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Meet the Team

Olivia Liu

Co-Founder

Olivia has worked with autistic toddlers and children since the beginning of 2016 in home and school settings. She also worked as an Education Assistant in public schools to gain experience and learn more about the school system. She holds a Master's of Science. Olivia is a registered autism service provider (Category B) in British Columbia.

 

Over the past few years, listening and learning from autistic advocates, resulted in a major shift in her practice as a professional working with autistic populations. Moving towards a focus on the strengths of the individual, to foster important self-advocacy skills and self- empowerment. 

 

Some of Olivia's interests are learning more about neurodiversity affirming practices, creating educational resources, and telehealth. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she discovered her interest in telehealth by actively sharing telehealth related resources to educators around the world.

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Daniela Marco

Co-Founder

Daniela has worked with neurodivergent toddlers, children, and teens since 2013. She completed her master's degree in Special Education at The University of British Columbia. Daniela is a registered autism service provider (Category A) in B.C. and a certified Sibshop faciliator.

 

Daniela is passionate about promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) instruction by incorporating the interests + strengths of neurodivergent individuals to learn essential STEM skills. Daniela strives to help neurodivergent individuals discover their passions within STEM, which may potentially lead to a vocation that they will enjoy and find meaning in pursuing.

Daniela is also passionate about providing support to the whole family, particularly, supporting siblings and fostering positive sibling relationships. As an adult sibling of a neurodivergent individual herself, Daniela believes that supporting siblings is just as important as supporting neurodivergent individuals and their parents.

 

As a student researcher, Daniela's current research interests are in STEM skill acquisition, direct instructional methods, sibling psycho education and supports, and participatory research. 

Daniela identifies as neurodivergent, herself, having ADHD.

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Xian Chang

Program Facilitator

    Xian has been working with neurodivergent children since 2016. She has been working as a behaviour interventionist in school, home and daycare settings for the past two years with clients ranging from 2 to 6 years old. Since beginning her career with neurodivergent communities, she has found that she prefers play-based therapy methods with a focus on individuality and self-empowerment. 

 

    One thing Xian strives for is a fun, comfortable, and patient environment for kids to learn and explore. Her favourite activity to do with our STEM Explorers is science experiments, robotics, and helping them create natural friendships. Creating a genuine connection with each student and helping them explore many domains of STEM is her main goal within STEM Sprouts. 

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Nicole Chacon

Program Facilitator

Nicole has been working with neurodivergent kids, teens and adults helping them gain confidence in their social skills and educational journeys. As a behaviour interventionist (BI), Special Education Assistant (EA), and Education Instructor (EI) she has gained a wide range of experience working with neurodivergent people helping them build new skills to promote independence and empowerment. 

Nicole believes that providing a safe and inclusive space for everyone can help them strive and discover their own passions through fun activities and positive connections with others. She is passionate about providing these opportunities to all neurodivergent individuals for self-development, positive connections, discovery of vocational interests, and increasing their self-esteem and confidence. 

At STEM Sprouts Nicole has helped kids engage with a variety of STEM projects as well as interact and connect with each other. The space we provide at STEM Sprouts allows the opportunity for learning and personal growth and Nicole hopes to see more kids discover new interests and build more friendships.  

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Our Story

Olivia and Daniela met in 2016 while attending their undergraduate program at Capilano University. They instantly clicked, since then have pursued their careers in special education together. They eventually graduated and attended different graduate programs, but they both stayed connected and shared the same values and insights. 

Olivia and Daniela have always wanted to create a service that addresses a gap in the current service models, exploring different possible ventures since 2018. They both realized that S.T.E.M. education is largely unaccessible for autistic youth and that there is a need for more neurodiversity affirming practices in BC --- especially for group based services. Daniela and Olivia began brain storming about how to create a neurodiversity affirming S.T.E.M. social group. Hence, S.T.E.M. Sprouts was born! 

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