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Our Multidisciplinary Therapy Team

Our family has been lucky enough to attract a brilliant multidisciplinary therapy team, who we like to think of as our work family!

Please let us introduce you:

HELEN NICHOLSON – Managing Director and Physiotherapist

With a background as a Physiotherapist (treating humans and animals), Helen is also our Managing Director

Helen – more commonly known to her clients as Aunty Helen – prides herself on not being ‘normal’; she has three physiotherapy degrees and thrives on helping children, animals and everyone else in their families, too!  Having been a physiotherapist for (slightly) more than half her life, Helen knows the true value of a multidisciplinary therapy team and loves mentoring our team with a transdisciplinary approach.  At work, Helen juggles her time between treating, teaching and writing – she is a Visiting Professor at Yamazaki Gakuen University in Japan, reviews research papers for international scientific journals, marks Masters and PhD theses, and writes textbooks.

When not mopping up floods or eating chocolate, Helen might be found indulging in her hobby of home “improvements” or putting her ADHD to good use by studying (she’s half-way through both a Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology) as well as looking after her 4 kids (3 of whom are NDIS participants), husband, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 7 chickens.

RUTH – Practice Manager

With a background in business administration and dog sports, Ruth is our Practice Manager

Ruth is an energetic and conscientious administrator who has qualifications in both childcare and business administration. Ruth’s journey to joining the Whole Family Team was a little different to most – she was a long-term client, having worked very hard with Helen and the team to teach her dog, Ollie, to walk again after a catastrophic spinal cord injury.

When not at work, Ruth loves to spend time with her family (both human and furry). Ruth and her dog, Link, are part of the Thunderdogs T1 Flyball Team that has won the Australian National Flyball Championships many times and are the current Australian Record holders!

Mental Health

KIRSTI – Counsellor

With a background in law, Kirsti is our fabulous Counsellor

Kirsti, having previously earned a law degree and worked in the insurance industry, is a woman of many talents. She is a problem solver who is not afraid to stand up for what our clients need, making her a formidable ally and advocate. With children of her own ranging in age from preschooler to working adult, Kirsti truly understands the importance of helping the whole family as an interconnected unit, which is the basis of the parent coaching program she runs. Kirsti finds that, by helping parents learn about attachment styles, parenting styles and concepts like co-regulation, parents can learn the skills to better support themselves and their children – their whole family.

When not at work, Kirsti enjoys spending time with family, gardening and has been bitten by the home renovation bug!

Occupational Therapy

SARAH  – Senior Occupational Therapist and OT Clinical Team Leader

With a background in Paediatric Occupational Therapy, Sarah is one of our talented Senior Occupational Therapists and leads our OT Clinical Team.

Sarah enjoys working with children, adults and families with various difficulties and needs. She loves working alongside families and children to help recognise their potential and grow developmentally. With a Bachelor in Occupational Therapy from the University of Sydney, she has experience working in community and in-school settings. Sarah is trained in Sensory Processing Disorder and has received post-graduate training in Developing Pretend Play Skills in Children, Traffic Jam in My Brain for regulation in children, Social Thinking and Zones of Regulation. Sarah facilitates our Secret Agent Society Program, a social skills group program for children and adolescents.

When she is not at work, Sarah can often be found snacking, as she loves to explore and find good food! She is also looking forward to getting back to exploring new places around Australia.

ALeX – Occupational Therapist

With a background in Physical Education and as an Allied Health Assistant, Alex is one of our fabulous Occupational Therapists.

Alex has a degree in Health and Movement (Sport) from the Australian College of Physical Education and a degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Sydney University. Alex has worked with children and adults in his previous employment selling footwear, so has been practicing shoe lacing for a long time before becoming an OT. Alex loves working with the paediatric population and has an interest in handwriting and gross motor development. Always passionate to help children achieve their goals and aspirations, Alex will put his best foot forward to improve his knowledge and skills to best support those who need it.

When not at work, Alex is either off training for his next Ultimate Frisbee trip or relaxing watching television and eating chocolate. NEWSFLASH – Alex has recently been selected in the Australian Crocs frisbee team and will travel to compete in Alabama in the US in July!

JO- Senior Occupational Therapist

With a background in Aged Care, Jo is one of our talented Senior Occupational Therapists

Jo graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from Western Sydney University. She has worked with clients across the lifespan but has found her heart in paediatrics! Jo has completed training in the following areas: Astronaut Training: A Sound Activated Vestibular-Visual Protocol; Feeding Therapy: A Sensory-Motor Approach; Hey Warrior: Anxiety Explained; MNRI: Dynamic and Postural Reflex Pattern Integration; and others. What Jo loves most about being an OT is being able to help and see her clients grow to become more independent in their everyday lives!

When not at work, Jo enjoys exploring local cafes and restaurants. She is also looking forward to getting back into travelling!

RILEY – Occupational Therapist and Soon-To-Be Mum of Twins!

