We have purposefully chosen staff with specific skillsets, both professional and paraprofessional. This trans-disciplinary approach is not only extremely efficient, but necessary when working with such a broad and diverse population of exceptional learners.
In order to run our programs effectively, the maintenance of professional development of our staff is always an ongoing priority to ensure we deliver the best programs possible!
We work in conjunction with members of our local Regional Education Centre, Department of Mental Health (AVITA and other), Nova Scotia Early Childhood Development Intervention Services (NSECDIS), Department of Community Services, and many others.
We pride ourselves on being a place of learning for everyone and that includes providing practicum/coop/intern/service learning opportunities for post secondary students enrolled in varies related programs. We have had the pleasure of having students from NSCC’s Social Services, Child & Youth, Behavioural Supports, Practical Nursing, and Behavioural Intervention programs. We have also had students from Acadia University’s Bachelor of Education program for their inclusive reflections as well as Mount Saint Vincent University’s Child & Youth program for their practicum. All students and volunteers are required to meet the same minimum standards as our core staff in terms of clean records checks, vulnerable sector and first aid, and all must sign strict confidentially and code of conduct agreements.
We strongly believe in the ‘it takes a village’ mentality to be successful!
Executive Director Behavioural Interventionist Founder
Hello! My Name is Elizabeth Mason-Squires and I am the Executive Director and Founder of Rowan’s Room Developmental Society. I have always been passionate about helping others and naturally gravitate toward leadership roles when the need arises. I am the Past-Chair at our local Chapter of Autism Nova Scotia and currently serve on several not-for-profit Boards in our community. At the same time that I opened the doors to Rowan’s Room, I also helped bring the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Active Start and FUNdamentals programs to the Annapolis Valley.
I graduated from Saint Mary’s University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in development, children, behaviour, linguistics, and disabilities. This turned out to be fortuitous upon the birth of my amazing daughter who is on the Autism Spectrum.
Upon graduating, at that time, I was unable to pursue a masters level program, so I shifted my attention to learning all aspects of business management. I continued my education in business by taking the first year of NSCC’s Business Administration diploma program. This allowed me the opportunity to open my own accounting business so that I could stay home and work around my daughter’s therapeutic needs. From banker to operations manager, these experiences have provided me with a comprehensive foundation for managing this endeavour.
An avid learner and researcher, I am currently working toward my Master of Education (M.Ed.) in educational leadership.
Fourteen years ago, my husband’s profession moved us to the Annapolis Valley where I have since developed my various business experiences, acquired numerous child development skills and pursued my love for singing and performing. My husband, daughter, and myself, plan on remaining in the beautiful Annapolis Valley for a long time!
My name is Rachel Keast and I am extremely excited to be working at Rowan’s Room Respite and Development Centre. I spent most of my childhood in England and Wales before moving to Canada at the age of thirteen. It was during high school when my interest in working with children that needed a little extra really peaked, resulting in the decision to attend university to study psychology, focusing on child development. I began this journey at St. Mary’s University in Halifax and ended it at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. While in Fredericton I was given the opportunity to work at Autism Connections Fredericton and loved every minute of it. Since then I have worked in Ontario and Manitoba. In both provinces I worked at the local daycares where I worked in multiple positions over the years before ending up in the preschool program coordinator position. Over these years I have worked with children from all walks of life and various developmental stages and loved every minute of it. I even cut my first maternity leave short to return to work after 9.5 months, it helped that he was attending the daycare that I worked in. I also attended as many professional development days as I could as I am a firm believer, especially in this field, that learning is a continuous journey that will never end. I am in the final stages of becoming a Registered Behavioural Technician. I was extremely excited to be back in Nova Scotia and could not believe my luck when Elizabeth approached me about this amazing opportunity. With the support of my husband, the love of my two boys, and the drive of Elizabeth, I know this is the place for me to be and cannot wait to share in the success of your child(ren) with you!
Behavioural Interventionist ECE Level 2 – Acting Pre-Primary Director
Hi, my name’s Nicole Philpitt and, with great pleasure, I’ve been with Rowan’s Room since September 2016 as a Behaviour Tutor/Early Childhood Educator. I have been working in the early childhood education field for 16 years; over this time I have achieved my Early Childhood Education diploma and numerous certifications within the understanding and education of exceptionalities. As the understanding of an exceptionality grows, I strive to grow with it by attending workshops and enrolling in online courses. I am currently enrolled in CBT online and I’m furthering my education by taking Kinesiology at Acadia University as well. Over the years, and within many provinces, I have worked in both small and large mainstream licensed daycares, ran my own day home with the main focus being directed towards exceptionalities and within the school system as an Educational Assistant. I have the knowledge and experience in creating programs and daily curriculum while keeping in mind the individual needs of students who attend; as well as, the flexibility to accommodate and adapt when need be. I believe with maximum understanding, growth and heart will follow.
