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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 support children with autism to learn new skills, and to reco­gnize the beau­tiful melody of life. I love my profes­sion. And I love being able to observe the posi­tive deve­lop­ment that children and their fami­lies are accom­pli­shing with my support. I am supported by my wonderful colleague Kate­rina Dounavi. She’s my loyal super­visor and like my pillar of strength.

I am happy to assist you with my exper­tise, my ability to figure out the beha­vioral func­tions, to find prac­tical solu­tions with my struc­tured but loving manner. Please contact me. I appre­ciate 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.

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.