About us

MSc, PhD Tatjana Zorcec

Psychologist and specialist in clinical psychology, as well as associated professor at the Medical Faculty in Skopje, Macedonia

Short biography

Since 2010 she is appointed as a National coordinator for autism by the Macedonian Ministry of health. She is head of the Department for Psychophysiology and has established the Center for early intervention for children with autism at University Children’s Hospital, Skopje, Macedonia.

She has expertise in diagnostics and treatment of children with autism for 25 years. She is skilled in using ADOS, GARS-2, JASPER, DTT and in using Assistive technology and Apps for mobile devices. She has participated in many scientific projects, teaches in the field of autism within Bachelors, Masters and Specialisation programs at the Medical Faculty. She has written more than 100 scientific papers publish in domestic and international journals.

DR. Ben Robins

Senior Research Fellow in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Short biography

Dr. Ben Robins is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Ben’s qualifications and many years of work experience lie in two disciplines: Computer Science (since 1980) and Dance Movement Therapy (since 1992). Ben completed his PhD research degree in the school of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, focusing on assistive technology for children with autism, bringing together his expertise and experience in these two disciplines. Ben has over 60 scientific publications, including book chapters, articles in scientific journals and in international conferences proceedings.

His publications have won several best conference paper awards.
Ben’s research, which started in 2002 in the AURORA Project and continued in the FP6, FP7 and H2020 European projects IROMEC, ROBOSKIN and BabyRobot respectively, investigates the potential use of robots as therapeutic or educational tools, encouraging basic communication and social interaction skills in children with autism. His current work, part of the Kaspar project, is further investigating robot-assisted therapy and continues the development of the Kaspar robot as a therapeutic and educational tool (http://kaspar.herts.ac.uk). This includes running several long term studies with KASPAR and children with autism in families’ homes and in collaboration with schools and medical centres internationally.

In recent years Ben was program co-chair, committee member and special session organiser in several international conferences and has been an invited speaker in workshops, seminars and symposiums in various countries.
http://homepages.herts.ac.uk/~comqbr/

Nevena Ackovska

Professor at the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia.

Short biography

he holds B.Sc. in Computer Engineering, Informatics and Automation at
Electrical Engineering Faculty (2000) and M. Sc. in Intelligent Systems (2003) and a Ph.D. in the field of Bioinformatics (2008) from Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics  at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia. In 1995 she moved in USA and continued her education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (Dean’s List).

Currently she teaches 7 graduate, 3 postgraduate and 3 PhD subjects at the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering. Her research interest are intelligent systems, Assistive technologies and Robotics. She is interested in beings, both living and artificial, and the ways to develop such beings and incorporate them in everyday human life.

She holds many awards at national and regional competitions in mathematics and biology. Dr. Nevena Ackovska is author of six books (in Macedonian) and more than 150 research articles, mainly in the field of
Intelligent Systems. She was organizer of 6 international conferences and 2 workshops, and is editor of two conference proceedings. Dr. Ackovska is IEEE Senior member, and member of Computer Society of Macedonia.
She has served as a Secretary International for Save the Children – Macedonia (1996-1997).

Bojan Ilijoski

 Phd student at ss.Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia.

Short biography

He is working as research and teaching assistant at Faculty for Computer Science and Engineering. His research fields are text mining, data science, artificial intelligence and applications for specific groups of people.

Noa Nitzan

Occupational Therapist, professional director The , Technology Center, Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel

Short biography
I am an occupational therapist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies. I have been working at Beit Issie Shapiro since 2005 and am currently the Professional Director of the Technology Center and Occupational Therapy Supervisor of the Special Education School.
I played a major role in the development of the model for implementing assistive technology in our educational frameworks and have many years of experience adapting and integrating the use of technology for therapy and rehabilitation. I also have experience in development – developing apps and providing guidance to entrepreneurs in the area of assistive technology.
In addition I am also on the assistive technology team at the Ministry of Education, providing guidance for fellow professionals. I have extensive experience identifying and adapting technological solutions for students in both the mainstream and special education systems.

