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Our staff lead the way in holistic therapy and are committed finding ways to support your child and family to reach goals & thrive

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Our staff are leading the way in holistic therapy and are committed to seeing your child, and your family thrive on the journey. 

Marlene Fox
CEO

Marlene has over 35 years' experience in the early childhood and early intervention sector, with a strong commitment to quality, innovation, access and equity.

Jacqui Zuidema
Early Childhood Teacher / Program Manager

Jacqui began work as a kindergarten teacher and as her contact with children with special needs and disability grew so too did her interest in this field.

Leanne Bartle
Finance & Administration Manager

Leanne is an experienced Finance Administrator with a background encompassing roles in the banking and small business sectors.

Melanie Searle
Business Manager

Melanie is an experienced finance leader with background in financial services and is committed to supporting the business achieve its strategic objectives.

Alexandra Campbell
Speech Pathologist

Ali is passionate in aiming to ensure families are supported and empowered to help their child reach their potential. Her play-based therapy is fun, engaging and focusses on the child’s interests.

Heidi Ryan
Speech Pathologist

Heidi is a speech pathologist with over 12 years’ experience working with children and families in this field and has a special interest in working with Autism Spectrum conditions.

Georgi Manger
Allied Health Assistant (Speech Pathology)

Georgi has a strong interest in children with ASD, focussing on effective communication to create empowerment. She assists our Speech Team in schools/kindergartens and co-hosts our Chatterbox Group.

Kylie Ramsay
Speech Pathologist

Kylie is a dedicated, family orientated speech pathologist. Kylie commits herself to making therapy enjoyable and motivating, incorporating holistic approaches to meet the varied needs of her clients.

Laura Goding
Speech Pathologist

Georgina Ryan
Speech Pathologist

Georgina is passionate about working with children and families to support the development of communication. She has a special interest in alternative and augmented communication (AAC).

Queenie Hung
Speech Pathologist

Queenie has a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney. She is passionate about empowering and helping children and families through a family centred and holistic approach.

Jenna Rickard
Occupational Therapist

Jenna is a paediatric occupational therapist who has completed further training in assessment and strategies for sensory processing difficulties in children at the SPD Foundation in Denver, USA.

Leanne de Groot
Occupational Therapist (currently on Long Service Leave)

Leanne is an occupational therapist with over 20 years of experience in paediatric settings.

Rachael Taylor
Occupational Therapist

Rachael has a passion for supporting children to develop and grow to reach their full potential. She enjoys encouraging families to identify what is most important to them and working with them to achieve their goals.

Stephanie Robertson
Occupational Therapist (hons)

Stephanie has a passion for working with children of all ages and their families to facilitate holistic outcomes for the whole family. She is currently undertaking research on family centred practice.

Tesharnie Gruar
Occupational Therapist

Tesharnie enjoys working with children of all ages to help them reach their goals while having fun along the way! She has special interest areas of toilet training and fine motor skills.

Ardrie McDermott
Occupational Therapist

A paediatric Occupational Therapist who has a Graduate Certificate in Developmental Trauma and has a strong interest in working with young children and their families who have experienced trauma.

Ashley Whitelaw
Occupational Therapist

Ashley is a paediatric Occupational Therapist who is passionate about working with children and their families in a play-based fun environment.

Stacey Arianie
Occupational Therapist

Stacey is an AHPRA registered occupational therapist who loves working with children and graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours).

Tara Quin
Occupational Therapist

Tara is an Occupational Therapist who is passionate about working with children of all ages and their families. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher with further training in Yoga/Yoga Therapy for kids.

James Efremidis
Occupational Therapist

James has worked with children in diverse settings including schools and as a soccer coach. He is passionate about working with children to promote their independence and set them up for the future.

Claire Inder
Occupational Therapist

Claire graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours). She is passionate about working with children and their families to help them achieve their goals

Tessa Lilford
Occupational Therapist

Tessa is a passionate Occupational Therapist who strives to support children of all ages to achieve their goals. She has a special interest in complex trauma and sensory regulation.

Sharon Chen
Occupational Therapist

Sharon has years of experience working with children with special needs. She is passionate about supporting children and their families, based on evidence based and family centred practices.

Jessica Derkacs
Occupational Therapist

Jessica has previous experience working in Aged/Disability Services and as a Dance Teacher and has a strong passion for working with children of all ages to achieve their goals.

Loyce Raire
Kindergarten Assistant

Currently studying the second year of her Bachelor’s Degree at Australia Catholic University, Loyce first came to Biala to complete a voluntary community placement in early 2018.

Philo Yakopo
Program Assistant

Philo has been with Biala eight years, helping out with therapy groups, 3 year old kinder and holiday programs and where ever is needed.

