ECHO Autism

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) is pleased to offer the ECHO Ontario Autism program. 

ECHO Autism logo
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ECHO Autism Leads
ECHO Autism (Physicians and NPs) Hub Team
Melanie

Dr. Melanie Penner
Melanie Penner, MD MSc FRCP(C) is a developmental paediatrician at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, a clinician investigator at the autism research centre in the Bloorview Research Institute, an assistant professor in the department of paediatrics at the University of Toronto, and an assistant professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She completed her medical school at Queen’s University in 2008. She did both her paediatrics and developmental paediatrics residencies at the University of Toronto. She completed a Master’s in health service research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto in 2016.

Dr. Penner works as a developmental paediatrician performing developmental assessments, diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, and managing psychopharmacological treatment in children with complex behavioural challenges. Her research interests are in expanding and enhancing the care provided to children with autism spectrum disorder and their families in the community.

Evdokia

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou
Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, MD, is a child neurologist and senior clinician scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital; associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Toronto; assistant director of Bloorview Research Institute and co-lead of the autism research centre. She holds a Canada Research Chair in translational therapeutics in autism spectrum disorder and the Dr. Stuart D. Sims Chair in Autism at Holland Bloorview. Dr. Anagnostou’s research focuses on translating genomic and systems biology findings into novel treatments for autism spectrum disorder.

Jessica

Dr. Jessica Brian
Jessica Brian is a psychologist and clinician-investigator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She co-leads the autism research centre at Holland Bloorview. Jessica received her PhD from the clinical-developmental psychology program at York University and completed intensive training in applied behaviour analysis during a year-long internship at the Princeton Child Development Institute in New Jersey.

For the past two decades, Jessica has played a major role in the Canadian infant siblings research program aimed at understanding the emergence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ongoing developmental pathways into adolescence. She co-led the development and evaluation of a very early intervention program for infants and toddlers with emerging ASD which is currently being implemented in the community.

Cathy

Cathy Petta
Cathy Petta has been a registered nurse (RN) for almost 30 years, and has spent the last 12 years at Holland Bloorview. She spent her first two years here on the inpatient unit, and the last 10 years as the RN for the psychopharmacology clinic providing nursing support to the clinic and clinic families. She is also an Accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and has delivered the Triple P program in one to one, group and seminar formats to many Holland Bloorview parents.

For the past 10 years she has also worked on the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) research and clinical project. For this project, she has provided care coordination for families and works on quality improvement initiatives. She was the sleep educator for the ATN sleep study; looking at effectiveness of parent sleep hygiene education in improving sleep in kids with autism spectrum disorder. She has now adapted this curriculum as a clinical program at Holland Bloorview.

Moira

Moira Pena
Moira Pena, BScOT, MOT Reg. (Ont.) is an experienced occupational therapist working at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and/or other developmental delays. Moira has dedicated her career to working with children and teens who experience sensory processing, behavioural and emotional challenges and holds training credentials from the STAR (Sensory Therapies and Research) Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, the premier clinic for the treatment of children and adolescents with sensory processing challenges.

Her research interests focus on how children’s function and participation in school and in home daily routines can be improved through the use of sensory processing strategies. Moira is a regular guest lecturer in the faculty of occupational science & occupational therapy at the University of Toronto.

Justine

Justine Wiegelmann
Justine Wiegelmann, MA, BCBA is a behaviour consultant specializing in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and other neuro-developmental disorders. She completed her applied behaviour analysis training at Pennsylvania State University and holds a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has been a board certified behaviour analyst since 2012.

Justine works within the psychopharmacology clinic at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, provides consultation to research projects involving children with autism, and also works within the private sector. Justine works closely with families to address severe challenging behaviour and skill deficits to teach more effective, functional skills to children and teens with complex needs. She has developed and presented numerous applied behaviour analysis based training and education workshops to families, professionals, and community groups as well as giving talks at professional conferences.

Justine is passionate about collaborating with families and interdisciplinary teams to support children with behaviour challenges to more fully participate in therapeutic and recreational programs.

Robin

Robin Hermolin
Robin Hermolin MSW, RSW is a registered social worker at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  Robin has 15 years of experience working with children and families with a focus on neurodiversity and mental health.  Robin received her MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University and has completed additional training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Emotion Focused Family Therapy.

