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.
Natalie was first exposed to working with children through her employment as a Summer Camp Leader. She loved the challenge of modifying activities so that kids of all ages and abilities could participate and have fun! Growing up, Natalie was a competitive cheerleader for eight years. Through sport she quickly found her passion in human anatomy. Together these early experiences lead her on the path to where she is today.
Natalie graduated from Queen’s University with her Masters of Science in Physiotherapy. Prior to this, she attended McMaster University and completed her Honors Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Natalie has worked in a variety of paediatric settings including Children’s Treatment Centers, private practice and hospital settings. She also has experience with orthopaedic and acute care populations of all ages. Natalie has a keen interest in global health initiatives and has worked abroad in Ukraine and Belize treating children with neurodevelopmental conditions.
Natalie has completed additional certifications in Cuevas MEDEK Exercises (CME I and CME II), Intermediate Neurodevelopment Treatment (NDT), Concussion Management, Vestibular Rehabilitation, Sport First Responder, Advanced Manual Therapy Level 1 and Kinesiotaping.
Natalie uses a hands-on approach to physiotherapy. She tailors treatment sessions to match each child’s interests and personality to create the best environment for growth and rehabilitation. Natalie implements innovative and creative play-based techniques to inspire children to participate in therapeutic activities and to achieve their functional goals. Natalie is passionate about treating children with neurodevelopmental challenges and athletes suffering from a concussion.
In her spare time, Natalie enjoys yoga, skiing, cooking and travelling.
Jacqueline is originally from Ottawa, ON. Growing up she played many different sports and as a result had several different injuries. Every time she got hurt her Physiotherapist would get her back into shape and back on the field. Throughout Jacqueline’s Kinesiology and Physiotherapy degrees she sought out every opportunity to work with kids and athletes. Today she is the one who gets to help kids get back to their sports and other play and movement adventures.
Jacqueline’s keen interest in orthopedics and motor development have lead her to take courses in Orthopedic Manual and Manipulative Therapy (Level 1 and Level 2) as well as her Medical First Responders certification. In 2018 she plans on continuing her manual therapy courses, and on-field medical coverage in the Toronto and Niagara region. When Jacqueline is not at work she enjoys learning new sports like golf and curling, playing her favourite sports like soccer and beach volley-ball, trips to her cottage and exploring local shops and restaurants!
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.
Mallory first learned about the field of Occupational Therapy when she was studying Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa, Ontario. Mallory was thrilled to learn from two private practices paediatric Occupational Therapists at the time who introduced her to this incredible profession that combined her interest in pursuing a career in medicine and her love for teaching.
When Mallory started the Master’s program at the University of Toronto she had no idea how incredibly diverse the field of occupational therapy was. The fundamental values of the profession, finding meaning and purpose through occupations, allows for incredible creativity and unique approaches that have the power to significantly impact a child’s life; not only their growth and development, but their identity and sense of belonging to their world.
Mallory’s own childhood was filled with positive experiences that shaped who she is today. Mallory grew up dancing competitively at a local studio, spending many hours practicing, rehearsing and performing on stages across Canada. Mallory knew that dance would always be a part of her life. She is lucky to have found a way to share the most significant occupation of her childhood with others through the creation of a dance business with her sister. Mallory, who started the Dance Ability Movement as an Occupational Therapist student, has had the opportunity to learn from families and children with a variety of differences, and apply her occupational therapy skills and knowledge in dance studio settings. The Dance Ability Movement supports inclusive dance opportunities for dancers of all abilities.
As a clinician, Mallory values working holistically and using a team and family approach to solve problems. Mallory began her occupational therapy career as a school health therapist, and in community private practice working closely with school-aged children to achieve improved participation and success in their school and home environments. Mallory has had the opportunity to learn more about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and writing aids through a contract with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation, however realized that her passion for therapy truly lies in the flexibility of private practice and the opportunities it presents for developing therapeutic relationships with a diverse range of clients and their families.
Families are the foundation for their child’s growth and development and working at Butterfly presents a unique opportunity to partner with families to achieve meaningful outcomes. Mallory’s goal is to enable children and their families to experience belonging, a sense of purpose, confidence, and success that is meaningful to them, in their homes, schools, and communities.
Leslie received her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of Western Ontario after completing her undergraduate degree in Disabilities Studies. Leslie has had years of experience working with children and their families to help enable and develop their skills in self-care, productivity and leisure. Leslie first began her career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant/Physiotherapy Assistant working with children in a pre-school setting, it was there that she realized her passion to work with children and set out on her journey to develop and hone her assessment and treatment skills as an Occupational Therapist. She is passionate about creating a safe place for children and their families to find the support they need to help enable and empower them to participate to their fullest potential in what they find meaningful.
Leslie has formal training as a Yoga and Pilates Instructor, and is part of the faculty for teacher training programs in Toronto. Leslie has blended her passion in working with children with her passion for Yoga and is certified to teach Yoga to children of all abilities. She has created and taught unique Yoga programs to help children gain important skills in areas of body awareness, self-regulation and play.
Leslie also has a keen interest in child and infant mental health and has developed programs for teachers, therapists and families to support mental health.
In her spare time, Leslie enjoys spending time exploring new restaurants with friends and family. She just recently signed up to foster rescue dogs and is looking forward to spending time outdoors with her new four-legged friends.
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.
Jenna is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist and holistic health advocate passionate about social justice, mindfulness, and being a catalyst for change. A published researcher, Jenna graduated with her Master of Health Sciences degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, and previously earned her Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at the University of Western Ontario. Jenna’s diverse experience encompasses various opportunities with children, adults, and families across a spectrum of ages, diagnoses, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and complexity. Jenna has experience providing assessment, consultation, and treatment in the areas of stuttering, voice disorders, articulation and motor speech disorders, language impairments, and auditory-verbal therapy for children with hearing loss and cochlear implants.
She has unique experience in directing programs for preschool and school age children, and young adults with a focus on literacy and social communication skill development. Jenna is well-trained to support children with developmental delays and disorders, including ASD. She is also trained in Pictured Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), and certified in the Hanen It Takes Two to Talk ® program, which focuses on supporting families in early language intervention.
Jenna is also the founder of Mind Your Mind, a multifaceted wellness project, affiliated with UofT. Mind Your Mind strives to bridge education, self-care, and personal development in a safe environment by fostering mindfulness, balance, and wellness. Through this initiative, Jenna’s vision is to create an atmosphere that promotes mental health and wellness for health care students and support the resiliency of future clinicians, so they can best serve their clients and families.
As an advocate for communication health, Jenna hopes to bridge two issues that are of the utmost importance to her: inter-professional collaboration and compassion in the realm of service delivery. She is passionate about helping children harness their communication power and spread their wings!
Mary is Butterfly’s Office Administrator. She 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.
Kalea has been a client at Butterfly for over 9 years and is now a part-time administrative assistant. She is currently a student in high school, but in the future she hopes to get an undergraduate degree in psychology and become either a human rights lawyer or child psychologist. Throughout her time at Butterfly Kalea has gained so much independence and confidence and attributes much of her personal success to the incredible support that Butterfly has given her.
Kalea believes that Butterfly should be as much of a positive space for every client as it has always been for her. Her favourite part of being at Butterfly is being able to witness so many children reach their goals and experience their personal growth. Her goal while working at Butterfly is that, from the moment a client walks through the door everyone feels like they are apart of the Butterfly family.