My wife and I have been married for 20 years. We have two children ages sixteen and ten. Both our children hit their early developmental milestones. However, at the age of three, we noticed that our daughter was struggling with regulation, had difficulty interacting with other children, and was fixated on certain routines. With further investigation, she was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four.
After our move from Penticton to Kelowna, we attempted to access intervention resources. It was challenging to put a team together as we had to utilize various service providers including Behaviour Consultants, Behaviour Interventionist, and Speech and Occupational therapists.
Our neurotypical son excelled in school and continues to navigate the mass media world as a teenager. When our daughter entered kindergarten in public education, she struggled to regulate in a large elementary school and quickly fell behind academically. Having average intelligence, we were concerned that she would fall further behind grade level achievement and not build her social skills. We decided to move her to a Therapeutic Learning Centre entering grade two. The small class size and specialization of staff who understand the behavioral needs of children with Autism was beneficial. We were thrilled to see her excitement to go to "school" and make huge gains in her self-regulation and social interactions. However, the learning aspect of the program was guided by online teachers and the academic program was facilitated by behavior interventionist not certified teachers. The academic rigor did not lend itself to optimal academic growth. Falling further behind in her reading, we were able to advocate for some intervention sessions by a Learning Assistance Teacher through the online school associated with the Learning Centre. This extra support was not enough to close the gap in her reading deficiencies. As a special education and reading specialist, I put a plan together to work with her at home to support her confidence as a reader. After a year and a half of this home intervention accompanied with the Learning Assistance through the centre, we are proud to say that she has cracked the literacy code and is now reading above her grade four reading level. Being a confident reader has opened up a world of information and enjoyment of reading that she never possessed previously.
Over the past four years, I have visited various Autism education programs across North America. Locally, as a President of Autism Okanagan, I have heard from many parents who are still searching for the optimal learning structure and environment for their child.
As an education consultant, I continue pursuing an inclusive wrap-around support model for students with ASD. I continue to seek partnerships in public and independent education facilities to provide insight, expertise, and collaboration to provide optimal learning opportunities for students with Autism and Dyslexia.
Rob has been privileged over his 30 year career to work with resilient and inspirational children and families. Building positive relationships with stakeholders is the foundation of his practice. The human service journey began as a Therapeutic Recreation Therapist who supported inclusive physical education for individuals with disabilities and severe behavioural challenges.
In 2001, Rob became a Registered Social Worker in Alberta and worked as a liaison in two elementary schools in Calgary. Inspired by the art of teaching during this time, he decided to complete an education degree at the University of Calgary. His teaching career began as a special education classroom teacher working with children with severe behavioural and cognitive challenges. He then moved to a District Resiliency Specialist role to collaborate with schools from Kindergarten to grade 12 within the Calgary Board of Education. As an elementary vice-principal, Rob continued his student support service role as a Resource and Learning Assistance Teacher.
Rob completed his Masters of Education Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Calgary. Rob has been a successful elementary school principal for 13 years at very diverse schools in Penticton and Kelowna. In addition to his administrative role, Rob has spearheaded many community and school district initiatives to support families and students within educational structures and beyond. He continues to research and implement innovative practices to support reading achievement for all students and is specialized in systemic change theories in special education with expertise in Autism, and learning disability pedagogies.
His life-long learning motto inspired him to become the first Certified Orton Gillingham (OG) Academy Practitioner in the Okanagan. After extensive coursework and a year-long practicum, he has the skills and competencies to successfully implement the OG philosophy and drills into his tutoring and consulting practises.
In June 2020, Rob decided to retire as a principal in public education to dedicate his time to tutoring children with diversabilites as a reading specialist and to promote self-regulation as a Senior Behaviour Interventionist.
Specialized Literacy & Math Tutor
Shauna has been a teacher in the public school system for 20 years. In 1996, while working and living in Japan, she had the privilege to assist in English instruction to primary students. This experience of working with children inspired her to begin her teaching degree at the University of Victoria on her return to Canada.
