We are a passionate team of speech pathologists and support staff with the collective goal of providing excellence in speech pathology.

We are a growing team of culturally and linguistically* diverse staff. All our therapists are members of Speech Pathology Australia and certified practicing speech pathologists.

*Check out each team member’s profile to learn more about what languages they speak other than English, and their level of proficiency based on the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Scale. 

Directors

Yasemin Burmin

Director, Team Leader & Senior Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney
Languages other than English: Turkish (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Having worked full time for over a decade as a Speech Pathologist in various settings, Yasemin is truly passionate about her practice. Hills District Speech Therapy was founded with colleague Alana Adolphs in 2011 out of the belief that speech therapy has a pivotal role in early intervention, education and disability. As Hills District Speech Therapy, her and Alana have enjoyed building close relationships with many schools, preschools and allied health practices in and around the Hills. She thoroughly enjoys supporting all the children, their families and clinicians in achieving their goals and is grateful to have such an amazing team at the clinic.

In more recent years, Yasemin spends much of her time ensuring her team is well trained, up to date and supported with the latest research methods in speech therapy in order to provide a supreme level of service to all families that walk through the door. Yasemin is also dedicated to developing the quality of the service as a whole and starts with the HDST culture as she believes that happiness and harmony in the workplace is beneficial for all! When not at the clinic, Yasemin is adjusting to life as a new mum and learning to balance motherhood and her passion for HDST.

Alana Adolphs

Director, Team Leader & Senior Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney

Languages other than English: German (ILR Level 1)

View profile

Alana has over a decade working as Speech Pathologist in various settings including Community Health, support units within Primary and High Schools, not for profit agencies and private practice. Alana has taken these broad range of experiences to guide and support the development of Hills District Speech Therapy; a Practice that focuses on the relationship with families and the community, advocates for its clients and truly believes that communication is the essence of life and a basic right for everyone.

Alana is also passionate about supporting her staff to provide quality services and develop their skills, assisting them along their ongoing path of growth and development as allied health professionals. Alana is also passionate about literacy development and spends time upskilling her staff in this area of assessment and intervention. Alana feels extremely grateful to be working in a field she feels so passionate about and working with a team of like-minded people. When she doesn’t have her speechie hat on, Alana is kept very busy running after her two young boys Sam and Ned, and Hattie, her golden retriever.

Clinic Managers

Reta van Rensburg

Clinic Manager, Team Leader & Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Communication Pathology, Diploma in Learners with Barriers to Learning and Development, and Postgraduate Certificate in Speech and Language Therapy

Languages other than English: Afrikaans (ILR Level 5)

View profile

Reta has spent more than 25 years working as a Speech Pathologist in various settings including special schools, a not for profit organisation and private practice.

She has experience working with school aged children and their families with speech, language and literacy difficulties as well as ASD.  She was a team leader at a special school in New Zealand and was responsible for implementation of literacy strategies across both the junior and senior school and adapting the curriculum to accommodate all children.  She was also involved in many AAC projects and implemented high-tech devices as well as low-tech communication systems such as Core Boards, PODD and PECS.  She presented at the AGOSCI conference in Brisbane as well as the ATANZ conference in New Zealand with Dr. Sally Clendon.

When not at work, Reta enjoys reading a good book, baking and cooking from a big library of cooking books, and spending time with family and friends.

Recent Professional Development:

  • Communication Assistive Technology Level 1 Accreditation (2012)
  • Balanced Literacy Approach – Dr. Sally Clendon (2012)
  • Pragmatic Organisational Dynamic Display (PODD) Introductory workshop (2013)
  • SEPANZ – Learning to Learn Conference (2013)
  • ATANZ – Assistive Technology Conference (2013)
  • PODD Alternative Access Workshop (2015)
  • Transforming Together – Coaching and Mentoring Conference (2015)
  • AGOSCI Conference – Brisbane (2015)
  • Traffic Jam In My Brain – online course (2016)
  • LAMP workshop (2016)
  • Accidental Counsellor Training (2017)
  • Literacy Intensive (2017)
  • PROMPT training (2019)
  • 4-Day Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Introductory Course, Sydney – Australian Academy of Orofacial Myology. Presented by Rochelle McPherson and Carla Lejarraga (2020)
  • Infant feeding foundations workshop (2021)
  • Treatments for feeding, speech and mouth functions in pediatrics (2021)
  • Frontal lisp, Lateral lisp (2021)
  • Babble & Munch: Introduction to Feeding Therapy (2022)
  • AEIOU Feeding Therapy (2022)
  • Get Permission approach to feeding therapy (2023)
  • Advanced feeding therapy – House Model (2023)
  • Hanen More than Words training (2023)
  • Shape Coding Training (2023)

Caitlin Chaney

Clinic Manager, Team Leader & Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney

View profile

Hills local Caitlin combined her love of science and English to become a Speech Pathologist.  She graduated from University of Sydney in 2015 and completed the New Graduate Program at Hills District Speech Therapy in 2016. Caitlin is now a Senior Speech Pathologist/Team Leader at HDST and provides supervision to junior clinicians. She is especially interested in working with children experiencing literacy difficulties, particularly with written expression. Caitlin is passionate about using Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) to support and develop her clients’ use of language. She also provides assessments and therapy to adults experiencing difficulties with swallowing and communication and is strongly focused on increasing clients’ Quality of Life. Caitlin enjoys providing family-based therapy and working closely with families to deliver holistic therapy focusing on the client’s current needs.

