MILENA ROMALIS, Co-Founder
(She/her) Milena Romalis [B.A., B.Ed., OCT, CVRP] is an Ontario Certified Teacher and Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Professional with more than two decades of experience in teaching, counselling and assessment. Milena is a skilled educator, curriculum developer and case manager with in-depth knowledge and experience in the areas of curriculum development, disability programming, accommodations and support, public funding, and transition planning. Her specialty is working closely with families and individuals to develop and implement practical solutions to complex personal, functional, logistical and financial challenges. Milena is also the mother of three dynamic, intense and affectionate boys, ranging from elementary school to early adulthood. She has personal experience within her household managing diverse challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, advanced learning, and Celiac disease.
RINA RODAK, Co-Founder
(She/her) Rina Rodak [B.A. M.A Applied Ethics] has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, curriculum developer, school administrator, and advocate for children and their families. Rina is an ADHD & Executive Functioning specialist with advanced training in the Ross Greene method of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), SibShop™ sibling support workshops, and UCLA PEERS social skills training for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other social challenges. Rina works extremely well with adults as well as children and is a sought-after Parent Coach and family strategist. She can maneuver through educational, medical and therapeutic systems while managing delicate social and cultural expectations with sensitivity and respect. Her approach emphasizes individualized learning styles, conflict resolution, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and applying out of the box thinking to problem-solve complex challenges. She specializes in applying practical Executive Functioning strategies to real life situations, as a personalised ADHD & Executive Function coach, facilitator and consultant. She also provides practical communication and relationship strategies to couples who are living with ADHD. Rina is the mom of three busy teenaged boys who eat a lot of food, make a lot of noise, and use a lot of Wifi. She has personal experience in managing Aspergers, Anxiety, ADHD, giftedness and Learning disabilities within her household.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING, PARENT COACHING, SCHOOL ADVOCACY, SIBLING SUPPORT, CPS
MEGHAN TILSON, Financial Director
(She/her) Meghan Tilson is our financial, administrative and logistical specialist with over two decades of business experience in Canada and the UK, including offering tax preparation, tax planning and day-to-day budget management in her own bookkeeping business. Meghan directs our financial and administrative operations with particular expertise in program development and financial planning. On a personal level, Meghan is a fun-loving Mom to three great kids. She manages multiple neuro-diversities within her household and embraces her own ADHD superpowers to tackle life with positivity, resilience and humour.
JENNIFER CROWSON, Clinical Supervisor
(She/her) Jennifer Crowson [BA Sociology, BA Social Work, MSW, Phd Social Work] holds a Ph.D from The University of Edinburgh and Master and Bachelor of Social Work from McMaster University. Jennifer has worked as a professional Social Worker since graduating in 1994. She has worked primarily in child welfare and has held both front line and management positions in Hamilton, Ontario. Upon completing her Ph.D at the University of Edinburgh, she worked with the Scottish Government as Social Work Inspector. Upon returning to Canada, she returned to child welfare and also worked as a Clinical Assessor of the Office of Children’s Lawyer completing custody and access reports. Since leaving her full time management position in a CAS, she has been teaching as a Sessional Instructor with the School of Social Work at McMaster University and she has continued to act as policy consultant to a local CAS.
Jennifer is the proud mother of three children, one with Down syndrome, whose birth motivated Jennifer to become actively involved in the Down syndrome community. She has been the Chair of the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton since 2012 and in 2019, joined the Board of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. Jennifer is passionate about human rights and holds a special interest in ensuring the full rights of people with disabilities are actualized. She is also the current Chair of Strata Montessori School and the Special Events Director for the Dundas Minor Hockey Association. At NowWhat, Jennifer supervises all clinical staff, managing internal professional development, overseeing and consulting on treatment plans for our team of therapists, and helping develop & maintain best practices in our clinic in order to optimize treatment and ensure we are always providing safe, high quality service to our clients.
Jennifer’s personal interests include yoga, vegan cooking, opera, long hikes with her dog and travel with her husband and children.
