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Meet our Team!

Dr. Laura Gormley: Director of Education

Dr. Laura Gormley, B.A. (Hons), M.Sc , PhD is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) who obtained her PhD from Trinity College Dublin.  Laura has over 11 years experience working as a behaviour therapist with children, adolescents, and adults and lectures part-time for the School of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin.

 

In 2012, Laura took the position of manager at PALS Preschool for Children with Autism. In this role, she collaborated with the Department of Education to establish a group-based model of service provision for the children attending the preschool.  In 2015, she started her current role as the Director of Education at PALS Preschool and oversees the individualised education plans for each child attending the preschool.

 

Heidi Penrose: Program Director 

Heidi joined PALS in October 2017. She comes from the United States where she was a teacher of children with ASD for over 24 years.  She is responsible for the day to day running of the school. She holds a masters degree from Purdue University in Special Education severe disabilities with a focus on assisitive technology and augmentative communication. She has recently completed her Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis in Trinity College Dublin and is working towards BCBA certification. As school manager Heidi joins Amanda Doherty and Dr. Laura Gormley, in developing and facilitating Behaviour Support Plans to increase children’s appropriate behaviour and participation in the school day. Heidi also conducts in house training for both staff and parents to ensure consistency across a child's life. Heidi has training in first aid and has experience with assistive technologies such as Proloquo. 

 

Education Specialist: Monika Ciemniewska

Monika graduated in Poland with an MA in Psychology, specialising in clinical psychology. She has been working with children with special needs and Autism for the past 12 years. Monika has completed a two day PECS training course and the Handwriting without Tears training course also. She is also trained in Paediatric first aid and in Child Protection being the assistant Child Protection Officer in PALS. As head teacher, Monika ensures that the children's lesson plans are being run correctly and that each child is moving on at an appropriate speed for them. Monika also provides in house training to staff in the most up to date research based training. Monika also runs the reading group here in PALS which has been a resounding success when trialled this year. 

 

Behaviour Specialist: Amanda Doherty

Amanda joined PALS in November 2011. She has been working with children with ASD for the past 8 years. Amanda has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Maynooth University and holds her masters degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Trinity College Dublin. She is working towards BCBA certification. As the behaviour specialist, Amanda joins Heidi Penrose and Dr. Laura Gormley in developing and facilitating Behaviour Support Plans to increase children's appropriate behaviour and participation in the school day. Amanda also conducts in house training for staff. From her masters degree Amanda has specialised in the use of Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) amongst peers.

 

 

 Class Teacher: Naomi Forrest

Naomi joined PALS in September 2018. She has a B.A. in Psychology from NUIG and a M.Sc. in Psychological Science from UCD. She has experience working with children with autism both in 1:1 and group settings.

She currently works as our classroom teacher overseeing the day to day running of the classroom. She also serves the role of speech and language liaison. 

 

Class Teacher: Aisling O'Loughlin

Aisling first came to PALS during her university internship in 2017. She then became a full time staff member in September 2018. She has been working with children on the autism spectrum over the past number of years. Aisling has a B.Sc. in Education from Marino. She currently works as our classroom teacher overseeing the day to day running of the classroom. She also serves the role of speech and language liaison. Aisling has recently completed training in TEACCH.

 

Class Tutor: Abbie Feeney

Abbie joined PALS in October 2019. She experience working with children with autism both in a 1:1 and group setting. Abbie has two years experience working with children with autism. Abbie has a B.A. in Psychology in NCI Dublin. She is currently undergoing a masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis in Trinity College Dublin and is due to graduate in June 2022. Abbie has recently undertaking training in TEACCH.

 

 Class Tutor: Racheal Conroy

Racheal joined PALS in October 2019. She experience working with children with autism both in a 1:1 and group setting. Racheal has three years experience working with children with autism. Racheal has a B.Sc. in education and training from Dublin City University. Masters in Early Intervention in Trinity College Dublin.

 

Class Tutor/Behaviour Support Assistant: Edel Thornton

Edel joined PALS in September 2019. She has a degree in Psychology from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. She is currently undertaking her masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis and is due to graduate in June 2021. Edel has recently undertaken the 'Handwriting without Tears' course.

 

Class Tutor: Sergio Couto Rodrigues

Sergio joined PALS in August 2020. He has a degree in secondary education from Pontifical Catholic University from San Paulo in History and a Postgraduate degree in History of Ireland from DCU. Sergio has certificates in SNA,ABA and Good Practice and Autism Education from the University of Bath. He has worked in schools with children and young people since 2012 and in the early years sector in Ireland since 2017.

 

Class Tutor: Rachel Treacy

Rachel first came to PALS during her university internship in 2018. She then became a full time staff member in July 2020. Rachel has a B.Sc. in Education Studies from Marino. Rachel has recently completed training in TEACCH and GRID (assistive technology).

 

Class Tutor: Alex Flood

Alex joined PALS in 2018 as part of his college internship. He has a B.Sc. in Psychology in Dublin City University. Alex has worked with Youth groups since 2013 and has a keen interest in assistive technology. 

 

Class Tutor: Donald Abuka

Donald joined PALS in July 2020. Donald has three years experience working with children with autism. He has a B.Sc. in education and training from Dublin City University. Donald has recently completed GRID training (assistive technology).

 

 

 

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