Outside work, Caitlin is an avid reader and always has a couple of books on the go.  Caitlin is passionate about the environment and is always looking for ways to up-cycle materials into fun therapy resources. She also enjoys going snorkeling at the beach, cooking and catching up with friends.

Professional Development:

  • ‘Autism Update: A Clinically Focused Research Review.’ Presented by David Trembath in October 2016.
  • ‘Language-Friendly Classrooms- Supporting Primary and Secondary Students with Language and Literacy Difficulties.’ Presented by Dr Julia Starling in November 2016.
  • ‘Developmental Language Disorder, Vocabulary Targets and Therapy Techniques. What Do SLP’s Need to Know?’ Presented by Dr Natalie Munro in August 2017.
  • Attended a presentation for Alternative and Augmentative Communication by representative from Liberator.
  • Ongoing observations and professional development at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse as supervised by Emma Charters (Speech Pathologist).
  • ‘A Series of Topical Issues in Adult Dysphagia.’ Presented by Dr Julie Cichero in March 2018.
  • Attended a Vision Australia in-service in July 2018.
  • Attended an in-service about LAMP Words for Life in October 2018.
  • ‘2E- Twice Exceptional Learners’ presented by the Learning Difficulties Coalition in October 2018.
  • ‘Challenging Behaviours- Practical Strategies for Students with ADHD, ASD & ODD’- presented by John Blythe in April 2019.
  • NSW Developing Written Text Construction: From 7 To 17! in 2019
  • ‘Assessment and Management of Dysphagia without Instrumental Assessment’ with Dr Maggie Lee Huckabee in June 2021
  • Science of Writing with Learning Difficulties Coalition from October-November 2021

Caitlin currently provides offsite services to:

  • Endeavour Foundation
  • Home visits for adult and paediatric clients.
  • Lakeview Private Hospital

Speech Language Pathologists

Gemma Hughes

Team Leader & Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences at Macquarie University
Master of Speech and Language Pathology at Macquarie University

 

View profile

Gemma is a keen and enthusiastic member of the Hills District Speech Therapy team. She has a special interest in early language and speech sound development, as well as incorporating play into her sessions. Gemma is passionate about working with families so that they feel empowered to reach their goals in a fun and effective way! There is no ‘one therapy fits all’ approach, particularly when it comes to early intervention – Gemma is driven to remain up-to-date with the latest research to ensure that her approaches are the most suitable for each client and their family.

When Gemma is finished up for the day, she enjoys catching up with family and friends, going for walks with her husband and reading her favourite romantic novels with a cup of tea.

Professional Development:

  • It Takes Two to Talk Hanen Certified (2016)
  • More Than Words Hanen Certified (2017)
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Level 1 Training (2017)
  • Intervention for Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorders Workshop (2017)
  • VPI Seminar, Westmead (2018)
  • Assessment options, intervention approaches and outcome measures for children with phonological impairment (presented by Elise Baker) (2019)

Remona Mekdessi Sarkis

Team Leader, Business Development Assistant & Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Health Science (Hearing & Speech) at University of Sydney
Master of Speech Language Pathology at University of Sydney

Languages other than English: Arabic (ILR Level 3)

View profile

Remona has extensive experience working with infants, children and young adults in both private practice and public health. Remona works closely with her clients and their families to deliver services that cater for the child’s interests and functional needs. She has a special interest in working with infants and children with feeding difficulties, adults with lifelong disabilities, and children with reading and spelling difficulties. Remona continues to build her knowledge and skills across all areas of speech pathology practice by participating in regular professional development.

Outside work, Remona enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and travelling.

Professional Development:

