Our Therapists

Overview

Each of the 12 occupational therapists and 5 speech language pathologists at Skills for Kids are members of their national professional association – the Australian Association of Occupational Therapists or Speech Pathology Australia. Additional to this membership, therapists participate in ongoing professional development. This takes the form of mentoring within Skills for Kids and external study or courses.

All of the occupational therapists at Skills for Kids are registered with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia. Speech language pathologists are each involved in Professional Self-Regulation Certification through Speech Pathology Australia. Registration and certification provide an objective means of structuring, measuring and acknowledging a therapist’s commitment to continuing professional development and assure professional excellence in the delivery of our service to children, parents and teachers.

All of the therapists are registered to provide services through private health funds, Medicare and FaHCSIA. See Rebates and Funding Options for further information.


Dr Susan Lowe

Registered Occupational Therapist
MAppSc(OT) GradCertHlthSc(OT)

Dr Susan Lowe is the Owner and Principal Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids. Susan graduated in 1975 and has worked in mental health, physical rehabilitation, community health and paediatrics. Susan is uniquely positioned within the occupational therapy profession and within the education system having worked as an occupational therapist within clinic and school settings for 25 years. She is a highly qualified conference presenter and mentor, resulting from her work with children who experience learning, intellectual, social, behavioural and physical difficulties. She combines practical experience with extensive research having completed a PhD focusing on ‘Cognitive Strategies and School Participation for Students with Learning Difficulties’. Susan now teaches at international programmes, school professional development days and teacher / parent workshops. She also provides mentoring services to occupational therapists and parents. Susan is passionate about establishing strong partnerships between teachers, parents and therapists, increasing children’s readiness for learning through more efficient thinking strategies, and developing resilience in vulnerable children.

Susan is author with Dr Christine Chapparo of PRPP@SCHOOL Teacher Questionnaire and PRPP@HOME Parent Questionnaire. These questionnaires form a companion assessment tool to the Perceive, Recall, Plan and Perform (PRPP) System of Task Analysis (Chapparo and Ranka, 2005). The purpose of the PRPP@SCHOOL Teacher Questionnaire and PRPP@HOME Parent Questionnaire, as part of a comprehensive assessment, is to gather information about teacher and parent observations of children’s cognitive strategy use for participation in everyday activities at school, home and community. Susan and the occupational therapists in her practice use this valid and reliable assessment to provide a dynamic, contextual and cognitive based intervention program for children, increasing their skills, confidence and enjoyment. Susan has co-authored ‘Work At School: Teacher And Parent Perceptions About Children’s Participation’ in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, 36(2), 249-256 and ‘School: Participating In More Than Just The Classroom’ in Kids Will Be Kids: A Childhood Occupations Approach edited by S. Lane & A. Bundy.

Susan represents Skills for Kids in a number of professional affiliations including:

  • National Rural and Remote Support Service (NRRSS)
  • Focus on Early Childhood Inclusion (FECI)
  • Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN)

Samantha Miles

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT)

Samantha is a Clinical Manager and Senior Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2003 and has worked with adolescents and adults with mild to severe physical disabilities, as well as children and adolescents with intellectual and learning difficulties. Samantha has a particular interest in working with preschool children and has developed our ’Getting Ready for Kindergarten Camp’ which she runs annually.

Samantha has completed courses including

  • Developing Effective Pretend Play Skills in Children (Associate Professor Karen Stagnitti)
  • NSW Board of Studies Disability Provisions: Release of Guidelines for Occupational Therapists (Occupational Therapy Australia)
  • Hypermobility in Children: Identification and Management (Occupational Therapy Australia)
  • Getting Kids in Sync: A Sensory Approach to Challenges Associated with Autism, ADHD, Learning and Behavioural Disorders (Genevieve Jereb)
  • Helping Children with Autism (OT Australia)
  • Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (Sue Larkey)
  • DIR (Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-Based Model) Floor time (Georgina Arhens)
  • Visual Perception: Assessment and Intervention for Children with Learning Disorders (The University of Sydney)
  • Practical Intervention Strategies for Therapists and their Clients with ASD (OT Australia).
  • Teaching Strategies and Behaviour Support for Children with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (Sue Larkey)
  • Sensory Strategies Based in Occupation (Genevieve Jereb)
  • Occupational Therapy and Autism: The Occupational Therapy Role in Diagnosis, Intervention and Integration/Inclusion ( Dr Christine Chapparo)
  • Effective Strategies for Improving Students Motivation and Behaviour (CHERI)

Stephanie Baker

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT) GradCertHlthSc(OT)

Stephanie is a Clinical Manager and Senior Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1989 and has worked with infants, children and adolescents in a range of settings.

