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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 and Family Coordinator. Our Family Coordinator works closely with families to help them navigate funding pathways and provides information to assist them while using our service. 

The CliniKids team works very closely with the internationally-renowned Autism Research Team at Telethon Kids Institute to collaborate on clinical research projects and translate interventions into clinical practice.

Andrew Whitehouse: Director

 

Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research at the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia. He is Chief Research Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. He has also been awarded Australia’s most prestigious scientific award, the Eureka Prize.

At the Telethon Kids Institute he leads a large team that use a wide range of methodologies to investigate the early identification and intervention of children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, including molecular genetics, neuroscience, endocrinology, behavioural experiments and clinical trials. Andrew has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $35 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called ’60 Second Science”, which has been viewed by over 1 million people. 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.

Gemma Upson: Clinical Services Manager

 

Gemma is the Clinical Services 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 world-wide for its’ clinical expertise and research into clinical outcomes.

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.

 

Georgia Cunningham: Clinical Lead 

 

Georgia is a Speech Pathologist with a passion for supporting people with a disability, in particular autism Spectrum Disorders.  In addition to her Speech Pathology qualification, she holds a Masters Degree in Autism Studies, during which she investigated inclusive education for students with Autism and the biggest predictors of successful inclusion in mainstream settings. 

Georgia has a strong interest in promoting autism awareness and understanding in the wider community which has lead to a number of community presentations including autism awareness and support strategies for the general public,  Department of Education, Catholic Education Office, Western Australian Police Force and the West Australian Dental Health Association. She has also presented at the Speech Pathology Australia conference and AGOSCI. 

She has a particular interest in complex communication, including the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems for people with Autism across the lifespan.  She has previously worked in a specialist AAC team, prescribing and implementing communication systems for people with autism across the lifespan. Georgia is accredited in a number of treatment approaches such as Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), Preschool Autism Communication Therapy (PACT), KONTAKT, Hanen programs, Triple P Stepping Stones and diagnostic tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). In her role as Clinical Lead, Georgia co-leads and supports the clinical team and oversees the development of clinical activities. 

 Bronwyn Carrigg: Clinical Lead

 

Bronwyn is a speech pathologist with over 20 years’ experience treating children with developmental communication disorders. This includes diagnosing and treating children with autism; as well as children who have speech, language, and social communication disorders without an autism diagnosis. Bronwyn completed her undergraduate training at Curtin University and her PhD at the University of Sydney. Her PhD focused on children with severe and persistent speech disorders and examined communication disorders that run-in families.

Bronwyn has worked in the Perth, the UK, and interstate. Most recently, she worked at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network for 16 years as deputy manager of the speech pathology department. Prior roles include Child Development Services (Rheola St), autism specialist services, and language development centres.

Bronwyn’s clinical and research background assists in understanding the research on effective treatments for children with autism and other disorders.  Bronwyn has training in a range of manualised treatment approaches such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), Preschool Autism Communication Therapy (PACT), as well as diagnostic tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). Current research interests include a group-intervention pilot for 9-14-month-old infants showing early behaviours associated with autism, as well as older children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (dyspraxia). In her role as Clinical Lead, Bronwyn co-leads and supports the clinical team and oversees the development of clinical activities. 

Regina Ledo: Registered Psychologist

 

Regina Ledo is a Psychologist with over 25 years’ experience in working with individuals with autism and their families.  Regina studied at Murdoch University; while undertaking post-graduate studies she joined the landmark Murdoch University Young Autism Project and began her career in supporting individuals with autism. She spent 12 years at the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) – a private, center-based educational program for individuals with autism, the majority of these as a trainer in the institute’s early intervention, education, and adult programs.  This included a five-year appointment as a Teaching Parent at one of in the institute’s group homes, where she resided with her family and five young adults with ASD. 

Sarah Pillar: Speech Pathologist

  Sarah has broad previous experience working in both metropolitan Perth as well as regional surrounds. She has provided assessment and intervention for families with a diverse range of needs, with a focus on tailoring services to the unique and practical needs of an individual and their family.

Sarah has enthusiasm for applying research evidence into clinical practice in whatever area she is working in; whether it be literacy, feeding, speech sound production, language or behaviour management. Sarah has experience providing comprehensive communication assessments, as well as diagnostic assessments for ASD. She loves working directly with children, but also loves working with parents and supporting them to enhance their skills in understanding and teaching their child.

Sarah participates in ongoing learning and development and is trained in the delivery of Preschool Autism Communication Therapy (PACT), Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), Level 4 Group Stepping Stones Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, SOS Approach to Feeding, Treatment of Childhood Apraxia using Rapid Syllable Transition Treatment (ReST), Letters and Sounds and Sounds-Write. Sarah is completing her PhD focusing on communication development in the first 3 years of life.

Kate Sorensen: Family Coordinator

  Kate has joined the team with an extensive history in administration and family co-ordinating as well as working alongside children and their families in clinical and educational settings. Kate holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences and has also trained as a Behavioural Therapist. Throughout her many different professional roles Kate remained passionate about working alongside children with autism and their families, leading to her involvement with the Autism Research Team and now CliniKids.

Kate’s role as Family Coordinator is to support families through the process and help them to navigate available services, funding sources and available resources.