  • Voicecraft for Speech Pathologists Student 2-Day Workshop (2014)
  • Key Word Sign Training – KWS NSW Basic Workshop (2014)
  • Lidcombe Program 2-Day Workshop – Australian Stuttering Research Centre (2016)
  • Assessment and Treatment Approaches for Children with Reading and Spelling Difficulties – Macquarie University Reading Clinic (2017)
  • Speech Pathology in Schools – A Whole School Approach – Speech Pathology Australia (2017)
  • Telepractice for children with complex disabilities – SPOT on DD (2018)
  • Writing NDIS reports for Assistive Technology Workshop – Uniting & SPOT on DD  (2018)
  • 2E- Twice Exceptional Learners. presented by the Learning Difficulties Coalition (2018)
  • The Zones of Regulation 1-Day Workshop – Leah Kuypers (2018)
  • Paediatric update on evidence for tongue tie and baby-led weaning – Dr Julie Chichero (2019)
  • Paediatric Dysphagia: The A-Z of the IDDSI Framework, fussy eating and medication administration in babies and children – Dr. Julie Cichero (2019)
  • Paediatric Fluency: What To Do When? – Dr Kate Bridgman & Dr Shane Erickson (2020)
  • Language and Literacy Interventions in Young Children – Dr Marleen Westerveld (2020)
  • Language and Literacy in the Classroom: Primary – Dr Julia Starling (2020)
  • Infants and Young Children: Dilemmas and Decisions with Liquids – Dr Joan Arvdeson (Live) (2021)
  • Play Skills – Prof Karen Stagnitti (2021)
  • Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme (NDP3®) – Module 1-2 – Dr Pam Williams (2021)
  • The Get Permission Approach to Anxious Eaters, Anxious Mealtimes [3 Day Training] – Marsha Dunn Klein (2021)
  • The SCERTS Model – An Introduction – Emily Rubin & Amy Laurent (2021)
  • AEIOU: An Integrated Approach to Pediatric Feeding [3 Day Training] – Nina Ayd Johanson (2021)

Katrina Clarke-Bruce

Team Leader & Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Economics at Macquarie University, Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting at Institute of Chartered Accountants
Graduate Diploma of Speech and Communication at Macquarie University
Master of Speech Language Pathology at Macquarie University.

 

View profile

Katrina came to Speech Pathology after a previous career working as a Chartered Accountant. Her love for assisting people with communication challenges developed after she volunteered at her local public school to assist children to develop their reading skills. She is particularly interested in developing early literacy and speech sound skills in preschool children, and literacy skills in school aged children. She recently achieved certification in LSVT LOUD, an effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurological conditions.

She enjoys getting to know her clients and likes to integrate their interests into the therapy sessions. When Katrina is not at work she enjoys spending time with her husband and children and practising yoga.

Professional Development:

  • DIR Workshop, presented by Georgina Ahrens (Oct 2019)
  • Managing Challenging Behaviours Overview, presented by Anica Janssen SAL Consulting (Oct 2019)
  • Developing Written Text Construction: From 7 To 17 (Sep 2019)
  • LSVT LOUD Certification (2019)
  • LSVT LOUD Webinar – Tuning your clinical ear (2019)
  • LSVT LOUD Webinar – Companion software demonstration (2019)
  • Learning Difficulties Coalition “Challenging Behaviours: Practical strategies for students with ADHA, ASD & ODD”. Presented by John Blythe (2019)
  • Vision Australia Inservice, presented by representatives from Vision Australia (Jul 2018)
  • Alternative and Augmentative Communication training, presented by Leanna Fox from Liberator Australia (Oct 2018)
  • Spalding Multisensory Instruction of Language Arts 1 (2018)
  • The Lidcombe Program Workshop ( 2018)
  • Learning Difficulties Coalition “Autism: Strategies for school and home”. Presented by Anna Tullemans (2017)

Katrina currently provides offsite services to:

  • Hills Sports High School
  • Model Farms High School
  • John XXIII Catholic Primary School, Stanhope Gardens
  • North West Disability Services
  • Inala

Emma Charters

Senior Supervising Speech Pathologist of Adult Clinic
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney

View profile

Emma has been working in the community, public and private hospitals within Sydney for over ten years. She is passionate about advocating for care that is centred on the patient and loves working with other community and health professionals to bring about the best outcomes for patients. Emma has been working for HDST for 6 years, training and supervising the growing adult team. 

Emma has a particular interest in speech and swallowing disorders associated with acquired neurological impairment and head and neck cancer, however has worked in a range of clinical settings such as aged care, progressive neurological diseases, intensive care and respiratory disease. She has advanced clinical skills in videofluroscopy swallowing studies, fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, tracheostomy, laryngectomy, nasendoscopy, paediatric feeding and voice.

Emma completed her Diploma of Rehabilitation through Royal Ryde Rehabilitation in 2010 and her PhD through the University of Sydney in 2021. She is passionate about translating research into clinical practice and is an honorary affiliate of the University of Sydney.

Claire Hayward

Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney

 

View profile

Claire had decided that Speech Pathology was the right fit for her whilst still in high school. She not only enjoyed it, but found a lifelong passion in her studies of Speech Pathology and was awarded the Dean’s Scholar award for being the highest performing student. Although Claire loves working in all areas of Speech Pathology, she has a particular interest in working with primary and high school aged children in the areas of written expression, reading comprehension and literacy. She works hard with clients and their families to develop personally relevant goals. She enjoys making therapy fun, engaging and tailored to the interests of each child. Above all, she knows that therapy works best when it is in the context of a strong partnership between the clinician, client and their family and so prides herself on involving families at all stages of therapy. Claire also has interests in exploring the application of evidence-based practice into the private practice setting and exploring how HDST can contribute to current and future research. Claire continues to build her knowledge and skills across all areas of speech pathology practice by participating in regular professional development and in liaison with Senior Speech Pathologists at HDST.

