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About us

We are Dr. Kate­rina Dounavi and Silke Johnson

I’m Silke Johnson

Owner and CEO of the Melody Learning Center

I help children with autism learn new skills and discover the beau­tiful melody of life. I love my profes­sion. And I love to observe the posi­tive deve­lo­p­ment that children and their fami­lies make through my assi­s­tance. I am happy to support you with my exper­tise, my ability to iden­tify the func­tions of beha­vior and to find prac­tical alter­na­tives, and with my struc­tured but loving manner.

As an EFT Inter­na­tional accredited EFT Master Trainer and Certi­fied Clinical Trauma Profes­sional (CCTP) I support indi­vi­dual clients with my unique and indi­vi­dual HEMRY ® Coaching to get in touch with their younger selves, to dissolve trau­ma­ti­cally processed events and to be (again) in heart connec­tion with them­selves and others through a balance of body, mind and spirit.

Addi­tio­nally, I am offe­ring EFT Inter­na­tional accredited EFT work­shops and EFT mento­ring for (re-) certi­fi­ca­tions.

Please feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to your inte­rest.

The philosophy of my Melody Learning Center

Indi­vi­duals with autism and their fami­lies face major chal­lenges every day. Helping them find stabi­lity in ever­yday life and giving them tech­ni­ques to over­come crisis situa­tions and to build heart connec­tions means a lot to me. With my Melody Lear­ning Center, I offer a unique lear­ning envi­ron­ment for children with special needs.

My professional career

My profes­sional career began in 1994 as a nurse in a beha­vioral and beha­vioral therapy clinic.

And just four years later, I started my appren­ti­ce­ship in ABA (Applied Beha­vior Analysis) in Los Angeles. After a few years as ABA consul­tant in diffe­rent insti­tutes, I had the wonderful oppor­tu­nity to attend the work­shops of Dr. Vincent Carbone, BCBA‑D. This was an expe­ri­ence that streng­t­hened me in my atti­tude, approach and metho­do­logy to this day. And I knew after that time: Yes, that’s my mission. I would like to work with children with autism.

In 2004, I came back to Germany and devoted myself to a three-month inten­sive trai­ning period as an ABA consul­tant. And right after that, I worked as an ABA/VB consul­tant for the Knospe-ABA insti­tute under the direc­tion and super­vi­sion of Robert Schramm (MA, BCBA).

And at some point I had the courage to go into my own busi­ness with the Melody Lear­ning Center. Across Germany and in Switz­er­land, I look after fami­lies with children with autism. And I never get tired of conti­nuing to educate myself and deal more deeply with this exci­ting topic area.

I work as RBT (Regis­tered Beha­vior Tech­ni­cian) with the regis­tra­tion number RBT-15–04887,BACB (Board) under super­vi­sion of Dr. Kate­rina Dounavi, BCBA‑D.

If you would like to learn more about my profes­sional career and my many further trai­ning courses, you find more infor­ma­tion in my CV.

How to work with me

Usually, the first step is an initial consul­ta­tion with the parents at their home. There, I can get a good picture of the current situa­tion. This initial consul­ta­tion usually lasts three days. After getting to know the family and their child for the first time, in colla­bo­ra­tion with the family, I create an indi­vi­dual beha­vioral and lear­ning program for the child.

My main focus lays on estab­li­shing and streng­t­he­ning the connec­tion between parents (care­gi­vers) and child, as well as the connec­tion between child, siblings and peers. Through moti­va­tion and rein­for­ce­ment, I create a way to deal with ever­yday life’s chal­lenges with more ease and joy.

Depen­ding on the deve­lo­p­ment of language, the lear­ning program concen­trates at the begin­ning on the deve­lo­p­ment of language and commu­ni­ca­tion. I explain and demons­trate the princi­ples of ABA/VB to the parents and all other people involved (e.g. educa­tors, teachers, grand­par­ents, older siblings, etc.). There is plenty of time for ever­yone to prac­tice. This is very important and there is enough time avail­able.

Usually, in monthly follow-up sessions, which usually last one to two days, an assess­ment of the basic skills is made. On the basis of this assess­ment I create a detailed, indi­vi­dual lear­ning program. If necessary, I also design an indi­vi­dual beha­vior plan. This can be very helpful as an orien­ta­tion aid.

You are also very welcome to contact me between coun­se­ling sessions — I even recom­mend that you contact me weekly by phone or e‑mail. In the conver­sa­tion, possibly supported by videos and online consul­ta­tion, I can answer ques­tions that arise at the moment and discuss possible diffi­cul­ties.

Costs

Our coope­ra­tion and what you are giving me back to inter­hu­ma­nity for my support is, of course, actually priceless. Nevertheless, I, too, have to make a living and serve ongoing costs. That is why I would like to set the following fee for my indi­vi­du­ally tailored work:

The initial consul­ta­tion as well as the follow-up consul­ta­tions cost €450.00 plus the first consul­ta­tion per day. Vat.

The cost per 15 minutes of video, email or tele­phone consul­ta­tion is €11.50 plus. Vat.

