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Our team is passionate about working with families to provide them with the best evidence-based approaches in a highly supportive environment, to ensure children reach their full potential. Our team has a wealth of experience in working with children in the early years – particularly children with autism. 

The CliniKids therapy team is made up of qualified health professionals including Speech Pathologists, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists. Our therapy team is supported by a Clinical Services Manager, Operations Manager and a Client Support Team to help families navigate funding pathways and provides information to assist them while using our service. 

The clinical team works alongside internationally-renowned researchers at CliniKids to collaborate on research projects and translate interventions into clinical practice.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse

CliniKids Director 

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Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research and the Director of CliniKids at the Telethon Kids Institute. He is also Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia, Research Strategy Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and the current president of the Australasian Society for Autism Research.

 

At the Telethon Kids Institute he leads a large team that seeks to find new and innovative ways to help each and every child on the autism spectrum reach their full potential. Andrew has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $60 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called ’60 Second Science”, which has had over 2 million views. He is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, and he chaired the committee that generated Australia’s first national guideline for autism diagnosis.

Andrew has published one edited book with his twin-brother (Ben), and a popular science book that examined the science behind some of the myths of pregnancy and child development (Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart?). He has also been awarded a Eureka Prize for his research, and is the youngest fellow ever elected to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Prior to coming to the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Gemma Upson

CliniKids General Manager

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Gemma is the General Manager of CliniKids, responsible for the strategic creation and development of CliniKids, along with the operational management. Gemma has extensive experience in running clinical services for all ages in private, public and research settings.

Through her previous role as Head of Clinical Services at Ear Science Institute, which she held for 12 years, she specialised in the niche audiology areas of hearing implants (including cochlear implants), vestibular, and paediatric diagnostic services.  Over her tenure this unit was established, developed and expanded to be the third largest hearing implant program in Australia and recognised worldwide for its clinical expertise and research.

Gemma holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Audiology, both from University of Western Australia. Gemma holds an Adjunct Research Fellow position in the School of Surgery, University of Western Australia and is a member of the National Disability Services’ Clinical and Allied Health Subcommittee. She is passionate about leading and developing high performing teams and systems to deliver exceptional care to children and families in the health and disability industry.

Sarah Pillar

Integration Project Manager

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Sarah is the Integration Project Manager at CliniKids. Sarah has a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Hons) from Edith Cowan University, and is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist. She is currently undertaking her PhD studies at the University of Western Australia. Sarah’s clinical work led her to a passion for working with children with Autism, particularly within early intervention.

Sarah joined the Autism research team in 2017, seeking to blend clinical knowledge with high quality research. Sarah has been involved with a number of research studies within the team, and has also worked clinically as a Speech Pathologist within the clinical service. Her career focus is to contribute to finding real-word, effective interventions to support families with children developing differently.

Theresa Pastor

Clinical Services Manager

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As the Clinical Services Manager at CliniKids, Theresa is responsible for leading and developing excellence in clinical services and cultivating a productive, efficient and safe environment for the clinic staff and clients.

Theresa has over 30 years of clinical experience; 18 in the disability sector – initially as a Speech Pathologist. She has extensive experience across all levels of therapy provision, clinical governance, and management. In her previous role as Senior Clinical Manager of one of the largest disability therapy providers in Australia, she successfully implemented positive change management strategies and was recognised for her ability to collaborate, ensure the highest quality of therapy provision, and maintain staff engagement. 

Theresa has a strong background in people management and coaching, with extensive experience managing large teams and complex therapy provision in a range of environments.

Theresa holds a Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Therapy (Hons) from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, a Frontline Management Diploma, through MODAL, and is a qualified Life Coach, through Beyond Success Canberra. She has a particular passion for empowering people to live their best life.

