MILENA ROMALIS, CEO & Co-Founder
Milena Romalis [B.A., B.Ed., OCT, CVRP] (She/her) 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.
PARENT COACHING, CASE MANAGEMENT
RINA RODAK, COO & Co-Founder
Rina Rodak [B.A. M.A Applied Ethics] (She/her) 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.
PARENT COACHING, DBT, ADULT THERAPY, CASE MANAGEMENT
HELEN BROOK, Registered Social Worker
Helen Brook [RSW, MSW] (she/her) has been a social worker for 18 years, working extensively in child welfare as well as with parents, children and youth. Helen is an experienced individual counsellor, as well as a highly competent supervisor and treatment planner. She has worked with women who are at risk or in conflict with the law, helping them reenter society and establish themselves in the community after coming out of the justice system. One of her favourite experiences was doing presentations for the Triangle Program (educating children about the many shapes of family) within the Toronto District School Board. Helen is a member of the LGBTQ2S community and has done a lot of work in this arena, most recently with folks who identify as gender diverse. In her work running the mental health program at a family medical clinic, Helen supported patients with depression, anxiety, mental health challenges and stress, largely within the transgender population. Helen has always been passionate about advocating for vulnerable populations, having facilitated Anti-Oppression/Anti-Racism Training at the CAS among other social justice initiatives. Her approach to therapeutic intervention is to always find the gentlest path to healing for each individual. Helen is also a parent to two wonderful girls and has personal experience managing various learning disabilities and neurodiversities within her household and enjoys hanging out with our therapy bunnies, drinking coffee, eating tacos and hiking.
CLINICAL COUNSELLING, ADULT THERAPY, TEEN THERAPY, CHILD THERAPY LGBTQ2S+ SPECIALIST, CASE MANAGEMENT
JENNIFER CROWSON, Clinical Supervisor
Jennifer Crowson [BA Sociology, BA Social Work, MSW, Phd Social Work] (She/her) is a consulting clinical supervisor at NowWhat. 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, primarily in child welfare, and has held both front line and management positions. 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 is on 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. Jennifer’s personal interests include yoga, vegan cooking, opera, long hikes with her dog and travel with her husband and children.
LAURA HEERINGA, Business Manager
Laura Heeringa (She/her) 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
Reva Katz-Ulster [MSW, RSW] (She/her) 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, ADULT THERAPY
MARK THOMPSON, Registered Social Worker
Mark Thompson [MSW, RSW] (He/him) 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, ADULTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, ADULT THERAPY, TEEN THERAPY, CHILD THERAPY
VANINA NOEJOVICH, Registered Psychotherapist
Vanina Noejovich [MA, PhD, RP.OACCP] (She/her) 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.
CLINICAL COUNSELLING, ADULT THERAPY
BREANNE SCHUIT, Child Life Program Manager
Breanne’s approach is holistic and family-centred. She recognizes that healthy parents and siblings of children in distress need individualized support to help them understand and cope with their own experience and often works in partnership with our Parent Coach Rina Rodak.
In her spare time, Breanne enjoys spending time with friends and family, and working on her rural property with her much-loved German Shepherd by her side.
CHILD THERAPY, TEEN THERAPY, TRAUMA SPECIALIST, GRIEF SPECIALIST, CASE MANAGEMENT
ASIA LAVIOLETTE, Registered Speech-Language Pathologist
Asia Laviolette [B.A French, M.Sc SLP, Reg. CASLPO] (She/her) is a registered speech language pathologist with 8 years of practice in the field. She is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of an extensive range of communication and swallowing disorders including language, articulation, fluency, and voice. She has worked with a diverse population of individuals across the life span including clients with ASD, ADHD, developmental delays, acquired brain injuries, and stroke. Asia is passionate about person-centred, empowering therapy with a focus on activities that are functional to her clients’ lives. Asia is also a wonderful parent to her young son, and – fun fact – she is also a professional Aerialist and circus performer, and she is excited to incorporate this unique life experience into speech and communication programs at NowWhat in the future!
DAN ZAITZOW, Certified Teacher
Dan Zaitzow [B.A., B.Ed., OCT] (They/them) 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 high school support program as well as offering individual behaviour coaching & Executive Function coaching sessions. They also contribute to our DBT programs, having recently been trained in DBT for adolescents as well as family mediation. 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, THERAPEUTIC EDUCATION, BEHAVIOUR COACHING, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING, TUTORING, DBT, HIGH SCHOOL SUPPORT
TRACEY KORNBLUM, Behaviour Coach
Tracey Kornblum [HBA Women’s Studies/Cultural Studies] (She/her) 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, TEEN THERAPY
SHANNON OSUNDE, Program Manager
Shannon Osunde [BA, RECE] (She/her) 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 alternative 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, THERAPEUTIC EDUCATION, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION COACHING, PARENT COACHING, ECE
LAUREN ALTBAUM, Early Childhood Specialist
Lauren Altbaum [BA, RECE] (She/her) 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, ECE
NIGEL APPLEWHAITE, Program Coordinator & Behaviour Coach
Nigel Applewhaite [BA (Hons.) Psychology] (He/him) 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. Nigel specilizes in delivering DBT concepts to children and teens in a relatable and enjoyable ways as a facilitator in our group programs as well as 1:1. 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
Jamie Christman [BA] (He/him) 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, AUTISM, ADULTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
KAREN LANE-GROEN, Accounts Coordinator
Karen Lane-Groen (B.A.) (She/her) 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. At NowWhat, Karen brings all her strengths together to coordinate with clients and manage our accounts department.
LOUISE OKE Registered Psychotherapist
Louise Oke (BA, MSc, RP, RMFT) (She/her) 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 their 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.
CLINICAL COUNSELLING, ADULT THERAPY, FAMILY THERAPY, TEEN THERAPY