Our Team

Administration Team

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Jenni Embleton
Managing Director
 

Jenni studied Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland and has worked with young children for 18 years. Jenni has always loved working with children with developmental delays, autism, and feeding difficulties.

 

She has worked as a Speech Pathologist in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors in Canberra, Dubbo, London, and Sri Lanka.

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.

Heather Gordon
Office Manager

Heather is the most organised member of the Early Bird team. She has a wealth of experience in health administration and makes sure that our therapists know what they're doing.

 

When you call or email Early Bird Therapy, you're likely to reach Heather first. Heather likes to spend the time to get to know all of our families and is ready to help whenever you need.

 
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Claudia Whitcombe
Senior Speech Pathologist

Speech Pathology Team

Claudia is a dynamic Speech Pathologist who excels at working with children with complex 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 she 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.

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Hillary Miranda
Speech Pathologist

Hillary has a Masters of Speech Pathology from Flinders University, as well as a degree in Linguistics with an emphasis on teaching English as a second language. Hillary has also previously worked as a Speech Pathologist in the public sector.

Hillary is a dedicated and caring therapist who has an innate understanding of children. Her greatest skill is knowing when to relax and have fun with children and when they need a loving push to help them achieve more.

Hillary speaks English, Tagalog and Japanese, and particularly enjoys working with young children in the areas of speech, language, feeding, and Autism.

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Sian Higginson
Speech Pathologist

Sian has a Master of Speech Pathology from the University of Canberra and a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Publishing. 

Sian's gentle approach to interacting with children means that they instantly feel comfortable and safe in her presence.​ Sian enjoys working with all children, especially children with speech, language, and literacy delays.

 

Sian has a particular interest in using cooperative games as a modality for working on social skills. She hopes to complete further research into this area.

 

Multidisciplinary Team

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Taylor Pitson
Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner

Taylor has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Canberra and is currently completing her honours thesis in Psychology. 

Taylor's 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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Kate Penrose
Early Childhood Educator

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.

James Wheller
Music Therapist

James is a Registered Music Therapist with a Master of Music Therapy from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from Monash University. 

 

He knows music is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn and practice a range of skills, such as speaking, singing, sharing, moving and interacting with others. Music affords children the safety and flexibility to try new things, make friends and play. James has experience working across the lifespan and runs his own music therapy practice in Canberra, and he loves seeing children and adults alike achieve their goals through engaging in music.

 

James originally trained as a jazz pianist, and loves the spontaneous fun that comes with making music with others. He uses a range of instruments in his sessions and has a particular soft spot for the happy, yet humble, ukulele.

Natasha Ness
Dietitian

Natasha is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian with the Dietitians Association of Australia. She has a Master of  Nutrition and Dietetics and Bachelor of Human Nutrition from the University of Canberra.

Natasha became a dietitian because she loves food! Natasha loves that she gets to talk to people about food every day for a living. She is particularly good at listening to the individual challenges that each family has and coming up with solutions that will work for everyone.

 

Assistant Team

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Adam Barnes
Allied Health Assistant

Adam has a Bachelor of Medical  Science from ANU and is currently studying a Masters of Occupational Therapy at the University of Canberra. 

Adam gets along with children so well because he says he will always be a child at heart. He is never afraid to get in and play in the name of therapy and fun! Adam is particularly interested in sensory perception and understanding children's perception of the world around them. He is also working to develop his skills in the area of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC).

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Katherine Dixon
Allied Health Assistant

Katherine is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychology with Honors at ANU.

 

She's excited to start her career working in the disability sector and has already gained great experience through volunteering at Pegasus, working as a Learning Support Assistant at two of Canberra's specialist schools, and working as a disability support worker.

Katherine's strong drive for excellence, her keen intellect, and her love for teaching children all combine to make Katherine a wonderful Allied Health Assistant. Watch this space - Katherine is destined for great things!

Helina Hosking
Allied Health Assistant

Helina has a Bachelor of Communication from Swinburne University and is currently studying a Masters of Speech Pathology at the University of Canberra. 

Helina has experience working as an administrator and is currently using her skills to assist Heather with our administrative work. 

Helina comes from a big family so is no stranger to being surrounded by noise and children! She also has a great love of reading and would like to develop her skills in teaching literacy. Helina has a strong interest in working alongside schools to achieve meaningful inclusion.