LAURA HEERINGA, Marketing Director
(She/her) Laura Heeringa comes to the NowWhat marketing & development team with 16 years of experience in all aspects of business development, from administration, strategic planning & marketing to frontline customer service. She has also volunteered over the years with adults with developmental disabilities, in camp leadership for at-risk teens and in palliative care with those facing life-limiting illnesses. As an avid learner and a parent of children with neuro-diversities, she understands many of the challenges that face NowWhat families. Laura is passionate about connecting people to resources & support that will make a positive and practical difference in their lives. She collaborates with team members to develop program structure, design & create customised resources, and communicate our offerings to the world. In her personal time Laura loves to take her 3 boys out to hike, bike, paddle & skate with friends, jam loudly on their various instruments, or curl up on a couch to read together.
REVA KATZ-ULSTER, Registered Social Worker
(She/her) Reva Katz-Ulster [MSW, RSW] is a versatile professional who has decades of experience in her field and whose practice includes counselling, case management and vocational assessment. She completed her BA in Psychology from the University of Toronto, her BSW in Social Work from McGill, and her MSW in Social Work from the University of Toronto. She is a Regulated Health Professional and a member in good standing of the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers and the Ontario College of Registered Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Prior to entering into private practice, she worked in mental health and children’s services both in hospitals and community agencies. As well as specialising in clinical counselling for individuals with complex challenges, Reva oversees, consults and collaborates on many of NowWhat’s program initiatives.
CLINICAL COUNSELLING, PARENT COACHING
MARK THOMPSON, Registered Social Worker
(He/him) Mark Thompson [MSW, RSW] comes to NowWhat with extensive experience in providing compassionate, non-judgemental clinical therapy to children, adolescents and adults. He is also highly skilled in supporting those living with neuro-diversities [ADHD, ASD, intellectual disabilities and other exceptionalities]. Mark has leveraged his expertise in these areas to help develop, plan and deliver our unique DBT courses. Mark’s clinical approach involves integrating an individual’s unique strengths with evidence-based therapeutic techniques, pulling together the best of various modalities. Drawing upon his experience working in community-based and inpatient mental health services, he feels his role as a therapist is to provide a collaborative, personalized form of support that facilitates movement towards an individual’s full potential. He utilizes a number of techniques and therapies including Mindfulness, Trauma-informed care, Play-based therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Mark is also an active parent to two daughters, and an avid outdoorsman.
CLINICAL COUNSELLING, DBT, PARENT COACHING
THIVIYAN SITHGANESAN, Registered Social Worker
CLINICAL COUNSELLING, BEHAVIOUR COACHING, DBT, SKILLBUILDERS
VANINA NOEJOVICH, Registered Psychotherapist
(She/her) Vanina Noejovich [MA, PhD, RP.OACCP] is a Registered Psychotherapist with the benefit of extensive international experience as a Registered Clinical Psychologist in Argentina and Mexico, and a Registered Psychotherapist in Spain. Her clinical experience here in Canada includes working in mental health clinics, and not-for-profit clinical agencies as well as in private practice. She has a long-standing career working with individuals from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, lending her expert support to those experiencing complex challenges such as depression and anxiety, severe mental illnesses and addictions, as well as working with adult survivors of early life trauma. Her approach is to tailor treatment based on each individual’s needs and strengths using a variety of modalities such as solution-focused therapy, insight-oriented therapy and psychodynamic therapy. She provides treatment in both English and Spanish.
BREANNE SCHUIT, Certified Child Life Specialist
Breanne’s approach is holistic and family-centred. While she specializes in providing therapeutic sessions for children and youth, she is trained to support the unique needs of every family member, including siblings, parents, and other loved ones. She recognizes that healthy siblings of children in distress need individualized support and enriched activities to understand and cope with their loved one’s experience. She also focuses on equipping caregivers with understanding, strategies, and support for navigating parenting during difficult and stressful times. Breanne’s goal is to develop coping plans which not only decrease stress and anxiety related to current circumstances, but also to enhance families’ resiliency for facing challenges in the future.
SARAH BOGNAR, Registered Speech-Language Pathologist
(She/her) Sarah Bognar [M.Sc., Reg. CASLPO] has been working as a registered Speech-Language Pathologist for over 13 years and has over 20 years of experience working with children and young adults with various diagnoses. She has extensive experience working with children and youth with acquired and traumatic brain injuries, as well as children with complex conditions and behaviours, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. At NowWhat Sarah works with those requiring assessment and intervention for speech sound disorders, voice issues, feeding and swallowing disorders, social communication, and language comprehension and expression as well as contributing to programming planning from an SLP perspective. Sarah has a passion for teaching the next generation of Speech-Language Pathologists; she most recently worked as a clinical faculty member in Western University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, teaching and supervising students and coordinating clinical placements. She is a member of the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. In her free time, Sarah is an avid reader and loves traveling the world.
