Our Team

We are a dynamic team of professionals with over 15 years of experience serving children in our community. Our experienced and devoted team of professionals work collaboratively to provide ABA services to suit each child’s unique needs. We provide challenging and fulfilling career opportunities in the Ottawa and Whitby regions.

A young female daycare teacher of Indian decent, sits beside a sweet, curly-hired young girl as they look at the completed puzzle they cooperatively finished. They are each dressed casually, smiling and laughing as they sit back and enjoy looking at their finished work.

KAREN MCARTHUR

President and CEO

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CHARLENE GERVAIS

Chief Clinical Officer, M.ADS, BCBA

Charlene started her career at Portia in 2006 as an ABA therapist and has been dedicated ever since to providing meaningful, evidence-based services and supports to families in our community. She has extensive training and experience working with children that have a range of developmental and intellectual disabilities. Charlene is also a course facilitator at Algonquin College in the Autism Behaviour Sciences program and a Professional Crisis Management instructor.

NATALIA BRAVO

Accounts Manager

Natalia began her career with Portia in November 2009 as an Instructor Therapist and then progressed to Senior Therapist Assistant in 2011. In 2012 she moved to the administrative side of Portia first as a Clinical Coordinator and then to Business Manager in 2017. Natalia has a Teaching Degree in Special Education and speaks English, Spanish and French.

KARI MORROW

Clinical Supervisor, MPEd, BCBA

Kari joined the Portia team in 2014 as an Instructor Therapist. Now the Clinical Supervisor of our Nepean location, Kari has experience working both hands-on and behind the scenes to deliver fun, effective programming. Her primary areas of interest include developing functional communication, reducing challenging behaviours, and supporting her clients and their families throughout school transitions. As a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst, Kari also enjoys supervising professionals who are pursuing their education and certification in the field of ABA.

ALISSA BERGERON

Clinical Supervisor, M.ADS, BCBA

Alissa joined The Portia Learning Centre as an Instructor Therapist in 2016. Now a Senior Therapist at our Nepean location, Alissa enjoys working closely with families and outside professionals to develop individualized programming goals for her clients. Alissa has her Masters of Applied Disability Studies and is working towards obtaining her BCBA credential. Having a passion for sharing her knowledge with others, Alissa enjoys working closely with parents, caregivers, therapists, and outside professionals to help her clients reach their full potential. Other areas of interest include teaching functional communication skills, reducing challenging behaviours, and teaching essential daily living skills.

MARGHERITA CURCIO

Senior Therapist, M.A. Spec. Ed. BCBA

Margherita has always known that she wanted to teach and guide children to achieve their full potential. She was introduced to the field of ABA in her 3rd year of university. Since then, she has pursued further education to develop, as well as, educate herself. She is a dedicated and passionate Senior Therapist and has obtained her BCaBA certification in 2019. She has been working in this field, at The Portia Learning Centre Inc., for over 5 years.  Her goal is to make a difference in the lives of children and their families. She is passionate about learning and hopes to pass this passion on to the children and families in her care.

PAM GILES

Client Services and Human Resources Manager

Pam started with The Portia Learning Centre as an Instructor Therapist in February 2014.  She moved into her current position as the Clinical Co-Ordinator in June 2017.  She holds certification in Mental Health First Aid.  Pam is the first point of contact for families seeking information and support from us here at Portia.  She loves connecting with families to help them navigate through all the service options available.

TEESHA GREYDANUS

Senior Therapist, M.A., BCBA

Teesha Greydanus is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) has been working in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis and Autism for over 5 years. Before this, she worked as a Developmental Support Worker with adults with special needs. Teesha will be completing her Masters of Applied Disabilities Studies with a focus in Applied Behaviour Analysis in April of 2020. Teesha's interests include severe problem behaviour, early intervention, and parent training.

ALEY MACDOUGALL

Clinical Supervisor, M.A., BCBA

Aley began volunteering with the Ottawa Catholic District school board in 2013 helping to support children with autism and other disabilities in the classroom setting. This sparked her interest in working with children with autism and developmental disabilities and encouraged her to acquire additional knowledge and experience related to the field. In 2014, Aley began working at the Portia Learning Centre as an Instructor therapist. Since then, she has completed her Masters of Applied Disability Studies and is now a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. She is currently the Clinical Supervisor at our Ottawa East End location. Aley’s interests lie in developing programming tailored to the unique needs of each client, collaborating with outside professionals, providing parent/caregiver training, and providing supervision to professionals pursuing BCBA certification.

SHANNON LEBLANC

Senior Therapist Manager, BCaBA

Ever since Shannon was a young child she wanted to teach. Shannon and her sister would engage in imaginary play for hours with Shannon teaching her dollies new things and her sister "Marking the dollies work" During Shannon's 3rd year of her undergrad she started working at The Portia Learning Centre. Shannon immediately knew this was where she was meant to be. 