In 2000, Shauna began her teaching career in the middle school years where she became concerned with students who were being left behind due to low literacy levels. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she worked with science and social studies teachers on incorporating reading and writing instruction into these content areas. After 5 years, Shauna moved into working with children in grades 3-5. As a classroom teacher at this level, she recognized that students with learning disabilities often did not have access to the specialized and intense literacy instruction they needed. This motivated her to go back to school to learn strategies on how to better support her struggling learners.
Shauna completed her Masters of Education Degree with the University of British Columbia with a thesis focused on teaching writing to children with learning disabilities. She has been a Learning Assistant Teacher for 8 years working with students in kindergarten to grade 6. Over this time, she has worked with her schools to create a school wide approach to literacy instruction and remediation which included systematic and purposeful intervention.
Shauna has completed 60 hours of intensive Orton-Gillingham coursework from an Orton-Gilligham Fellow in April 2020. Shauna continues to add the OG philosophy and drill it into her practice.
Speech & Language Pathologist
Arianne Crossley is owner of Goldfinch Speech and Language Services. Born and raised in the South Okanagan, she completed a Master of Science degree in Human Communication Disorders at Dalhousie University in 2007. Since then, she's been working as a speech-language pathologist in a variety of settings, with a focus on early childhood and school-age children and a wide range of developmental disabilities. She has had the opportunity to work with and learn from many colleagues from different professions and incorporates multidisciplinary goals into her therapy as much as possible.
Arianne is a language enthusiast, and wants to help inspire a love of language and communication in her clients. She has particular interests in severe speech sound disorders, literacy support, and the neurodiversity movement. Special qualifications include:
Registered with the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP) of BC for children under 6 years
Certified in the Lidcombe Program for Early Stuttering Intervention
Certified to provide Hanen Centre programs:
It Takes Two to TalkⓇ - for parents of children with language delays
Target WordTM - for parents of children who are late-talkers
Learning Language and Loving ItTM - for preschool and early elementary teachers who have students with language delays or who are at risk of language delays
More Than WordsⓇ - for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
When she's not speech-language pathology-ing, you can find her hanging out with her three children, in her garden, or (when she gets a moment), playing a little music.
Dalhousie University - Master of Science degree in Human Communication Disorders
Andria Anderson is a Occupational Therapist that has been working in the area of paediatrics for the past 14 years. Andria spent ten years working in the Mental Health Programs at BC Children's Hospital before making a move to the Okanagan two years ago. Andria is based in the south okanagan currently working with school aged children. She holds contracts with the Oliver School District, homeschooling programs and other private contacts. More information on Andria can be found at www.collectivetherapy.ca
Adrienne is an early childhood education specialist with nearly a decade of experience working with students of many diversabilities. Adrienne brings with her a diverse background including experience as a behaviour interventionist specializing in the ABA approach, early childhood educator, day camp coordinator, educational assistant, and tutor. She began working with neurodivergent students in 2013 and has enjoyed every moment since. She has spent the last 5 years with School District 23, where she’s served as both a school-based education assistant and as one of the district-wide behavioural education assistant specialists. She also has vast experience in non-violent crisis intervention while working with challenging behaviour students.
Adrienne is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia while continuing her work with diversablity students.
When she is not working, Adrienne enjoys cooking, drinking tea, camping, and going on long walks with her husband and dog (often on the beach).
Education Assistant Certificate – Okanagan College (2016)
Early Childhood Education Certificate – Douglas College (2013)
Non-Violent Crisis Prevention & Intervention (2019)
WHAT PUTS US ABOVE THE REST
Our academic and behavior team is designed to be a one stop shop. No longer will parents need to approach various professionals (Occupational Therapist, Speech & Language Therapist) from different companies or locations. If you chose to hire RZ Progressive Education Solutions to provide intervention, you will have access to our diverse team to individualize a service plan that is best for your child. Even though our practitioners provide services as Independent Contractors, we adopt a comprehensive team approach where we have ongoing meetings and discussions with parents to provide specific intervention updates and programming strategies for every child.