Our Therapists

Overview

Each of our occupational therapists and 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 the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). See Rebates and Funding Options for further information.


Stephanie Baker

Practice Principal
Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT) GradCertHlthSc(OT)

Steph is Practice Principal at Skills for Kids. After graduating from the University of Sydney in 1989, Steph worked with infants, children and adolescents in a variety of settings before being employed by Susan Lowe at Skills for Kids in 2002.

Steph continues to enjoy working with children of all ages. She finds it an immense joy and privilege to work together with the Skills for Kids team, in collaboration with parents and teachers, to help children increase their confidence and independence.

Steph has completed courses including:

• Graduate Certificate of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy) focusing 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)
• DCD / Dyspraxia and the Role for Occupational Therapy (Lisa Scott)


Samantha Miles

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT)

Sam 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. Sam has a particular interest in working with preschool children and has developed our ’Getting Ready for Kindergarten Camp’ which she runs annually.

Sam 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)
  • Leadership for Health Professionals (Michelle Bihary)

Jacqueline McCarty

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

Jackie is a Clinical Manager and 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. Jackie 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.

Jackie’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.

Jackie 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)
  • VPI Update Seminar VIII for Speech Pathologists (The Children’s Hospital at Westmead)
  • Carol Gray Social Stories Workshop

Ashleigh Fairbairn

Registered Occupational Therapist
BOccTher (Hons)

Ashleigh is a Clinical Leader and 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)
  • Perceive, Recall, Plan & Perform (PRPP) Assessment Course (Dr Chris Chapparo and Dr Judy Ranka)

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.  A wide range of professional interests has resulted in Bec working with children who experience social, behavioural and emotional difficulties as well as challenges with eating and sleeping.

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)

Rachel Summerville

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT) GradCert(Autism Studies)  M(Autism Studies)

Rachel, a Senior Occupational Therapy Clinician, 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

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Autism, Griffith University (2015)
  • Masters of Autism, Griffith University (2017)
  • 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)

Sarah Read

Certified Practicing Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath MSPA

Sarah 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)

Julianne Challita

Registered Occupational Therapist

PhD, BAppSc(OT)(Hons)

Julianne is a Senior Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) with First Class Honours at the University of Sydney in 2013. She began working at Skills for Kids in January of the following year while commencing her PhD full time. Julianne has recently completed her PhD looking at cognitive strategy use and social competence in early school years. She has a particular interest in emotional and social difficulties in young children and hopes to continue to pursue her understanding and research into children’s cognitive strategy use for social participation. She has recently had an article published in the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal: Cognitive aspects of social competence in the current New South Wales Kindergarten to Grade Six Syllabuses.

Julianne has presented papers at the following conferences:

  • Expected use of cognitive strategies for social success in the current NSW syllabus- A Content Analysis. Paper presented at the National Australian Occupational Therapy Conference, Melbourne, 2015.
  • The impact of a playground social skills program based on the Perceive, Recall, Plan and Perform (PRPP) System of Intervention. Paper presented at the National Australian Occupational Therapy Conference, Perth, 2017.
  • PRPP@HOME: SOCIAL and PRPP@SCHOOL: SOCIAL Questionnaires: Findings for children with difficulties in social competence. Paper presented at the World Federation Occupational Therapy Congress, Cape Town South Africa, 2018.
  • Effective occupational therapy intervention with children demonstrating reduced social competence during playground interactions: A pilot study. Paper presented at the Occupational Therapy Australia National OT Paediatrics Symposium 2018, Sydney.

Julianne has completed the following courses:

  • Perceive, Recall, Plan & Perform (PRPP) Assessment Course (Dr Chris Chapparo and Dr Judy Ranka)
  • Perceive, Recall, Plan & Perform (PRPP) Intervention Course (Dr Chris Chapparo and Dr Judy Ranka)

Bethany Storm

Registered Occupational Therapist
BHlthSc/MOT

Bethany completed her Bachelor of Health Science and Masters of Occupational Therapy from the University of Western Sydney in 2014. Growing up and living in the Blue Mountains, she is enthusiastic to work with children and their families within her local area. She has experience working in hospitals and has excellent communication skills allowing her to build rapport with clients and their families. Bethany is passionate and committed to using current research evidence to guide her practice to achieve the best possible outcomes for each of her clients. Fun Facts about Bethany: She loves instant coffee and much prefers it to a café bought cappuccino. She usually drinks her first coffee for the day in the shower.


Elise Mifsud

Registered Occupational Therapist
BHlthSc (Hons)/MOT

Elise graduated from Western Sydney University with First Class Honours, in a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Occupational Therapy in 2017. Elise delights in working with children and adolescents. Her honours project focused on the social experiences of young people with cerebral palsy. Through this research, Elise has developed a deeper understanding of the importance of social participation and is keen to implement strategies to promote social participation in children at Skills for Kids. Fun facts about Elise: Elise enjoys spending time outdoors and keeping active. She has a particular interest in kayaking and photography.

Elise has completed courses including:

  • Foundations in Autism for Mental Health Professionals (Dr Belinda Ratcliffe)

Melissa Elvery

Registered Occupational Therapist
BAppSc(OT) (Hons)

Mel graduated in 2017 from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and joined the team at Skills for Kids in 2018. Melissa’s honours project focused on handwriting research using standardised handwriting assessments for school aged children. She has always had a passion for working with children, with experience throughout both her personal and professional life. Melissa is enthusiastic about, and committed to,  using evidence based approaches in order to support the participation and engagement of children in meaningful life roles. Fun facts about Mel: She loves all things adventure and can’t live without chocolate!