My name is Cheryl Plaschka and I began working with Rowan’s Room in April of 2017.
I was born and raised in Ontario but moved to Nova Scotia in 2003 to attend Acadia University. I met my now husband, Rick, when we were in high school; we both moved and attended Acadia together. After graduating, we got married and decided to make the Annapolis Valley our home. We have now been married 10 years and have 2 amazing children.
While at Acadia, I majored in Sociology, and minored in Psychology and English. I began working in a small community option home shortly after graduating. Throughout my 10 years in this role, I had numerous educational opportunities, both formal and practical, including Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Positive Behaviour Supports, and American Sign Language levels 1&2. I have enjoyed working with and providing support for people of varying ages and abilities and am continuously seeking ways to expand my skill set in order to be able to better help others.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people and am so excited to continue to learn and grow alongside everyone at Rowan’s Room.
My name is Katriona Atkinson (Ms. A) and I have happily joined the Rowan’s Room Team as of January 2019 as the head teacher! I grew up on the south shore of Nova Scotia on Cape Sable Island and graduated from BMHS. I then went on to take a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at StFX University in Antigonish, working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor during most of my summers. I then realized I wanted to work with children and set my sights on a Bachelor of Education degree at Acadia University! After working as a Physical Rehabilitation Assistant at Hinchinbrook Farm during the summer of 2016, I fell in love with working with children with all sorts of exceptionalities and the incredible environment Patty McGill and her team had created for the children. I continued through my school years volunteering at L’Arche and eventually finished with my BEd in Elementary Education. I am also currently acting as a substitute teacher with the AVRCE so keep your eye out for me! I’m a believer in creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere, having children find their passions and work to their full potential. I prefer to teach using more hands-on methods using manipulatives and getting students to get truly involved and excited about their work. I like to be flexible with my teaching methods so that students are able to learn in a way that works best for them. My favourite things include being outdoors, animals (especially dogs), painting, John Mayer, camping, and pizza (or anything involving cheese). I look forward to working and learning with everyone at Rowan’s Room!
Chelsea Turner, B.Ed
Hello, My name is Chelsea Turner and I have the pleasure of being the Teacher/Educational Consultant for Rowan’s Room. I am a recent elementary teacher graduate from Acadia University and have taught all ages, most recently a Primary/Grade 1 split class. During my years at Acadia, I had the pleasure of spending my Friday nights as a S.M.I.L.E. leader. After graduating from Acadia, I spent my summer working for Autism Nova Scotia, as a Camp Spectrum Counsellor. I was exposed to the world of autism, and knew I had to be apart of it. It was one of the hardest summers I had ever experienced, as it is a mentally and physically demanding field. However it was incredibly rewarding as it allowed me to get to know some amazing little and big people, while giving them the best week of their summer.
I always knew my passion was working with children, but soon realized that it was really working with children with many abilities. As I continue to develop as a teacher, it is my goal and responsibility to create opportunities for children to learn and grow, regardless of any barrier they face. Creating an inclusive atmosphere where students are safe, happy and able to express themselves in many ways, is my pedagogy. After a few years of teaching, I plan to pursue an M.Ed. specializing in special education/resource.
Little milestones, are big milestones. Let’s learn and grow together!
Rachel Platt, BCBA, M.ADS
Behaviour Analyst Clinical Director
Rachel Platt is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst with a Masters in Applied Disability Studies specializing in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). She discovered her passion for working with individuals with disabilities at Camp Rotary in New Brunswick which catapulted her into a career devoted to maintaining and/or discovering the true potential of all her clients. Working in Montreal as an ABA therapist Rachel had the privilege of working directly with clients and their families in both the home and centre environment. Upon returning to Nova Scotia she started her own business providing private ABA services to those needing additional supports in the home, preschool and school environment. Rachel is very excited to join the team at Rowan’s Room and to work with like minded professionals who understand the importance of an individualized approach that focuses on strengths and teaching new skills to help students overcome any challenge they may face. Rachel believes strongly in advocating for change when necessary and embracing the differences that makes us all unique individuals. She believes in a multidisciplinary approach and looks forward to meeting each of you and discovering how she can help.