In her free time, Claire enjoys searching for the best coffee, going to the beach, and spending time with her friends and family.

Professional Development

  • Key Word Sign Workshop presented by Dr Andy Smidt in 2016
  • ‘Translating Evidence to Practice.’ Presented by Dr Elizabeth Murray and Professor Leanne Togher in 2018
  • Hills District Literacy Training in 2019
  • ‘Challenging Behaviours: Practical strategies for students with ADHD, ASD & ODD.’ Presented by John M Blythe in April 2019.
  • ‘Analysing children’s oral narratives’. Presented by Associate Professor Wendy Pearce in May 2019.
  • ‘Paediatric Fluency: What to do when’. Presented by Dr Kate Bridgman in July 2019.
  • ‘Managing Challenging Behaviours Overview.’ Presented by Anica Janssen SAL Consulting in October 2019
  • ‘LAMP Words for Life Training’ in March 2020
  • ‘Frontal Lisp, Lateral Lisp.’ Presented by Pam Marshalla, online in June 2020
  • ‘What is Myofunctional Therapy?’, presented by Dr Mahony in 2020
  • ‘Treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech’ Presented by Tricia McCabe, online in February 2021
  • ‘Creative Language Therapy: Systematic Instruction for Language Delayed Children’. Presented by Char Boshart, online in April 2021
  • ‘The Essentials of the Shape Coding System’ Presented by Susan Ebbels, online in 2021
  • Sounds Write Training 2022
  • Speech Pathology Australia Conference 2023

Claire currently provides offsite services to:

  • The King’s School
  • Warrah Specialist School

Natasha Raveendiran

Senior Supervising Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Health science (Hearing & Speech) at University of Sydney &
Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Australian Catholic University

Languages other than English: Tamil (ILR Level 1)

 

View profile

Natasha is a passionate and dynamic Speech pathologist at HDST. She has worked with clients with various needs in a private practice setting. While she enjoys all areas of speech pathology, she is particularly interested in early language intervention, fluency, social participation groups and parent training. Natasha is a dual certified Hanen trained clinician and is highly experienced in leading Hanen groups for parents. She is always eager to build her knowledge and develop her skills across all areas of speech pathology practice by participating in professional development and collaborating with her colleagues. Natasha recognises that her team members have a lot of on-the-job experience to further enrich her development.

Therapy sessions with Natasha are fun, energetic, and engaging, and she tailors sessions to each client’s wants and interests. She is dedicated to her clients, families, and key workers to achieve their communication goals and help clients reach their full potential. She teaches and provides therapy that is functional and beneficial to the client’s preferences and differences.

When she is done for the day, Natasha loves spending time with her nephews, friends and her fur baby, Ralph. She is also passionate about dancing, reading, music and discovering new food spots!

Professional Development

  • Key Word Sign Training – KWS NSW Basic Workshop (2014)
  • ComTEC workshop-AAC devices (2018)
  • HMRI seminar on ischemic stroke (2018)
  • DIR 101 Introduction to DIR® and DIRFloortime® (2019)
  • It Takes Two To Talk Hanen Certified (2020)
  • HDST Literacy Training (2020)
  • AAC Awareness Day (2021)
  • HDST Neurodiversity Training (2022)
  • The Essentials of the Shape Coding System – Presented by Susan Ebbels (2023)
  • The Lidcombe Program – ASRC (2023)
  • More than Words Hanen Certified (2023)

Michelle Huynh

Senior Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney 

Languages other than English: Teochew (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Michelle has had extensive experience working with people with a range of needs in private practice settings. She has a particular interest in working with children and adults with social communication differences and using a holistic approach to support a person’s orofacial growth and development. Michelle is a Certified Hanen ‘It Takes Two to Talk’ Speech Pathologist and has helped parents of children with language delays to use practical strategies in daily routines to help develop language. She has delivered this program in individual and group therapy settings.

Michelle has a special interest in supporting the neurodivergent population. She strives to both provide and teach therapy practices that presume competence and respect each person’s preferences, limitations and social communication differences. Most recently, Michelle has completed training in orofacial myology and is dedicated to helping clients establish correct functional use of the lips, tongue and mandible (jaw), to facilitate normal growth and development. Michelle enjoys discovering new and different ways to make therapy rewarding and motivating for each family. Seeing the changes that these new skills have on a person’s overall communication and confidence is what drives Michelle to encourage each person to reach their full potential.

When Michelle is not at work, you can find her trying to stay in tune in a women’s choir and tending to her garden.

