Staff

The team at Plumtree are passionate about working with children and their families. They have qualifications in education, therapy and other fields. We value diversity in our team and Plumtree staff speak these community languages: Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Turkish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Hindi, Urdu, Bosnian, French and Malay.

 

 Andrea McDermott

andrea Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Master of Speech and Language Pathology

Andrea is a Speech Pathologist with experience working with children in early intervention and disability within the private health sector. Andrea enjoys working with families to support their child’s communication needs. She is passionate about supporting inclusion and participation in the community.

Annie Pokorny
Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)

Annie is a physiotherapist who has worked with adults before switching to the paediatric community, where her passion really lies. She has experience working with children who have a variety of physiotherapy needs, including particular experience with children who have hearing impairment and additional needs. Her main area of interest is working with babies but she enjoys working with children of any age.

Anthea Nagel
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B App Science (Occupational Therapy)

Anthea is an Occupational Therapist with international experience across public and private healthcare settings. She has worked with a diverse range of pediatric conditions including cerebral palsy, premature infants, developmental delay, Aids, acquired brain injuries, spinal cord injury, Kwashiorkor, sensory integration (autism, ADHD), developmental coordination disorder, epilepsy, mental impairment, blind and visual impairment, hearing impairments, learning difficulties, down’s syndrome, burn injuries, microcephaly, hydrocephaly and congenital abnormalities. Anthea has a passion to incorporate therapy goals into the daily life activities and routines of families and children. She enjoys working on improving developmental milestones, gross and fine motor coordination, positioning / seating, sensory integration and modulation, self regulation, visual perception, integration of reflexes, eye hand coordination and prescription of mobile and adaptive devices.

Brooke Mitchell
Brooke Mitchell
B App Science (Speech Pathology)

Brooke is a Speech Pathologist with experience working with children in disability and early intervention, community settings and the private sector. Her expertise is in Early Intervention, working with children 0 – 8 years, their families and the people around them, to help them develop to their full potential. She is also passionate about community development, and in running workshops and training events for parents and professionals.

Catherine Slawitschka

B App Science (Occupational Therapy)

Cathy is an Occupational Therapist with expertise in enabling families to develop the independence skills of their children including play and using their hands for everyday tasks such as dressing and eating. She is interested in sensory processing and equipment prescription. She feels privileged to work with children and their families.

Cathy Webb

Cathy studied physiotherapy at Curtin University in Perth before moving to Sydney more than 25 years ago to take up a position at the Children’s Hospital. She has worked  in the not for profit sector with children who have vision impairment and in her own pediatric private practice. She has particular interests in group programs and family-centred practice.

Dayna Ingram

B Speech Pathology, Hanen Certified

Dayna is a Speech Pathologist. Her areas of experience are early language development and working with children with additional needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and developmental delay. She is interested in working with families from culturally diverse backgrounds, feeding difficulties in young children, working with families to support children’s behaviour, key word sign and supporting inclusion in the community.

Elif Erdogan

Certificate IV in Community Services.

Elif is the Administration Officer at Plumtree. She is the first point of contact for many families, and takes a leading role in our initial visits. Amongst her many tasks she coordinates the newsletters and keeps information flowing in the organisation. Elif enjoys getting to know families and being available to respond to questions from families and staff.

Ellen Dubber
Ellen Dubber
Master of Education (Adult Education) and Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy)

Ellen is a paediatric physiotherapist. She had extensive experience working with families who have young children, to develop each child’s strength, balance, movement and motor planning. Ellen enjoys working in a key worker role within a trans disciplinary team. She is also interested in adult education and in promoting inclusion.

Filiz Kilic

B App Sci (Speech Pathology), Hanen qualified

Filiz is a speech pathologist. She is passionate about working with families, especially when they may have barriers to accessing services. She believes that everyone in our diverse community should have equal access to the services they need.

Giti Datt 
GitiBachelor of Arts (Psychology and Sociology), Master of Applied AnthropologyGiti is a social scientist with expertise in social innovation, inclusive education, community development and relationship building. She enjoys a variety of working environments including academic research, not-for-profits and startups, with a focus on understanding social issues and collaborating to find novel solutions. Giti also has particular interest in grassroots, community-led and user-led initiatives.

Hajar Chami-Batch

Master of Professional Accounting, B of Science in Mathematics

Hajar is the Accounts Officer at Plumtree. In addition to organising accounts and payroll, Hajar organises some of our key databases, including our waiting list. She assists families to manage their flexible funding packages. Hajar likes a challenge and enjoys working with numbers.

Hsiu-Wen Chang

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Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology)

Hsiu-Wen is a speech pathologist who is passionate about supporting inclusion and participation in the community. Her areas of experience are speech, language and literacy difficulties in children with developmental delay or disability. She enjoys working with children and families from culturally diverse backgrounds. Hsiu-Wen is fluent in Mandarin.