KIRSTY MAE, Occupational Therapist
(She/her) Kirsty Mae [MScOT. BSc.] is a registered Occupational Therapist, working both 1:1 with individuals as well as consulting with other professionals and collaborating on program development including NowLearn (our supplementary educational program), social groups and DBT groups. She completed her Bachelors at Trent University in Biology and received her Masters in Occupational Therapy and Science from the University of Toronto. Kirsty is passionate about working alongside individuals of all ages with various exceptionalities and mental health challenges, using a collaborative client-centred approach to help these individuals overcome challenges so they can engage fully in the activities that are meaningful to them. She has experience using Executive Functioning training, sensory strategies, environmental modification, skill building, task adaptation, as well as DBT and CBT informed therapy. Kirsty has also been involved in research examining the effect of tabletop role playing games (i.e. Dungeons and Dragons) on social competence in adults with high functioning ASD. As well as being highly qualified in her field, Kirsty’s bright and engaging manner makes it easy & enjoyable to work with her to tackle a wide variety of personal and professional challenges.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY, NOWLEARN, DBT, SKILLBUILDERS, BEHAVIOUR COACHING, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING
DAN ZAITZOW, Certified Teacher
(They/them) Dan Zaitzow [B.A., B.Ed., OCT] is an Ontario Certified Teacher with over 7 years of experience in teaching, literacy coaching, executive skills support, and special education. Dan is a dedicated educator who excels in both group settings and one-on-one instruction, and this is reflected in their commitment to education in and out of the classroom. Dan is the lead teacher in our NowLearn supplementary education program as well as offering individual behaviour coaching & Executive Function coaching sessions, and consults and collaborates across the team on program development. While they have worked as a school teacher since graduating with their B.Ed, Dan has also dedicated their extra time to volunteering with marginalized adults teaching literacy, and to working with students on their executive skills. If that wasn’t enough to keep them busy, Dan is also the parent to one incredibly energetic, incredibly talkative, incredibly curious toddler.
NOWLEARN, BEHAVIOUR COACHING, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING, TUTORING
TRACEY KORNBLUM, Behaviour Coach
(She/her) Tracey Kornblum [HBA Women’s Studies/Cultural Studies] is an experienced behaviour coach & parent coach with NowWhat. Tracey’s particular expertise lies in helping adolescent girls navigate through unique or complex challenges, opening up doors that feel blocked and finding ways to connect meaningfully with this demographic, meeting them where they are and helping them move forward with positivity and hopefulness. She comes from a diverse background, having been a certified group fitness trainer for 25 years, an artist who has worked with children in the community for over two decades on community & school based projects, and a teacher at Beth Jacob Hebrew school in Hamilton. Additionally for most of the last decade Tracey has spent 7 weeks each summer at Camp Wahanowin in Orillia supervising, mentoring and training up to 30 teenagers around the clock as the facilitator of their in-depth counsellor-in-training program. Tracey also combines her passions to run various creative therapeutic fitness and art-based programs, workshops and retreats with NowWhat throughout the year.
BEHAVIOUR COACHING, PARENT COACHING
SHANNON OSUNDE, Behaviour Coach & Executive Function Specialist
(She/her) Shannon Osunde [RECE] is a skilled Executive Function & behaviour coach, program planner and group facilitator with over a decade of experience supporting children with a range of developmental, behavioural, social-emotional and neuro-cognitive issues. Shannon has been instrumental in developing and running programming for NowLearn (our supplementary education program) pre-DBT Skill Builders social groups, Junior DBT, Animal Assisted Therapy and mindfulness workshops. When working one-on-one, Shannon takes a whole-family approach, implementing individualized organization strategies, practical life skills, time-management techniques and structured routines to remove functional barriers to success and uncover her clients’ best potential. Her creative programming initiatives incorporate a sly balance of fun & games with emotional awareness, self-regulation & mindfulness techniques, hands-on executive functioning strategies, and an emphasis on fresh air and nutrition. She has earned Diplomas in both Marketing and Early Childhood Education from Mohawk College and is a fantastic mother to her elementary aged son.