Shannon is a driven and dedicated Senior Therapist who has been working at The Portia Learning Centre since 2007. Shannon is continuously looking to further educate herself in the field of ABA and obtained her BCaBA certification in 2015. Throughout the last 15 years at The Portia Learning Centre Shannon has been very passionate and eager to improve the lives of her clients and families by encouraging and helping her clients reach their full potential. 

MADISON WYATT

Clinical Supervisor, MPEd, BCBA

Madison fell in love with the field of ABA during her post graduate studies in the Behavioural Science and Technology program through George Brown College. She completed her placements in Toronto at Aisling Discoveries and the Geneva Centre. She graduated from her Masters of Professional Education at Western University and is obtained her BCBA certification in 2020.

When Madison moved back to Ottawa in 2015, she began her career as an Instructor Therapist at The Portia Learning Centre. Since then, Madison has had the opportunity to work at all 3 of our Ottawa locations and is now the Clinical Supervisor at our Whitby centre.

Madison has a wide variety of interests but particularly enjoys developing programs to target foundational skills for with young children who have higher support needs. Her greatest joy comes from teaching skills that produce meaningful change for clients and their families.

AZZAH QUTIYBA

Senior Therapist, M.ADS

Azzah fell in love with the field of ABA the moment she joined the Portia team in 2020 as an instructor therapist. She is now a Senior Therapist at our East End location. Azzah enjoys collaborating with the families of her clients and other professionals to develop tailored, enjoyable, and effective programming. Building functional communication, reducing challenging behaviours, and supporting her clients and their families in different settings are her main areas of interest. Azzah has completed her master's degree in Applied Disability Studies with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis in April 2024 and is currently working towards her BCBA certification.

JENNA LAFOND

Senior Therapist, M.A., Spec. Ed.

Jenna joined The Portia Learning Centre as an Instructor Therapist in 2018. Jenna has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology with a focus in Psychology where she graduated from Carleton University in 2017. Jenna is currently enrolled in her Masters for Special Education with a distinction in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Arizona State University. She is working towards obtaining her BCBA credentials. Jenna is dedicated to her clients and enjoys working closely with families with a focus on parent training. Jenna is also our Student Placement Facilitator and maintains relationships with colleges and universities to promote the field of ABA. Jenna enjoys her role in teaching and inspiring future therapists within the field.

KAITLYN MCDEVITT

Clinical Coordinator, DSW, ABS

Kaitlyn has always been passionate about working with children with developmental disabilities. She began her studies in the Developmental Service Worker certificate program with Algonquin College, and from there she was driven to learn more about Autism and continued her studies by completing a certificate in Autism and Behavioral Science. Kaitlyn has been working with the Portia Learning Centre since 2018, and during her time she has grown into a Lead Therapist, and now Clinical Coordinator. She now handles all our staff recruitment, and training future Instructor Therapists. She also works closely with families continuing with Portia, and manages client contract renewals. Her greatest joys come from teaching meaningful skills that will positively impact her client, and their families.

ASHLEY CROKE

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), MACP

Ashley has been working in the field of disabilities and neurodivergence since 2010. She has always had a passion for advocacy and inclusion, and helping others to meet their goals. This passion led her to complete her BA in psychology with a minor in American Sign Language at Carleton University; the Autism and Behaviour Science program at Algonquin College; and her masters in counselling psychology at Yorkville University. Currently, Ashley is working towards completing her BCBA certification coursework. With this combination of education and experience, Ashley is able to approach clients with care and understanding, to meet them where they are at, and support their desire to meet their own goals.
Ashley joined the Portia Learning Centre team in 2017 as an instructor therapist and progressed through the different positions at Portia until transitioning to work as a registered psychotherapist (qualifying). Currently, Ashley provides psychotherapy to clients out of the Kanata centre, using a variety of techniques including play therapy, art therapy, and DBT, among others. Ashley uses an eclectic approach to therapy and works in collaboration with the Senior therapists, as needed. By using a holistic approach Ashley can provide more balanced care and can provide ideal services tailored to each individual.

 

ALLISON CHARTRAND

Senior Therapist, M.A. Spec. Ed.

Allison joined The Portia Learning Centre in 2019 as an Instructor Therapist. Now a Senior Therapist at our Kanata location, Allison enjoys working closely with parents and caregivers in order to develop and implement individualized programming goals to aid and support her clients in reaching their full potential. Allison is working towards her BCBA credentials. Allison‘s background as a toddler and preschool educator taught her the importance of being creative and engaging in order to capture and maintain a child’s motivation to learn. Her primary areas of interest are reducing challenging behaviours, teaching life skills in the home and natural environment, and parent/caregiver training. Her greatest joy comes from seeing her clients’ learn and display new meaningful skills.

ZOE DIENER

Senior Therapist, M.ADS

Zoe has always been passionate about helping improve the lives of others. Since she started working at The Portia Learning Centre in 2020, she fell in love with the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis and the differences she was able to make in the lives of her clients and families. Zoe is now a Senior Therapist at our Ottawa East End location. She has completed her Master's of Applied Disability Studies with a specialization in ABA at Brock University and is currently working towards her BCBA certification. She is passionate about collaborating with families to develop individualized programming for her clients as well as working with other team members and providing training to our team of Instructor Therapists.