For the past six years Robin has worked with the developmental assessment clinics and the psychopharmocology clinic at Holland Bloorview.  She provides support to families who are adjusting to a recent diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neuro-developmental disorders.  Robin also offers guidance to families with service navigation and connection to community resources.  

Susan

Susan Cosgrove (Parent Advisor)
Susan Cosgrove is a single parent of three children with neurodevelopmental disorders, proudly raising her unique family in the spirit of neurodiversity. As an active advocate in Toronto, Susan is focused on family centred research and healthcare; with an interest in using knowledge translation techniques to empower parents to share their unique family stories.

She sits on advisory panels through the Autism Treatment Network and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, has presented at Canadian conferences and shared her family story on national media. Susan and her oldest son recently had the opportunity to share their story at the United Nations Conference of the State Parties on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York City. Susan is CHILD-BRIGHT Research Network’s first professional parent mentor.

Philippa

Philippa Howell (Parent Advisor)
Philippa is the co-lead of the Autism Treatment Network’s (ATN) family advisory board in Toronto. With eight years of experience volunteering as a peer mentor and family advisor with the ATN, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and other agencies, she enjoys contributing to the world of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She strives to enable change and advocate for those who cannot. She has presented her knowledge of autism to a variety of audiences including nurses, clinicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies. She was instrumental in the development of a toolkit on advocacy for Holland Bloorview and Autism Speaks Canada, and has mentored fellow parents navigating the world of ASD. She has lived in Canada for 15 years and is the mother of three daughters, two who have ASD and one who is a young carer.

Currently Philippa is the executive assistant to the CEO and COO at the Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf where her lived experiences, as a parent and as a volunteer, allow her to serve their individuals better.

Adrienne

Adrienne Zarem (Parent Advisor)
Adrienne Zarem, BKin, DC, has been a family leader with Holland Bloorview for the last five years, and is the mother to two daughters, one who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Adrienne is an executive member of Holland Bloorview’s family advisory committee, and the chair of the Family Leadership Accreditation Group. She has a special interest in patient centred quality and safety, and has partnered with hospital staff to share best practices with a number of organizations throughout Canada and the USA. In addition to her work with Holland Bloorview, Adrienne co-chairs Health Standards Organization’s assessment methodologies technical committee, and is a surveyor for Accreditation Canada.

As a family research advisor with the Bloorview Research Institute, Adrienne has had the great pleasure of contributing to a number of ASD research projects, and feels privileged to be collaborating with the ECHO team to use her lived experience to bring a parent perspective to the multidisciplinary group.

Gunjan

Gunjan Seth (Parent Advisor)
Gunjan is proud to have been associated with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital over the last five years, as a Family leader and recently as Rapid response Family Leader during Covid-19.

Through the journey & joy of raising her son with autism, she has acquired a lived experience & training exposure that has strongly motivated her to volunteer, share and advocate for the parents, caregivers and their children with ASD. As a Family Advisory Committee(FAC) member with the AUtism Treatment Network, she sits on various advisory committees/workgroups  including the Sleep Committee, Behavioral Sciences Committee and Anxiety Learning Lab. She is also a Vanguard user of a sleep study called "Better Nights, Better days for Children with Neurodevelopmnetal Disorders" from Dalhousie University. As a family leader at Holland Bloorview, , she has reviewed many research study proposals and health documents, and most recently completed a review of the "Sick kids Covid-19:Guidance for School Reopening". Gunjan has volunteered in Adult Day Programs & Administration at the Geneva Center for Autism over six years, and completed several certificate courses in Autism intervention.

Gunjan is deeply passionate about lending a voice to the community and being a proud immigrant herself, she is passionate about helping newcomers navigate through support networks. 

Matthew

Matthew Dever (Self Advocate/Parent Advisor)
Matthew is an autistic adult of 5 children with three also on the autism spectrum (a tween, a teen and an adult) living in Carleton Place in rural Eastern Ontario. He advocates at both provincial and federal governments for inclusion and acceptance of autistic individuals and for autistic people to have their own voice. Matthew is a former member of the Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel, and current member of the Ontario Autism Program Implementation Working Group. 

He is founder of Autistic Bridge, a self-advocacy group, a Director with Lanark Renfrew Health & Community Services, a Director with HAACO Ontario, and a leader in the National Disability Strategy movement to build a nation-wide coalition of disability organizations to advocate for meeting all needs of all disabilities at all ages. He is also a member of Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA), where he is helping with aspects of developing a National Autism Strategy as well as helping at the annual CASDA Summit. 

