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Joanne Gerenser, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Joanne GerenserJoanne is the executive director of the Eden II Programs in Staten Island, NY.   She is an adjunct associate professor at Brooklyn College and a member of the faculty of the Penn State Professional Development Certificate Program in Autism. She received her Ph.D. Speech and Hearing Science from the City University of New York Graduate Center.  She is Vice-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Organization for Autism Research.  She is currently the president of the Board of the Council of Autism Service Providers.   Dr. Gerenser is co-author of the interactive CD-ROM entitled Behavioral Programming for Children with Autism, and has authored several book chapters and articles on autism and developmental disabilities.   She sits on a number of professional advisory boards for Autism Service Providers nationally and internationally.

Cheryl White, BCaBA MACP

Cheryl WhiteCheryl graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Science and a minor in Psychology. In 2003, after a scenic drive from Vancouver to Newfoundland, she arrived in Toronto and began working at Geneva Centre for Autism as an Instructor Therapist with what was at the time called Toronto Preschool Autism Service (TPAS) providing Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI).

This experience formed a solid foundation of knowledge in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). Cheryl went on to facilitate social skill-building groups and in 2005 joined the Clinical Behaviour Services Team as a Behaviour Consultant. In 2014 Cheryl became a Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst and completed a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology in 2017.

She is currently the supervisor of Intake and Clinical Behaviour Services at Geneva Centre for Autism.

Adriana Karka

Adriana Karka

Adriana Karka has been with Geneva Centre for Autism since 2007 first as a Provincial Autism Resource Consultant and currently as a member of the Training Institute Faculty. After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto and post-graduate studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, Adriana has spent her working career in the field of autism and special education. Adriana has been an accomplished music therapist and behaviour specialist for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other intellectual and developmental disabilities for 15 years. She previously spent five years with the Autism Intervention Program at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). In addition, Adriana provided early intervention services and music therapy in both Chicago's Easter Seals Developmental Centre as well as the Montclair State University’s Music Therapy clinic “Music Aids Growth in Children” (MAGIC) in New Jersey.

Adriana is fully bilingual and provides training and consultation both in English and French. She is also fluent in Lithuanian and has travelled to Eastern Europe as a guest lecturer on autism and special education.

In her present role at the Geneva Centre for Autism, Adriana is responsible for travelling to and providing training in Canadian and international communities, creating and developing training courses, and consulting various medical and educational personnel in their work with individuals on the autism spectrum.


Tara Connolly, B.Ed, M.A., RP

Tara ConnellyTara Connolly is a counselor and consultant with over 17 years experience working with and learning from adults and youth on the spectrum. In her counseling practice, Tara supports neurodiverse thinkers to thrive on their own terms and co-create meaningful transitions into and throughout adulthood.  In her recent work as the Coordinator of the Transition Support Centre at Algonquin College she was instrumental in designing an innovative service that supports the transitions of students on the spectrum into and throughout post-secondary environments.  It empowers students to leverage the tools they need for success and builds the capacity of the post-secondary community to recognize and effectively incorporate the inherent strengths of neurodiverse thinkers.

Tara is dedicated to learning and teaching in its many forms.  She is a dynamic keynote speaker and presenter, creating excellent opportunities for educators at all levels to hone their own skills in engaging with best practices that facilitate student learning and success.  Some of her past experience includes working as a teacher in the school system, as an ASD Consultant with the School Support Program at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, as an ASD Content Expert with the Public Health Agency of Canada, and as a Disabilities Counselor with Algonquin College.

  • "This was an incredibly valuable 'aha!' learning experience for both myself, and for our entire staff. This has changed the way I will think about and teach students with ASD forever. You've inspired me."