Mel has completed courses including:

  • The ABCD’s of DCD & Printing Like a Pro (Jill Zwicker)
  • Foundations in Autism for Mental Health Professionals (Dr Belinda Ratcliffe)

Monisha Ingold

Registered Occupational Therapist
BHlthSc (Hons)/MOT

Monisha graduated from Western Sydney University with First Class Honours in her Bachelor of Health Science/Masters of Occupational Therapy. She was the recipient of the Occupational Therapy Australia Award for Clinical Fieldwork Excellence in her final year of studies. Monisha presented her honours research in 2017 at the Health Beyond Research and Innovation Showcase and the 5th NSW Aged Health Collaborative Forum. Monisha has a strong passion for working with children and families to support and maximise children’s development. Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, she worked as an English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teacher with children and adults in Australia, Japan and Georgia. Fun facts about Monisha: Monisha loves music and plays the piano. If she could, she would eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Monisha has completed courses including:

  • Getting Our Kids Organised: Strategies to Develop Executive Functioning Skills at School and at Home (Michelle Garcia Winner).

Courtney Burdekin

Registered Occupational Therapist
BOccThy

Courtney completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at the Australian Catholic University in 2017.  Since then, she has worked in an acute hospital and is now very enthusiastic about working with children, their parents and teachers in our local community. Courtney is particularly keen to match evidence from research with creative and enjoyable sessions for children and young people.  Fun Facts about Courtney: she loves to go fishing, enjoys baking and thinks dogs are the best pets.

Courtney has completed courses including:

  • New PossibilOTs (Occupational Therapy Helping Children)

Kelly Camilleri

Registered Occupational Therapist
MOccThySt

Kelly completed her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at The Australian Catholic University in 2016. She then went on to complete her Master of Occupational Therapy at the University of Queensland in 2019. She has experience working alongside children and families in a range of settings including community health clinics, schools and holiday group programmes. Kelly is actively committed to providing high quality, evidence-based practice and maintaining ongoing professional development. Kelly is passionate about working in collaboration to support children to overcome barriers which affect their ability to engage in everyday activities that are meaningful to them. Fun facts about Kelly: She loves the ocean, her puppy and exploring new places with her family and friends.

 


Emma Cole

Registered Occupational Therapist
BOccThy

Emma completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2019 at the Australian Catholic University. She has experience working with children in a variety of settings including clinics, holiday programs, community and school/day care. Emma is passionate about helping children to participate in meaningful life roles through approaches that are both engaging and evidence based. Fun facts about Emma: Emma loves baking and hanging out with her cheeky cat Alice.


Emily Burke

Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath (Hons) CPSP MSPA

Emily completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology with first class honours at the Australian Catholic University in 2018. She has experience working with children in a variety of settings including schools and community health. She is committed and passionate about evidence-informed practice and ongoing professional development. Emily enjoys working in partnership with children and adolescents, and their parents and teachers to ensure that therapy caters to the needs and interests of each child. She is enthusiastic about creating positive learning experiences for children and adolescents to improve their participation in school and at home. Emily is interested in being an active contributor to the evidence base of her profession.

Emily has completed courses including:

  • Key Word Sign Basic Workshop (2016)
  • Paediatric Feeding and Swallowing Education eLearning Course (2017)

Jessica Lang

Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath CPSP MSPA

Jess completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology at the Australian Catholic University in 2018. She has experience providing services to children who have learning difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorder within community health, school and hospital settings. Jess is dedicated to her own ongoing professional development, and to providing evidence-based practice. Jess’ commitment is a focus on home and school centred goals through establishing and expanding connections with parents and teachers. Her passion is creative and fun engagement with children enabling them to participate and learn.

Jess has completed courses including:

  • Key Word Sign Workshop (2016)
  • Paediatric Feeding and Swallowing Education eLearning Course (2017)

Patricia Velasco

Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath (Hons)

Patricia graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Speech and Hearing in 2015. She then went on to complete her Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) at the University of Newcastle in 2019 and is a certified member of Speech Pathology Australia. Patricia has experience working with children in a variety of settings including community health clinics and schools across rural and metropolitan locations. Patricia is passionate about all areas of speech pathology but has a keen interest in early language, speech sound disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. She strives to utilise the best current evidence in all aspects of her practice and actively seeking opportunities for professional development. Patricia strongly believes in the importance of  working collaboratively with families and functional goal setting to assist children in achieving their full potential.


Antonia Younan

Speech Language Pathologist
BSpPath CPSP MSPA

Antonia graduated from the Australian Catholic University with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology in 2019. She has experience providing services to children and adolescents in a variety of settings including primary schools and community health clinics. Antonia strives to work in close collaboration with children and adolescents, and with their families and teachers, in order to ensure that therapy goals are targeting their individual needs and interests. She is passionate about engaging children and adolescents through positive learning experiences in order to help them improve their communication and participation in both social and academic environments. Antonia is dedicated to her own professional development and is actively seeking opportunities to expand her knowledge and skill-set.


Nadine Stutchbury, Karen Fleming, Colleen Tucker and Josie Fenech

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.

Interesting facts about

·         Nadine: She loves riding her horse (Bella) and her favourite colour is blue.
·         Karen: She likes music, reading and sharing delicious meals with friends.
·         Colleen: She likes race cars, playing with LEGO, taking photos and baking bread.
·         Josie: She likes walking her dog Millie, watching movies and travelling.

Nadine 2Nadine Stutchbury
KarenKaren Fleming
Colleen Tucker
Josie Fenech