Stephanie has completed courses including

  • Graduate Certificate of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy) focussing on specific areas of theory, assessment and intervention for children with learning and coordination difficulties in areas of handwriting, writing, tool use, play, sensory processing, information processing and Autism Spectrum Disorder (University of Sydney)
  • NSW Board of Studies Disability Provisions: Release of Guidelines for Occupational Therapists (Occupational Therapy Australia)
  • Hypermobility in Children: Identification and Management (Occupational Therapy Australia)
  • Goal Directed Training of Hand Function for Children with Cerebral Palsy (University of Sydney)
  • Getting Kids in Sync: A Sensory Approach to Challenges associated with Autism, ADHD, Learning and Behavioural Disorders (Gen Jereb)
  • Helping Children with Autism (Occupational Therapy Australia)
  • Effective Strategies for Improving Students Motivation and Behaviour (CHERI)
  • Assistive Technology for Tremors (Assistive Technology Australia)

Bec Newton

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT)

Bec is a Senior Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) at the University of Sydney in 2009 and began working at Skills for Kids in September of that year. Bec is working at the clinic as well as at several local preschools, primary, and secondary schools. A wide range of professional interests has resulted in Bec working with children in mainstream schools, support classes and special schools.

Bec has completed courses including

  • Developing Effective Pretend Play Skills in Children (Associate Professor Karen Stagnitti)
  • Intervention Approaches for Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism Spectrum Australia)
  • Getting Kids in Sync: A Sensory Approach to Challenges Associated with Autism, ADHD, Learning and Behavioural Disorders (Genevieve Jereb)
  • Intervention Approaches for Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism Spectrum Australia)
  • Learning to Conquer the Wees & Poos: Behavioural Management of Constipation / Soiling and Urinary Incontinence in Children (Rebecca Khan)

Ashleigh Fairbairn

Registered Occupational Therapist
B OccTher (Hons)

Ashleigh is a Senior Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids. Ashleigh completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours at the Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand. Ashleigh has completed post graduate professional development in client education, clinical reasoning, qualitative research in practice and quantitative research in practice. Ashleigh’s experience in mentoring and supporting young people to navigate the path of adolescence is very much welcomed!

Ashleigh has presented papers at the following conferences:

  • Fairbairn, A. (2013). Occupational Perceptions of Adolescents in Rural New Zealand. Paper presented at the 25th Occupational Therapy Australia National Conference. Adelaide.
  • Fairbairn, A, (2012). Rural Adolescent Occupations. Paper presented at the Māramatanga Hou Fresh Perspectives 2012 New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapy Conference. Hamilton, New Zealand.

Ashleigh has completed courses including:

  • Understanding Autism Spectrum Condition (Tony Attwood and Michelle Garnett)
  • There is a Traffic Jam in my Brain: Autism/ADHD/LD – A Developmental Approach to Well-Being for your Child (Gen Jereb)
  • How to Understand a Child’s Occupation of Play in Occupational Therapy Paediatric Sessions (Dr Karen Stagnitti)

Bethany Vousden

Registered Occupational Therapist
BOcc Ther (Hons)

Bethany graduated from the Australian Catholic University with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours at in 2016. Her Honours project investigated the play and social skills of children with Autism at mainstream primary schools. Bethany has completed placements at a School for Children with Autism were she developed a keen interest in working with children. She is passionate and committed to increasing children’s participation at school.


Julianne Challita

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT) (Hons)

Julianne graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) in 2014. After involvement in a number of our school camps and completion of a placement with Skills for Kids in 2013, Julianne is now working as a graduate within the clinic. She is extremely enthusiastic about working with children and has a special interest in social cognition and teaching children to apply thinking strategies in order to increase their participation. Julianne presented a paper at the 25th Occupational Therapy Australia National Conference in Adelaide on this topic. She is currently completing a PhD in evidence-based occupational therapy practice.

