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.
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.
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 Asperger's Syndrome. 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.
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.
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.
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
Chris is an Occupational Therapist who joined the AASS team in August 2017.
Chris has a passion with working within the disability sector with children and adults with a range of intellectual and physical disorders. Chris previously worked with children with sensory processing disorders whilst providing individualised interventions geared to assist with emotional regulation.
Chris strives to provide evidence – based treatment through assessment and intervention with function based goals.
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.
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 all your AASS Sensory Toy Store needs.
Lisa has worked in Child and Family Services with Mission Australia for over 12 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.
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.
Young Adult Social Group Coordinator
Kristy started her career in Western Australia working in a government subsection for disability services. Here she ran respite camps and day programs for people with disabilities of all ages.
During her time in Western Australia Kristy also supported children with autism 1:1 in school classrooms.
When Kristy's son was diagnosed with autism her professional and personal experience came together and created a greater passion for acceptance, inclusion and advocacy for people with Autism. Kristy coordinates monthly social community access outings for young adults with autism
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.
Craig Baird is a registered Psychologist who began supporting people with Autism 25 years ago.
Craig has also worked in hospital and community based mental health services.
Craig has a strong interest in supporting people with Autism to develop the skills they need to make important choices in their lives.
Veronica Pepe graduated from College of Holistic Medicine as an Art Therapist and runs the Sunday Art Play group at AASS. In 2014 Veronica completed her Double Advance Diploma in Counselling and Art Therapy and since then has worked in different pre-schools as a support worker for children on the Autism Spectrum. She has also worked as an ABA therapist to extend her knowledge and work privately for families. Her work expanded to working within schools and preschools doing art to help children express themselves. Veronica prefers a holistic approach to when working with children on the spectrum. Allowing the child to lead the way in their own healing process allows them to build independence, trust and self-assurance.
Veronica’s special interest is in Autism, especially providing opportunities for children to communicate in their own way. The aim of Art Therapy is not the outcome, but the process when involved in creating. The process of creating allows the child to build trust, openness and develop a genuine and transparent relationship between themselves and therapist. Veronica uses Art Therapy to help develop their fine & gross motor skills and most importantly developing and working on executive functioning and motor planning through the use of different art mediums. Improving a child’s fine and gross motor skills and coordination can improve their confidence levels and self-awareness.