Grace Fava OAM
CLO, JP - Founder & Chief executive Officer
Certificate IV Frontline Management, Adjunct Fellow Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Western Sydney, Board Member with Catholic Cemeteries Trust. Grace has worked in many diverse fields including Pharmacy, Office Administration and Accounts receivable for various organisations. Her passion for Autism was ignited when searching for services for her two boys who both regressed with Autism and Global Developmental Delay.
Grace is responsible for the day to day running of AASS and overseeing all aspects of the organisation.
Shannon is responsible for the implementation, organisation and management of the programs at AASS.
Shannon’s previous experience working in Early Intervention and the Not for Profit sectors has given her the valuable tools to effectively connect with children, families and staff.
Through her leadership skills she is able to manage a large team of professionals to provide quality service delivery.
Her passion for helping children and families with Autism is evident when you meet her. She also has a son with a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism (Autism 1). Her focus on making a difference on a daily basis is a driving force. Shannon has the ability to add humour with her bubbly personality, compassion and understating. These are the great qualities she brings to her role within AASS.
Chief Financial Officer
Stephanie has worked as a Chartered Accountant in public practice for 16 years. She believes that good accounting practices producing reliable and timely financial reports is integral to a successful business. She thrives on working with people in an organisation to help them achieve this in the most efficient and effective way possible. Stephanie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting. She has worked in public practice, specialising in business services, taxation, consulting and audit of small to medium businesses. She has also worked in various commercial accounting roles which has served to round out her experience in a very practical way. Stephanie has worked with a wide variety of businesses including manufacturing, wholesale, retail services and for the past four years has worked in the not-for-profit sector. She specialises in problem solving and assisting in the development of systems that will ensure the integrity of financial information. Stephanie pursues all her interests with energy, passion and a positive attitude. She is particularly passionate about the not-for-profit sector and how she can utilise her skills to assist organisations to be successful, well managed and self- sustaining.
Lisa is the smiley face who greets you when you visit AASS House and the voice on the other end of phone when you call. She is able to help you with your enquiries and point you in the right direction. She is also here to help with accessing the Sensory Resource Store.
Lisa has worked in Child and Family Services with for over 16 years and has found her new home with AASS. She is passionate about supporting families and their children and is always available to lend a listening ear.
Family Support Coordinator
Myrna has worked with children and families for over 20 years in various early childhood settings including preschool, long day care, and out of school hours care as a teacher, Authorised Supervisor and Team Leader. She briefly worked for an Inclusion Support Agency as an ISF and provided support to children's services staff within Inner West Sydney. Myrna's interest in autism began when she taught a young child with autism in the mid 90's. She managed a multidisciplinary early intervention service in Inner West Sydney and was a Team Leader for a Transdisciplinary behaviour specialist non government organisation. She worked closely with families, established school support programs and facilitated workshops including behaviour support, social skills and parent training. Myrna has a degree in Early Childhood Education, a Masters degree in Special Education, an Associate Diploma in Social Science and is an Enrolled Nurse. Myrna has also completed training in Secret Agent Society (SAS) Social Skills Program and is a facilitator, Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS Model), Introductory Training to DIR®/Floortime™ Model, Developmental Assessment and Introduction to The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), Evidence-based Practice in Early Childhood, Results Based Accountability (RBA), Prolquo2go and Proloqu4Text and other autism related training. Myrna is also delivers services under Support Coordination, School Preparation / Transition to School and Behaviour Support & is an active advocate in the area of autism.
Support Group Worker
Lina coordinates the support groups for AASS consisting of the Arabic Support Group and the Carers Support Groups. Lina also provides ongoing support group coordination and facilitation to schools within the area. Through her role, Lina is able to provide families with the vital support and education they require.
Lina also provides support in our Early Years Therapy Playgroup offering families with a CALD background, whose access to services may be limited, the opportunity to be included and supported. Lina's ability to interpret Arabic and French provides another dimension.
Her compassion and empathy in dealing with families and children with Autism is apparent when you meet her. Her own personal experiences having a child with a diagnosis of Autism plays a big role in her being able to assist, advise and support families
Nelly has joined the team at AASS as a Graduate with a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Psychological Honours from the Australian College of Applied Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts – Psychology from Macquarie University. Nelly has had experience working with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder as she has previously worked as a senior therapist in applied behaviour analysis therapy for five years.
Nelly is a Certified Practicing Member of Speech Pathologist Australia and is passionate about working with children with autism to meet their goals in a fun, motivating and interactive manner. Nelly believes that working together with parents and teachers is of significant importance to expand the child’s communication, language and social skills beyond the therapy environment.
Merissa has experience in education as well as retail and book keeping but it wasn’t until her son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder that her desire and dedication to help people in the same situation as her became a goal she truly wanted to work towards. She believes now that with her life experience of raising a child on the Autism Spectrum, that she would like to share her knowledge with other parents as well as continue to learn more about Autism. Now at AASS, Merissa believes she is fulfilling these dreams.
Merissa loves working as a part of a team to achieve success and works alongside the administration team to support them. She is also here to manage the day to day running of our toy/sensory resource shop and organise upcoming events/fundraisers.
Laura is a Speech Pathologist who joined the AASS team with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) from The University of Sydney. She has a passion for working with children and young adolescents with additional needs. Laura strongly believes that every child is unique and tailors therapy to meet their goals in motivating and engaging ways. She puts high importance in working alongside parents and teachers to achieve these goals beyond the therapy environment.
Laura holds Certified Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) and is continuously developing her professional knowledge. She values being able to work extensively with Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Music Therapists and other Allied Health professionals as this has allowed her to build upon her skills as a therapist. Laura aims to empower her clients and their families to achieve their goals.
