Hi there! My name is Allie (she/her) and my story has never been a simple one to tell. I’ve had the immense privilege of growing up as a Third Culture Kid; that means I spent a significant part of my developmental years being raised in cultures different from that of my parents or the country listed on my passport. I was born in Connecticut, USA and at the age of 6 moved to Frankfurt, Germany. 3 years later I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, and 4 years after that I moved to Ontario. I’ve been living in Canada for over a decade now and recently gained citizenship! I’m a proud resident of Hamilton and recently graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Behaviour. I took a course focus of both mental health and development respectively [for more information, visit the Qualifications page]. I’ve been supporting families and their children for over 7 years – you can read more about this journey below! When I’m not doing this work I’m usually doing one of the following: watching comedy specials, listening to true crime podcasts, finding creative outlets, taking pictures of my cats being cute, or supporting local businesses & artists.
My Personal Philosophy
When it comes to this work, apart from a passion for the topics, I’ve been able to see on a very small scale what my support could do for families – just by being present in their lives. The reality for many parents is that there’s a major gap in services. While it’s incredibly common and even expected that many parents attend a ‘birthing class’, parenting classes are something rarely discussed. While it may seem like parenting should ‘come naturally’, many aspects of supporting your child’s development and wellbeing can be confusing or complex. Paediatricians are most parent’s main point of contact in this domain, but they are doctors — and while very knowledgeable they do not fill all the areas of support often needed. Areas such as compassionate support, freedom without guilt, trust built in an equal relationship, working to improve parent’s sense of self-efficacy, or suggestions based on an understanding of the family’s values and needs.
Research has shown the incredible importance of the first 3 years of life, and their lifelong impact, yet this gap exists.
My work aims to affect lasting change; to shape healthy and happy parents, infants, and family dynamics. I can be a source of freedom and hope for parents, while helping their children build early, predictable, and trusting relationships with non-kin. A substantial amount of research and practical application goes into every interaction I have with your child and any advice or recommendations I may provide. My role is not to tell you how to parent or which way is “the right way” — because the truth is, there isn’t one way. My role is to work with you to determine how my knowledge and experience can support your family and its unique needs.
My love of babies and kids has always been a big part of me, so much so that one of my first ‘dream careers’ as a kid was to be a midwife! While this dream evolved, I began working as a nanny in high school and instantly fell in love. It was this same time that I got to explore one of my other interests for the first time, which was psychology. These passions grew together as I pursued an undergraduate degree in the Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour department at McMaster and continued taking on childcare clients and completed Kindermusik(TM) training in 2014. In this role, I taught caregiver-child music classes for ages 6 months to 3 years, including classes facilitated by the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton. As Kindermusik(TM) states on their website, their research-based curricula aims to empower young children to learn through music. While this role was short due to closure of the hosting studio, the experience was incredibly valuable in understanding the link between development and engagement!
As I continued with my degree, I had the opportunity to be part of the first graduating class of the BASc Human Behaviour program, which was the perfect mixture of research and application to set the foundation for my continued learning. I was naturally drawn to courses such as ‘Child Development’, ‘Socio-emotional Development’, and ’Child Language Acquisition’ [for more information visit the Qualifications page]. My passions began to intersect in a way that inspired me to continue working with children, and I began to notice how parents were responding to my educational background. Parents of children with speech and motor delay, who are highly sensitive, or who are struggling with separation anxiety, began to seek out my services in ways directly related to those issues. Being able to use my academic knowledge to practically engage with and support children also strengthened my connection to the families I worked for and helped me see the reality for many parents.
Toward the end of my degree in 2018, I began working for a company which provides one-on-one therapy services (ABA/IBI) to children with Autism. I engaged in behavioural therapy with 5 clients at varying points on the spectrum and learned many practical and effective methods of tailoring learning to an individual’s needs. I ultimately left this position after a year to pursue my own business services and focus on my studies.
In 2019, I graduated from McMaster with my bachelors degree and began my graduate studies at Seneca College. In May 2020, I completed my graduate certificate in Infant and Early Child Mental Health, including a supervised placement, and proudly hold membership with Sick Kid’s Infant Mental Health Promotion (imhpromotion.ca). As of June 2020, I will also have training in perinatal mental health support.