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Meet the Therapy Pro Therapists for Logan City

Luke Desmond, psychologist (provisional)

Therapy Pro psychologist (provisional) Luke Desmond has seen enough of life to realise people can make life more complicated than it is.

That’s why he adopts a KISS approach to his work, favouring Keep It Simple Strategies that can be applied readily to everyday life.

Luke works with children, teenagers and adults, helping improve emotional regulation, develop personal coping strategies, improve relationships and change or challenge unhelpful thoughts or behaviours.

He has particular experience supporting clients with mental illness or intellectual disability, and their families, working in both behaviour support and counselling roles.

Luke enjoys seeing the way positive behaviour support can enhance clients’ quality of life.

He’s helped many clients overcome their anxieties—whether scared of things or situations, fearful of being criticised or embarrassed by others or excessively worried about lots of ‘stuff’ in life.

In counselling Luke draws on a range of psychological techniques including acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.

Luke holds graduate diploma in psychology and a master’s degree in psychology from University of New England.

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Kate Chalker, speech and language pathologist

Therapy Pro’s Kate Chalker is a second-generation champion of disability rights, inspired by family to pursue a therapy career that could have life-changing impacts.

Kate chose to study speech and language pathology after seeing the difference it made for a young cousin born with a cleft palate.

“I saw his personality grow, and his confidence too, as he conquered speech difficulties and I still feel pride in the effort put in to achieve hard-won results,” she says.

As a speech and language pathologist, Kate evaluates a client’s speech, language, fluency, literacy, voice and swallowing skills and develops an individualised plan to address development or disorders.

Her expertise extends to non-verbal communications, helping clients choose assistive technologies that can positively affect the rest of their lives.

Kate brings a variety of experiences to her role with Therapy Pro. In working with children, she’s undertaken many assessments of age-appropriate milestones as well as screening of children for autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Work with adults has included helping people learn how to swallow safely after experiencing stroke, traumatic brain injury or cancers of the head and neck.

Communication is a two-way street. While Kate has helped adult clients reconnect with those around them using assistive technologies, she’s also worked with their partners, helping family, friends and carers better communicate too.

Kate is a graduate of Charles Sturt University in Albury.

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Nancye Richardson, occupational therapist

Nancye Richardson has worked in the disability sector for more than a decade, using her skills as an occupational therapist to achieve positive outcomes for both child and adult clients.

While activities like dressing, bathing, toileting, eating, sleeping and sitting are everyday tasks for many people, her clients can find them challenging.

Nancye enjoys working in partnership with clients and their support network to identify and understand client priorities, goals and ways that they can use their skills and interests to increase their participation in everyday activities.

Support to adult clients may include equipment and assistive technology, manual handling techniques, safe travel options, continence and ways to develop specific skills.

 

Nancye is also passionate about providing tailored early intervention support to children who have disabilities (and often complex medical needs) and their families. When working with children, Nancye believes in play-based learning and seeks family involvement so that play therapy activities can be incorporated in their everyday routines.

“Therapy needs to be fun as children learn through play. It is not an isolated activity with just me and the child. Family involvement is really important,” she says.

Nancye is a James Cook University graduate.

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Kirsty Atkinson, social worker

Therapy Pro Logan and Brisbane team member Kirsty Atkinson seeks to support clients live their ‘everyday’ to their best, every day.

As a social worker, Kirsty achieves positive results for clients by listening and acting in their best interests.

She’s like the sports coach in the changeroom urging family, carers, friends and other supports to pull together for ‘Team Individual’.

She’s there in the huddle with trustworthy information and counselling skills, supporting clients and their families to build on skills and live the best life possible.

 

“Theories in textbooks are guides—everybody is unique, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ in life but working in the same direction with the same goal helps!” Kirsty says.

Kirsty has worked with government disability services in two states, working with children and adults to support their needs, goals and aspirations.

She can stand beside clients in times of change—like moving from school to employment—and in times of crisis too.

“Let’s focus together on your strengths and work with those around you to improve your independence, relationships and everyday living. “

Kirsty holds a Bachelor of Social Work with honours from the University of South Australia.

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Ana Almagro, psychologist

Therapy Pro Brisbane psychologist Ana Almagro views life as a sequence of actions, not dissimilar to the series of postures that flow one after the other in her vinyasa yoga classes. In an ideal world, the actions would all be smooth and seamless: perfect. The real world isn’t perfect—and stumbles do happen.

Ana works with children, teenagers and adults with disability to help smooth the way through an imperfect world.

She is experienced in counselling individuals, couples and families, and can help clients with psychological assessment and interventions, behavioural support and advice including Positive Behaviour Support Plans, and psychometric assessments.

Ana is a qualified Cogmed Working Memory Training coach and is trained in eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) trauma therapy. She uses ‘talking’ therapies, such as cognitive behaviour therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy, too.

A great believer in ‘body behaviour’—that the state of mind, positive or negative, is mirrored in a matching bodily expression—Ana often incorporates aspects of yoga breathing, meditation and mindfulness in her sessions with clients facing emotional challenges.

“The mind-body connection is often overlooked,” she says.

Ana worked as a personal carer when studying at university, supporting clients with multiple sclerosis and acquired brain injuries to live more independently.

She gained a Masters of Professional Psychology at University of Southern Queensland after finishing her Bachelors and Honours in Psychological Science at Bond University.

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Danielle French, social worker

Therapy Pro Gold Coast and Logan team member Danielle French seeks to support clients live their ‘everyday’ to their best, every day.

As a social worker , Danni supports children and adults overcome personal difficulties and structural barriers so that they experience inclusion, involvement and independence in home, school, work and community life.