Leah Meehan

Operations Manager

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Leah is the Operations Manager of CliniKids, responsible for ensuring high quality of care and services to CliniKids families and research participants. Leah’s role is to ensure that the clinic and its services operate within a framework of continuous improvement, with effective use of resources and an efficient administrative support teams supporting families and clinicians.

Leah is passionate about ensuring families have ease of access to services and information, and that operational processes at the Clinic enable this, removing challenges where possible and making the customer experience one that is both positive and enjoyable. 

Leah was with her previous organisation in the not-for-profit sector for almost a decade, and led service delivery to a very high standard, making significant and impactful changes in service models along the way. Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Anthropology, and a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. She brings with her a sincere interest in the customer experience, in helping people who are facing challenges and in ongoing and continuous business improvements that will contribute to social impact.

Claire Shackleton

Program Manager

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Claire is the CliniKids Program Manager, managing a large multidisciplinary research team who are focused on working with children with developmental delays and/or autism. Claire is inspired by the families and children who participate in the CliniKids research projects and is driven by a team of experienced health professionals working towards the goal of ensuring that all children on the autism spectrum grow into happy and healthy kids.

Having worked with universities and health departments, Claire has extensive experience in clinical research and project management in the development and implementation of research projects across respiratory, infectious disease and development delay. Prior to joining CliniKids, Claire managed an international platform trial investigating the best treatment regimens to maximise health outcomes and minimise toxicity in the treatment of Mycobacterium abscessus.

Claire has a Bachelor of Science from Edith Cowan University with Honours in Medical Science from the University of Western Australia and was awarded her PhD from the University of Queensland.

 

 

Amanda Lewis

Communications Specialist

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Amanda is the Communications Specialist at CliniKids, responsible for all the marketing activities for the team.

Amanda is a qualified journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the communications industry. Most of this experience was obtained in WA's biggest and busiest newsroom at The West Australian newspaper. She has also worked as a media consultant at Curtin University and joined the Telethon Kids Insitute in 2017. Amanda joined the CliniKids team in early 2021. 

 

 Dr Gail Alvares

Senior Research Fellow

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Gail is a senior researcher in the CliniKids Autism Research Team, with a passion for improving mental health outcomes for children on the autism spectrum and their families. She has been involved in research coordinating a national autism biobank (the Australian Autism Biobank) and has led research dispelling the inaccuracy of the term “high functioning autism”, yielding significant media attention internationally. She was nominated by ABC’s Radio National as a “Top 5 Under 40” scientist in Australia in 2016 and is passionate about communicating science to the community.

As part of the Autism Research Team, Gail previously coordinated the Australian Autism Biobank, developed and tested an iPad game (‘Frankie and Friends’) for children with autism, and is currently leading a study of predictors of outcomes in adolescents and adults diagnosed on the WA Autism Register.

Marie Rodatz

Clinical Lead, Occupational Therapy

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Marie is an Occupational Therapist with 20 years’ experience working with children with autism. She holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. For her Master’s degree, she researched the process of collaborative consultation between teachers and Occupational Therapists working with children with autism.

Marie has gathered experience as an Occupational Therapist in Germany, Ireland, the US and Australia. During her career, Marie has been working with pre-school and school-aged children with autism and developmental delay.

Marie is trained in a number of treatment approaches e.g. Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP), and she is a certified practitioner in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and the Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports (SCERTS) model. Marie enjoys having fun with children in direct sessions and working collaboratively with parents throughout the process. 

Aria May

Clinical Lead, Speech Pathology

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Aria is a Speech Pathologist who has over 10 years’ experience working within paediatric community, school-based and hospital settings in Perth and in London. Aria has a passion for working in the disability sector, and uses a family-centred approach to empower families and support children to reach goals that are meaningful to them.

Aria has worked with babies, children and young adults that have a range of developmental differences and particularly loves working with children with autism. She enjoys working with neurodiverse populations who challenge her thinking and see unique perspectives in the world.