Matthew has also led workshops and panels on topics surrounding autism and education.  He has spoken about autism with many groups including ECHO Autism, on issues related to autism. In his spare time, he is a web and graphic designer.

Operations team
SalinaSalina Eldon
Salina Eldon HBA, Dip. C.S.
Project Manager
LisaLisa Kanigsberg
Lisa Kanigsberg M.Ed.
Research Coordinator
Anmol Anmol Patel
Anmol Patel HBSc., Cert. B.D.M.
Research Assistant
ECHO Autism Psychology Hub Team
Jessica

Dr. Jessica Brian
Jessica Brian is a psychologist and clinician-investigator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She co-leads the autism research centre at Holland Bloorview. Jessica received her PhD from the clinical-developmental psychology program at York University and completed intensive training in applied behaviour analysis during a year-long internship at the Princeton Child Development Institute in New Jersey.

For the past two decades, Jessica has played a major role in the Canadian infant siblings research program aimed at understanding the emergence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ongoing developmental pathways into adolescence. She co-led the development and evaluation of a very early intervention program for infants and toddlers with emerging ASD which is currently being implemented in the community.

Melanie

Dr. Melanie Penner
Melanie Penner, MD MSc FRCP(C) is a developmental paediatrician at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, a clinician investigator at the autism research centre in the Bloorview Research Institute, an assistant professor in the department of paediatrics at the University of Toronto, and an assistant professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She completed her medical school at Queen’s University in 2008. She did both her paediatrics and developmental paediatrics residencies at the University of Toronto. She completed a Master’s in health service research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto in 2016.

Dr. Penner works as a developmental paediatrician performing developmental assessments, diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, and managing psychopharmacological treatment in children with complex behavioural challenges. Her research interests are in expanding and enhancing the care provided to children with autism spectrum disorder and their families in the community

Moira

Moira Pena
Moira Pena, BScOT, MOT Reg. (Ont.) is an experienced occupational therapist working at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and/or other developmental delays. Moira has dedicated her career to working with children and teens who experience sensory processing, behavioural and emotional challenges and holds training credentials from the STAR (Sensory Therapies and Research) Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, the premier clinic for the treatment of children and adolescents with sensory processing challenges.

Her research interests focus on how children’s function and participation in school and in home daily routines can be improved through the use of sensory processing strategies. Moira is a regular guest lecturer in the faculty of occupational science & occupational therapy at the University of Toronto.

Erica

Erica Laframboise
Erica Laframboise is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst© who has been working with children and adolescents for over 15 years, specializing in those with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She has a Master of Arts in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) with an emphasis in Autism.

In her role at Holland Bloorview, Erica works within the psychopharmacology clinic and inpatient brain injury unit. She also contributes clinically to research projects involving children with autism as part of the Bloorview Research Institute.

Her experience includes clinical supervision of ministry-funded ABA based programs, assessment and treatment of severe problem behaviors, and application of ABA strategies within group and school-based settings.  Erica is an accredited facilitator for Triple P Positive Parenting program and has presented numerous workshops and training sessions for families and professionals.

Ian

Ian Roth
Ian Roth is a speech-language pathologist who has worked with children and youth with ASD for over 20 years. Currently, he works in the Autism Research Centre at Holland Bloorview as a parent coach for the Social ABCs(TM) program and at Sunnybrook Health Sciences in the Neonatal Follow-up Clinic. Previously, he has worked at University Health Network and Surrey Place Centre. Ian has been a More Than Words(R) Instructor for the Hanen Centre since 2009, and has led more than 50 MTW workshops for SLPs in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. He also served a three-year term as a member of the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth's ASD Clinical Expert Committee. Ian is a co-developer of the ASD PlayDate web app.  

Susan

Susan Cosgrove (Parent Advisor)
Susan Cosgrove is a single parent of three children with neurodevelopmental disorders, proudly raising her unique family in the spirit of neurodiversity. As an active advocate in Toronto, Susan is focused on family centred research and healthcare; with an interest in using knowledge translation techniques to empower parents to share their unique family stories.

She sits on advisory panels through the Autism Treatment Network and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, has presented at Canadian conferences and shared her family story on national media. Susan and her oldest son recently had the opportunity to share their story at the United Nations Conference of the State Parties on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York City. Susan is CHILD-BRIGHT Research Network’s first professional parent mentor.

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