Professional Development:

  • 4-Day Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Introductory Course, Sydney – Australian Academy of Orofacial Myology. Presented by Rochelle McPherson and Carla Lejarraga (2020)
  • The Zones of Regulation Training – Online “Live”. Presented by Leah Kuypers (2020)
  • Social Thinking’s Informal Dynamic Assessment Model. Core Treatment Strategies to Improve Social Competencies. Presented by Micelle Garcia Winner (2020)
  • Unpacking Case Journeys: Practical Treatment Ideas for Building Social Competencies. Presented by Michelle Garcia Winner, Dr Pam Crooke and Nancy Tarshis (2020)
  • Social Detective, Superflex® & Friends Take On Social-Emotional Learning. Presented by Ryan Hendrix and Kari Zweber Palmer (2019)
  • Emotions. Presented by Micelle Garcia Winner (2019)
  • VPI Update Seminar VIII for Speech Pathologists. The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (2018)
  • 2E- Twice Exceptional Learners. presented by the Learning Difficulties Coalition in October 2018.
  • It Takes Two To Talk Hanen Certified (2017)
  • Developmental Language Disorder, Vocabulary targets and therapy techniques. Presented by Natalie Munro (2017)
  • Speech Pathologists and Literacy: What is best practice? Presented by Ros Neilson (2017)
  • Key Word Sign Workshop (2017)
  • The Traffic Jam in my Brain. Presented by Genevieve Jereb (2017)
  • Evidence-based Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).Presented by Dr. Elizabeth Murray (2016)

Michelle currently provides offsite services to: 

  • The King’s School

Emma Harsanyi

Senior Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Hons) – Australian Catholic University

 

View profile

Emma is a warm and enthusiastic part of the Hills District Speech Therapy team, with experience working with children and adults across a variety of settings. Emma is passionate about helping clients to achieve their full potential, with particular interest in fluency and literacy across the lifespan. She loves finding creative ways to engage and make therapy enjoyable for each individual client. Emma is also passionate about furthering her learning, and loves to be involved in the latest research.

When she’s not working, Emma enjoys making cakes, playing Oztag, or playing saxophone in a big band.

Professional Development

  • It Takes Two To Talk Hanen Certified (2017)
  • Lidcombe Program – Australian Stuttering Research Centre (2017)
  • NSW Treatment of School Age Children Who Stutter. Presented by Cheryl Andrews (2019).
  • LDC Challenging Behaviours Seminar. Presented by Dr John Blythe (2019).

Nirmala Mudalige

Senior Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at University of Sydney

Languages other than English: Sinhalese (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Nirmala (Nim) is thrilled to be joining the Hills District Speech Therapy team! Nim hopes to teach her clients skills and strategies to communicate and function adequately in everyday life and increase their quality of life in any way possible. She believes that for therapy to be successful it’s important to build strong relationships with clients and their families, and form collaborative goals that are fun and practical.

Nim’s love for the speech pathology profession arose from her passion and love for working with children, as well as, her desire to help others. Nim has worked as a junior Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for four years, during which she worked with a wide variety of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their families. This experience has furthered Nim’ skills base in behaviour management, verbal and written communication with clients, their family and support team.

When Nim is not working, she loves spending time with her family, particularly her 12-year-old dog, as well as making puzzles!

Professional Development

  • Key Word Sign training (2016)
  • It Takes Two To Talk Hanen Certified (2019)
  • DIR Workshop (2019)
  • Hills District Speech Therapy Literacy Training (2019)
  • LAMP Workshop (2020)
  • Implementing AT/AAC with School-Age Children on the Autism Spectrum (2021)
  • AAC Fun and Functional Application Across Settings (2021)
  • LAMP in the classroom (2021)

Nirmala currently provides offsite services to:

  • Inala
  • The Ponds School
  • William Rose Sschool
  • Pennant Hills High School

Alysha Johnson

Senior Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Australian Catholic University

 

View profile

Alysha joined the Hills District Speech Therapy team in 2019. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated Speech Pathologist who has developed a passion for providing early intervention and working with clients with social communication differences. Alysha values developing strong relationships with the client, and their families, to form collaborative goals and provide client centered practice. She consistently strives to create fun, engaging and effective sessions. Alysha also aims to continually build her knowledge and skills in regular professional development. In addition to seeing clients 1:1 at the clinic or offsite at schools and preschools, Alysha enjoys running group therapy sessions, such as Social Skills Groups and Lego Clubs.

Alysha is also very passionate about contributing to the culture at HDST and enjoys helping plan team events. When she is not working, Alysha enjoys spending time outside, riding her motorbike or going wakeboarding, and spending time with her family, friends and puppy.