Elizabeth is an Art Therapist who is passionate about finding connection in diversity using art as a path way to individual growth and communication. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours from Sydney University where she majored in sculpture with particular interest in ceramics and recycling art practices.
Elizabeth went on to obtain a Masters of Art Therapy which inspired her insightful, creative and transformative approach.
Elizabeth has facilitated art workshops for children and adults with learning and physical disabilities while also catering to mainstream clients.
Elizabeth’s sessions aim to increase her client’s skills while nurturing and supporting the therapeutic benefits of art.
Senior Speech Pathologist
Thanh is a Speech Pathologist who has a passion for working with children with additional needs and their families. Acknowledging every client as an individual, she seeks to build upon their strengths to increase therapy outcomes. She strongly believes in a collaborative person-centered approach to therapy.
Thanh holds Certified Practising Speech Pathologist status and comes from a background working for non-government organisations in the disability sector. She has experience in providing services for diverse caseloads in various settings. These include: community based projects e.g. Babytime, group based therapy, individual therapy and school outreach programs. Thanh is a passionate and lively therapist who thrives on supporting others and hopes to continue to make a difference in the lives of her clients and in the community.
Kim graduated in 2011 and has a special interest in working with children with additional needs. She holds Certified Practising Speech Pathologist status, is an accredited Key Word Sign presenter and is able to facilitate a number of Hanen programs. She is dedicated to the profession and endeavours to develop professionally whenever opportunities arise so that she can continually support her clients to reach their fullest potential.
Kim is a passionate speech pathologist who is committed to family- centred and strengths- based therapy approaches. Kim believes that children flourish when their unique strengths are highlighted, when their interests are embedded into learning environments and practices and when their significant others are supported. She strives to work collaboratively with families and mainstream service staff to build capacity and foster evidence-based learning environments.
Kim aims to develop positive relationships with her clients so that they are comfortable and confident within therapy sessions as they all work towards meeting the learning goals of the child and the priorities of the family.
Mari Al Gelani
Mari recently joined AASS as a Support Coordinator. She assists clients to implement their NDIS plans and provides guidance and support to find appropriate services to achieve their goals. She holds a social work degree and found a passion in working with children early in her career. Mari volunteered for various non-government organisations that support children with additional needs to gain her knowledge and experience. Mari then worked as a caseworker for Out-of-home care children for many years. She also worked for the NDIS as Local Area Coordinator where she met with many families with children on the Autism Spectrum and assisted the parents to find appropriate services for their needs and ensured appropriate funding utilization.
Stephanie is a qualified Psychologist with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and a Master of Applied Psychology. Steph’s passion for psychology started out through sport and a want to learn new ways to grow and develop athletes, however, throughout her work has developed a love and interest in working with Autism. Steph aims to work alongside individuals, families, and other therapists to allow each individual the best possible outcome. Steph aims to provide children, adolescents, and adults with Autism (and their families) a way to express themselves, as well as gain skills and strategies across context. Steph is available for on-site sessions, off-site (home or school) sessions, as well as diagnostic and cognitive assessments.
Rachael is an Occupational Therapist and the newest member of AASS.
Rachael has previous experience working as a Disability Support Worker. Recognising that every client is unique, Rachael is enthusiastic about providing client centred care in order to achieve the most out of therapy sessions and assist the client to reach their full potential.
Rachael is a current member of Occupational Therapy Australia and is eager to continue developing her knowledge and skills in the area.
Steve Kenny graduated from Sydney University in 1992 as a Physiotherapist and has many years experience as a private practitioner. In 2005 Steve completed a Masters Degree in Behavioural Science at Sydney University and since then has expanded his work to include consulting with families and schools who are looking for assistance with behaviour change. Steve prefers a holistic approach to behaviour change and considers family systems and other environmental factors when developing plans for change.
Steve’s area of special interest is Autism, especially to up-skill children who are struggling with relationships. He uses cognitive therapy to teach the myriad of social thinking skills that underpin relationships and behaviour therapy for practical development of social skills. Improving gross motor skills and coordination can improve children access to social situations and Steve is able to assess and treat children who have difficulty in this area.
Steve is available for appointments in the following areas, Social skill coaching including Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy, Behaviour modification, Home and school consultations, Gross motor skill physiotherapy and Musculoskeletal physiotherapy.
Matthew is a Registered Music Therapist with the Australian Music Therapy Association. He is also a qualified music teacher, performing pianist, organist, and music examiner. As a Music Therapist, he has been working with people with autism over the past 5 years and has a special interest in this population.
Matthew is currently conducting research at Western Sydney University, developing interventions using the Figurenotes music notation system to enable children with autism to develop their musical skills and learn to play an instrument. Figurenotes is a concrete, matching notation system which uses colours and shapes to enable children to “play what they see”, making it easier than standard musical notation. The colours and shapes of Figurenotes also allow creation of enjoyable musical games to assist engagement.
He is excited to have the opportunity to offer Music Therapy with Figurenotes to clients through AASS.
Adrian Luis Mendoza
Adrian is a Registered Music Therapist with the Australian Music Therapy Association. He is also a qualified High School Music teacher and Music Tutor. Adrian has been teaching music in and out of schools for the past 7 years and has recently begun practicing Music Therapy.
Adrian has completed a Bachelor of Composition and Music Production, Graduate Diploma of High school Education Majoring in Music and a Masters of Creative Music Therapy in the Nordoff-Robbins style.
Adrian has been performing and composing music throughout Sydney over the years and has been part of many institutions aimed at Education and Teaching Music, but now has found his passion helping children with Disabilities and is now sharing this passion with the team at Autism Advisory and Support Services.