 

Isabel Le

Diploma of Community Services Work

Isabel is a Vietnamese family support worker whose strengths include providing individual and community support and community development and working with families with special needs where she uses bilingual, communication, networking and advocacy skills. She is especially interested in the inclusion of disadvantaged families by networking collaboratively with other service providers and in promoting cultural awareness in the community.

Ithia Farah

ItchiaAssoc. MAPS

BSc (Psyc) Hons- Clinical and Educational Licentiate Degree in Psychology (Brazil)

Ithia has over 20 years of expertise working with children with additional needs in Community Outreach.  She is keenly interested in actively support families to make well-informed decisions for themselves and inspire them to reach their full potential. Award-winning author of Children’s Activity Book – “Are We The Same?” to support national program of Inclusion of children with disability in Mainstream Schools

Jane Purcell
Jane.jpegB App Science Speech Pathology, Hanen Certified

Jane has worked as a speech pathologist for more than twenty-five in a range of settings including preschools, schools, not for profit agencies and community health. Her areas of interest are early communication development, Autism Spectrum Disorders, dyspraxia and working with school aged children.

Jodie Laughton

B App Science Speech Pathology and Hanen Certified

Jodie is a Speech Pathologist with expertise in early communication development, complex communication needs and working with families to help support their child’s communication needs. She is interested in mealtime management, supporting inclusive communities and facilitating early learning groups. She enjoys the Key Worker role.

Julie Cowmeadow

B Sc (Psyc) Hons, Dip. Ed. (Primary), B Speech Pathology, Hanen Certified

Julie is qualified in both Speech Pathology and teaching. She is experienced in delivering training to families to support communication and interaction, including Hanen parent programs. She has also focused on supporting children and families through transitions by working together on shared priorities. Julie’s area of interest is supporting the use of a range of communication strategies in the classroom.

Karen Fermin
B App Science (Occupational Therapy)

Karen is an Occupational Therapist whose areas of expertise include transition to school, toilet training and the development of a child’s hand skills for everyday tasks such as playing, feeding, dressing, writing and drawing. She is passionate about community art projects and dance, and interested in developing her skills in equipment prescription and water based play/therapy.

Kate Plaza
BAppSc (Occupational Therapy), DIR Floortime Certified Level C1
Kate is an Occupational Therapist who specialises in sensory processing and relationships. She is particularly interested in how children’s sensory processing impacts their abilities to calm themselves down, play with others and maintain relationships within their family. She is also interested in the impact of trauma on children’s development and child protection.

Kumari Taylor Kumari Taylor

Bachelor of Social Work

Kumari is an experienced Social Worker who has been working with families who have a child with additional needs for several years.  She has experience in the early stages of diagnosis and also down the track, supporting families in making well informed decisions.  She has particular interest in family-centred practice and working with families to help their child meet their full potential.

 

 

Liora Ballin

Liora Ballin 

Bachelor of Applied Science Speech Pathology (Honours); PhD

Liora Ballin is a speech pathologist with experience working with children with additional needs, including cerebral palsy and developmental delay. She enjoys working with families to support children’s communication needs. She has a particular interest in augmentative and alternative communication methods, emerging communication technologies, and communication interventions to support successful communication and participation in an inclusive society.

 

Lisa Ey

Bachelor of Speech Pathology & Grad Cert in Disability Studies

Lisa is a speech pathologist who has experience with speech, language and feeding development in children with a variety of developmental delays. She has worked with children and their families in clinic settings, in childcare, preschool, school, and in the home, and is interested in supporting children and their families to ensure access to the community around them.

 

 

 

 

Mana Ciuffardi

Certificate II in Auslan studies

Mana coordinates the Learning Together program, Plumtree’s website and our Facebook page.

Marg Aiken

Dip Teach, BA, Grad Cert in Professional Studies

Marg is a teacher with expertise in Autism, early childhood development and behaviour support. She is interested in the importance of play, childhood anxiety, the impact of sensory issues and families enjoying getting out into the community. She helps coordinate the Splash Together and Stay and Play groups and the Preschool.

Margaret Redmond
MargaretBachelor of Science ( Clinical Speech and Language Studies) Hanen Certified

Margaret is a speech pathologist with more than 24 years of experience working in Early Intervention Teams with families from diverse backgrounds . Margaret believes that all children can and do communicate. She is committed to working with families who have children with complex communication needs, to support children’s learning, participation and inclusion in their communities. Margaret is currently undertaking postgraduate study in the area of Complex Communication Needs.

Mariam Kourouche

mariamBachelor of Health Science/ Master of Occupational Therapy

Mariam is an Occupational Therapist who is passionate about working with children with varying levels of additional needs. She is interested in promoting inclusion of all children, particularly those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She enjoys teaching children vital, lifelong skills to encourage independence in self-help tasks.