My name is Brittany Karsten and I gratefully joined the Rowan’s Room team in September, 2018. I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, in a small fishing community, called East Jeddore. I am a lover of everything outdoors, as I was blessed to grow up in a family of fisherman, and enjoy working with my father whenever I get the chance. Before Rowan’s Room, I attended Saint Mary’s University in Halifax where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology which developed into a further interest of child behaviour. After graduating, I wanted to further my education in this field, and therefore attended the Nova Scotia Community College in Middleton, enrolled in the Behavioural Interventions program. Upon graduating, I had the privilege of working for a Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst within her private school for children with exceptionalities. Following this experience, I worked as a Behavioural Interventionist at a private school in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia for three years, where I was fortunate to meet so many amazing children and their families, and work with them to develop positive strategies to help navigate through sometimes challenging environments. Looking for a change and moving forward in life, I had been interested in moving toward the Annapolis Valley/Digby area for a while and been seeking out new opportunities, when a friend recommended Rowan’s Room to me. I was immediately drawn to Liz’s approach and eager to come aboard, when Liz offered me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team and family! Every child that attends Rowan’s Room is unique, and I love coming in every day and learning something new about each of them. I look forward to growing in experience and knowledge along with all of the children and staff here at Rowan’s Room!
Hi, I am Krystal Corkum and I am a soon-to-be Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. I completed a Master’s of Arts degree in Special Education that specialized in Applied Behaviour Analysis through West Virginia University. I have gained practical experience in Nova Scotia through a non-profit organization for individuals who have autism spectrum disorder and have worked within the school setting with students who have various disabilities.
I found my passion to help individuals in need after I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in St.John’s, NL, by working in a home of a 3 year old girl diagnosed with autism. I loved getting to know her spunky personality and sharing various experiences with her, including the happy times and the challenging times. Through these experiences we were able to build a strong, trusting relationship and I just knew that I wanted to help her and her family overcome their challenges and barriers. Creating strategies based on her unique individualized needs and utilizing her strengths was key to developing and strengthening her skill sets.
When I moved back home to Nova Scotia, I continued to work with individuals who need support from ages 4 to 30 years old. I have worked in group settings, school settings and one-on-one support. Together, with the individuals and their caregivers, we find their strengths and develop a plan to teach them the skills that meet their own unique needs which leads to their independence and success.
Now, I am thrilled to be a part of the Rowan’s Room team and look forward to helping individuals achieve success!
Hi! My name is Jessica Atkinson and I joined Rowan’s Room as a Teacher in March of 2019. I am currently living in South Alton with my husband and two beautiful children. I grew up on the South Shore in the small town of Barrington. I moved to the Valley and attended Acadia University from 2006-2012 where I completed a Bachelor of Science (in Psychology & Biology) as well as a Bachelor of Education with a focus on the Elementary level.
During my time at Acadia I volunteered with the SMILE program where I met some of the most wonderful, interesting, and kind children. It was then that I knew I would love working with children of all different abilities in an educational setting. I hope to one day further my experience and education and pursue a Masters degree in Inclusive Education.
It is my belief that every child is unique as a person and a learner. It is my job to provide a safe and fun environment where I can help them reach their full potential. Rowan’s Room is allowing me to work one on one with children to determine the best way for them to learn and grow, both as a student and as a person.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at the Coldbrook location and am so excited to be part of such an amazing team!
Well Hello There,
I am Lacey Bain, BA (hons), CNP (hons), the crazy kook behind what I’d like to think crazy-awesome-madness, but that is for you to decide! I am a Nova Scotia based Certified Nutritional Practitioner, private chef, recipe builder, gut-brain connection specialist, a business owner who believes in simple whole food, fresh, natural, real food eating and cooking. I would consider myself a one in 7.6 billion magical introverted ambivert who genuinely cares about everyone around me.
I grew up beside my beautiful sister on my parents’ 100-acre farm here in Nova Scotia. My family and the farm has taught me so many life lessons, I honestly do not even know where to start. After I left the farm, *ultimate sadness*. I graduated from St. Thomas University, in 20012, with a double major in Psychology and Criminology as well a double minor in Sociology and English allowing me to better understand various concepts of the human interaction, growth, body, brain, health and illness, and understanding the importance of our gut-brain, mind and body connection. AND yet I was still not satisfied and since I am the ultimate geek , I went back to school to connect all the dots, if you will, graduating from the Institution of Holistic Nutrition, Toronto Ontario, in 2016 specializing in the Gut-Brain connection, Mental Health, Detox, Weight Management, and providing real food for everyone.
