Stories of Caledon

Caledon-based WonderTree Offering Virtual Paediatric Clinic

Dr Fardella and Dr Lavoie
Written by Patti Foley

Contributed photo: Dr Stephanie Lavoie (left) and Dr Michelle Fardella

Being a parent is one of the most gratifying experiences in life. It can be fraught with worry and exhaustion, but it is an experience filled with love and exhilaration and pride.

What we don’t want to hear, when our child or teen has a health issue, is that there will be a long wait for assessment and any needed treatment. The same applies to their mental health.

The stress, and potentially detrimental effects, of waiting was one of the catalysts for the creation of WonderTree. The Caledon-based virtual paediatric clinic formally launched this fall. It is the brainchild of Dr. Michelle Fardella, Clinical and School Psychologist, of Palgrave and Dr. Stephanie Lavoie, Clinical and Neuro Psychologist, from Caledonia.

Dr Michelle Fardella

Dr Michelle Fardella

After a decade and a half in the field the pair fully recognized the growing need for expedited care. Providing services virtually means little-to-no wait times. And it makes it easier for families to accommodate appointments. Their experienced multi-disciplinary team, over a dozen strong, allows the benefit of a wrap-around, as opposed to bounced-around, approach.

The doctors emphasized that WonderTree works with parents as well as children and adolescents. The two women feel that a foundational aspect of a lot of their service work is that “The best therapist on their best day will never compare to someone’s parent or caregiver. We can give the skills to the parent, so they can do this with their kids in their everyday life and that is much more impactful and meaningful than seeing that child individually on their own.”

At a future point the pair say they will be looking to add a bricks and mortar location in the Caledon area.

Dr Stephanie Lavoie

Dr Stephanie Lavoie

I had associated the multiple disciplines available to being like branches of a tree and just had to inquire if that had been the idea behind the name and logo.

Dr. Lavoie explained however that “We really wanted the elements of the name to embody growth and development and building resilient roots by doing a lot of the caregiver support that we do. As well, both of us have lived in the country, and are raising our children in a rural setting. We like that feeling of being connected to nature. We felt that WonderTree expressed all of that and was a name and image that would make kids feel comfortable.”

While WonderTree’s services are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) some employees do have coverage via their work insurance plans, and some services are covered by provincial funding programs (e.g., Ontario Autism Program, Passport One).

For detailed information about their services, or to receive a free 15-minute consultation with a WonderTree director, visit WonderTreePractice.ca or call 905-425-9525

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About the author

Patti Foley

Having spent 25 years in Bolton, Patti remains an advocate for Caledon. As a former Regional Councillor and a long-time community volunteer she is passionate about communicating information about its issues, news, events, people, non-profits and businesses.

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