Michelle Hand and Keiri Porter, the owners of Butterfly Paediatric Therapy Inc., are Physiotherapists with a combined 35+ years experience in paediatrics, working in the community, at Children’s Treatment Centres, and in private practice.
While their focus and education have gone in slightly different directions, their treatment philosophies, passions and goals are similar. Butterfly’s vision is to be the #1 paediatric therapy service provider in the GTA, providing families with specialized care for their children.
Whether your child has special needs, an orthopaedic injury, sensory processing difficulties, fine motor delays and handwriting difficulties, feeding issues, challenges with school performance or a communication disorder, Butterfly’s therapists will work one-on-one with your child to enhance performance, increase independence and decrease frustrations.
Butterfly’s goal is to increase access to care, provide a convenient location for families and offer multidisciplinary services in one central location. Butterfly is an environment designed specifically for children to be fun and motivating while also being therapeutic.
Michelle’s interest in working with children started at a young age. Her first job was as a downhill Ski Instructor and she coached ski racing for children ages 6-12 for 11 years. Michelle’s interest in the body and physical fitness lead her to an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and then naturally to a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy. It was always Michelle’s goal to open her own clinic.
Working with children with special needs became a passion for Michelle when she was in school for Physiotherapy and inspired her to start her career at ErinoakKids Children’s Treatment Centre. Michelle’s skills as a therapist include Cuevas Medek Exercises (CME Level 3), Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), functional strength and exercise, Kinesiotaping and gait training. Michelle believes in a hands-on treatment approach, and sees the potential in every child she works with, challenging them to be the best that they can be!
Opening Butterfly Paediatric Therapy with Keiri Porter was the most challenging and exciting thing Michelle has ever accomplished. Working with children of all abilities, in an environment that is created for them to thrive, is what gets Michelle out of bed every day. As a business owner and mentor, Michelle is looking forward to sharing her experiences and knowledge with the wonderful staff around her at Butterfly in hopes of growing the business and helping more children spread their wings!
When Keiri was first interested in being a Physiotherapist she was passionate about anatomy, and loved teaching. With increased experience and a few opportunities to see children, Keiri realized how inspiring and empowering it was to use play as a tool to make therapy fun and result in functional change.
As her education and career progressed, she was consistently drawn in by making meaningful physical change and creating connections with children and their families.
Keiri enjoys treating using a very hands-on approach – sometimes trying things that might fail, and being pleasantly surprised with the response. She likes to challenge the kids and then give the families ideas and tools to be involved and push their kids without it seeming like therapy. Keiri is amazed by the children that she treats every day!
The decision to start Butterfly with Michelle Hand was a work in progress over a few years, one that comes with no regrets. Having the business actually allows Keiri to treat kids on a regular basis, to make change, to impact families, to work alongside an amazing friend and therapists everyday, and now – going back to her original passion – to teach and mentor others.
Over her career she has found that what works best for her is an eclectic approach. Having different options and therapy approaches depending on the needs or sometimes even the moods of the child provides for more meaningful change. Keiri has taken her 8 week Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), has here level 3 Cuevas Medek Exercise (CME) Paediatric Kinesiotaping, Functional Strength Training, Pilates for Neurological Impairments, Body Weight support Treadmill Training and draws on these to create fun and functional treatment sessions.
Nikhita is a bubbly and outgoing therapist who strives to create an engaging therapy experience that makes kids excited to come to physio!
She graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. During her time at Western, she discovered her passion for strength training and the complexities of human movement. Her aspirations to work with children and infants along with her interest in physical development led her to discover the role of a physiotherapist in the paediatric population. She recently graduated with her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Toronto.
Her eagerness to work with children motivated Nikhita to gain clinical experience in paediatrics throughout her degree. During her clinical internship at Sick Kids, she witnessed the importance of early physiotherapy intervention on the development of infants and children. Nikhita gained practical skills in assessing developmental milestones, implementing creative treatment sessions, and treating children with a variety of common conditions such as: torticollis, plagiocephaly, developmental delay, and cerebral palsy. She is excited to continue building her knowledge as a paediatric physiotherapist and plans to complete her certification in Neurodevelopmental Therapy (NDT) this year.
Nikhita has a passion for strength training, so she loves to find creative and fun ways to incorporate weight lifting in her treatment sessions. When she is not at the gym, Nikhita can be found in the kitchen cooking new recipes, or continuing her hunt for the most unique and tasty restaurants in Toronto. She loves to read, so come in with a good book recommendation during your next appointment!
Sandy initially chose Physiotherapy as a career as she was interested in Sports Science and movement of the human body. During her training she was exposed to working with babies and children in a variety of different settings. It was very rewarding and Sandy quickly found that her interest and passion was being directed towards paediatrics with a special interest in paediatric neurology.
In order to pursue her career in paediatrics and to have a well-rounded approach, Sandy’s continuing education includes being trained in Neurodevelopmental Therapy (NDT), Cuevas Medek Exercises (CME) Level I and II, kinesiotaping, core stability and infant mental health.
There has been a strong drive to increase the early detection of cerebral palsy in infants by using the General Movements Assessment. Sandy is interested in this assessment and would like to be certified in this assessment over the next year.
