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.
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.
Interviews with Mandi Freger
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.