She has specific expertise dealing with children and adolescents’ issues and needs, particularly those with cognitive disabilities (including autism spectrum disorder).

“Life is not black and white. There are greys. Sometimes the greys seem incomprehensible. I take time to answer the ‘why’,” Danni says.

Danni has worked in the disability sector in England and Australia for more than a decade as a disability support worker, teacher (early childhood and special needs) and social worker.

She draws on those varied work roles to offer practical guidance and skills to handle issues that can hurt and confuse—including bullying and inappropriate sexualised behaviour.

She’s also well-connected on the Gold Coast, with a bulging ‘little black book’ of support groups and services with whom to connect clients and their families.

Danni is a Griffith University graduate.

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Isabella Wise, speech and language pathologist

As a speech and language pathologist, Therapy Pro’s Isabella Wise understands the importance of mealtimes and communication for her clients.

Izzy’s role involves assessing and addressing challenges that affect literacy, language development, the formation of sounds, words and sentences and swallowing.

She can also prescribe aids to provide alternative non-verbal communication—and solutions are not always high-tech: “I can work magic with Velcro and laminate!” she says of her practical approach.

Izzy has worked in speech therapy roles in hospital and community settings; most recently, exclusively in the disability sector, supporting children and adults with speech, swallowing and communication challenges.

While supporting children and adolescents in their homes as well as at schools and child care centres, Izzy enjoys spreading understanding of alternative communication methods and ways to support communication with parents and other family members, child care workers and teachers.

Izzy is a University of Queensland graduate.

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Shradha Haria, occupational therapist

Occupational therapist Shradha Haria believes that every life matters and therefore everyone deserves a chance to maximise their potential and achieve various goals each individual sets throughout their life span.

A genuine smile and a caring touch is worth a million. Shradha believes the importance of acknowledging various cultures in service provision.

Shradha has broad and varied experience including working with children and adults with learning, intellectual and physical disabilities.

She utilises various methodologies involving; prescription of equipment and assistive devices, home modifications, exploring suitable housing, using sensory based and neuro-cognitive approaches to enable individuals to increase their capacity to live meaningful and purposeful lives.

Shrada helps people improve daily living functions, through assessment and appropriately tailored intervention. This can include developmental, sensory, mobility, postural, and safe travel assessments and interventions. She also helps clients with aids and equipment assessments and recommendations and identifying suitable housing.  

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Lina Kohler Holma, speech and language pathologist

Lina Kohler Holma, speech and language pathologist

For Therapy Pro speech and language pathologist Lina Kohler Holma, making a big difference in the lives of her Ipswich clients can be a subtle nod of a head.

Swedish-born Lina has travelled extensively around Australia, studied in Adelaide, now calls Brisbane home and Ipswich her workplace.

With a passion for improving the quality of life for people with a disability, Lina believes that communication is key and even a small change can make a huge difference.

Through her work, Lina hopes to find new ways for those with disabilities to find their voice by using alternative ways to communicate and with the right support from their communication partners.

“It feels amazing to know that I can make a difference in someone’s life by giving them the mechanisms to say what they want or don’t want and that a simple movement can enable this achievement.”

Lina previously worked with clients with neuro-developmental and learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, mobility impairments and acquired brain injuries.

She can assist clients with communication, mealtimes swallowing, dysphasia and development assessments and interventions.

Having the ability to make your own choice isn’t just about being heard. It builds self-esteem and confidence too. Lina is someone keen to listen, understand and support that.

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Sara Madsen, occupational therapy

Sara Madsen has made it one of her life’s goals to help improve the daily living and general well-being of people with profound challenges.

Sara graduated as an occupational therapist in 1999 and has worked in the disability sector since 2006, working with children and adults across a variety of settings to improve their well-being and independence.

OTs are daily life specialists who support clients to improve key relationships and daily living functions—bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, walking—as well as school, workplace and community involvement.

Sara’s area of speciality is positive behaviour support, reducing and eliminating restrictive practices and achieving long-term sustainable support practices.

Since 2013, she has been drawn to adults with severe and profound disability, often non-verbal, with extremely challenging behaviours and multiple diagnoses who live in supported accommodation.

“With the right support and the right environment, a client’s needs can be met, and they can thrive,” Sara maintains.

“My role is to assess the client’s needs, be they physical, psychological or environmental, and support the client by educating, supporting and skilling the funded care providers and family members who together are the support team.

“My passion is for building a physical and psychological environment around the person, assisting them to thrive.

“People do not live and operate in silos: we interact and are impacted on by our environment and the people and structures around us. When a person is non-verbal or has difficulty identifying and/or communicating their needs and wishes, this becomes so much more important.”

Sara is a University of Queensland graduate.

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Danielle Forrest, social worker

Danielle Forrest, clinical social worker

Positivity is contagious: It’s with that belief that Therapy Pro social worker Danielle Forrest approaches her job, passing the mindset on to clients.

With TAFE courses and a university degree, plus work with Disability Services, behind her, Danielle assists families and carers to develop and implement clients’ Positive Behaviour Support Plans – strategies that improve the life of a person with a disability and reduce the impact of challenging behaviour.

“I am passionate about people. I want to put the right protocols and supports in place. I will bring a fresh pair of eyes and an upbeat attitude to every visit to every client.”

While Danielle doesn’t claim to have a magic wand, she believes that through team work, client-centred practice and Therapy Pro’s 360 approach, the lives of clients can be improved.

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NDIS Therapy Services

Therapy Pro is a registered NDIS provider of therapy services. Find out about our client-centred approach to help you achieve your goals.

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Therapy for Children

Getting the right supports to children at the right time can make all the difference. Here’s where you start.

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If you’re a therapist who is passionate about their work and keen to make a difference, we really need to talk about you joining our team!

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