Professional Development:

  • Key Word Sign Workshop (2016)
  • Paediatric Failure to Thrive Simulation for Speech Pathology Students (2017)
  • Paediatric Feeding and Swallowing Education eLearning Course (2017)
  • An Introduction to Human Rights in Disability Services (2017)
  • Hanen, It Takes Two to Talk, certified (2019)
  • Hills District Speech Therapy Literacy Training (2019)
  • ‘Challenging Behaviours: Practical strategies for students with ADHD, ASD & ODD.’ Presented by John M Blythe (2019)
  • ‘Lifeline x Speech Pathology Australia Accidental Counsellor’ training (2020)
  • ‘Strategies for Teens: Friendship Pyramid, Finding Motivation & Add-a-thought’ presented by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Cooke (2021)
  • ‘Supporting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma’ (2021)
  • ‘PEERS for Adolescents Certified Training Seminar’ presented by  Elizabeth A. Laugeson (2021)

Alysha currently provides offsite services to:

  • North Kellyville Public School
  • Vardys Road Public School
  • Ironbark Ridge Public School
  • Kids of the Castle Childcare Centre, Castle Hill
  • Hillcrest Preschool, Winston Hills

Fiona Selby

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPSA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) – University of Sydney

View profile

Fiona is a gentle and patient speech pathologist who loves help children and their families. She has recently returned to HDST after welcoming her beautiful baby boy. Fiona always had a passion to help other people and loves spending time with children. She specialises in providing speech therapy for children to support their social communication, language and literacy. She has worked in various private practices across Sydney supporting children aged 2-18 years of age both in the clinic and at schools. Fiona is HANEN trained and has attended various professional development courses covering pragmatic skills, vocabulary, supporting ASD children in the classroom, assessment of early language and language delays.

Outside of work, Fiona loves reading, spending time with friends, watching Disney movies and bushwalking with her husband.

Professional Development:

  • Learning Disabilities Coalition “Challenging Behaviours: Practical strategies for students with ADHD, ASD & ODD”, presented by John M Blythe (Apr 2019)
  • “Assessment and Intervention of Pragmatics and Play Skills” presented by Dr Natalie Munr
  • “Late Talkers: Using Assessment to guide clinical decision making” – Rosemary Hodges (2017)
  • “Developmental Language Disorder, Vocabulary targets and therapy techniques. What do SLP’s need to know?” Presented by Dr Natalie Munro (2016).
  • “Understanding Language Difficulties” – Gina Davis
  • AHDD conference (2015)
  • CCD reading and spelling: development disorders and remediation (2015)
  • HDST Literacy Training
  • ‘More than Words’ HANEN Certified

Kate Mackenzie

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA

View profile

Coming soon

Tushar Prasad

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) (Honours)

 

View profile

Tushar is a new addition to the HDST team with an interest in speech sounds and literacy. Tushar’s interest in Speech Pathology stems from his interests in both communication and science. Tushar feels very strongly about client-centred care and believes that therapy outcomes can be maximised if goals and targets are set collaboratively with a client and their family.

Outside of work, Tushar likes reading, playing tennis and being with friends and family.

Professional Development

  • Key Word Signing Workshop (2018)

Minukshi Wickramasekere

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Biomedical Science – University of Technology, Sydney
Masters of Speech & Language Pathology – University of Sydney

Languages other than English: Sinhalese (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Minukshi (Minu) joined the team in 2021. With a strong passion for speech therapy’s ability to provide a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of clients, Minu cannot wait to delve in and start using these skills in collaboration with clients and their families to provide the best possible client centred care. Currently, Minu enjoys working with clients of all ages however, has special interests in the paediatric population (with a focus on early intervention) and adults with communication and swallowing disorders.

Outside of HDST, Minu loves spending time with her family and friends. She is also passionate about graphic design, finding new food spots  and travelling (in a post Covid world of course!).

Professional Development

  • HDST Literacy Training (2021)
  • More Than Words Hanen Certified (2021)
  • LDC – ADHD: Adaptions & strategies to help success at school. Presented by Dr Caroline Stevenson (2021)
  • First Bite: Functional Feeding Therapy Tips  You Can Implement Tomorrow by Michelle Dawson & Erin Forward (2021)

Ann Nguyen Do

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA
Bachelor of Science  – University of Sydney
Master of Speech Pathology – University of Technology, Sydney

Languages other than English: Vietnamese (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Ann is one of our newest additions to the HDST team in 2021, and she is thrilled to be joining us as a new graduate speech pathologist! Ann loves getting to know her clients, finding creative ways to engage them and make therapy individualised. She strives to work in collaboration with the client, their family and other professionals to establish goals that are both functional and meaningful and work towards making a difference in client’s everyday life.

Ann enjoys working with clients of all ages, but has a special interest in working with children focusing on early intervention, and adults with acquired communication difficulties, swallowing and voice disorders. She continues to build on her skills and knowledge through Professional Development to ensure that she is able to support her clients to achieve their goals in becoming confident communicators and provide the best quality of care.

Outside of HDST, Ann enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exploring different cuisines and staying active by going to the gym and on outdoor adventures.

Professional Development

  • HDST Literacy Training (2021)
  • Feeling More Confident Understanding and Implementing the Minimal Pairs Approach  – SLP Summit Online Conference (2021)

Ann currently provides offsite services to

  • Rouse Hill Public School
  • Rouse Hill Anglican School

Zara Worne

Speech Language Pathologist MSPA

Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences – Macquarie University (2020)
Master of Speech Language Pathology – Macquarie University (2022)

View profile

Zara was previously an Allied Health Assistant at HDST (2022) and has now joined the team as a certified practicing speech-language pathologist in 2023. She has experience with assisting individuals with alternative and augmentative communication systems (AAC), key-word sign, and was previously a MultiLit volunteer. Zara is highly motivated and passionate about empowering individuals to achieve meaningful speech, language, and communication goals and supporting their families throughout the process. She takes a strengths-based, neuro-affirming approach to therapy whereby individuals can learn in a fun, engaging, and supportive environment. Zara is always eager to learn and develop her professional skills so she can provide a high quality and individualised service to her clients.

