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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 neurodiverse individuals 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 neurodiversity gets a greater understanding in the public forum we want to acclimate our 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 socially and have fun with peers without losing themselves.

We are committed to helping neurodivergent individuals 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 neurodiversity. In developing communication 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. 

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Meet The Team


Sasha Lebedeva received her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology and Child Psychology 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. 

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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.


Dea Mehmeti (she/her)  is a student completing her Master’s of Counselling Psychology at Adler University. Her educational background in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, Sociology, and Mental Health gives her a holistic, broadly informed approach. Dea has years of professional experience in behaviour intervention, working with neurodiverse youth facing social, emotional, and behavioural challenges. She provides one-on-one support and group facilitation to young children using creativity and play as a vehicle for teaching and strengthening skills. Dea is passionate about helping youth and families by providing them with tools to navigate the unique challenges of everyday life.

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Denys Yakushev  came to us from Ukraine. He has more than three years of experience working with Autistic Children, mainly in the field of physical development. Denys' specialty lies in working with very difficult students. He is a master of sports in rowing. Has a higher non-core education received at the National Technical University of Ukraine.


Claire Hunter completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at McGill University in 2020. She worked as a Registered Nurse in inpatient psychiatry in Calgary through the pandemic before moving to Vancouver to pursue a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Adler University. When she is not working at Watermelon Sessions, Claire works as a counselling intern providing low-cost therapy to clients living with eating disorders. Throughout her career she has been passionate about working with neurodivergent people and holding space for the uniqueness in all of us that makes the world beautiful. 


Ieva, originally from Lithuania, finished her master's in social work at Vilnius University in 2019. She discovered her passion while helping neurodiverse teenagers at Mentor Peers in Durango, USA, during her 2017 social work practice. Throughout her five-year career supporting the neurodiverse community, Ieva organized social groups, camps, and offered one-on-one support to kids of different ages and their families. In 2022, she moved to Canada and joined Watermelon Sessions. Ieva strongly believes in embracing neurodiversity rather than trying to cure it.

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Chelsea received her Bachelor of Science at McMaster University in 2023, specializing in sensory motor systems and minoring in psychology. With a background as a competitive swim coach, lifeguard and swim instructor for children of all ages and abilities, Chelsea brings a unique blend of academic knowledge and practical skills to her role as a behavioural interventionist. Her competitive swimming background has instilled in her a deep appreciation for the positive impact of mentorship and guidance. Chelsea is passionately dedicated to enhancing the lives of neurodivergent individuals through personalized interventions rooted in patience, understanding, and continuous learning.


Kieran is a fourth year Psychology student at Simon Fraser University planning on pursuing graduate studies in counselling. Much of his undergraduate degree was spent studying development and abnormal psychology. Kieran has spent the last year working with neurodivergent children and getting to connect with awesome families!"

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

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