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Our Team

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Administration

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Jenni Embleton
Managing Director

Jenni studied Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland and has worked with young children for over 20 years. She has worked as a Speech Pathologist in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors in Canberra, Dubbo, London, and Sri Lanka. Jenni has always loved working with children with developmental delays, autism, and feeding difficulties. She currently focuses her clinical time on early feeding skills.

Jenni started Early Bird Therapy in 2013 with the aim of building a multidisciplinary team that truly understands and responds to the needs of families. She currently spends most of her time working to build the skills of everyone in the Early Bird Therapy team and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Jenni enjoys spending time with her husband and young family, and dreaming up new plans to renovate their house.

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Christine Carver
Receptionist

Whether it is bookings, enquiries or just getting little tasks done, Christine is the lady! Christine has had many years of experience in customer service and administration. She can also relate to many parents at Early Bird Therapy as she has lived the experience of being a parent of an Autistic son.  

  

Christine loves any opportunity to have a chat! She particularly enjoys being able to help parents start their therapy journey and navigating the NDIS. She can provide that assistance that everyone loves. 

  

While Christine is known to be a confident woman, she is also a proud cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2012 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 

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Chloe Cina-Holder
Receptionist

Chloe's mission at Early Bird Therapy is to make your bookings run as smoothly as possible. She has a wealth of experience working in customer service and loves catching up with all of our visitors every week. She especially enjoys seeing the progress that each child is making in therapy.  

  

Outside of work, Chloe is a proud owner of a rambunctious labradoodle, however this girl also loves to shop! All her outfits say it all, she’s the girl that has both the skill and the style!  

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Charli McAuliffe
Receptionist

Charli enjoys welcoming visitors and liaising with clients. She may have only begun her administrative journey in 2024, however; she loves new challenges and hopes to get involved as much as possible, even with the Early Bird Therapy socials. 

 

While Charli helps within the admin team, her passion lies within the allied health industry. She is always keen to learn about each profession Early Bird Therapy offers and finds it fascinating how everything works behind the scenes. 

 

If Charli is not at the front desk, she will be training or teaching karate! She has been doing her martial arts since 2016 and absolutely loves sharing her knowledge with others no matter what age they are. 

SP

Speech Pathology

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Claudia Whitcombe
Senior Speech Pathologist

Claudia is a dynamic Speech Pathologist who excels at working with children with complex communication needs. She enjoys working with children across a range of ages. Claudia has a Bachelor of Health Science (Speech Pathology) from Curtin University and moved to Canberra from Perth in 2016. 

  

Claudia has a natural ability to make children feel at ease and particularly enjoys helping more reluctant children to come out of their shell. Claudia has special interests in Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and challenging behaviour. 

 

An interesting fact about Claudia is she loves socks! Not any pair, but odd ones! If she can have a new, random set of odd socks on, it makes every day fun and quirky. She’s the therapist who likes just going with the flow! 

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Abbey McPherson
Speech Pathologist

Abbey has a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours Class I) from the University of Newcastle, receiving the Speech Pathology Australia award for being 1st in her degree. Prior to joining Early Bird, she worked in the not-for-profit sector with children aged 0-18. 

  

Abbey loves all areas of speech pathology, but particularly loves working with children to develop their use of speech sounds, language skills, and literacy skills. She is passionate about supporting Gestalt Language Processors and Autistic children to develop functional communication skills. Abbey's priority is to help all her children achieve their personal goals so that they can participate in all activities of their choosing, and feel valued and proud of themselves for the effort they put in. 

  

Abbey is a woman of many talents - in addition to her Speech Pathology skills, she also makes the world's best carrot cake. 

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Hannah White
Speech Pathologist

Hannah has a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours). She is also a member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist. 

 

To further develop her skill set, Hannah has completed a range of courses, such as Hanen ‘More Than Words, Meaningful Speech and Sounds Write. Hannah’s dedication and effort are always evident in her work. She continuously strives to gain further knowledge to bring out the best strategies and outcomes for the children she sees.  

 

In terms of Hannah’s interests, she loves working with autistic children, speech sound disorders, childhood apraxia of speech and gestalt language processing. She is passionate about the process of collaborating with families and schools to embrace each child’s unique personality and strengths. She believes every child should have the best support and environment to express themselves. 

 

In Hannah’s spare time, she loves getting creative! From being imaginative and fun in her therapy sessions, she also has the talent for embroidery and crocheting. She once embroidered 20 symbolic patches on a costume for a concert! 

behaviour

Positive Behaviour Support

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Taylor Pitson
Senior Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner

Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Canberra and is currently completing her Master of Professional Psychology at ANU.  

  

Taylor's clinical interests include severe and complex behaviour, trauma, and early learning skills. Her area of expertise is in designing and implementing behaviour intervention programs for children using the principles of Positive Behaviour Support, Collaborative and Proactive Solutions, and Social Role Valorisation. She has a passion for inclusion-based practices and believes that the best way to teach a child is by developing a meaningful connection with them. 

  

Taylor has a gift for talking to children in a way that makes them feel valued and excited to learn. 

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Ashley Sanders
Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner

Ashley has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Canberra, and she is currently completing her Master of Professional Psychology at ANU. 