Beyond the HDST clinic, she enjoys surfing, volunteering at her local surf lifesaving club, and bushwalking.

Recent Professional Development:

  • HDST Neurodiversity Training (2023)
  • HDST Literacy Training (2023)
  • Shape Coding (2023)
  • Introduction to Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Students with Complex Communication Needs, Jane Farrall Consulting – (2022)
  • MultiLit Volunteer (2021)
  • Auslan Sign Online SOL216 (2020)

Zara currently provides offsite services to:

  • Oakville Preschool Learning Centre
  • William Rose School

Daniella Azzopardi

Speech Language Pathologist MSPA

Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences – Macquarie University (2020)
Master of Speech Language Pathology – Macquarie University (2022)

View profile

Daniella joined the HDST team in 2023 with experience working with children and adults across a variety of settings. She enjoys working in all areas of Speech Pathology, with particular interest in early speech and language intervention, and working with preschool and primary school aged children in the areas of speech, literacy, and oral and written expression. Daniella is passionate about building relationships and working collaboratively with her clients, their families, and their support networks to achieve therapy goals. She enjoys working towards meaningful goals that will facilitate communication and participation in everyday activities. Daniella continues to build on her knowledge and develop her professional skills through professional development to ensure that she is able to support her clients.

In her free time, Daniella enjoys spending time with her family and friends, giving lots of cuddles to her Cavoodle, Archie, as well as looking for new places to enjoy quality food.

Recent Professional Development:

  • HDST Literacy Training (2023)
  • Working Beyond Phonics: Supporting students in upper primary and high school (2023)
  • The Shape Coding system training (2023)
  • HDST Neurodiversity Training (2023)

Daniella currently provides offsite services to:

  • Baulkham Hills North Public School
  • Hills Adventist College Castle Hill
  • Model Farms High School

Sophie Hendy

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA

View profile

Coming soon

Tiffany Ngai

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA

Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) – University of Sydney

Languages other than English: Cantonese (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Tiffany found her passion for Speech Pathology when she saw the wonderful opportunities it holds in helping clients to develop their communication and grow as individuals. She joined the Hills District Speech Therapy team in 2024 and is excited to embark on a new journey here. Tiffany has experience working with children in settings including preschools, schools and clinic settings. This led her to having interests in working with preschool and school aged children on speech, language, and literacy. Tiffany is dedicated to working collaboratively and creatively with clients, families, and their communities to deliver therapy that makes a meaningful difference to her clients’ everyday lives. She is motivated to continuously learn and build her clinical knowledge and skills through professional development to ensure her clients achieving their goals with high quality care.

When she’s not at HDST, Tiffany loves spending time with family and friends over a good meal, listening to music, designing graphics, and playing ultimate frisbee.

Professional Development

  • Management of Voice Problems – Assessment and Treatment Workshop. Presented by Cecilia Pemberton (Voice Care Australia) (2023)

Tiffany currently provides offsite services to:

  • The Hills Grammar School

Manahil Afraz

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA

Bachelor of Speech Pathology – Australian Catholic University

Languages other than English: 

View profile

Coming soon

Anuroop Mangar

Speech Language Pathologist CPSP MSPA

Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences – Macquarie University

Master of Speech Pathology – University of Technology Sydney

Languages other than English: Punjabi (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Anuroop (Anu) is one of our newest additions to the HDST team. She was previously an Allied Health Assistant (AHA) for 3 years and has now joined HDST as a Speech Pathologist. She has experience working with children and adults with disabilities across a variety of settings. She enjoys working in all areas of speech pathology, with particular interest in speech, language, literacy, paediatric feeding and swallowing. She is passionate about supporting her clients to reach their fullest potential. She is always eager to learn and grow her professional skills so she can provide her clients with high quality speech pathology intervention.

When Anu is not working, she enjoys going to the gym, going on hikes and spending time with family and friends.

Occupational Therapists

Rebecca Mekdessi

Senior Occupational Therapist OTA AHPRA
Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)  – University of Sydney

Languages other than English: Arabic (ILR Level 1)

View profile

Rebecca is an Occupational Therapist who joined the HDST team this year! Rebecca has a strong passion for early intervention, parent education and collaborative practice. She believes a strong client relationship and collaboration with parents, teachers and allied health is key for a child to achieve their goals. She has experience working in a variety of settings including the private and public health sectors, schools, preschools and home and community environments. Rebecca is committed to evidence based practice and continually engages in professional development. She has established the SPOT School readiness program at HDST and is excited to run these groups alongside our speech pathologists!

