About the staff and founders

 

Michele FoutsMichele Fouts, MA, Director and Founder
 

Michele has over 19 years experience working with children and families. She has supported children with autism and other challenges in home, school and community settings. She was certified as a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) Consultant and has received training in a wide variety of interventions including behavioral and developmental modalities. As a parent consultant, Michele has worked intensively to support parents as guides for their children and in creating balanced family lifestyles. She has a deep understanding of the challenges parents face and the support they need from professionals and the community. Michele has also worked closely with many allied professionals including special education providers, occupational and speech therapists. She has also taught under-graduate courses in psychology and autism at Flagler College. Michele received a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Saint Michael's College and is a Licensed Psychologist- Master.  Michele recently served as the Mental Health Consultant for Addison County CVOEO Head Start and is certified as a Master Instructor through Vermont Northern Lights Career Development Center.

Michele's vision for and desire to create the Sapphire Center has evolved over many years of working in a variety of systems and roles. The delivery of autism related services can be complicated and it can be frustrating to obtain the right intervention and support. Often service models and providers change frequently and can leave parents feeling confused or overwhelmed. For children who struggle to form meaningful relationships these changes are especially concerning. Michele wanted to create both an ideal phsyical space and a collaborative team of highly trained professionals united in their commitment to providing children and their families with individualized comprehensive care.  


Amanda DickersonAmanda Dickerson, BS,  Teacher and Guide

Amanda brings over 20 years experience working with children and families to her role as Sapphire teacher and guide.  With a bachelor’s degree in art education from UVM, Amanda creatively leads the center’s art based activities and is a huge fan of sensory based learning.  She is well versed in working with children with special needs from preschool through high school.  She has served as an educational aide in public schools and has worked as a home visitor for Head Start.  Amanda values the opportunity to work with children in an individualized manner and delights in watching them discover their joy.



Herb SchulteHerb Schulte, BA,  Teacher and Guide

Herb has over ten years experience working in Vermont public schools and private settings as an individual assistant supporting children and families with a variety of challenges including autism, developmental delays, and emotional disturbance. Herb has also been active as a school board member and leader of local Cub Scouts supporting and advocating for the needs of children outside of the classroom as well. After spending two summers with the Sapphire Center’s summer program Herb was inspired to focus his work with children in the therapeutic setting of the Center, which allows teachers the freedom to explore the creative interventions offered within the DIR/Floortime model. Herb received a bachelor’s degree in Zoological Science from the University of Montana; providing him a broad scientific background in physiology, anatomy and biochemistry critical to understanding brain and physical development, sensory integration, the effects of trauma and the impact of nutrition on the whole child. Herb is an accomplished musician and looks forward to incorporating musical elements into his therapeutic approach at the Sapphire Center. Passionate about meeting children where they are and creating close enduring relationships with children, Herb enjoys seeing the world through the eyes of children each day and sharing their wonder as they reach new heights and expand their world.


Kristin Mount Kristin Mount, MA, Graduate Intern

Kristin has been working with children in a therapeutic role for over 11 years. After graduating from college with a BA in psychology, Kristin moved from New England to California to gain some life and work experience. In California, she worked in a developmental lab studying prenatal stress and child outcomes for two years before beginning graduate school in Developmental Psychology at UVM, where she earned her Master's degree. For three years post-graduation, Kristin worked on the Children's Integrated Services (CIS) team in Franklin County, Vermont. In that role, she supported families and young children with developmental and behavioral challenges. Kristin has worked one-on-one with children on the spectrum and enjoyed both seeing the world from the child's perspective as well as  sharing her perspective with the child. In the fall of 2014, Kristin began further graduate studies in clinical psychology at St. Michael's College and joins us two days a week.



CaitlynCaitlin Perazzo, BA, Graduate Intern

Caitlin graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation, Caitlin relocated to Vermont where she was able to gain experience working with physically and developmentally disabled adults at The Howard Center. Caitlin is currently in school at Saint Michael’s College, working to obtain her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She has gained experience working therapeutically with typically developing children through her first year practicum. She currently joins us three days a week for her internship, and enjoys learning the principles and practical skill use of the DIR/Floortime model utilized at the Sapphire Center.







Anjanette Lemak, BFA,  Founder
 

 Anjanette is a parent advocate, mother and artist who was instrumental in laying the groundwork to create the Sapphire Center.


Anjanette was first introduced to the world of autism in high school.  As a student, she can remember researching and writing a report on autism and being fascinated with individuals with this challenge.  Also during this time she worked for the Rose-Mary, Johanna Grasselli Rehabilitation and Education Center, located in Euclid, Ohio, which provided residential services and programs for children with disabilities. During this time she was able to work one-on-one with individuals with profound autism as well as other developmental disabilities and discovered a love for the pure joy that emerged during her play based interactions.

As an adult, Anjanette’s understanding of autism grew exponentially after the birth of her first child when he was diagnosed with the disorder at the age of eighteen months.  Since then she has worked to learn as much as possible about the disorder and remediation and has worked with a number of professionals in the field. Today, her son attends a small local private school with his neuro-typical peers.

Anjanette created all the graphic designs and has worked tirelessly building community relationships and support for the center.  She is also the designer of our custom Danforth pewter jewelry.