With a background as a Journalist, Riley is one of our inspiring Occupational Therapists.

Riley had the privilege of travelling to lots of Australia’s regional and remote locations when, in a previous life, she worked as a travel writer and editor in the publishing industry. This experience gave her a particular fondness for the natural beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness. Having since gone on to complete a Master of Occupational Therapy from The University of Sydney, Riley has found her passion working in paediatrics. She loves the experience of walking alongside her clients as they develop the skills to participate more fully in their lives. Riley has completed post-graduate courses in DIRFloortime—an intervention that is used to promote an individual’s development; The Traffic Jam in My Brain—for regulation in children; Learn to Play—for developing pretend play skills; and others.

When she’s not at work, Riley enjoys taking her dog, Gaston, for walks, going hiking and camping, and going for brunch with friends. We think it’s lucky Riley’s passion is paediatrics, as she’s about to have twins!

REBECCA – Occupational Therapist (Currently on Parental Leave)

Congratulations, Rebecca, on the recent birth of your gorgeous baby!

Physiotherapy

EMMA– Senior Physiotherapist and Physio Clinical Team Leader

With a background as a Physiotherapist in the NHS in Britain, Emma is one of our Physiotherapists (working with people and pets) and serves as our Physio Clinical Team Leader 

Emma did her physio training in the UK, where she gained 20 years’ experience in the National Health Service in musculoskeletal conditions, paediatrics and disabilities. She loves her job and likes to make physio sessions as fun as possible (for her, as well as the clients!). Emma is a genius with an acupuncture needle and also acquired qualifications in dog massage before moving to Australia 8 years ago. Emma’s thirst for knowledge continued upon arriving in Australia; as well as having great fun swapping knowledge with Helen, Emma has also been studying an accredited qualification in animal physiotherapy & a certificate IV in teaching, which will enable her to teach the nationally accredited courses we have been developing here at Whole Family Health! Emma has treated dogs for several years now and no dog is allowed to leave without feeling better and getting a treat (or 10…) She gets great satisfaction from relieving animals’ pain and enabling them to live their best lives, whether that’s through physio treatment, exercise prescription or fitting doggie wheelchairs.

When Emma’s not at work, she’s often found stalking the local dog parks for puppies to pat or visiting her beloved nieces!

KRISTY – Physiotherapist

With a background in Medical Reception, Kristy is one of our amazing Physiotherapists 

Kristy graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. She is an enthusiastic individual who loves working with children, adults, and families to achieve their goals. Kristy enjoys working in a multidisciplinary team to ensure optimal outcomes are achieved for each patient.

When not at work, you can find Kristy spending time with family and friends or cuddling her dog, Bailey (who she has been treating following recent cruciate surgery).

Speech Pathology

KARI – Senior Speech Pathologist and Acting Speech Clinical Team Leader

With a background as a Speechie in the United States, Kari is one of our fabulous Senior Speech Pathologists and our Acting Speech Clinical Team Leader

Kari has recently joined us from the United States, having spent the better part of a year trying to get here during the pandemic! Kari has extensive experience providing communication intervention with children in early childhood and primary school. She loves to work with other specialists to ensure the growth of the whole child and can be relied upon to work collaboratively, using her vast knowledge and skills to help troubleshoot any issues our multidisciplinary team encounters.

When not at work, Kari enjoys reading a good book, swimming and exploring the Australian outdoors with her husband and two daughters.

ANDREA – Senior Speech Pathologist

With a background as a Speechie in the United States, Andrea is one of our talented Senior Speech Pathologists 

Andrea is another of our Speechies “imported” from the USA and, like Kari, spent the better part of a year trying to get to us during the pandemic! Now that she has finally arrived, Andrea has wasted no time in learning how to pronounce vowels in an Australian accent, as well as teaching those of our clients struggling to produce the /r/ sound to try saying it with an American accent! (It also works to try talking like a pirate – give it a go yourself!)

When not at work, Andrea spends time exploring Sydney’s beaches and psyching herself up to learn to drive on the “wrong” side of the road.

CHRISTINE – Senior Speech Pathologist

Having lived in Tasmania and Newcastle, Christine is now one of our Senior Speech Pathologists

Christine brings a lot of disability experience to our team and is a strong advocate of functional communication, including AAC.

When not at work, Christine spends time with her adorable pet rat, Ron, who likes to snuggle up on the couch!

SARAH-JANE – Senior Speech Pathologist

With a background in Communication and Behaviour, Sarah is one of our Senior Speech Therapists and Multidisciplinary Feeding Therapist

Sarah-Jane is a speech pathologist who completed her degree at the Australian Catholic University. She developed her passion for working with children and using multimodal communication while working with children with cerebral palsy. Sarah-Jane believes that everyone deserves the right to communicate and is passionate about developing the right communication method for all her clients. She has a keen interest in high-tech communication systems and communication programs such as LAMP: Words for Life. Sarah-Jane has completed several additional evidence-based courses such as PROMPT therapy; Hanen: It Takes Two to Talk; and the SOS Approach to Feeding.