Julianne has completed courses including

  • Perceive Recall Plan and Perform (PRPP) System of Task Analysis Assessment (Dr Chris Chapparo and Dr Judy Ranka)
  • Perceive Recall Plan and Perform (PRPP) System of Task Analysis Intervention (Dr Chris Chapparo and Dr Judy Ranka)

Libby Rheinberger

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc (OT)

Libby completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) at the University of Sydney in 1994. Libby has worked in various community settings assisting people experiencing severe and chronic conditions to live independently at home. In her personal life, Libby has many years’ experience caring for children and is keen to bring her professional skills and love of children together at Skills for Kids, supporting families by  equipping children to find meaning and enjoyment in their various roles.


Mariam Shadid

Registered Occupational Therapist
BSc MOT

Mariam completed her Master of Occupational Therapy with Distinction from the University of Western Sydney in 2015 and joined the Skills for Kids team in January 2016. In her professional and personal life, Mariam has worked with children and adolescents in community, home, school and hospital settings. Mariam has a particular interest in partnering with families to equip young people with strategies to enhance their participation in daily life.

Mariam has completed courses including:

  • A View from the Floor – Introduction to DIR Floortime (Beth Osten & Chithra Kathiresan)
  • Anxiety Education for Health Professionals (University of Sydney – Centre for Continuing Education)

Nikki Allan

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc (OT) (Hons)

Nikki graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) in 2015. As part of her research project, Nikki was involved in the development of a play-based social skills program for children with ADHD. Nikki joined the Skills for Kids team in February 2016 as a graduate therapist.

Nikki has had a wide range of experience working with children with special needs, their parents and teachers through her research and in her previous roles as an educator at a school for children with autism and as a carer for children with disabilities. Nikki is passionate about increasing sports participation for children with special needs and has taught swimming and delivered sports programs in various special needs schools in Sydney. She was also involved in the development of an inclusive community-based sports program.

Nikki has completed courses including

  • “Key Strategies for Success – Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder” (webinar) by Sue Larkey
  • “The traffic jam in my brain: A Sensory Processing Approach to Challenges Associated with Autism, ADHD, Learning and Behavioural Differences” by Genevieve Jereb
  •  “Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders”  by Dr Tony Attwood and Sue Larkey

Rachel Summerville

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT)

Rachel completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) at the University of Western Sydney in 2011 and began working at Skills for Kids in November, 2011. In 2010, Rachel was involved in a community paediatrics program as part of a 6 month university exchange to San Jose California. It was this experience which stimulated Rachel’s commitment to help increase children’s participation in the school environment. Rachel brings passion, enthusiasm and skill to her sessions with children.

Rachel has completed courses including

  • Developing Effective Pretend Play Skills in Children (Associate Professor Karen Stagnitti)
  • There is a Traffic Jam in my Brain: Autism/ADHD/LD – A Developmental Approach to Well-Being for your Child (Gen Jereb)
  • Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (Tony Attwood and Sue Larkey)

Jacqueline McCarty

Certified Practising Speech Language Pathologist
BAppSc (Speech Path), BA (Linguistics), MSPAA

Jacqueline is a Clinical Manager and Senior Speech Language Pathologist at Skills for Kids. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2001 and is passionate about working with children and their families to assist them in achieving the best possible outcomes with their communication. Jacqueline has worked in primary health, tertiary health, department of education and in private practice; as well as having experience as a Professional Practice Educator with the Australian Catholic University. She is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist, a member of Speech Pathology Australia and is committed to using evidence based practice in her assessment and intervention.

Jacqueline’s clinical expertise includes extensive experience working with children from 1 to 18 years of age, who have difficulties developing the skills necessary for speech and language development. She has experience working with children with hearing impairment, Downs’ Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her specialty interests include working with children with learning and literacy difficulties as well as those with significant articulation, phonological difficulties and childhood apraxia of speech.

Jacqueline has completed courses including

  • The Hanen It Takes Two to talk Certification Workshop
  • Evidence-based Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) (Dr Elizabeth Murray)
  • Multilit Reading Tutor Program
  • Difficulties transitioning children to a range of food textures and types (Sarah Starr)
  • Key Interventions for children with autism and their families (Dr Jacqueline Roberts)
  • Carol Gray Social Stories Workshop

Sarah Pritchard

Certified Practicing Speech Language Pathologist
B SpPath MSPAA

Sarah is a Senior Certified Practicing Speech Language Pathologist, who completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology at the University of Newcastle in 2008. She has experience working in community health, hospital, private clinic, home and school settings. Sarah has strong communication and interpersonal skills which establish a great rapport with children, parents and teachers.