 

In addition, Ashley has completed trauma-informed positive behaviour support training and uses this approach alongside a person-centered, neuro affirming therapy style when supporting the kids she works with. She is currently working towards general registration as a psychologist and hopes to provide therapeutic and diagnostic services for any children and their families. 

 

Ashley is driven to help children work through challenges in a safe and supportive environment. Her favourite part is seeing children grow and build their confidence as they make progress with their therapy goals. 

 

While Ashley is a Canberra girl now, she once lived in a small country town with a population of only 2700! She is now on a mission to convince her family to move too. 

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OT
Amy Deller
Senior Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapy

Amy has a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Canberra as well as an Honours degree in Kinesiology from the University of Victoria in Canada. Amy has worked in education, not for profit and private settings and loves supporting all children to maximise their independence and participation in the activities they value. Her special interests include toileting, handwriting, sensory processing and supporting transitions to school.   

  

Amy is a mum to two little girls and one chocolate labrador and loves to read, bake and complete puzzles on the odd occasion she manages to find some free time. 

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Giselle Ryan
Occupational Therapist

Giselle completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (with Honours) from The University of Queensland in 2023. 

 

Giselle is extremely passionate about neurodiversity affirming practice and working with children in a strengths-based approach. She loves everything about Occupational Therapy, however her specific areas of interest are supporting children in developing skills in emotional regulation, interoceptive awareness, coaching parents in co-regulation skills, as well as supporting children in their development of play in their own settings.  

 

Giselle’s favourite thing about her job is getting to meet so many different children and be part of their developmental journeys.  She states, “I am also so lucky to meet so many funny characters!” She also has a special interest in Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 

 

Outside of work, Giselle loves running, reading any book under the sun, and writing stories. Giselle is not from Canberra so when she can, she tries to get back to the beach and her family in Brisbane.

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Natalia Titova
Occupational Therapist

Natalia has a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Canberra.  She has been working with children for more than 20 years: first as an educator for children with special needs, and then as an Occupational Therapist.

 

Her areas of interest include fine motor skills, play skills, and working with Autistic families. Her favourite part of being an Occupational Therapist is seeing parent's happy faces when their children make progress towards their goals. Natalia is able to conduct therapy sessions in both English and Russian languages.

 

Outside of work, Natalia enjoys spending time with her family and friends, travel, reading books and watching movies.

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Education
Kate Penrose
Early Childhood Educator

Education

Kate is an experienced early childhood and specialist educator and early intervention key worker. Kate is skilled in helping families to understand their child and finding ways to develop skills through everyday family activities. She is particularly interested in assisting vulnerable and at-risk families.

Kate brings a wealth of experience to the Early Bird Therapy team, having previously worked in the education system and managing a therapy team in the not-for-profit sector.

Kate sees children aged 0-6 and provides a mobile service to work with families in natural, non-clinical settings.

physio

Physiotherapy

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Anna Youden
Physiotherapist

Anna is an experienced physiotherapist who has worked in a range of not-for-profit and private settings. She is passionate about getting children active and engaged in the community. She especially enjoys working with Autistic children and children with developmental delays, and also has extensive experience in recommending assistive technology for children.

Anna loves walking, yoga, and books. She has three school-aged children, a cat, and two rabbits.

AHA

Therapy Assistant

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Isabella Trotter
Allied Health Assistant

Isabella, also known as Izzy, is currently undergoing a Bachelor of Medical Science at the University of Canberra, intending to transfer to a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2025.  

 

She is passionate about making therapy fun and neuro-affirming and loves learning everything there is to know about ADHD and ASD.  

 

When it comes to helping people, Izzy has experience in both support work and as an allied health assistant. With her admiration for the allied health industry, she adores everything about her job at Early Bird Therapy, especially celebrating her clients and learning from them all. She believes every child should be loved and appreciated no matter what their differences are.  

 

In her free time, Izzy loves hanging out with her boisterous Border Collie puppy and practicing circus! Her favourite trick is a one-handed cartwheel in a German wheel.

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Nyssa Milligan
Allied Health Assistant

Nyssa holds a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is currently studying for a Graduate Diploma in Counselling at the University of Canberra. 

 

Nyssa began her professional career as a musician, puppeteer, and clown. The power of joy and laughter in therapeutic spaces inspired Nyssa to work towards becoming a paediatric Counsellor. With prior experience as a disability support worker and allied health assistant, Nyssa is passionate about using creative practices in therapy settings to help consumers achieve their therapy goals.  

  

Nyssa dreams of owning a miniature pony farm when she grows up. And yes, she has watched way too much Saddle Club! 

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Isabella Robinson
Allied Health Assistant

Isabella has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in linguistics from ANU and is currently studying a Master of Speech Pathology at UC. 

 

When it comes to Isabella’s interests, it is everything! She does however, love play-based learning and building harmonious relationships so the children she sees can feel understood, appreciated, and comfortable to communicate. Isabella loves building connections with her clients and always enjoys finding what interests each child. She has a special skill for making any therapy task into a game so that children do not realise that they are learning, just having fun. 

 

If anyone has an awesome story to tell, it is Isabella! She loves to travel and has been to 31 countries. Whether she’s out seeing the world or on a child’s therapy journey, Isabella is always on a fun adventure! 

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