When not at work, Sarah-Jane’s passions are travelling, going to see live music, spending time with her friends and family, and training her two kelpies, Bowie and Angie.

LAURA – Senior Speech Pathologist and Speech Clinical Team Leader (Currently on Parental Leave)

Congratulations, Laura, on the recent birth of your gorgeous baby!

Students

COURTNEY – Speech Pathology Student

With a background as a Speech Pathology Student, Courtney is one of our Level 2 Allied Health Assistants

Courtney has been a real find for the team as she is always willing to help in any way she can. Whether it’s laminating resources or visiting preschools with our qualified speech therapists, Courtney is always the first to put her hand up. Courtney comes to us with over six years experience working with children in many capacities, tutor for children with learning disabilities, party host and volunteer therapy assistant at Riding for the Disabled. With her ability to learn new skills quickly, Courtney has already added a lot of skills to her “speechie toolbox” and can’t wait until she graduates and joins our team on a full-time basis!

When not at work, Courtney can usually be found outside on adventure with her friends, making a mess in the kitchen with her family, or curled up with a book and her puppy, PJ.

GLORIA – Occupational Therapy Student

With a background as an Occupational Therapy Student, Gloria is one of our Level 2 Allied Health Assistants

Gloria has only recently joined us but has wasted no time in demonstrating that she’s willing to go above and beyond at any time.

When not at work, Gloria is kept very busy completing her third year occupational therapy studies!

JENNIFER – Occupational Therapy Student

Jennifer sits in the lycra

With a background as a Graphic Artist, Jen is one of our Level 2 Allied Health Assistants

Jennifer has over 10 years’ experience in the printing industry as a graphic artist and has spent the last 8 years in pre-OT training, AKA raising her two children! Jen also has experience volunteering with children’s reading groups and managing the local soccer team, and studies part-time at university whilst juggling a family and working here at Whole Family Health.

When not at work, Jennifer spends much of her time on her fitness, health and walking the streets in her community looking for 10c recyclables with her family and their dogs. She also has a great love of trying to hide and/or add as many vegetables into her family’s diet as possible. Unfortunately adding avocado and spinach to her homemade ice-cream is a deal breaker for them, but it tastes amazing…to her, anyway!

LAUREN – Occupational Therapy Student

With a background as an Occupational Therapy Student, Lauren is one of our Level 2 Allied Health Assistants

SARAH-LOU – Occupational Therapy Student

With a background as an Occupational Therapy Student, Sarah-Lou is one of our Level 2 Allied Health Assistants

Sarah-Lou is one of those calm people who gets in and helps and makes it look easy while she does it!

When not at work or studying, Sarah-Lou likes exploring country and coastal towns, treasure hunting at market places, socialising, planning holidays and eating chocolate.

VIOLET- Allied Health Assistant

With a background as a Master of Professional Psychology Student, Violet is one of our fabulous Level 2 Allied Health Assistants

Violet is the quiet achiever, who uses her love of Harry Potter to cast spells on children who struggle with challenging behaviour. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Professional Psychology and working towards becoming a registered psychologist.

When not at work, Violet enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, reading books and completing puzzles.

The Reception and Admin Peeps

GEORDAN – Internal Auditor and Weekend Receptionist

Having finished school and being the owners’ son, Geordan is our Internal Auditorand Weekend Receptionist

Geordan has grown up with one parent and three siblings who have autism, which has taught him a certain love of rules and routines. As a result, he’s just the man for jobs like auditing our first aid kits, ensuring our fire policies and procedures are up to standard, and keeping our COVID-19 records accurate. He also holds the fort at reception on Saturdays so our full-time team can have a well-deserved rest.

When not at work, Geordan has recently begun a Bachelor of Nursing at Western Sydney University, which he hopes will lead to a career in paramedicine.

KATHLEEN – Reception Team Member

Kathleen is one of our friendly receptionists and administration officers

Kathleen has recently moved to the area and has brought with her several years of experience in a clinic similar to ours.

SKYE – Reception Team Member

Skye is one of our fabulous receptionists and administration officers

Skye joined us late in 2021 and has proven herself to be a natural at keeping reception running ship-shape!

CAYLA – Psychology Student 

With a background tutoring children with disabilities and working as a Therapy Assistant and Behaviour Support Practitioner, Cayla is now our Payroll Perfecter

Cayla has a particular love for children with complex needs and is therefore studying to become a qualified psychologist, specialising in paediatrics. While completing her Honours year this year, Cayla has reduced her hours so she can focus on studying and fixing the mistakes Helen’s made while doing payroll.

Cayla has a profound love for animals, so she can often be found studying with her pet bird on her shoulder and her dog patiently waiting for her to throw the ball (again).

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