Aria is trained in a number of approaches and assessment tools including iBASIS, the SCERTS® Model for Autism, Intensive Interaction, Hanen, Verve Child Interaction, JASPER, Specialist Infant Dysphagia Accreditation and autism diagnostics.

The best part of Aria’s work is supporting children and families achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

Mei'en Lim

Clinical Lead, Psychology

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Mei’en is a Clinical Psychologist (PhD) and has experience of working with children and adults across the lifespan. Prior to being part of the team at CliniKids, she spent over a decade conducting developmental assessments with children born extremely premature and extremely low birthweight. She has also worked in the Child Development Service and in private sector.

Mei’en fills her nerd cup when working with different research studies and enjoys working with a variety of presentations. She uses a person-centred framework in all therapy settings and is experienced in working systemically with families and parent-child dyads.

Abby Chee

Senior Clinical Psychologist

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Abby is a Clinical Psychologist with an interest in working with children and families. She started working with children with autism over 10 years ago. Abby’s experience in working with children includes providing assessments and interventions in a variety of settings including Child Development Service, Neurosciences Unit, Multisystemic Therapy – Specialised CAMHS, and private sector autism services. She has worked with children presenting with a variety of concerns including autism, global developmental delay, anxiety, emotion regulation, and oppositional defiance.

Abby enjoys helping children with emotional and behavioural challenges and helping parents to support their children’s development and mental health. She has many years of experience as an autism diagnostician. She is trained in the use of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Video Interaction for Promoting Positive Parenting, Circle of Security Parenting, and applied behavioural analysis.

Abby is closely involved in autism research. She has worked on research into early intervention prior to diagnosis of autism and intervention for anxiety in children with autism. She is passionate about using evidence-based practice in conjunction with clinical skills to provide support that is tailored to your child and family.

Sally Grauaug

Senior Speech Pathologist

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Sally is a specialist Speech Pathologist who is passionate about working with children with a range of abilities, including children with Autism. She has extensive experience in providing early intervention and school age services as part of multidisciplinary teams in Perth and London. Sally believes in supporting children to achieve meaningful and functional goals and prides herself in working in partnership with families to support children to reach their full potential.

Sally holds a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Hons) from Curtin University, and is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist. Sally is trained in a range of approaches such as SCERTS, PACT, Hanen, Lego-Based Therapy, Intensive Interaction, PECS, Social Thinking and Positive Behaviour Support. She is committed to delivering services in innovative ways and providing evidence-based services to children and their families in Western Australia.

Rebecca Eaton

Senior Clinical Psychologist

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Rebecca is a Senior Clinical Psychologist who is passionate about supporting families in a warm and empathic manner. Rebecca is skilled in providing family-focused interventions to support children with autism to improve their emotional regulation from an attachment based and systemic approach.  

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Children and Family Studies) and Master's in Clinical Psychology and has been working with families in both a clinic and community settings for over 10 years. By developing a strong therapeutic alliance with children and families, coupled with evidence-based practice, Rebecca aims to develop therapeutic goals which are in collaboration with the family and aimed at improving quality of life and overall functioning.

Marisa Di Lorenzo

Senior Speech Pathologist

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Marisa Di Lorenzo is a Speech Pathologist who has worked in the disability sector for over 15 years across a range of settings and age groups from early years to adulthood. She is passionate about delivering client and family-centred practice and has a special interest in the areas of early intervention, autism, augmentative and alternative communication and mealtime intervention.

Marisa trained and worked in London before moving to Perth. She is trained in a number of approaches including; Preschool Autism Communication Therapy (PACT), Hanen Programs, Intensive Interaction, DIR/Floortime, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), SOS approach to feeding.

Claire Perrozzi

Speech Pathologist

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Claire is a Speech Pathologist who has experience providing early intervention and school-aged services within clinic and community settings, as part of a multidisciplinary team. She has a passion for working in the disability sector, particularly in the area of early intervention. Claire believes in working collaboratively families to support, in order to support children to realise their potential and build meaningful relationships with people.   