Maryam Roghani

 

Master of Special Education with a focus on Autism, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA), Early Start Denver Model Therapist

Maryam has experience working with children and adults with a variety of strength and needs.  Her area of expertise is challenging behaviours and Positive Behaviour Support and she enjoys  working collaboratively with families and teams to create individualized Behaviour Support Plans. She is also trained in delivering early intervention programs to children with autism.

 

Melanie Cuzzillo

Melanie.jpeg 

Bachelor of Health Science (Speech Pathology).

I have experience working with children with disabilities and developmental delays, particularly those on the Autism Spectrum.  I am trained in the SOS approach to feeding. I have a particular interest in Autism, AAC and feeding difficulties.

 

Mrinalini Prasad

Bachelor of Occupational therapy

Mrinalini is an Occupational therapist.She has experience working in early intervention centres in India and Singapore and is passionate to work with children with physical disability. Her key areas of experience are motor skill development, toilet training and play skills.
She is interested to extend her knowledge in equipment prescription and home modification.

 

NicoleNicole Hyde-Giezekamp

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)

Nicole (or Nicky as she is known) has worked in the early childhood sector for the past 20 years. Her background is in teaching and directing in early childhood services,  and schools and for the past 10 years she has worked as a facilitator in the Inclusion and Professional Support Program assisting educators in mainstream children’s services with developing their inclusive practises. She is passionate about helping everyone within a child’s “village” so that they are able to best support each child, regardless of background or ability, to reach their potential and experience a joyful childhood.

Nina Kyte

B Ap Sc Occupational Therapy, Dip Teaching (Early Childhood)

Nina feels fortunate to have two qualifications, in Occupational Therapy and Early Childhood Teaching. She has strengths in play, school preparation and adult training. She is currently learning more about equipment prescription and sensory processing. Nina feels fortunate to work with families she always learns from parents and children.

dsc_0262 Paula

Bachelor of Health Care- Degree programme in Occupational Therapy (Finland)

Paula is an Occupational Therapist experienced working with children and young people with physical disabilities, visual impairments, leaning difficulties and developmental delays in variety of settings. She is passioned in helping every child to achieve their full potential and using a family centred approach to support children and their families. Paula is interested in extending her knowledge in sensory processing and behaviour management.

 

Olivia Green

dsc_0254Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology)

Olivia is a speech pathologist who has experience working in paediatrics, specifically with children with disabilities in educational settings. She enjoys working with a diverse range of families and is passionate about seeing families move towards achieving their goals. She has an interest in working with children who have complex communication needs and implementing Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems.

 

Robin Treloar

B.A. (Hons) Dip. Ed. (Special Education)

Robin is an early childhood special educator with over thirty years’ experience working with families to help their child’s development. She currently assists with management at Plumtree. She is particularly interested in early communication and in supporting families at the time of diagnosis. She enjoys the teamwork at Plumtree, and the opportunities to listen to families’ stories.

Robyn Adler
Robyn
Master of Clinical Counselling, Diploma of Shiatsu and Reflexology, JI III Iyengar Yoga Teacher,PACFARobyn is a psychodynamic clinical counsellor with experience of working with people from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. She has worked with groups and individuals for many years using her varied experience to assist people to their personal potential. Her passion is working with families to promote supportive environments for all members to flourish in. She is a Family Worker with Plumtree and also provides Shiatsu Massage to the Saturday Play Group families.

Shing Yee Chai 
Shing Yee Chai

Bsc (Psyc), Master of Speech and Language Therapy

Shing is a speech pathologist that is passionate about helping children reach their full potential while supporting the needs of families. She has experience supporting children with disabilities in New Zealand, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia. She is trilingual, fluent in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia.

 

Solveigh Olsen
BSc Occupational Therapy, Graduate Diploma Education (Primary)

Solveigh is dual trained with qualifications Occupational Therapy and Primary Education.  Solveigh has OT experience in assessment and intervention for children aged 2-18 years presenting with a full range of developmental concerns. She has worked across the Not for Profit and Private sectors in Western Australia and more recently New South Wales.

 She has a special interest in learning difficulties in relation to school participation and performance, including: fine and gross motor skills, visual perception, organisation, attention and concentration, social skills and sensory processing. Solveigh is also experienced in specialised equipment prescription, home modifications and working within a multidisciplinary team to address complex feeding difficulties. 

 

 

Sonia Wilkinson
Sonia

BSc Occupational Therapy

Sonia is an Occupational Therapist who has a keen interest in sensory processing and its impact on regulation and behavior. She also enjoys helping children to develop their fine motor, gross motor, visual perceptual, social and school readiness skills. Sonia is passionate about child development and feels privileged to work with families towards achieving their goals.

