Creative Therapy

Agency Description

Creative Therapy Autism Centre (CTAC) was founded in 2019 as a new division of Creative Therapy Associates (CTA), a locally owned rehabilitation practice in Thunder Bay, Ontario that has been in operation in Northwestern Ontario region for over 30 years, CTAC is a multidisciplinary centre and provides diagnostic assessments and evidence-based intervention for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

We employ a team of qualified OTs. SLPS and behavioral therapists, and are in a partnership with Shining Through Centre, subcontracting 2 full time BCBAs who supervise our therapists and clients daily at that centre.

Our centre offers a full menu of high-quality therapy services to children, youth, young adults and families impacted by ASD. We are committed to a coordinated and integrated approach to service delivery and to offering options that are tailored to the unique needs of the whole child, youth or youing adult, The CTAC team has been built with these goals in mind and they offer a wide variety of services, from parent mediated, programs to direct service options including ABA MI, JASPER. Hanen More Than Words, PECS, The Play Project, DIRFloortime, and Autism Navigator.


Therapist Descriptions


Liz Hathazi, M.A.

Liz Hathazi is a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist with over 30 years of experience, and is co-owner of Creative Therapy Associates, in Thunder Bay Ontario.

This past year, Liz and her long-time colleague and business partner founded a new division for Creative Therapy Associates called Creative Therapy Autism Center in order to offer children impacted by ASD and their families in the region, a full menu of multidisciplinary, evidence-based services including behavioral, occupational and speech-language pathology.

Liz’s current area of clinical focus is the provision of assessment and treatment for children with speech and language delays; and with autism spectrum disorder and disorders of relating and communicating.

She is trained in Hanen More Than Words, Autism Navigator for Early Intervention, DIRFloortime, and the Play Project and has advanced training in the Early Start Denver Model.

Liz holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, and a Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and currently resides with her two children in Thunder Bay Ontario.

Suzana Curcija, BCBA

Suzana Curcija holds a Master of Education from the University of Toronto and is a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA).  She has over 12 years of clinical experience in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), and alternative treatment modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Suzana has extensive experience developing and supervising behavioural and educational programming to children, youth and adults with Intellectual Disability (ID), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and Dual Diagnosis (DD) as well as a wide variety of managerial and clinical experience working for both privately and ministry funded organizations. Her newest adventure in the field is teaching Behavioural Sciences at Humber College. She believes strongly in working collaboratively as part of a multi-disciplinary team and has a passion for play-based intervention.  Her interests and experience include: Functional Assessments, behavioural interventions, emotional regulation, parent training, curriculum design, supervision and organizational behaviour management (OBM). Suzana is a member in good standing of The Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA) and of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMPH).

Arlene Sanzo

Arlene Sanzo, OT Reg. (Ont.) is an Occupational Therapist who graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Therapy degree from McMaster University in 1996 after completing her Honours Bachelor of Physical Education degree at Lakehead University in 1994.

She has been practicing pediatrics since that time and has worked extensively in a variety of settings including private practice and a children’s treatment centre as well as within daycare and school environments.

She was involved in the development of the Kindergarten Skills Camp in collaboration with the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board.

She enjoys working with parents / guardians, community partners, and educators to provide the best possible care for the children she works with.

She has been a mentor for many occupational therapists and has developed and presented at various conferences and workshops and has been an invited speaker for different programs at Lakehead University.

She has completed the ADOS-2 Critical Training and Play Project introductory course.

Her diverse knowledge and experience in the areas of sensory processing, self regulation, and fine motor development assists with supporting children’s overall learning and participation.

She is pleased to be part of the dynamic team of professionals at Creative Therapy Associates who are dedicated and passionate about the community, partners, and families who they work and collaborate with.


Melanie Manula, M.S.

Melanie Manula is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist with more than 25 years of experience in the field. She received her Masters of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire in 1994 and returned to her roots in Northwestern Ontario to begin her career with Creative Therapy Associates.

She currently resides in Thunder Bay with her two children. In 2015, she joined forces with a long-time colleague and friend, Liz Hathazi, to assume a leadership role in the practice they had helped to build over two decades.

They share a similar vision and are committed to maintaining a dynamic team of professionals that work in collaboration with community partners, to provide quality client-centered care to the individuals and families in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.

The Creative Therapy Autism Centre, founded in 2019, was build on the same passion and commitment to serve children and families impacted by ASD in their region and offers a full menu of evidence-based services for an integrated approach.

Melanie has training in the Hanen More Than Words Program, Early Start Denver Model, and The Play Project.

Melanie is also passionate about mentoring new clinicians in the field of Speech-Language Pathology as well as offering opportunities to other students to explore the field as a potential career in order to support recruitment and retention in Northwestern Ontario.

Emily Bernie, M,Cl, Sc. SLP, Reg. CASLPO

Emily Bernie earned an Honour’s Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of British Columbia – Okanagan in Biolology and with a Masters of Clinical Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Western University in London, Ontario.

Being born and raised in Kenora, ON, Emily is no stranger to Northern ONtario! Emily has a broad range of clinical interests.

Over the past few years she has enjoyed working with adults in community, hospital, and long-term care settings with various communication and swallowing needs and disorders related to acquired brain injuries and progressive neurodegenartive disorders.

She also work with preschool and school-aged children in various speech and language needs in pre-school, school, and private practice settings.

Most recently, she has developed a strong interest working with children and families impacted by ASD. She enjoys being part of our multi disciplinary services and working through a developmental approach following a DIR framework.

Emily has been fortunate to gain experience collaborating with community members to provide culturally sensitive speech and language services to First Nations reserves in the Kenora and Thunder Bay districts.

Emily values the importance of holistic client-and-family centered care and views both clients and caregivers as partners in fostering their own / their child’s speech and language development and rehabilitation.