Dr Astrid Birgden PhD - Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
Dr Birgden has over 30 years experience working in disability services, correctional services and the courts in SA, VIC and NSW. She first worked in disability services in the mid-1980s in Adelaide before moving to Melbourne in 1990 to establish the first of four Behaviour Interventions Support Team for clients with behaviours of concern. She then worked with forensic disability clients who had engaged in dangerous and anti-social behaviours. Since becoming a consultant in 2011, and in addition to designing and implementing Positive Behaviour Support Plans, Dr Birgden developed (and in 2018 revised) the Victorian Positive Practice Framework and has been engaged in initiating a competence framework and resource toolkit for behaviour support specialists for the NDIS.
Dr Birgden works with older adolescents and adults and has a particular interest in clients who are at risk of involvement with the criminal justice system. She has completed a Masters in Mental Disability Law through New York Law School and is published in the areas of intellectual disability, offender rehabilitation and human rights.
B. Psych (Hons), PhD (Clinical Psychology)
Clare is a psychologist registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and is currently working towards endorsement as a clinical psychologist. She has worked across the public and non-government sectors supporting children, adolescents and adults with disabilities and other complex needs.
Clare takes a collaborative approach to therapy, recognising that each individual brings their own strengths and expertise. She draws upon these strengths in conjunction with strategies from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Schema Therapy to help people with social skills, emotion regulation, anxiety, depression and other life stressors.
Clare completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Flinders University. Her research explored autism in adulthood, focusing on changes in presentation across the lifespan and issues of most concern to adults. She has experience in autism intervention and assessment and so also has an interest in working with people who have autism, particularly adults, to manage their symptoms and to support their wellbeing.
Matt’s research background is in the areas of shame processing and the wellbeing of parents who have been alienated from their children (Parental Alienation).
Matt has expertise in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to address a range of difficulties and mental health conditions.
Matt has worked as a School Psychologist and has expertise in supporting children and adolescents experiencing anxiety, depression, conflict with peers, disengagement from education and difficulty managing their anger.
Matt’s expertise in working with young people is aided by his work experience as a Social Worker in youth mental health, and as a Youth Worker in a therapeutic residential care program. In these roles he worked with young people who have complex needs relating to separated families, trauma, abuse, and disability. He is also able to conduct cognitive and educational assessments.
Matt has an interest in early childhood development and has expertise in working with parents to develop a healthy parent-child attachment.
Matt is a registered psychologist who is passionate about working with people of all ages to improve their wellbeing and reach their potential. He has experience working with families, children, adolescents and adults in child protection, mental health, and school settings.
Stephi West – Speech Pathologist
Stephi is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist and member of Speech Pathology Australia. She has experience working in the school setting with children with a range of intellectual and multiple disabilities including autism spectrum disorder, global developmental delay and syndrome disorders. Stephi has training in the SOS Approach to Feeding and SENSE-ational Mealtimes; these strategies support children who are fussy eaters or have restricted diets due to sensory issues.
Stephi uses a relational approach to build on functional communication goals in therapy. She strives to make sessions fun, engaging and meaningful for both parent and client. Stephi works using a ‘toolbox’ approach drawing from a number of communication and interaction approaches in therapy. She has experience with a range of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) strategies, including low-tech (photos, schedules, choice making) and high-tech options (tablet technology with communication applications).
She works with pre- and school aged children with speech sound disorders, language disorders, intellectual disabilities, pre- or nonverbal individuals and fussy eaters.
Dr Sadia Chaudry - Paediatrician
Sadia is a highly skilled General Paediatrician with over 14 years of experience managing a wide range of complex acute and chronic illnesses that effect children in various sub-specialties such as endocrinology, cardiology, nephrology, neonatology and others. Her warm and easy demeanour makes her an ideal doctor to approach for discreet, trustworthy and highly competent consultations regarding children.
She is accredited by Autism SA for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders that compliments her ability to manage children with complex medical conditions who may present with developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit and other behavioural conditions. She is an expert in dealing with at risk and emotionally dysregulated young people.
Graduating from her medicine degree in 1996, she has a four-year fellowship in general paediatrics from Pakistan followed by a six-year fellowship as a General Paediatrician from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Dr Marijeta Kurtin is a Health Psychologist, whose clinical interests lie primarily in child and adolescent mental health; however, she also consults with adult clients. She completed a PhD in 2011 which investigated adolescent mental health needs in rural areas of South Australia. Her preferred therapeutic approaches include cognitive behavioural therapy, play therapy, mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy. As a Health Psychologist, Marijeta is also interested in the biopsychosocial influences on wellbeing, and the interaction between mental health and physical health.
Marijeta has previously been employed in the areas of disability and child protection, working in government settings with clients who have physical and intellectual disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delays, and those who have a history of trauma related to abuse. Marijeta strives to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere for all of her clients, and enjoys collaborating with families to achieve best outcomes for their children.