 

Susan Zicat

susie2

Bachelor of Social Work UNSW

Suzie is a Social Worker with many years of experience working with young children and their families.  She has a particular interest in supporting families around the time of diagnosis and ensuring that they are able to make well informed decisions. Suzie would like to provide every child and their family equal opportunity to reach their potential.
Sylvana Mahmic

Bed (Primary), Med (Special Education Integration), Doctoral Candidate

Sylvana is the CEO at Plumtree. She has worked for over twenty years in special education. Sylvana is an advocate for early childhood intervention through many roles, including Vice-President of Early Childhood Intervention Association. She is a member of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Independent Advisory Group. Sylvana is currently undertaking postgraduate research with a focus on individualised support and self-directed funding.

Tina Moisidis

Master of Speech and Language Pathology, Hanen Certified

Tina is a Speech Pathologist whose areas of expertise are developing language, social and play skills, using daily routines and play activities to develop language skills, improving clarity of speech and coaching families to support their child’s language development. She is trained to use the SOS program for fussy eaters and is interested in sensory processing difficulties.

Plumtree Preschool team

Hannah Watts

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)

Hannah is an Early Childhood Teacher who has experience in long day care, preschool and primary school settings. She is first Aid Trained, including asthma and anaphylactic. She enjoys working with young children and being part of each child’s journey and development. Hannah sees great importance in developing strong relationships with each child and family to best cater for their individual needs. She is passionate about promoting each child’s sense of identity.

 

 

 

 Emily Allen

Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood), Cert IV TAE (Training & Assessment)

Emily is an early childhood educator with a background in working with children with disabilities. She is also First Aid trained including epilepsy, asthma and anaphylaxis.

Emily believes in play based learning with a focus on attachment and Circle of Security. Emily enjoys adapting her style of teaching to suit the individual needs of the child in order to support inclusive education. Emily has experience in Positive Behaviour Support and Functional Analysis of Behaviour. Emily likes to develop strong relationships with family’s to ensure children feel safe and secure at preschool.

 

Ildiko Szabo

IldikoDiploma of Children Services

Ildiko is an Educator who works in the Preschool and in a number of group programs. She is First Aid trained. She maintains a positive outlook in her work, using her ability to recognize all children’s strengths and abilities. She is passionate about gardening and healthy living, and takes an interest in the gardens at Plumtree. She is also interested in music.

Liam Sprott

Liam Certificate 3 in early childhood education and care and Diploma of music.

Liam is an educator with first aid training who has been working and volunteering in the preschool since late 2014. He provides childcare for the my time program and other programs run out of plumtree and does volunteer work at the preschool on Wednesdays. He is passionate about music, art and sports. He believes that a relationship with the children should be based on a mix of trust, fun and respect.

 

Nik Floros

NikNik is a childcare worker in the Preschool. She has many years’ experience and is now studying Certificate III in Childcare Services. Nik is First Aid trained, including asthma and anaphylactic. Being a carer, mother and wife of people with varied disabilities has developed her passion for working with children with additional needs and their families. Nik enjoys the great laughs and fun with the Preschool children.

Suzzan Selim

SusieBachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood), Cert IV TAE (Training & Assessment)

Suzzan is an Early Childhood Teacher. She is also First Aid trained including asthma and anaphylaxis.

Suzi believes children learn through play and that every child is a unique individual, whom develop at different rates and have preferred learning styles. Suzi likes to focus on the process of learning and advocates a wholistic approach to Early Childhood Education and Care.

Consultants

Dr Amanda Niland

Amanda is an Early Childhood Teacher and the author of two picture books for young children. As well as working in early childhood intervention, she lectures part time in music and inclusive education at Macquarie University. Amanda likes to play the ukulele and write songs for children. She has been involved with family music groups at Plumtree since 2007.

 Amanda is currently on leave.

Kate McNamara


Facilitator of My Time

Kate McNamara turned her focus to the disability sector after her daughter Bridget was born.  Kate supports parents by facilitating peer to peer support group, MyTime and running Triple P Stepping Stones behaviour management training.

 

 

Volunteers

 

 

Bridget Kelly

Bridget

Completed Year 12 in 2015 majoring in Business Studies, Hospitality and Art.

Bridget prepares visual resources for children supported by Plumtree.

Bridget graduated from Plumtree when she started primary school.  Over the years she has maintained a strong and regular connection with the organisation. Bridget understands first hand the importance of getting help early and the benefits of visual aids for young children.

Bridget was a State finalist in the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards in 2015.

Joshua Dinkin

Joshua

Joshua is a high school student currently in year 9 and studying at Tempe High School

Joshua is a volunteer here at Plumtree helping in Saturday playgroups in 2015. Josua is now assisting with the Learning Together workshops throughout the year. He helps to setup the IT and resolves any other inquiries. He also sets up the room, organises handouts and refreshments.