use of play and creativity for therapeutic purposes.  Leah currently teaches in our therapeutic drama program I Can Pretend! in the public school system and in the adult sector.  She is enthusiastic about working with students of all ages and, in addition to her off-site teaching, is excited about doing some teaching at the centre this upcoming school year! 

 

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Loc Lu

Therapeutic Drama Instructor, I Can Pretend! Education Director

 

​Loc directs our popular therapeutic drama program, I Can Pretend! in the schools and other sites.  I Can Pretend! has a long-standing tradition in Winnipeg of providing affordable, recreational programming to children and teens with autism, building on self-esteem, team skills and social skills through teacher-led imaginative play (younger students) and working with social scripts (older students). I Can Pretend! has graduated hundreds of students over the years and is a first-stop program for families struggling to find affordable recreational programming for their children and teens with autism.  Loc has extensive experience as a theatre instructor and is formally trained in physical theatre technique, mask, clown, film and forum theatre.  Loc has worked with students of all ages and walks of life. He has facilitated workshops and camps for several of Winnipeg's leading arts organizations and programs including MTYP, PTE, Artists in the Schools, Aboriginal Arts Training Program, Green kids, Monica's Danz Gym and here at ALC!    

 


Michelle Yaciuk M.M., MTA, MT-BC

Music Therapist, Owner Prelude Music 

 

Michelle is a certified Music Therapist in both Canada and the United States and has been a practicing music therapist for 10 years.  She received her Masters in Music Therapy from Western Michigan University, and has advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapy. Michelle and her team specialize in working with children and adolescents with various diagnoses to create a strength based treatment program with therapeutic outcomes.  The goal is for individuals to be respected and their voices heard.  Michelle is an Instructor of Music Therapy at Canadian Mennonite University.  She has been a judge for the Best Children's Album award for the Juno Awards, and she is the creator of Melodies & ABCs, an inclusive parent/child music program for children 6 and under.  In 2014, Michelle was awarded the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Emerging Business. Prelude Music is located at 1700 Corydon Avenue.  For more information and to book a therapy session, please visit Prelude Music Therapy Winnipeg


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​Christina Rambarran O.T. Reg. (MB) . 

Occupational Therapist 

 

Christina holds a Master of Occupational Therapy Degree and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree with a major in Psychology. Christina has a passion for working with children and youth living with a variety of conditions. She currently works at Marymound as an Occupational ​Therapist, providing direct assessment and treatment to female youth living with cognitive based limitations and mental health conditions. Christina has previous experience working with children living with autism, in addition to other conditions including, but not limited to, global developmental delay, intellectual disability, and ADHD. Christina’s practice is informed by current evidence based interventions along with creativity to ensure the individual needs of her clients are met and their goals are obtained. Christina has a focus on fine motor skills, self-regulation skills, self-care skills, social skills, coping skills, and the development of skills to enhance participation in daily functioning activities including play, school or work related activities. 

 

 

 


Angela French B.Ed., B.A. 

Certified Manitoba Teacher, Instructor & Academic Tutor

 

Angela is a Certified Manitoba Teacher with a Major in History and a Minor in Psychology.  She has experience working with children and adolescents with autism both within the classroom and through summer camps as a camp coordinator and counsellor.  Angela is passionate about supporting students by working one-on-one and building relationships.  Angela follows curriculum in creative and engaging ways and establishes a positive learning environment which promotes healthy social and emotional growth for all students.  Creativity, collaboration, reading comprehension and the development of many more essential literacy skills all play a significant role in securing this environment.  Her mission is to encourage every child she works with to wonder, discover and enjoy learning.  Angela plans to adapt and accommodate for the diverse needs of every young learner by providing them with options on how to showcase their meaningful learning experiences.    

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Amy Downs B.Ed., B.A. 