BEHAVIOUR COACHING, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING, PARENT COACHING, NOWLEARN, SKILLBUILDERS, DBT
LAUREN ALTBAUM, Behaviour Coach & Early Childhood Specialist
(She/her) Lauren Altbaum [BA, RECE] is a registered early childhood educator and ABA/IBI instructor therapist. She is part of the team that developed and implemented our Skill Builders pre-DBT social skills program as well as our NowLearn supplementary education program, and is a favourite among the preschool and elementary set as a fun and engaging individual behaviour coach. She has more than 20 years of experience working with children with a variety of special needs (ADHD, ASD, developmental delays) in homes, schools, and in childcare situations, collaborating closely with parents, ABA therapists, psychologists, OT/PT, and speech-therapists. With extensive training in Social Thinking® and the Zones of Regulation framework, Lauren has a deep understanding of social and emotional development in the early years and has a passion for helping young children learn to navigate their worlds. Lauren is also the mother of two teenage daughters and has gained much personal insight, inspiration and experience through supporting loved ones with various neuro-diversities and health challenges within her household and extended family.
BEHAVIOUR COACHING, PARENT COACHING, NOWLEARN, SKILLBUILDERS, DBTB
NIGEL APPLEWHAITE, Executive Function Specialist & Behaviour Coach
(He/him) Nigel Applewhaite [BA (Hons.) Psychology] lends his irrepressible energy & enthusiasm as well as his widely varied therapeutic experience to NowWhat as a Behaviour Coach, Executive Function Coach and program facilitator. He also developed and delivered Work It Out, our full body-&-brain exercise-based mindfulness program. In the past, Nigel has worked in recreation therapy with seniors suffering from dementia, assisted in running supported conversation groups for individuals with aphasia, and worked in rehabilitation therapy within the ABI population. Nigel’s free time revolves around sports, recreation and music. His passion for athletics and understanding of that world is an important shared interest for many of his 1:1 clients. He is a regular at the gym, and during the warmer seasons you can find him running and mountain biking various trails in the Hamilton area.
BEHAVIOUR COACHING, NOWLEARN, SKILLBUILDERS, DBT, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING
JAMIE CHRISTMAN, Executive Functioning & Behaviour Coach
(He/him) Jamie Christman [BA] has a direct, ‘straight talking’ respectful and creative approach, which makes him a highly successful behaviour and support therapist. Jamie holds a graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Science and works intensively with many of our younger clients on the Autism Spectrum. His professional and educational experience has been wide-ranging, which allows him to relate to his equally diverse clients on many levels. His breadth of experience also includes a BA in History, a former career in radio-broadcasting & print media, and thirty-plus years as a hockey coach. Other notable skills are his abilities to harness his own ADHD to fix anything that is broken, learn any new skill from YouTube, and cook amazing meals as a short-order chef for his family with diverse dietary needs. At NowWhat, Jamie has found his passion and specialty in helping clients to develop independent life and functional skills (such as money management and practical skills) and social-emotional regulation while engaging in outdoors, community-oriented activities.
BEHAVIOUR COACHING, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING
KAREN LANE-GROEN, Project Manager
(She/her) Karen Lane-Groen (B.A.) has over 10 years experience working with children of all ages and abilities as an Elementary School Teacher, Director of an international tutoring company, and various other volunteer roles in her church and community. These experiences have shown her the importance of positive and open communication, the struggles of families with children who have special needs, and insights on how to deal with the limitations of doctors, teachers, and schools. Connecting with children in one on one or small group settings is a joy and strength of hers. She is also a mother of 3, with whom over the years she has worked through OT needs, giftedness, ADHD, struggles with executive function, and mental health challenges.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING, BEHAVIOUR COACHING
LOUISE OKE Registered Psychotherapist
(She/her) Louise Oke (BA, MSc, RP, RMFT) is a Registered Psychotherapist who trained as an individual, couple and family therapist at the University of Guelph. She is a seasoned professional with 25 years of experience working with children, youth and families in community based, private and group home settings providing individual and family therapy. Louise is a lifelong learner, both personally and professionally who sees herself as work in progress. She is a caring and compassionate listener and a resourceful clinician who works hard to understand what is important to her clients and tailors her approach to their unique preferences and needs. Louise is passionate about removing the stigma attached to mental health challenges and strives to help people uncover what matters to them and move their lives in preferred directions. In recent years Louise has been learning about and incorporating Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in her therapeutic work.