About

Watermelon Sessions

Watermelon Sessions was inspired by a young client who in his speech therapy would elongate the 'a' turning watermelon into Waaatermelon. Sometimes the teacher becomes the student. Watermelon Sessions is a social based approach for treating autism and is inspired by client based research. Created with children in mind, the goal became about providing a solid foundation of development; a skill set that can be used and developed as they grow in to adulthood. That's why we focus on developing an understanding of communication for verbal and non-verbal students, while also focusing on familiarizing them to overstimulating environments. As Autism gets a greater understanding in the public forum we want to acclimate our young students so they may have a bright future with more opportunity and independence.  

We are all unique. We all have our differences and preferences. This diversity makes our world a beautiful place. 

Watermelon Sessions was created to celebrate neurodiversity and build on inclusivity and communication.

We are not here to 'fix' our students. We are here to build on how they engage with the world around them; to help all our kiddos integrate into society and have fun with peers without losing themselves.

We are committed to helping young children learn in the best way possible. Studies have shown incidental learning through social experience is inherently and profoundly effective in developing constructive life skills. Incidental learning refers to learning unintentionally through experience and its critical to language development and learned behavior. Our social programs are the heart of our unique approach to working with autism. In developing speech and behavior, it is in our social therapy that we see the most significant improvement in our students. We are all social animals and the right environment inspires us to learn and grow. 

This is

our

mission

Meet The Team

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Sasha Lebedeva received her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology at the Wallenberg Institute of Special Education and Psychology, St Petersburg, Russia. She has been working with children and adults as a speech pathologist since 2010.

In 2013 Sasha moved to Canada and focused on working with individuals with diverse abilities. Watermelon Sessions was created by Sasha to nurture independence; helping those with communication difficulties and teaching them how to interact with the world on their own terms. 

Wendy Groiss has Doctoral Coursework in Developmental Psychology and Biopsychology from Walden University, her M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology and her Professional  Teaching Certificate from UBC.

Her contributions to childhood development knows no limits as she works with families in Canada, United States, Saudi Arabia, Wales and China. 

Watermelon is grateful for her participation in the development of childhood therapy via the RDI and Dynamic Intelligence Curriculum Program and for extending her knowledge to helping our little friends on spectrum. 

Jacqueline Bowater holds her Masters in Speech Language Pathology from UBC . Her experience working in child development centers and public schools makes her a bountiful source knowledge in the Vocal and Speech therapy community. 
We are very proud to work with her because of her drive in helping young children overcome their differences. Her open mind and free spirit are a great inspiration to many children.

Her services include rehabilitating disabilities such as speech delays, articulation disorders and improving vocal abilities and language delays related to learning disabilities. 

Watermelon appreciates her participation in the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC, Speech and Hearing BC, and Speech Audiology Canada.

Shawn Chuang , a registered Occupational Therapist from Taiwan. He had completed his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in Taiwan and graduated in 2009. He has then been working with children with different diagnoses for more than 10 years, the various groups of kid he has worked with include: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD and Developmental delay, Developmental Coordination Disorder…etc.

 In 2016, Shawn moved to Canada and continued to focus on kids who are aged 0-16 with different special needs. He enjoys working with children and loves to see they learn and grow through play and relationships.

Watermelon Sessions collaborates with Physio2U therapists who provide comprehensive assessments and treatment plans in the comfort and convenience of your home, public space or recreational center. Many pediatric-based clinics are designed for young children. For children over 12 years old, outdoor or home-based physiotherapy sessions are ideal to further improve walking, motor planning and physical literacy. Physio2U therapists work in conjunction with assistants from Watermelon Sessions to optimize the funding provided to help improve your child's movement.

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Ruth has a Bachelors of Music and a Bachelors of Music Education. She offers a modern approach to working with autism using music and drama to connect with her students. With a versatile tool belt she utilizes her skillset to motivate and engage with children on spectrum. 

She has demonstrated time and again a continued effort to creating a rich environment for Watermelon where we can implement our development practices. 

This list does not include the many volunteers and support staff that make our day to day sessions possible. Without their support Watermelon Sessions wouldn't be possible. They bring the fun, the passion and deliver the knowledge our team provides. To our support workers and volunteers, we also thank you for helping our children grow in an inclusive environment