TONI MOORE

Senior Therapist Manager

Toni started her career at the Whitby location of Portia in 2017 as an Instructor Therapist. She then worked her way up through the positions to a Lead Therapist, a Senior Therapist Assistant, and as of 2022, is now a dedicated Senior Therapist. As a current Registered Behaviour Technician, Toni enjoys being part of a team that empowers individuals to overcome challenges and reach their full potential as well as continually refining and tailoring her interventions to meet the unique needs of each individual.

MACKENZIE LAFRENIER

Senior Therapist, BCogSc

Mackenzie joined the Portia Learning Centre team in 2019 as an Instructor Therapist while completing her undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Psychology. Now, as a Senior Therapist at our Kanata location, Mackenzie enjoys working closely with her families to provide personalized programming for her clients and ensures her family feels supported and looked after. She is passionate about supporting our team of Instructor therapists by providing ongoing training and supervision to help therapists reach their full potential and ensure treatment delivery is of the best quality. Mackenzie is currently completing her Masters of Applied Disabilities Studies at Brock University for April 2024 and receiving supervision hours towards her BCBA certification. Some of Mackenzie’s main interests include building on foundational skills to positively impact her learners’ day to day life, supporting our team of Instructor therapists, reducing challenging behaviours, collaborating with outside professionals, and helping her clients grow and interact with their environment in a way that is meaningful to their everyday life.

STEPHANNE LEBLANC

Senior Therapist

Stephanne began his Portia Learning Centre journey in 2019 as a Co-op student. Now, as a Senior Therapist at our Kanata location, Stephanne enjoys working closely with the dedicated team to support the clients learning. He enjoys supporting the team of Instructor therapists by providing ongoing training and supervision. Stephanne is currently completing his Masters of Education at Western University. Some of Stephanne's main interests include ongoing learning, helping clients and Instructor therapists reach their potential, reducing challenging behaviors, family/caregiver training, and supporting the community

MELISSA SOARES

Senior Therapist

Melissa is a dedicated Senior Therapist at the Portia Learning Centre, at the Whitby location where she has the privilege of working with individuals to make a positive impact in their lives. Melissa has an educational background as a Child and Youth Worker, along with being a Registered Behaviour Technician (RBT). Since 2018, Melissa has been collaborating with a dedicated and skilled team of professionals who share a common goal - to enhance the lives of those we support.

DR. DILLON BROWNE

C.Psych.

My name is Dillon Browne, and I am a licensed clinical psychologist in Ontario, Canada. I specialize in working with children and youth who are having mental health, developmental, and learning difficulties. I also have substantial experience providing services to entire families who are struggling with relationships. I have been providing high quality mental health services to young people and families for nearly 15 years.

I grew up in Burlington, Ontario, and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph (2009), where I majored in Psychology and minored in Family and Child Studies. For graduate studies, I completed my masters (2011) and PhD (2016) in School and Clinical Child Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. For clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship (2017), I moved to the United States, completing my education at the University of California, San Francisco. I trained in several rotations including the Intensive Family Therapy Program and the renowned Child Trauma Research Program. After, I taught for one year at the California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco, before returning to Ontario. I currently live in Kitchener, Ontario.

As a clinical psychologist, I have a small private practice, providing intensive and specialized services to young people and families throughout Ontario both virtually and in person. Additionally, I am a professor at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Psychology, where I hold the Canada Research Chair in Child and Family Clinical Psychology.

Michelle Ramalho headshot

MICHELLE RAMALHO

M.S.W,. R.S.W.

Michelle Ramalho graduated with a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto, is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and is a member of the Canadian Association of Social Workers. Michelle has worked with a wide range of people such
as veterans, adults, and children and their families. She is especially interested in working with families and has trained in a variety of evidence based modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Emotion Focused Family Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and using Dialectical Behavioural Therapy skills.

When working with families, Michelle’s approach is strength-based and emotion-focused,
promoting communication, acceptance of each other, and problem solving (when appropriate).
Michelle has extensive experience working with teens and young people, helping them to
navigate life transitions and challenges and really enjoys this age group as well.
Dedicated to a person-centered approach, Michelle draws on anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, 2SLGBTQ+ inclusive lenses to learn about each family member, as well as each family’s unique background. At the heart of her practice is a belief that the client is the “expert” in the room. Michelle is passionate about walking alongside those she works with and is honoured to support their mental health, relationships, and quality of life.

Michelle values building effective client relationships above all else, and initial sessions will
focus on learning about your family, what has been effective for you in the past, and discussion
of your future goals with Portia. This is a time to come together and connect. Generally, the
monthly sessions will focus on an initial update of family life, a discussion of any questions,
space to brainstorm possible solutions, or work to accept things that may not have “solutions”.
Depending on your personal and family needs, Michelle can offer skills to support you to
manage difficult moments, and also empathy and validation as you navigate those moments.
Overall, Michelle is looking forward to connecting and providing you the support you are looking for in your family’s journey with Portia.

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Our Partners

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