For live skype consul­ta­tions, the cost is €16.00 plus. VAT per 15 Minutes.

Crea­ting exten­sions and tuto­rials by e‑mail, as well as writing reports, costs of €55.00 plus. VAT per hour. Reports are charged a time of 3 hours.

I go to the fami­lies who need my help and create an indi­vi­du­ally tailored lear­ning program that I adapt to the child’s ever-chan­ging needs.

My goal is to teach all people who are in close contact with the child. I will show you how the child’s envi­ron­ment can be changed by the use of ABA/VB’s scien­ti­fi­cally proven princi­ples so that the child is able to make decisions about their beha­vior and lear­ning skills.

The key to my approach is, firstly, to ignite the child’s moti­va­tion. And secondly, it’s about streng­t­he­ning the rela­ti­onship with the child. The use of the princi­ples of rein­for­ce­ment and moti­va­tion, as well as buil­ding new beha­vior, incre­ases the likeli­hood that desired beha­vior will occur more often in the future and reduce inap­pro­priate beha­vior.

I strive for accep­t­ance of diver­sity and crea­tive lear­ning varia­tions for children. And, of course, with every unit, a very decent dose of fun is also included. Because posi­tive rela­ti­ons­hips with rewar­ding expe­ri­ences are important for every child.

The goal of my Melody Lear­ning Center is to ensure that the safe and healthy deve­lo­p­ment of the children can take place in a plea­sant envi­ron­ment. Our main prio­rity is the deve­lo­p­ment of self-esteem, self-assurance and an enthu­siasm for lear­ning.

The Melody Lear­ning Center was founded by Nikola Trajanov in Zug, Switz­er­land, in January 2008.

Silja Wirth

Silja Wirth

Silja graduated from the Univer­sity of Bern in 2016 with a master’s degree in clinical and deve­lo­p­mental psycho­logy. Subse­quently, she completed a post­gra­duate diploma in Applied Beha­vior Analysis at the Univer­sity of Queens, Belfast and became certi­fied as a Board Certi­fied Beha­vior Analyst (BCBA®) in 2018.

She has been working with children with autism since 2010 and has been part of the autism therapy center in Zurich for six years, since April 2020 in the role of super­visor.

Since 2019 Silja is part-time self-employed in Bern and offers coun­sel­ling for fami­lies with children with autism. She supports schools in the inte­gra­tion of children with autism, she offers trai­ning and work­shops in ABA and autism and consults for fami­lies and care­gi­vers of children with autism about how to educate, support and teach their children with autism spec­trum disorder.

Since September 2020 Silja is a super­visor of Melody Lear­ning Center.

Dr. Katerina Dounavi

Kate­rina Dounavi (PhD, BCBA‑D) is a Senior Lecturer at Queen’s Univer­sity Belfast, where she serves as the Director of the Master’s in Applied Beha­vior Analysis. She is also the Clinical Director and Founder of Magiko Sympan in Greece.

Kate­rina is an active rese­ar­cher in the fields of applied beha­vior analysis, evidence-based inclu­sive educa­tion, values-driven profes­sional trai­ning, autism spec­trum disor­ders, telehe­alth, verbal beha­vior, lear­ning and commu­ni­ca­tion disor­ders, commu­nity-wide appli­ca­tions of beha­vior analysis and parental trai­ning.

As a clini­cian, she has exten­sive expe­ri­ence working with fami­lies and profes­sio­nals across Europe, inclu­ding among other super­vi­sing home-based programmes, over­seeing inclu­sion in schools and supported employ­ment settings and leading ABA educa­tional provi­ders.

More Information about Katerina

Kate­rina studied psycho­logy at the Kapo­dis­trian Univer­sity of Athens and received her Master’s degree in educa­tional psycho­logy with honours and a mention of excel­lence from the Comp­lu­tense Univer­sity of Madrid. She then completed a Master’s in beha­vior analysis with a focus on deve­lo­p­mental disa­bi­li­ties, beco­ming the first ABA España student to be certi­fied by the Beha­vior Analysts Certi­fi­ca­tion Board (BACB) and the first Board Certi­fied Beha­vior Analyst (BCBA) in Greece. Following this and after comple­ting a Euro­pean rese­arch internship at Queen’s Univer­sity Belfast, Kate­rina received her PhD in Clinical Psycho­logy with honours from the Comp­lu­tense Univer­sity of Madrid.

Kate­rina has worked with nume­rous children, teen­agers and adults with deve­lo­p­mental disor­ders, intel­lec­tual disa­bi­lity and lear­ning diffi­cul­ties, suppor­ting them and their fami­lies. She has worked in several coun­tries world­wide designing educa­tional programmes and over­seeing inclu­sion in main­stream settings, as well as super­vi­sing profes­sio­nals pursuing certi­fi­ca­tion in beha­vior analysis. She has also offered trai­ning work­shops for parents and educa­tio­na­lists at nume­rous schools in Madrid, as a member of the Preven­tive Unit of Psycho­logy of the Comp­lu­tense Univer­sity of Madrid.

Kate­rina Dounavi is the senior super­visor of Melody Lear­ning Center.