Co-Founder, Education Consultant
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A. Hons, ECE III
Demetra has a Master's Degree in Education (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning) and a passion for helping children, families and institutions navigate the world of autism. She provides support in a broad range of topics including educational planning (IPPs and IEPs) for students; she also assists with care plans for newly immigrated families, funding applications for students, and entrance exam preparations for children entering private schools. In addition to having 20+ years of experience as an educator, Demetra has attended training sessions in ABA (through St. Amant), DIRFloortime (through Autism Outreach) and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) in Glassboro, New Jersey. Demetra is a certified Early Childhood Montessori Teacher (NAMC) as well as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE III) and, together with Leanne DeRuyck, also proudly owns the adjacent business The Prep Montessori Daycare. As an educator, Demetra borrows from research-based therapy models and uses her understanding of how classroom systems work to prepare her students for greater success at school.
Co-Founder, Autism Specialist
Ph.D. Student, ASD Cert., B.A. Avd.
Leanne is an Autism Specialist trained in the United States and has nearly two decades of experience helping families reach their goals. Leanne's specialized autism training includes a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of North Dakota where she also completed a post-baccalaureate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Leanne is also a Certified DIRFloortime Provider and oversees several Social Skills groups for children and teens, helping children with autism understand the nuances of conversations, friendship skills and perspective taking. Leanne is currently working towards completing her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities at ICDL Graduate School in Maryland, USA. She holds an Advanced Psychology degree from the University of Manitoba and has extensive training working with children on the autism spectrum including working at St. Amant as an ABA tutor and at OHEYS as a camp leader. In addition, Leanne has worked with individuals in crisis through Klinic Community Health Centre. Leanne uses her wealth of education and experience in the field of autism to provide clinical support to children and families. Together with Demetra Hajidiacos, Leanne also proudly owns the adjacent business The Prep Montessori Daycare.
Ashley is a warm and inviting presence at Autism Learning Centre where she meets with families, coordinates staff and oversees all of our programming. If you are new to Autism Learning Centre, Ashley is happy to give you a tour of our centre, send referrals to therapists, register your child for one of our many group programs and camps, help you with a store purchase or book an Autism Training Session!
Ashley can be reached Monday - Friday by phoning (204) 226-7247 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
B.Ed., B.A., Post Baccalaureate Diploma Inclusive Education
Angela is a Certified Manitoba Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) specializing in Inclusive Education. She has experience working with children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities in a school environment, through respite and summer camps. Angela is passionate about creating inclusive spaces and meaningful learning opportunities for the students and families that she supports. Angela ensures that all students can access the curriculum in creative and engaging ways. She adapts and accommodates to the diverse needs of each learner, providing them with opportunities to communicate understanding and showcase their learning in a variety of ways. Angela believes that collaboration and creativity are essential in modeling and promoting healthy social-emotional growth for all students. Angela believes that just as all students are unique, their learning needs and goals are unique, and it is essential to build relationships with students and their families to provide effective, meaningful support.
Autism Learning Centre is the leading private provider of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapy in Manitoba. Marcie Smeltz began implementing ABA programs in Manitoba in 1999. In 2001, she was one of the initial therapists who offered services through St. Amant's pilot ABA program. In 2003, she began working as a consultant in St. Amant's preschool ABA program where she remained until 2014. Her background includes providing 1:1 instruction, parent and staff training on ABA principles and procedures, and providing program supervision and consultation for families and schools throughout Manitoba. Marcie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Brandon University, Manitoba, in 1998 and received her Master's Degree in ABA from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota in 2010. Marcie has a wealth of experience in the field of autism and strives to meet family's needs with immediate behavioural improvements. With over two decades of experience working successfully with families and schools, Marcie is a trusted household name in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) in the autism community.
