I have a long history of teaching and working with people who have autism, as well as other diverse abilities. I started over 22 years ago in the residential sector assisting adults on the profound end of the spectrum, many of whom were non-verbal and had challenging behaviours.
I later moved to England where I ran programs for the National Autistic Society, including Respite Programs for Carers, Music and Drama Therapy, Inclusive Play Groups, Family Support Groups, and Social Support Groups for Adults with Aspergers. I attended All Party Parliament Group for Autism meetings at the legislative buildings, and sat on several committees to help develop appropriate services and encourage good practice.
I’ve been a Classroom Teacher, a Summer School Instructor, and worked full time as a Special Education Assistant for many years, where I developed a Social Thinking program and was the school’s Autism Liaison. I’ve also acted as a Job Coach, assessing the individual’s abilities and challenges, teaching job roles and responsibilities, and ensuring work-readiness.
I have over 18 years of experience being a Private Consultant, and spent several years with the Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society, travelling with a team into Vancouver-area schools and offering an Autism Demystification Program. Understanding and supporting caregivers and family members has also been an interest of mine. I currently hold the position of President for the Caregivers Network for EK Seniors, and help run Kootenay Children’s Festival.
I help facilitate The Community monthly events (run in conjunction with CMHA), which offer a safe place for LGBTQ2S+ youth and allies to hang out and access education. We are also currently setting up a new chapter of PFLAG, in order to support families. During Pride in the Park, I usuallyu help the committee, and run the photo booth sponsored by Key City Theatre.
I received my BFA through UVic, where I specialized in Directing and Drama in Education. I attended UBC for several years, taking courses in the EPSE (Educational Psychology/Special Education) topic areas, then began taking my Masters Degree at SFU in Educational Psychology. I now hold my Diploma in Professional Counselling through VCCT. Areas of specialized interest included CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy), Resolving conflict, Child and adolescent counselling, Trauma counselling, and Clinical art therapy.
To see a list of my specialized education and training, please click the button below.
I believe that counselling should be a safe, confidential space where people can explore issues or questions regarding life. I have an innate, unconditional positive regard for each client, and focus on developing a warm, accepting, and genuine relationship.
The counselling relationship facilitates self-knowledge, emotional acceptance, and growth, along with the development of personal resources. Its focus is not on giving advice or telling the client what to do. It is a process of bringing about change from within the client, based on their wants and needs, therefore I work with each client to develop personalized therapeutic goals.
I use a technical eclectic approach, drawing mostly from the philosophies of Alderian, Person Centered, and Cognitive Behavioural therapies. Through active listening, reflection, and clarification, I tailor each set of techniques to the individual or group in order to help them accomplish their therapeutic goals, and always ensure that the client is in agreement before using any technique.
If this is an emergency, please phone 911.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the Crisis Center of BC at
1 800 784 2433 (1 800 SUICIDE).
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