Sarah has completed courses including

  • Appability –Speech Therapy (Nichola Midgley, Northcott)
  • Speech Sound Disorders: The Basics and Beyond (Dr Caroline Bowen)
  • Key Word Sign (Meagan Rudd)
  • Developing Effective Pretend Play Skills (Dr Alison Winkworth and Associate Professor Karen Stagnitti
  • Recent Advances in Aphasia Rehabilitation (Speech Pathology Australia)
  • In Bed with Dysphagia (John Hunter Hospital)
  • Introduction to Auslan (Australian Sign Language) (The University of Newcastle)
  • Speech Sound and Phonological Assessment and Intervention…..Making it work! (Barbara Dodd)

Beth Marley

Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath (Hons)

Beth completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology with honours at the University of Newcastle in 2016. Along with her colleagues at Skills for Kids, Beth is committed to using current research evidence to guide her practice. Beth has experience working in schools, camps, community health centres, private practices, and hospitals. She has been involved in volunteering, workshops and community engagement programs in which she provided services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. Beth enjoys working within multidisciplinary teams and values collaborating with parents, teachers, occupational therapists and other professionals to enhance the quality and holistic nature of her work with children. Beth is particularly interested in providing naturalistic, family centred therapy and is motivated to increase children’s functional communication abilities in everyday activities and experiences.


Meg Savage

Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath (Hons)

Meg completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology degree with honours at The University of Newcastle in 2016. Growing up and living in the Blue Mountains District, she is dedicated to working in, and providing services to people within her community to allow them to function and communicate in their everyday contexts. Meg is committed to using evidence based practice as well as working closely with families and other professionals to deliver a goal-orientated and holistic approach to therapy with her clients. Meg has experience in working in community health, private practice, school and hospital settings and has strong communication skills allowing her to build great rapport with clients and their families. Meg is passionate about working with children with communication difficulties and assisting them in building the skills they need to communicate with their parents, teachers and peers.


Sherman Chu

Certified Practicing Speech Language Pathologist
BHlthSci (Hearing and Speech) MSLP MSPAA

Sherman completed her Masters of Speech Language Pathology at the University of Sydney in 2014. She has experience working in community health, hospital, home and school settings. Sherman has also enjoyed a volunteering experience in Kathmandu, Nepal where she spent time working at a school for children with cerebral palsy. Sherman found this experience to be both personally and professionally enriching. Sherman has a particular interest in working with preschool children and in the areas of phonological awareness and fluency.

Sherman has completed courses including

  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) (Pyramid Educational Consultants of Australia)
  • Introduction to Voicecraft (Voicecraft International Pty. Ltd.)
  • Introduction to AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) (The University of Sydney)
  • Key Word Sign (The University of Sydney)
  • Hanen- It Takes Two to Talk (The Hanen Centre)

 


Siobhan Lohan

Speech Language Pathologist
BHlthSc (Rehabilitation Counselling) MSLP, MSPAA

Siobhan completed her Masters of Speech Language Pathology at the University of Sydney in 2011. She has experience working in both hospital and community settings as a speech language pathologist.  Siobhan has extensive experience working in case management within the allied health field. This includes both adult and paediatric populations; working with clients, their families and medical and allied health professionals  as part of a team focused care approach.  Siobhan has a particular interest in assessment and  planning , including developing specific goals to improve functional communication outcomes  for those with whom she works.


Zabelle Betchakjian

Speech Language Pathologist
BAppSc (SP)

Zabelle completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at the University of Sydney in 2016. Together with the team at Skills for Kids, Zabelle is committed to working in partnership with families, educators and other professionals to deliver therapy that is both functional and holistic. She has experience providing services to children with developmental delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD to improve their speech, language and literacy. Zabelle is passionate about helping children participate in their school community in ways that promote positive learning experiences, self-confidence and access to the curriculum.


Catherine Rush, Nadine Stutchbury, Karen Fleming, Colleen Tucker, and Maxine Perry

Our administrative staff will be answering your phone call or greeting you in the reception room. They are responsible for organising the timetabling of assessments and intervention, sending and receiving accounts, as well as being the glue which holds us together. If they can’t answer your questions they will quickly find someone who can.

Catherine Rush
Nadine 2Nadine Stutchbury
KarenKaren Fleming
rsz_009Colleen Tucker
MaxineMaxine Perry