Dryden is a theatre student in the process of finishing his four-year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Winnipeg with a focus on performance and a minor in English studies. He specializes in accent and voice work, which essentially means he loves doing silly voices! Growing up in a household with a younger brother on the spectrum, Dryden has always had a very personal connection to those with autism and their unique learning needs. When not at home with his brother, in the classroom or tutoring, he also works as a children's entertainer. Dyrden firmly believes in the empowerment that theatre gives to all who take part in it, and is committed to meeting people where they are and helping them find their own unique ways of expressing themselves.
Academic Tutor & Teaching Assistant
Kate is crossing the hall from The Prep Montessori Daycare where she worked full-time as a classroom assistant during her school summer break. Kate is a student at the Canadian Mennonite University where she is pursuing a Social Science degree. Kate has experience working in an inner-city children's program and has also volunteered at a local elementary school. She loves working with children of all ages. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors, camping, hiking and playing sports. Kate will be tutoring students academics 1:1 as well assisting in our after school Academic Program, Classroom Stars, and our weekend Therapeutic Recreation Programs.
Instructor & Academic Tutor
Sara graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2019 with her Bachelor of Education and is now working on her Post Baccalaureate diploma in Inclusive Education. Sara always knew that she wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until high school when she realized she wanted to specialize in working with youth with disabilities. Sara is always looking for new opportunities to grow and learn and is so excited to work at Autism Learning Centre as an instructor! When Sara isn’t working, she enjoys kayaking, travelling, and cooking.
Academic Tutor & Teaching Assistant
Aleli is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Manitoba. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science and aspires to become a heart surgeon in the near future. Aleli has worked with Community Venture where she enjoyed her role as an Assistant Program Facilitator. During her time there, she planned and supervised activities, as well as encouraged creativity and active learning for adults with disabilities. In her spare time, Aleli loves to be in the kitchen, cooking and baking for her family. She also loves to spend her time outdoors doing adventurous activities with her friends and family.
RSLP, MSc., SLP (C), B.A.
Naomi holds a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Linguistics and Psychology. Naomi has a particular interest in treating paediatric speech and language disorders, helping to address the communication challenges facing children with developmental delays. This includes supporting articulation skills, language development, and social communication. Naomi's professional philosophy is to provide services through family-centered practice. She believes in the importance of building strong client-focused relationships, and collaborating with families to determine the best intervention goals and treatment frameworks. Naomi is currently leading the Social Explorers program, working on social skill development for children in preschool and early elementary school. She is also now accepting new clients for 1:1 services!
Naomi's services are covered under insurance.
To book your appointment with Naomi, please phone (204) 226-7247.
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
BSc, MSW, RSW
Edith offers strength based, effective and client centered counseling. Edith works from a family systems perspective, and believes we are affected by our family history, relationships and experiences, past and present. Clients appreciate her down to earth, common sense approach. Edith believes that developing a comfortable, trusting and safe relationship is an important part of the counseling relationship and looks forward to working with you. Her goal is to support and guide clients as they discover their strengths and inner resources. With these tools in hand clients can move forward and navigate current and future challenges.
Edith's services are covered under insurance.
To book an appointment with Edith, please phone (204) 226-7247.
Owner, Prelude Music
M.M., MTA, MT-BC
Michelle is a certified Music Therapist in both Canada and the United States and has been a practicing music therapist for 10 years. She received her Masters in Music Therapy from Western Michigan University, and has advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapy. Michelle and her team specialize in working with children and adolescents with various diagnoses to create a strength based treatment program with therapeutic outcomes. The goal is for individuals to be respected and their voices heard. Michelle is an Instructor of Music Therapy at Canadian Mennonite University. She has been a judge for the Best Children's Album award for the Juno Awards, and she is the creator of Melodies & ABCs, an inclusive parent/child music program for children 6 and under. In 2014, Michelle was awarded the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Emerging Business. Prelude Music is located at 1700 Corydon Avenue. For more information and to book a therapy session, please visit Prelude Music Therapy Winnipeg.
In addition to our wonderful staff, listed above, we would like to acknowledge that we have many valued community partners, guest teachers, outreach teachers, camp counsellors, volunteers and occasional staff who make Autism Learning Centre an absolute wonderful place to be!