I am a qualified psychologist, a graduate of the University of Amsterdam, with a Masters degree specialising in child psychology and child-parent relations.
My interest in child-parent relations really started in 1973 when I was an au pair in London and Paris working for several years with families with small children.
I discovered that many parents do not understand their children and for that reason they make tragic mistakes. I also understood that whether or not things will get better depends on the parent; they must be the ones to take the first step. The child expects that.
For that reason I studied psychology and continued on to a specialisation in developmental psychology. I specialised as well in parent support, which is very common in Europe.
I was involved for years with an early intervention program (Portage program) which educates parents at home to teach skills to their children and to minimise behavioural problems. These visits were important to me to learn at first hand what all the members of the family go through when there is a child with autism.
When I started to play with a child, the result was amazing! Within three months, the child, who was previously unable to speak, began to use words to ask for things he wanted. With this approach I found my true direction. I consider the therapeutic play to be a powerful tool, especially for autistic children, because that approach provides the child with the chance to develop the desired sociability. And this is what we all want most of all, especially the child!
I put my vision into reality by creating the Autism Centre, which has operated since 1998. It gives me the opportunity to offer a range of programs - for autistic children, for their siblings, for parents, but we also have volunteer programs, education in therapeutic play...
Every household seeks harmony, but often parents do not know how to succeed at it, especially when they have a child with special needs. My work is based on the belief that the parent and child both desire a relationship of trust respect and affection, and that provides the motivation that can lead to change.
In many case the parent does not understand the needs of the child, and what he in his own way demands. No childhood behaviour is simply a matter of chance. It always has something to tell us but most parents do not know how to listen. They need support to observe the child and to realise that there is always the possibility for improvement, which they themselves can bring about.
1998 – today: autism centre
1995 – 1998 parent support
1988 – the raising of my own children
1986 – 1988 Elpida, a school for autistic children in Thessaloniki.
1984 – 1985 research about the syndrome of neglection
1983 – 1984 school for borderline children in Amsterdam
1979 – 1980 Teaching of English and French in Thessaloniki
1973 – 1976 Αu pair in London and Paris