Claire holds a Master of Speech Pathology from Curtin University and a Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Western Australia. Claire is trained in a range of programs included Hanen, DIR Floortime, Sounds Write, SOS Approach to Feeding and Paediatric Autism Communication Therapy (PACT).

Dr Jess Reynolds

Senior Project Coordinator

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As part of the Autism Research Team, Jess' research involves the use of EEG in young infants with a higher likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of autism to characterise brain development and assist in identification of imaging biomarkers that may predict a later diagnosis of autism or responsiveness to interventions.

Jess holds an honours degree in Science (UWA) and completed her doctoral research at the University of Western Australia on the neurological mechanisms associated with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Prior to joining the team, she undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary in the Developmental Neuroimaging Lab where her research was focused on brain development in early childhood and relationships with motor and reading development, as well as prenatal maternal factors, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

Maryam Boutrus

Senior Project Officer

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Maryam is a Senior Project Officer in the CliniKids Team working primarily on the CliniBank study. Maryam holds a double-major in psychology with first class honours and has completed her doctoral studies examining facial morphology in Autism Spectrum Conditions (University of Western Australia).

Maryam started with the team in 2015 as a PhD student working on the Australian Infant Communication and Engagement Study (AICES), and has since developed a keen enthusiasm for child health research.

Maryam is committed to contributing to positive outcomes for children and their families through rigorous and meaningful research.

 

Amy Deverell

Senior Project Officer

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Amy is a Senior Project Officer for the CliniKids autism research team. In this role, Amy coordinates the day to day recruitment, coordination and scheduling of participants for various projects. Amy enjoys setting up processes and procedures to enable a practical delivery of complicated projects.

Amy has extensive experience in coordination having worked in various administrative roles for over 20 years. She was the Professional Practice Coordinator for Education students at the University of Western Australia for over 12 years. She worked with thousands of students studying to be Secondary, Primary or Early Childhood teachers by sourcing appropriate practical placements at various time points for each student cohort. Amy built and formed many mutually beneficial partnerships and liaised with Principals and Teachers within schools across Western Australia.

Amy has a passion for assisting individuals and families to contribute to research and in turn to help them to benefit from the many opportunities we have available.

Samantha Rivers

Senior Project Officer

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Sam is a Senior Project Officer in the CliniKids Team working across various research projects. Sam holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) degree from the University of Johannesburg and a Master’s in Creative Writing from Kingston University, London.

She has nearly 20 years’ experience working in the community and in education with children and young adults in London and in Perth. Sam’s career experience generated her passionate interest in research being put into practice to facilitate effective early-intervention that will improve the lives of children with autism.

Sam feels privileged to work closely with children and their families as part of a team that endeavours, through excellence in research, to apply knowledge that will make a positive difference.

Debbie Eamer

Project Officer

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Debbie graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours. Has previous experience within a school environment working as an Administrator and an Education Assistant, supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Debbie Joined CliniKids in early 2020 with an interest in combining knowledge and practical experience, working across various research projects to help identify and improve outcomes for children with developmental disorders.

Storme-Louisa Will

Research Therapist

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Storme-Louisa is a Research Therapist working on the Preschool Autism Therapy (PATH) study. Storme-Louisa has a passion for working with children and their families. For the last 5 years, Storme-Louisa has been working as a therapy assistant in group and individual therapy sessions, in centre-based, school-based and home environments with children diagnosed with Autism. 

Storme-Louisa is excited to be apart of the CliniKids team and looks forward to using her practical experience to assist in research to improve evidence-based therapies here in Western Australia.

Alena Clark

Project Manager

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Alena is a Project Manager within the CliniKids team. In this role, Alena coordinates and oversees the day to day management of research projects. Alena holds a Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) degree from the University of Western Australia.