Karyn Jones
Early Childhood Teacher

Karyn’s passion is helping families understand how best to support their child to achieve their full potential. She has a special interest in Autism and believes that all children learn best through child-led, interest based play.

Anna Fasolo
Psychotherapist

Anna is an experienced psychotherapist with is a particular interest in childhood trauma and is passionate about exploring ways to creatively engage with children.

Anna McCracken
Social Worker

Anna is a Social Worker with a Masters in Human Rights Law. She has followed the NDIS around Australia since the roll-out started in 2013 and supports families at Biala to navigate the NDIS.

Rob Ely
Support Coordinator / Disability Support Worker

Rob has 9 years' experience working as a support worker in many different settings. He is passionate about helping children and their families connect with the community.

Bella Yann
Support Coordinator / Disability Support Worker (on leave until October 2020)

Bella's discipline is social work. She has lived on the Mornington Peninsula her whole life so has a strong appreciation for community and how we can evolve in the community down here.

Elsha Young
Family Therapist

Elsha has over 10 years’ experience and loves working with families to help them recognise their strengths and increase their confidence through building a safe, respectful therapeutic relationship

Julie Dare
Early Childhood Special Educator

Julie has over 20 years' experience in the early years, working in disability/inclusion for the past 12 years. She is passionate about the power of play to support children’s strengths and interests.

Emma Morrissey
Physiotherapist

Emma is a passionate physiotherapist with a keen focus on play based therapy to aid physical development. She works closely with families to educate, support and enhance their child’s abilities.

Megan Goodwin
Music Therapist

Megan is an experienced music therapist (RMT) who has an additional Masters Degree in Adolescent Health and Wellness, and Neurologic Music Therapy Techniques Training.

Melinda Braithwaite
Dietician

Melinda loves being able to inspire and help families better understand and manage nutritional issues. She is a trained Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) feeding therapist with an interest in gut health.

Cathie Beach
Finance Officer

Cathie is an experienced Finance Officer with over 8 years in the Health/Community Services sector. She has an interest in progressive & forward thinking ideas to support the organisation & families.

Kaye Davey
Administration

Margot Elmer
Executive Assistant to the CEO

Petula McDermott
Administration Assistant

Eddie
Therapy Dog

Eddie really enjoys long walks, the park, and dinner. But more than anything he likes helping children have fun.

Meet the dedicated Biala Board Members

Jinny McGrath
President - Joined May 2017

Jinny has a Masters of Social Work and over 35 years’ experience as a social worker, manager, CEO and volunteer on not-for-profit Boards. She served as a member of two Government Tribunals, was an elected Councillor and is now undertaking a Masters of Research.

Geoff Avard
Vice President - Joined Nov 2018

Geoff is an experienced executive with strong strategic, financial and operational acumen gained over many years as a C-level executive across multiple markets. He is experienced marketing, strategic planning/execution, organisation transformation, mergers/acquisitions and business support services.

Angelia Dixon
Secretary - Joined Aug 2016

Angelia is a highly experienced health sector executive and CEO of a not for profit aged care organisation. She has expertise in governance, risk management, strategic planning and consumer quality/safety and has served on various boards in the disability sector.

Liz Davenport
Treasurer - Joined Sep 2015

Liz has experience leading finance and corporate services in public and private sector health, transport, technology and education. Her background includes resolving complex financial disclosures for Victoria’s transport assets, innovation and transformation programs and fostering high performance.

Sharon French
Joined Dec 2019

Sharon is a marketing, strategy and business development executive with considerable experience working with various sectors in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Asia including fast moving consumer goods, business to business and retail. She is passionate about philanthropy and creating social impact.

Anthony Marsh
Joined Dec 2019

Anthony is a highly motivated entrepreneur with a knack for technology. He is a qualified aerospace engineer, holds an MBA and is currently studying law. Anthony’s professional experience spans engineering, technology and consulting across small and large businesses, startups and the military.

Simone Wickes
Joined Feb 2020

Simone is a finance professional highly experienced in Public Practice, Information Technology and Local Government. Her background includes strategic business and service planning that deliver desired community outcomes and benefits. She cares about improving the health and wellbeing of families.

We have staff trained in the following.
  • Hanen – It Takes Two to Talk
  • Hanen – Learning Language & Loving It
  • Hanen – More Than Words
  • PECS
  • Feeding Therapy – SOS ( Basic & Advanced)
  • Lidcome Program – for Stuttering
  • Talkabout Kids – Social Skills
  • Key Word Sign
  • DIRFloortime – Level 1 & 2
  • Play Therapy
  • Children’s Counselling
  • Family Counselling
  • Yoga for Kids
  • The Teaching Pyramid
  • Trauma & Attachment
  • Circle of Security
  • Sensory Interventions
  • Wilburger Brushing Protocol
  • Aquatic OT
  • Hydrotherapy

For further information about our staff, our services, and how we may be able to help you, please contact us.

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