Alongside running Teageek’ery Teas and Holistic Wellness, I focus on a multi-faceted company where I work one-on-one coaching, meal planning, exercise routines, self-care workshops & hands on cooking classes for families to learn, love & bond, connecting humans with nature. As well as, now, gratefully working alongside an amazing team at Rowan’s Room to help bring more natural nutrition-awesomeness into your lives!
A few things I love and cherish include my family (of course, my #1’s), my four legged canine baby Reece, quotes, nature, food, adventures & travelling, beaches, snow, learning, dirt, my quiet-time, eyes, smiles, gardening, plants, herbs, tea, dogs (well, animals of every kind), cartoons, music, movies, supporting local talent anytime I can, listening, health, & people
We are all unique and individualized, don’t we deserve to be treated that way?! Let’s get you started on your health journey today.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” -Dr. Seuss
Yours in good health,
helping you heal through the power of plants
Hi! My name is Mandy Park and I started working at Rowan’s Room in April of 2018. While I took some time to raise my two children before coming to work both at Rowan’s Room and as an educational assistant with AVRCE in 2018, my background is a Bachelor’s in Child and Youth Studies at MSVU in Halifax. I enjoyed the program thoroughly, and followed up by working with the IWK Health Centre as a residential counsellor in a small options home for children with a variety of special needs. My experiences there really shaped my interest in working with this population, and although I found myself moving frequently over the next few years, I always had interest in coming back to this for a career. Settling down in Kingston, Nova Scotia with my family, I now have the wonderful opportunity to be at Rowan’s Room and explore working with an incredible population of children and youth who attend. In my free time I enjoy volunteering on the Board of Directors at the the Military Family Resource Centre as the Vice Chair, and continuing to spend time with my family at home.
Faith Cronin Behavioural Tutor
Hello, my name is Faith Cronin and I joined the Rowan’s Room team first as a student doing a work practicum and eventually as staff as of June 2018. I was born in Middleton and grew up outside of the small town of Annapolis Royal. Growing up with several members of my family having significant mental health issues and as of recently some late onset physically disabilities, I grew up watching my parents support my family members. I was one of the oldest children in my neighbourhood and at the age of ten I began babysitting for many of the families who lived around me. I quickly came to the realization, not only that I loved being around children, but I was actually good at it. As I got older and had to begin thinking of what career I should go into; after a lot of thought I decided that I wanted to be apart of a career and community that worked directly with clients and helped advocate for change. I know now I that I went into the right career for me, as I love meeting and working with incredible children and their families. Through my two year Disability Supports and Services program at NSCC, I have had opportunity to gain my Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Mandt training, as well as a semester learning basic Sign Language. By the end of my second and final year at NSCC (June 2019), I will have obtained Mental Health first aid, Fire and Life Safety, and ASSIST Training (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). While I am just starting my career in Human Services, I know that this is something I love to do and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to work with truly exceptional people.
Behavioural Support Kindermusik Instructor
Mindy was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario with her parents and two sisters. As a child, Mindy fell in love with music while taking violin lessons. One of her fondest memories is playing alongside her great grandfather.
After 20 years in the Navy and 5 children, Mindy decided to focus her time on her family and reinvest in her musical ambitions. All her children have been through various Kindermusik classes and love how it has brought a love of music out of them.
Mindy’s Kindermusik classes will allow parents and children to explore in an imaginative and fun musical way. Kindermusik will give your children the tools they need for a lifelong love of music and learning.
Hi, my name is James Trider and I have been working casually with Rowan’s Room since 2017 and more frequently since August of 2018.
I was born and raised in a small town in Manitoba. Growing up, I played football for 6 years and eventually got the opportunity to represent my province at the Canada Cup in 2013. This ended up with me getting recruited to play football at Acadia University for the Axemen. At Acadia, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Kinesiology program where I was able to broaden my knowledge of the human body and how it moves as well as work very closely with Dr. Roxanne Seaman in classes such as children with special needs and adapted physical activity. I also got involved in the S.M.I.L.E (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience) program and discovered that I had a real passion for working with children and adults with disabilities. This passion led me away from playing football and into a larger role with the S.M.I.L.E program where I am currently the adapted physical activity coordinator and am currently in my 6th year with the program. Through the S.M.I.L.E program, I found connections with the Annapolis Valley Chapter of Autism Nova Scotia where I worked at the summer camps for 3 summers, 2 as a counselor working one on one and 1 summer as the camp coordinator.
I love what I do and feel very fortunate that I am able to pursue my passion in a meaningful way each and every day!