Certified Manitoba Teacher, Academic Tutor


Amy is a Certified Manitoba Teacher with a Major in Native Studies and a Minor in Psychology. She has experience working with children and adolescents with autism both inside the classroom as a teacher and outside of the classroom as a respite worker. Amy is very passionate about helping children and youth to realize their potential by guiding their intellectual, social and emotional growth. Amy strongly believes that building relationships with students is the key to success. Working with children and adolescents within the classroom, and on a one-on-one level, has taught Amy the value of empathy, patience, and understanding. Amy’s teaching is focused on following the curriculum while creating authentic and meaningful learning opportunities that engage her students. This approach highlights the diversity of learners through the use of personalized instruction. Amy plans to accommodate for the diversity of each learner by providing them with meaningful learning opportunities.




Allyson Baker B.A. Developmental Studies, ECE III

Early Intervention Specialist, School Readiness Instructor

 

Allyson is a graduate from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as degree in Developmental Studies. Allyson has also completed her Early Childhood Education III. Her passion lies in working with children of all abilities but has focused her career and education on studying autism. Allyson has a multitude of experience in working with children of all ages as she has worked as a preschool teacher, inclusion support worker, direct service worker, family coach as well as a special needs coordinator at multiple additional support needs programs. Allyson has based her many years in this field around her inclusive philosophy and she looks forward to bringing her knowledge, experience and adaptability skills into the School Readiness classroom at ALC!  

 

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Deena Robak B.A. Hons (Psych), Developmental Studies

Therapeutic Recreation Instructor


Deena graduated from the University of Winnipeg in the spring of 2018 with an Honours Psychology Degree and a Developmental Studies Degree. She has a strong passion for child development and is aspiring to be a School Psychologist. Deena is dedicated to interacting and developing relationships with children. She has plenty of experience working with children of all ages, and has gained experience from coaching the Special Olympics Active Start Program and doing respite care for individuals with developmental, intellectual and mental health histories. In addition, Deena was a case manager for Community Living Disability Services and she also worked on the Klinic Community Health Centre Crisis Line and MB Suicide Line.    

 








Christine French BPE

Therapeutic Recreation Instructor


Christine graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Physical Education degree.  She has several years of experience teaching children including as a certified water safety instructor.  In addition, Christine has experience running youth camps and is enthusiastic about helping children achieve their social, emotional and physical goals.  Her patience and understanding for children's unique learning needs informs her teaching practice. Christine aspire to bring out the best in all of her students and help them reach their fullest potential in a safe and welcoming environment.  











Shannon Remillard

Outreach Coordinator 


Shannon has worked with children and adults with disabilities, including autism, for over 25 years.  She is current in tracheotomy care, gastrointestinal feeding and site care, seizure patient care, emergency first aid and defibrillator training, and CPR.  Shannon is the proud parent of 5 children, 4 of whom are foster children.  She has fostered 12 children over the years, several with disabilities.  Shannon is thrilled to be working in an outreach capacity, reaching out to schools and organizations in the community and providing resources and support.  










Kate Friesen

Academic Tutor, Classroom Assistant


Kate is crossing the hall from The Prep Montessori Daycare where she worked full-time as a classroom assistant during her school summer break.  Kate is a student at the Canadian Mennonite University where she is pursuing a Social Science degree.  Kate has experience working in an inner-city children's program and has also volunteered at a local elementary school.  She loves working with children of all ages.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors, camping, hiking and playing sports.  Kate will be tutoring students academics 1:1 as well assisting in our after school Academic Program, Classroom Stars, and our weekend Therapeutic Recreation Programs.  










Emily Hiebert

Classroom Assistant


Emily is entering her fourth year of studies at the Canadian Mennonite University. After she completes her Bachelor of Arts she hopes to enter into the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Manitoba. Over the past few years Emily has worked for the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities in their recreational program as well as with Trailblazers Life Choices working in their residential program for adults with disabilities. Emily had found her passion in this work as well as other areas such as singing, traveling and being outdoors. Emily will be completing her practicum requirement with Autism Learning Centre and cannot wait to see what this year and it’s new opportunities and experiences will bring!