Our Team

Jenni Embleton
Director/Speech Pathologist

Jenni studied Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland and has enjoyed working with young children for over 15 years. Jenni has worked as a Speech Pathologist in the public, and not-for-profit sectors in Canberra, Dubbo, London, and Sri Lanka.

Jenni started her private practice in 2013 and particularly enjoys working with children with developmental delays, autism, and feeding difficulties. Jenni only sees children aged 0-6.

Jenni is trained in the Hanen programmes It Takes Two to Talk, More than Words, and Target Word. She is  also trained in the SOS approach to feeding.

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 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 managed 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.

Mel Craswell
Office Manager
Claudia Whitcombe
Speech Pathologist

Mel has been providing administration services at Early Bird Therapy since 2017 and will most likely be the person on the end of the phone when you call us.

Mel is a Canberra local who particularly enjoys working with families and solving administrative problems.

Mel can assist you with:

  • new client enquiries

  • scheduling appointments

  • accounts and invoicing

  • understanding the NDIS and Medicare

  • how to self-manage NDIS plans

  • providing support and information

Penny Gardner
Occupational Therapist

Penny is a paediatric Occupational Therapist with over 20 years experience. She is a graduate of the University of Pretoria, South Africa and is certified as a Sensory Integration Therapist (SCSIT).


Penny has an established private practice in Canberra. She also worked in the public health and not-for-profit sectors.


Penny is passionate about working in early intervention, particularly with children with developmental delays, autism, sensory processing and motor coordination difficulties and feeding issues.

Penny works collaboratively with Jenni on Thursdays to provide the SPOT therapy service.

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 is trained in the Hanen programme More Than Words.

Heather Gordon
Administration Assistant
Nadia Erasmus

Heather is the newest 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.


Heather likes to spend the time to get to know all of our families and is ready to help whenever you need.

Speech Pathologist

Nadia moved from the Gold Coast to join us in early 2019.


The best way to describe Nadia’s therapy style is FUN, and children always come out of her sessions with a smile.

Nadia has a passion for helping young children and working with families to achieve their child’s best communicative outcomes. She especially enjoys working with children who have developmental delays, communication difficulties and disabilities.