In her spare time Sandy enjoys cycling, running, ice hockey, skating and hiking.
Kasha Pyka is an enthusiastic Physiotherapist with a passion for pediatric rehabilitation! She graduated from Queen’s University with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy, in addition to completing a research Masters in Rehabilitation Science.
Kasha has numerous years of experience working with children, both in clinical and camp settings. As a Camp Counsellor for over 10 years, she has worked with a vast group of young athletes and dancers creating educational and recreational activities for them. In addition to this, she also had the opportunity to help integrate children and youth with disabilities into camp activities through the Reach for the Rainbow Program. Outside of these experiences, Kasha has gained valuable knowledge through her clinical internships – where she was exposed to seating and neonatal follow-up clinics, as well as treated children with: torticollis, plagiocephaly, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and down syndrome. Alongside her placements, Kasha also has experience treating individuals with stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury in acute care and community-based settings.
To compliment her skills, Kasha has completed additional certifications in: Concussion Management, Vestibular Dysfunction Management, Manual Therapy Level 1, and Pediatric Functional Strength Training. She is also able to communicate with clients in Polish!
Outside of work, Kasha is an avid runner. She specifically enjoys running in the yearly Sporting Life 10K which helps support Camp Ooch. Kasha also enjoys travelling all over Toronto looking for the best tacos around, so make sure to give her your recommendations when you come in for your Physiotherapy appointment!
In Grade 10 Lisa was asked by her Civics and Careers teacher to create a “ten-year plan” including her future goals, academic pathway and career aspirations. Having grown up playing competitive hockey for many years, Lisa became fascinated by the human body’s ability to move, adapt and repair. When thinking about her future, it was obvious to Lisa that pursuing her interest in the human body was at the forefront of her ten-year plan. As a result, Lisa completed her Honours Bachelor of Science Kinesiology degree at McMaster University while also obtaining a minor in Psychology. During this time Lisa volunteered countless hours in multiple physiotherapy clinics, helping individuals recover from various workplace, sporting or recreational injuries. She developed a passion for helping others optimize their mobility, function and overall quality of life. This passion is what led Lisa to further her education at McMaster University and complete her Master’s of Physiotherapy degree, with additional courses taken in Musculoskeletal Soft Tissue Release and External Pelvic/Core Health.
Lisa’s interest in pediatrics stems from her experiences both as a Summer Camp Counsellor and as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist where she has worked with youth athletes of various ages and skill levels to help improve their performance in sport and in day to day life. This interest led Lisa to pursue a clinical placement in pediatric physiotherapy with a focus on the assessment and treatment of children with neurological conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Delay. During this placement, Lisa realized that the knowledge and skills gained as a camp counsellor and through training athletes was transferable to the pediatric physiotherapy environment, often putting an innovative and creative spin on exercise to make treatment sessions fun, engaging and effective.
In her spare time, Lisa enjoys staying active through strength training, spending time outdoors hiking or bike riding, watching movies and attending country music concerts in the summer time!
Sheryl graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with an emphasis on Child Development. Over the last 20 years, Sheryl has worked exclusively in paediatrics, with children from newborn to 19 years of age, with a wide range of diagnoses, disabilities, learning differences and special needs. Sheryl has experience working with children in their homes, in elementary and high schools, in child-care centres, and in large children’s treatment centre settings.
Continuing education is a priority for Sheryl who strives to stay current with occupational therapy treatment approaches. Sheryl has completed many movement based courses such as the Introductory Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) course, Baby Steps Ambulation, Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) workshop, and Beyond Weight-bearing Upper Extremity Workshop. In the area of written productivity, she has expertise in the Handwriting Without Tears technique, Print Tool, and works on fine motor and visual motor integration, printing, cursive writing and typing skills on a daily basis. Sheryl has developed and facilitated summer printing and fine motor groups at Butterfly for the past three years. Recent feeding courses include the SOS Approach to Feeding, the Get Permission Approach to Sensory Mealtime Challenges, A Comprehensive Approach to Feeding Challenges, and Feed Me? – Decision Making approach to Feeding and Swallowing. Sensory processing and self-regulation workshops recently attended by Sheryl include Triggers, Treatment and Tools – A Comprehensive Approach to Self-Regulation, DIR/Floortime® – A Model for Nurturing Communication, Cognition and Connection, and many more.
Sheryl is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and their caregivers. Her positive, family-centred, holistic approach to assessment and treatment empowers families, and enables children to be the best they can be. Her creative play-based techniques and playful sense of humour, quickly win over the trust of children, allowing them to be fully engaged in therapeutic activities, enabling them to achieve their functional goals.
Sheryl enjoys biking, dragon-boating, travelling the world with family and friends, and volunteering as the VP of a local high performance youth jazz band in her free time. She hopes to enroll her dog in the St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog program in 2018 as she believes that animals can bring joy and comfort and improved social engagement to many clients at Butterfly.
