ELIZABETH BELL, Occupational Therapist

1de1020Elizabeth Bell is a registered occupational therapist practicing since 1991 in paediatrics. Her passion and interest in human development and neurology lead to her continued training in sensory integration and work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

She has been involved within her local and surrounding community in several ways:

  • Consultant to Autism Spectrum Disorders Team, Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services since 1998
  • Occupational Therapist (formerly Community Mental Health Clinic) preschool services
  • Occupational Therapist – school health, home and preschool services since 1991
  • Consultant to Upper Grand District School Board – Aspergers Program (pilot project in Centre Wellington Secondary School)
  • In service training – educational assistants, speech and language pathologists, and teachers in Upper Grand District School Board, Waterloo School Board, ECE Conferences, Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Autism Society Local Chapter
  • Specialized Assessments – to local and surrounding public and separate school boards, community agencies, and community living agencies

Elizabeth continues to pursue her passion for helping children and families, providing a voice for the “misunderstood and hidden” challenges involved with sensory processing and regulation disorders and children with ASD. Her work has expanded to help children with mental health issues, including anxiety, Tourettes, OCD, and ODD.

Her keen interest to learn has lead her to become an experienced practitioner in vestibular, auditory, and visual interventions using such tools as Therapeutic Listening since 2004 and Astronaut Training since 2007 as well as being certified in Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing. She continues to advance her clinical expertise in core and breath development, neurodevelopment and reflex integration.

Elizabeth’s desire to reach out to her community has resulted in pro bono services and wellness projects such as:

  • Treatment blocks to children who cannot afford private services nor access public services
  • EveryBODY Ready? program pilot project, Guelph Community Christian School
  • Shoelace tying program, surrounding local schools
  • Group fine motor screening and treatment, surrounding local schools
  • Consultation to clients of Kerry’s Place Autism Services
  • Assessment services to local schools and community living agencies

She also trains occupational therapy/physiotherapy assistant students, mentors occupational therapists and often has high school and university students shadow or volunteer their time in clinic or local schools.

Nicole Raftis, B.Sc., O.T. Reg. (Ont.)Nicole headshot smallest

Nicole Raftis has been working with children and families since graduating from Queen’s University Occupational Therapy program in 1995. Highlights of Nicole’s O.T. career include working with children at Sunny Hill Health Center in Vancouver (Brain Injury Team, Autism Team & Substance Exposure Team), providing school care O.T. services in the Ottawa area and providing mental health services for children 6-18 years old at the The Children’s Hospital of Easter Ontario for 3 years.

She currently offers private Occupational Therapy Services in Guelph, Ontario while also consulting to kidsTHERAPY  Network in Guelph 1 day/week, and working at Pathways Therapy clinic in Waterloo 1 day/week. Using a holistic approach to assessment and treatment, Nicole is experienced in addressing cognitive, emotional and sensory motor skill development.

Nicole has a particular interest in passing on practical information to parents, teachers, and allied health professionals to increase opportunities for children of all abilities to experience success in their daily lives. Creativity is a powerful learning tool, especially in childhood Using a variety of artistic mediums (ie. photography and glass art), Nicole has helped many clients (children and adults) address social, cognitive, motor and emotional skills. All of Nicole’s workshops FOCUS on the POSITIVE abilities & potential that exists in every child and provide practical strategies for adults to support development.

Carly Wasserman, OTA

Carly graduated from the University of Southern California in 2014 with a Masters of Occupational Therapy. She recently moved to Guelph, Ontario from Los Angeles, California for her husband’s veterinary residency at the University of Guelph and is learning to live in the snowy weather! She is currently working as an OT assistant while studying for the Canadian Occupational Therapy Board Exams.

She began her career working in school-based and outpatient pediatric settings. It was during this experience that she had the opportunity to work with children and families to enhance daily living skills (i.e. fine motor, gross motor and social skills) in ways that align with their goals and values. Carly has completed training in Handwriting and Keyboarding Without Tears Programs, which provide multisensory approaches to writing and typing skills. She has also completed training in the use of sound-based treatment tools to support children with sensory modulation, self-regulation, anxiety and motor coordination in essential school activities throughout the day. While working in the outpatient clinic, Carly also had the chance to provide social skills groups that focused on the Social Thinking Curriculum. She has extensive training in posture, movement and breathing techniques and had the opportunity to develop a therapeutic gardening program in her previous OT work in California.

Carly values a team-centered approach in which children can receive care that creates an environment in which they are set up to approach all aspects of life to the best of their abilities. 

She enjoys spending her leisure time gardening, crocheting and hiking with her husband and two dogs.

Heide Emrich, B.Sc., M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO

Heide Emrich has been working as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in this area for several years. She was the recipient of the Gold Medal when she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders in 1990 from the University of Western Ontario. In 1992, she graduated with her Master of Clinical Science from the University of Western Ontario.

As a follow-up to an extensive masters research project, which was recognized with the OLSA Student Paper Competition Award in 1992, she co-authored the book Helping Kids Discover and Develop Language, which provides the reader with speech and language milestones and helpful suggestions to facilitate their acquisition.

Heide has many years of experience working with caregivers and children who have challenges, some of which include autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, global development delay, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. She has provided support in a variety of contexts, including school, child care, home, and in-clinic, for both individual and group therapy programming and team assessments.

Heide is Hanen certified and as such, she has had many opportunities to provide language workshops for parents and caregivers. In addition, she has spoken frequently at workshops for parents and professionals regarding communication, play and social skills development.

Heide has been running social skills groups for preschoolers for several years, and has played an integral role developing the Stay & Play Integrated Social Skills Group, which currently runs at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. In 2009 a document summarizing this program, a literature review and survey, was accepted as a Best Practice by the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services (OACRS) Best Practices Committee.

She is currently putting the final touches on the manual she has coauthored, titled Stay & Play Integrated Social Skills Group – your guide to running social skills groups for young children with social communication needs.

She cares deeply for and puts tremendous effort into supporting children and their caregivers with her knowledge and expertise.

Rose Freigang, C.Psych. Assoc.

180-nps-rose-fRose is a registered Psychological Associate with the College of Psychologists in Ontario in areas of clinical and school psychology. She has provided assessment and treatment services to preschoolers, school-aged children and adolescents for more than twenty years.

Through her experiences in hospital clinic settings, as well as community agencies in Waterloo and Wellington she developed a strong belief in and commitment to a collaborative, inter-professional approach to work with children and their families.

Rose has a particular interest in and experience with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other Developmental Disabilities, Specific Learning Disabilities and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. At present, she divides her time between private practice in Brampton through Moss, Rowden, Freigang & Associates, and Norfolk Psychological Services in Guelph.