Dana Cappel

I am an occupational therapist and have been working with children with disabilities since graduating from McGill University, Canada, in 2000

Short biography

I am an occupational therapist and have been working with children with disabilities since graduating from McGill University, Canada, in 2000. I have been working at The Special Education School of Beit Issie Shapiro, in Israel, since 2010 and joined their Technology Center in 2014. My work in the school includes helping students with complex disabilities to participate in their learning environment as fully as possible.

I work extensively with assistive technology, both low and hi-tech, to allow students to engage with their peers, and their environment. As a consultant with The Technology Center, I help to bridge the gap between knowledge and implementation, guiding staff to effectively use technology in the school environment. I am involved in educating families and fellow professionals, in Israel and abroad, through lectures, workshops, and webinars, in the uses of assistive technology.

I have experience working directly with developers, spreading the importance of inclusive design and working together with them to provide solutions for people with disabilities.

Rachel Blum

Speech and Language Pathologist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders and a Master’s Degree in Cognitive Studies of Language Use

Short biography

I have been working at the De Lowe Early Intervention Center at Beit Issie Shapiro, in Israel, since 2010 and joined their Technology Center in 2015. My work in early intervention includes direct therapy for children with complex disabilities with the goal of improving their ability to communicate, understand others, and express themselves. I use various assistive technologies in order to help them achieve these goals. 

As a consultant with The Technology Center, I help to bridge the gap between knowledge and implementation, guiding staff to effectively use technology in the early intervention center. I am involved in educating families and fellow professionals, in the uses of assistive technology and have experience working directly with developers to provide solutions for people with disabilities.

Sanja Šimleša

Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences (University of Zagreb, Croatia)

Short biography

She is conducting lectures and exercises in five courses focused on child and developmental psychology and psychopathology and statistical methodology application. She is also conducting the segment of exercises of Introduction to Child and Adolescence Psychology at Department of Psychology with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as teaching the postgraduate courses in Early Intervention in Education Rehabilitation and on five doctoral studies (Department of Psychology, Department of Speech and Language Pathology, Faculty of Medicine).
Since June 2011 she has been certified by the University of Michigan (USA) to use ADOS instrument (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) for clinical and scientific purposes and she is editor of Croatian version of ADOS.

May 2012 and September 2018 she spent at centers for studying autism spectrum disorders: Yale Child Study (New Haven), Autism & Neurodevelopmental Clinic, (San Francisco) and Center on Human Development & Disability- Autism Center (Seattle). In July 2013 she spent one month studying child development and psychopathology at Yale Child Study (New Haven, USA).

So far she has had about 22 papers published and has written two book chapters. She has been a speaker at numerous national and international scientific and professional conferences (35 in total).

Maja Cepanec

Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences (University of Zagreb, Croatia) and the head of the Child Communication Research Lab

Short biography
She is Speech and Language Pathologist with PhD in cognitive neuroscience. Her research and professional activities are oriented toward neurocognitive foundations of human behavior, with special emphasis on early communication development and assessment of preschool children. She collaborated on many scientific projects and published papers on the early communication and language development in children, development of language-related cortical areas and autism diagnostics.
She was one of the heads of the project „National Framework for Early Screening and Diagnosis for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” in the Republic of Croatia. She is author/editor of Croatian versions of MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2).

MSc Klara Popčević

Master of Arts in Speech and Language
Zagreb, Croatia

Short biography

She has enrolled the doctoral study Language, Speech and Hearing Disorders at Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb. She is working at Centre for Rehabilitation of Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences of the University of Zagreb on several projects related to early childhood intervention.

Her professional interests are focused on early communication and language disorders as well as alternative and augmentative communication in early intervention.

Monika Rosandić

Master’s degree (MA) in Phonetics, and Croatian Language and Literature, and also MA in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Zagreb

Short biography

Since 2017 she is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb. Currently, she is employed as an Expert Associate at the Center for Rehabilitation, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb, providing assessment and support to young children with ASD and their families.  Also, she participates in students´ clinical exercises and seminars in the field of autism spectrum disorder and augmentative alternative and communication.

She co-authored an original scientific paper titled „Noise exposure among young Croatians – habits, attitudes, risk awareness, protection and early consequences “. She actively participated in several conferences and symposiums gathering experts and scientists within the scope of her special interests.