ISAND is the pre-eminent clinic in Ontario providing integrated services to children, youth and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. With the help of advocate and philanthropist Jill Gotlieb, ISAND was established in 2013 by renowned clinicians working in the field of ASD, including Dr. Wendy Roberts, Shelley Mitchell, Jennifer Levine, Julie Schwartz, Barb Muskat (PH.D, MSW), Candace Yanchyshyn (B.Ed.), and Dr. Peggy Kirkpatrick. Clinicians work together using evidence based and evidence informed naturalistic approaches to provide the highest level of service leading to positive outcomes for clients.
Nine clinical disciplines are represented by ISAND’s therapists including: Developmental Paediatrics; Clinical Psychology; Behaviour Therapy; Speech & Language; Occupational therapy; Social work; Education; Rhythmic Movement; and Nutrition.
There are several recent and upcoming Clinician changes at ISAND that I’d like to update you about. I’d also like to inform you that you can read biographical information on all of our Clinicians by visiting the ISAND website – www.isand.ca, and looking at the Team page under the “about Us” tab. For information on clinicians that have more recently become ISAND Team Members you can also read our Spring/Summer 2021 newsletter which can also be found on our website under the “News and Events” tab, Newsletter page.
Dr. Wendy Roberts, MD., FRCPC: Dr. Roberts is a developmental paediatrician, researcher, mentor and author specializing in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder. As one of the founders of ISAND, Dr. Roberts has provided medical expertise to a huge number of clients over the years. Some of you may know that Dr. Roberts is stepping back from active medical consultation and treatment this June. Thankfully, Wendy will continue to provide mentoring and consultation to the Dr.’s who will be taking over her case load for an undetermined length of time.
Recruitment efforts are underway to find a developmental paediatrician(s) to join ISAND, and assume Dr. Robert’s paediatric case load. Dr. Dara Abells will be assuming medical responsibility for some of the older clients on Wendy’s case load with transition meetings having started.
Dr. Dara Abells, MD. CCFP and Dr. Graham Gaylord, MD: Both are family physicians who have done additional study with young people who have ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The will provide services to ISAND clients on a part time basis. We’re happy to announce that both Dr. Abells and Dr. Gaylord will be extending their time commitment to ISAND very soon.
Dr. Dana Frisch, MD., FRCPC: Will be taking a leave starting in June 2021. A number of people from her caseload will transition to Dr. Abells or Dr. Gaylord, while others will be referred to their paediatrician/family doctor.
Speech and Language Services
Our newest clinician is Joanna Ticker, M.S.Ed., SLP. Reg. CASLPO. Joanna is an experienced and passionate clinician working with the pediatric population and their families to support diverse communication needs including: language, motor speech, social communication, fluency, and voice.
Although we added one new clinician, we recently lost the services of Maija Gulens, Jessica Loo-Yong-Kee, and
Ali Schwabe. ISAND is in the recruitment process to find new clinicians that will be added to our strong, experienced SLP team.
Our newest Behavioural Consultant is Sheila Condon M.A., BCBA, who joins ISAND with a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise. Sheila specializes in family centred programming, parent coaching, teaching skills in a natural environment, and functional behavioural assessments.
We are delighted to welcome back to ISAND after a short time away our Behavioural Consultant, Kelsey Ferguson M.ADS., BCBA, bringing with her a lengthy and varied background. As a longstanding team member at ISAND, Kelsey has worked with a large number of clients, providing behavioural help across a wide range of needs and age groups.
Also returning to ISAND after a two year educational leave is, Jigna Bhatt BSc. O.T., MSc. Yoga, OTR, O.T. Reg (Ont.), bringing more than twenty years of Occupational Therapy experience. Jigna predominantly works with children and young people with autism spectrum disorder and complex neurodevelopmental disorder to maximize their development and independence. She has extensive experience working with sensory processing issues.
As Ontario enters a four week State of Emergency, and enacts a “Stay at Home” order, I’d like to confirm that ISAND will remain open for both virtual and in-person appointments and has put the following safety measures in place.
ISAND will continue to offer in-person assessment and treatment when it has been determined to be clinically necessary and when all parties agree to participate following all safety protocols (see Protocols on COVID-19 Tab of the website);
The determination of “Clinically Necessary” is made by the clinician when he or she has determined that teletherapy is ineffective. In this case, there are health (including mental health), safety (e.g. risk of aggression) and/or significant regression issues. There are also specific (e.g. psychological and medical) assessments that can’t be conducted remotely
In-person group sessions of no more than three participants can be considered where: it has been deemed clinically necessary; social distancing can be maintained; and PPE is worn; ISAND will continue to offer virtual assessment and treatment whenever possible.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):
ASD is a neurological condition impacting 1 in 66 children in Canada according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the National Autism Spectrum, Disorder Surveillance System. This means that there are approximately 135,000 Ontarians on the autism spectrum. Common signs of ASD include: avoidance or indifference to playing with other children; lack of or severe delay in speech development; repetitive use of sounds, words, language, an overall unresponsiveness to people (and other stimuli) in the child’s environment, strong resistance to change, and repetitive motor behaviours in the body.