Alena started with the team in 2012, and has worked on a range of clinical trials, looking at Fish Oil supplementation in children with Autism, ipad based therapy applications and other interventions.

Georgina Earl

Research Assistant/Project Officer

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Georgina is a Research Assistant/Project Officer at CliniKids, working on research projects investigating the importance of development in the early years of life. Georgina holds a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) in Neuroscience and Physiology, from the University of Western Australia. Georgina also brings clinical research experience to the team, having worked for the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute on the WAVES study, investigating sleep apnoea and cardiovascular disease risk. She has a passion for better understanding neurodevelopment and factors that influence this process. Georgina is eager to use her experience to make a difference in the lives of children with developmental delays, as well as those that are typically developing. She is excited to contribute to a team that pursues research with a meaningful impact, which can be translated into clinical practice.

Briohny Dempsey

Project Officer

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Briohny is a Project Officer at CliniKids working in paediatric research. Briohny has a Master of Occupational Therapy from Curtin University and a Bachelor in Commerce and Science from UWA. Previously Briohny worked clinically providing early intervention for a Paediatric Caseload in both development and disability and within the ECEI branch of the NDIS.

Briohny joined the CliniKids research team in 2021 with a passion for translating research in evidence-based best practice into real world practice to provide the best outcomes for children, including the best information and support for families throughout their journey.

Kathi Roigers

Clinical Research Assessor

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Kathi is a Clinical Research Assessor in the CliniKids team primarily supporting the CUB Study in delivering developmental assessments. She is passionate about improving children’s wellbeing through research and helping to activate their own resources to thrive. Kathi holds a master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and wrote her thesis on the transmission of attachment in the context of maternal traumatisation.

Kathi worked in an early childhood intervention centre in Munich, Germany supporting children with developmental delays and disorders and their families focussing on a systemic approach, before joining the CliniKids team. She feels privileged to be part of a team that focuses on giving children the optimal start to their lives with research that can be directly transferred into clinical practice.

Emma Moon

Administration and Events Coordinator

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Emma supports the CliniKids Team with all aspects of administration and finance. Emma is responsible for the practical aspects of team operations including both internal and external relations and helping out with research and clinical needs.

Emma is passionate about ensuring a quality of life for everyone, without boundaries and understands the particular struggles every parent endures, aiming to lighten the load any way she can, especially for parents dealing with autism.  Her work history includes Allied Health Management, Training, Local Council and Finance. She has been with Telethon Kids Institute since 2017.

 

 

Tracy Storen

Client Support Officer

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Tracy is a Client Support Officer at CliniKids. She has more than 20 years of customer service experience and a background in allied health services. Tracy has extensive skills in administration including database management, record keeping, client management and customer support. She is here to support you with any enquires, appointment bookings, cancellations and rescheduling. She can also assist with financial accounts including NDIS, Medicare, HICAPS and EFTPOS. Tracy is passionate about building positive and productive relationships with families.

Nicki Williams

Client Support Officer

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Nicki is a Client Support Officer at CliniKids. She has more than 20 years' customer service and managerial experience in the aviation industry and allied health care.

Nicki is used to managing a busy reception with appointment bookings and rescheduling, client accounts, administrative tasks, and finance. She looks forward to supporting and assisting families with their CliniKids journey.

Amy Eaton

Client Support Officer

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Amy is a Client Support Officer at CliniKids. Amy has worked in various business administration and operations roles for the past few years, and before that, spent almost eight years working overseas on luxury private super yachts.

Amy is looking forward to being apart of the CliniKids family and getting to know the children and their families.

Celine Bollinger

Senior Administration Officer

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Celine is a Senior Administration Officer at CliniKids. She has worked in business administration within various roles and industries, ranging from customer support, facility management and executive support.  She also has experience in business travel and event management.

Celine has a passion for Health and Wellbeing and is looking forward to being part of the CliniKids team to support the Clinic in its growth to help as many children and families as possible.