Outside of work, Rebecca enjoys going for walks, spending time with her family at the blue mountains, baking and cooking.

Professional Development

  • NSW & ACT Paediatric Special interest group (2017 – ongoing)
  • OTA: OT For Children: Principles of Assessment and Intervention (Feb 2018)
  • Anxiety: The occupational therapists role with children Presented by Dr. Susan Lowe (July 2018)
  • PRPP Training – Assessment and Intervention by Dr. Susan Lowe (Oct 2018)
  • Self-Regulation Online course by Dr Stuart Shanker (May 2019)
  • Toileting (typically developing and children with ASD) with Dr. Mary Anne Hall (Sep 2019)
  • Perceive, recall, Plan and Perform (PRPP) system of task analysis Handwriting Assessment and intervention with Chris Chaparro (Oct 2019)
  • Training in PRPP assessment and participation in research re: Cognitive strategy use of year one and two children who have difficulties writing the lower-case alphabet letters from memory (USYD) – Kathryn Mathwin & Dr. Chris Chaparro (Oct 2019)
  • Developing Pretend Play Skills in Children – Advanced (Assessment and intervention) Dr Karen Stagnitti (Feb 2019)
  • An occupation perspective of Paediatric feeding with Nadine Frederiksen (April 2021)
  • AD/HD: Adaptations and strategies to help success at school Presented by Dr Caroline Stevenson (July 2021) 
  • Picky eaters vs. Problem feeders: The SOS Approach to Feeding (November 2021)

Sabrina David

Occupational Therapist OTA AHPRA

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy – Western Sydney University (2023)

Languages other than English: Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic) (ILR Level 2)

View profile

Sabrina is a new grad OT here at Hills District Speech Therapy. Starting her journey with us as an AHA, Sabrina has grown to love the friendly and supportive environment.Sabrina’s gentle and compassionate nature reflects in her work and striving to be the best OT she can be for her clients! With her university placement experiences, Sabrina has grown to love working with children. She is looking forward to learning and growing in her knowledge as an OT here at HDST.

Outside of work Sabrina loves catching up with her friends and family, spending time in nature, making art, and reading books with a warm cup of tea in the evenings!

 

Administration

Virginia Wassif

Officer Manager, Accounts & NDIS Liaison, and Team Leader

Languages other than English: Arabic (ILR Level 1)

View profile

Our Office Manager/Accounts Liaison, Virginia has been part of our team since 2015. She started out as the office manager and has moved her way up to Admin Team Leader and Accounts/NDIS Liaison. She has over 15 years admin/accounts experience and is dedicated to supporting the families and staff in ensuring all queries and payments are organised in a friendly, timely and efficient manner. She directly handles most financial matter such as client billing, payroll prep for our contractors, Banking and assists with accounts receivable. She is also responsible for the supervision of the administrative team. She enjoys spending time with her family and baking.

Vicki Hargraves

Administration Client Liaison Officer

 

View profile

Our Admin Client Liaison Officer, Vicki is always delighted to answer any questions you may have and is the friendly voice at the end of the phone when you call to make an appointment. She is dedicated to supporting the families and staff in ensuring all queries, payments and appointments are organised in a friendly, timely and efficient manner. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and listening to music. We are also very grateful that Vicki brings her understanding and knowledge as a mother and an NDIS participant representative for her daughter who has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Karin Menegazzi

Intake Officer

Languages other than English: Scottish

View profile

Karin is the most recent member of the HDST team.  She brings over 30 years of office admin experience to us and is currently coordinating our intake.  This is her first time working in the health industry and she’s enjoying all the interaction with our clients and families.  Karin wants to make sure our client’s first experience with us is a good one.

In her spare time, Karin loves to spend time with her family (especially her three gorgeous grandsons!), cooking, reading and listening to good music.

Allied Health Assistants

Renee Lim

Allied Health Assistant
Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Speech Pathology) – University of Sydney

View profile

Renee is a warm, supportive and fun-loving person. Her top priorities as an allied health assistant are to understand our clients and their families better, to create trust in meaningful connections and to provide a safe, non-judgemental therapy environment. She finds joy in sharing a chat and a laugh with absolutely anyone and appreciates exploring the unexpected or unfamiliar whether at work or in her personal endeavours. She completed her studies in speech pathology and recently transitioned into an allied health assistant role at our clinic. She has had experience working with children and adults across a range of practice areas. Some of her favourite things include exploring new areas of Sydney and surrounds on road trips with her Dad, catching the latest Korean Netflix show with her brother, exploring good food places with her partner, or having the odd cooking adventure/disaster in the kitchen on her own!

Professional Development

  • Attended NSW ADHD Conference (2022)
  • Attendance at in-house private practice professional development sessions  (Topics: Dental maloclussion, ASD in girls, Music therapy, Dyslexia) (2021)
  • Paediatric Voice Therapy Seminar (2019)
  • Attendance at the NSW Aphasia Conference (2018)