Taylor received her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of Toronto after completing her undergraduate degree in Biology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Taylor took a year off and completed training in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for children with Autism. She then worked as an Instructor Therapist for one year until she was accepted into the occupational therapy program at UofT. Working as an Instructor Therapist, Taylor realized that her passion was to work with children and their families.
During her Masters, Taylor had the opportunity to have a clinical placement at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation in the Communication and Writing Aids program, as well as in the Neuromuscular Clinic, where she developed her assessment and treatment skills as a student occupational therapist. Taylor also had the opportunity to learn about the role of an occupational therapist during an international clinical placement in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She worked at a school for children with special needs, where she was able to become the most creative during treatment sessions with her kiddos.
In her spare time, Taylor enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, travelling, reading and running. Within the past two years, Taylor has participated in marathons to support mental health awareness, which is another meaningful passion of hers. Taylor’s goal at Butterfly is to enable children to live to their full potential and to have equal opportunities and experiences that are meaningful to them.
Stephanie received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Western University. She has experience working with preschool and school age children in the areas of language delay, articulation, motor speech, pragmatics (social skills), fluency (stuttering), developmental and cognitive delays, and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). Stephanie is certified in PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets), a multidimensional approach to speech production disorders. She is also certified in Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk®, a family-focused early language intervention. Stephanie has had additional training through the University of Alberta for working with children whose first language is not English. She can provide services in both English and French.
Stephanie is passionate about working with children of all ages! She believes in the importance of including families in the therapy process while ensuring therapy is fun and motivating! Stephanie is a big advocate of early intervention and evidence-based practice. She enjoys the reward of helping children realize their communication potential.
Elli Vamvakitis is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist with a strong passion for improving communication abilities in children of all ages. She has extensive experience working with preschool and school age children in the areas of articulation, fluency, voice, auditory processing, expressive language, receptive language, social skills and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She advocates for a partnership with communication partners in her clients’ environments to provide individualized speech and language service plans. Elli has training in It Takes Two to Talk, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP), and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). At Butterfly Paediatric Therapy, Elli provides speech and language assessments and treatment to facilitate her clients’ communication development and future academic and social success.
Mikyla is an enthusiastic Speech-Language Pathologist with a demonstrated history of working in the health care industry. She is passionate about delivering quality care through communication expertise that is evidence-informed, compassionate, holistic, and fun! These principles guide her practice to empower children to thrive.
Mikyla has diverse experience working with children, adults, and seniors in a variety of disorder areas. She is trained to support children with stuttering through the Lidcombe Program. Mikyla received her Master’s of Health Science degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds national clinical certification credentials from Speech-Language and Audiology Canada.
In her spare time, Mikyla enjoys traveling and exploring outdoors. Whether it’s reading by the water, perusing boutiques in a cobblestoned village, or taking the trail less travelled, she’s always ready for an adventure!
Jessica received her Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Western University. She has had many opportunities throughout her studies to work with children of all ages with a variety of communication difficulties including: speech sound disorders (articulation), language delays, fluency disorders (stuttering), and motor speech disorders including Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Jessica is certified in Hanen’s It Takes Two To Talk® and believes whole-heartedly in family-centred care.
Jessica loves the outdoors and has spent 15 summers both attending as a camper, and working as a counselor and director at a summer camp up north. Her love of working with children was inspired at camp and has continued to grow on her journey to become a Speech Language Pathologist. She is passionate about helping children find their way to successful communication and so excited to start at Butterfly!
Lori joins our team as an enthusiastic and dedicated Speech-Language Pathologist. After graduating from St. Thomas University in New Brunswick with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, she pursued her Masters of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Western University.
Lori is passionate about ensuring children have the absolute best start in life by giving them the tools needed to improve their communication. She enjoys working with children and their families on a variety of skills including use of language, understanding of language, stuttering, speech sound production and early reading skills. She also has experience working with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Lori is trained in the Hanen’s It Takes Two to Talk®. A lover of the arts, Lori works hard to create therapy sessions and activities that are individualized and salient to the passions of the client.
In her spare time, Lori enjoys reading mysteries, doing puzzles and making crafty things. Born and raised in New Brunswick, Lori enjoys travelling home to spend time with her family, friends and cats.
Client Experience Manager
Mary was drawn to Butterfly for the genuine interest by all the therapists to not only help the children reach their full potential, but also for the support that the therapists provide to all members of these children’s families. Mary has previously worked in the private sector as a coordinator, providing patients with access to nurses and the services they provide.
Mary looks forward to not only working alongside the Therapists in order to have Butterfly run seamlessly, but also to support and be a resource for our current and future families in our environment and the community as a whole.
As a mother of three, Mary enjoys spending time with family, hiking, cooking and travelling in order to learn about new cultures and traditions.
Client Experience Coordinator
Kara comes to Butterfly with a background as a Physical Therapy Assistant. She has worked in home care and other various settings providing quality care to patients and families. Kara was initially introduced to Butterfly when her daughter started receiving therapy here. The positive and uplifting vibe of the clinic drew her in and she actively pursued an opening.
As a mother of two teenage girls, Kara enjoys her alone time! Kara also enjoys cooking, working with the elderly, spending time with family and friends and getting in some good exercise!