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Meet the Therapy Pro Melbourne Therapists

Nicole Guinan, speech and language pathologist

Nicole Guinan’s passion for communication has seen her join Therapy Pro’s Melbourne team to support children and adults with speech, swallowing and communication challenges.

This Irish-trained speech and language pathologist brings extensive experience working with children and adults, often with complex needs.

Nicole can assess and address challenges impacting language development, mealtimes, swallowing and literacy.

She can also prescribe technological aids to provide alternative non-verbal communication.

During her years working in Ireland and England, Nicole worked in hospital and community settings, assessing and managing all speech and language therapy needs in children, particularly those with complex needs secondary to a medical diagnosis such as autism spectrum disorder, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, cleft palate and heart conditions.

She also led an award-winning communication awareness program, providing training for hospitality workers to boost their knowledge and help them better interact with individuals seeking service who had communication impairments.

“I love to be out and about and when I heard of people’s isolation because of communication challenges and the negativity that came with that, I wanted to help them develop some redress. Going out for a drink or a meal is, I believe a human right.”

If speech and communication difficulties have seen you shy away from cafes, pubs and restaurants for fear of not being served, Nicole could be your wingman.

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Ann Thomas, occupational therapist

Melbourne-based Therapy Pro occupational therapist Ann Thomas enjoys playing cards: Go Fish, Bluff, Euchre, Rummy—and the hand of cards that Life deals clients.

Do you need assistance with routine day to day activities like eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and walking? Assessment and strategies to improve your abilities are one of Ann’s strong suits.

She also helps clients with aids and equipment assessments and recommendations and identifying suitable housing.

Ann has a wealth of experience in neurological rehabilitation for acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, autism, and psychosocial disability including schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorders and personality disorders.

“Therapy is what works for the client. There are no fixed rules. No two clients with the same presentation will have the same plan — and I like that challenge.”

Ann brings her occupational therapy expertise to clients throughout Melbourne. She’s ready to work with your hand of cards. Are you?

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Jan Coleman, social worker

Therapy Pro social worker Jan Coleman draws on more than her knowledge and professional experiences as a speech therapist, special education teacher, counsellor and social worker to help clients achieve their goals.

She literally walks in the shoes of a person living with a disability. Jan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) almost 20 years ago.

“It’s the best life you can have – maybe with supports, strategies or technologies. There is no one ‘normal’ but there is disadvantage and that can be minimised.”

Jan works with clients on behavioural support and advice, including Positive Behavioural Support Plans, provides individual and family counselling, and identifying suitable housing with clients.

She has specific expertise dealing with children and adolescents’ issues and needs.

Jan holds the trusted relationships that form with client families dear.

Her years of counselling enable Jan to deftly bond; to get to the heart of what a client personally wants and needs.

Home visits are nothing to worry about, Jan stresses. She doesn’t visit with a white gloved hand checking for dust – she comes with an open mind seeking workable, creative options that add value to your life.

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Quyen Tran, psychologist (provisional)

Quyen Tran is excited to bring unique perspectives and insights to her role as a Therapy Pro psychologist (provisional).

A native speaker of Vietnamese, and fluent in English, Quyen believes she can help address a crying need in Melbourne for people with disability or their family members whose first language is Vietnamese.

She understands many other Asian cultures—Chinese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai—and hopes to also support members of those communities living with disability in Melbourne.

Quyen can help clients with psychological assessments and interventions, behavioural support and advice including writing and developing Positive Behaviour Support Plans, individual and family counselling and psychometric assessments.

“Communication can be a severe barrier to getting the right supports,” says Quyen who moved to Australia from Vietnam in 2013 to undertake her tertiary studies.

“It brings me great joy to know that I can help make it better for my clients, or at the very least, be there for them and with them.”

Talking and listening play important roles in her job.

So does imparting understanding—and Quyen, with her personal and professional experience with people from diverse backgrounds and communities, hopes people will feel comfortable sharing concerns related to culture, sexuality and gender identity with her.

Quyen gained her Bachelor of Psychological Science at the University of Adelaide and completed her Honours degree at Flinders University.

Her awareness of the importance of client-centred approaches to therapy developed while working as a volunteer Drug Arm caseworker.

“A lot of clients had mental health concerns as well as alcohol or drug addiction. Goal setting and planning appropriate interventions were important ways to bring about real changes to life.”

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Pooja Kannamballi, occupational therapist

From a young age, Pooja Kannamballi sensed her life’s work would involve helping others to achieve.

In being a part of Therapy Pro, occupational therapist  Pooja does just that as she serves clients in the Melbourne area.

Pooja places a firm emphasis on the importance of getting to know clients, to build up a relationship with them as she visits in their own homes and other locations, helping them develop, recover, strengthen and maintain skills needed for improved daily living.

This can include functional, developmental, sensory, mobility, postural, safe travel and continence assessments and tailored individualised interventions.

Pooja can also help clients with aids and equipment assessments.

“I have always believed in a client-centred and holistic focus, seeing people in their own natural environment, really getting to know them and determining what I can do to help them using different techniques to improve their quality of life.”

Pooja also brings to the Therapy Pro team fluency in Malayalam, the language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala which may benefit and provide practical comfort to some Therapy Pro clients.

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Heather Wootton, speech pathologist

Therapy Pro speech pathologist Heather Wootton is an avid problem-solver and likens making sense of life to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

Sometimes a piece looks like it should fit but doesn’t. Or two pieces look like they are unrelated but turn them around and they match.

Heather draws on her knowledge of neurology and physiology – as well as psychology – to problem solve with clients to find effective therapies to improve communication issues.

Heather has worked with young children, and their families, in a community health setting, supporting the littlies’ development of sounds, language, and social skills.

She’s also experienced with adults who have aphasia, language difficulty due to brain injury that affects everyday communication, relationships and everyday living.

“Imagine not being able to communicate effectively. I’d feel frustrated and powerless when those around me couldn’t understand what I’m trying to tell the world.

“My role is to support and find ways to improve verbal or non-verbal communication that suit my clients.

“Whether working with young children or older adults, I’ve seen how important it is to find therapies that suit the individual, are flexible and appropriate for maximum engagement.”

Melbourne born and bred, Heather has a Masters in Speech Pathology from La Trobe University. She enjoys exploring her city’s neighbourhoods, often with her beloved miniature sausage dog, Winston. Alas, Winston is unlikely to be joining Heather on her mobile speech therapy visits to clients in Melbourne.

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Jenny Hogan, speech pathologist

Melbourne Therapy Pro speech pathologist Jenny Hogan helps people of all age groups and has particular interest and expertise with children and young people who have a variety of speech and language challenges.

Jenny, who trained in Ireland, has worked mostly with young children, teenagers and young adults, often with complex and diverse disabilities.

Sometimes her young clients have been unable to use words, sentences or sounds to form speech, like a child with Rett’s syndrome who could not speak and whose mobility was very limited. Jenny worked with the child to develop a non-verbal means to express her thoughts and intentions, using only eye movement, right or left, for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers.

Jenny knows how to adapt techniques to be effective and culturally appropriate and is experienced working with families from different cultures and countries—including Polynesian, Asian, Maori and African.

Sometimes therapy involves play.

 

“The basic skills for communication, for social interactions, are learned through play—how to share or take turns in speaking for example,” she says.

And sometimes, music is part of Jenny’s therapy (her master’s thesis was on the effects of music training on language development).

Perhaps Therapy Pro speech pathologist Jenny Hogan has the playlist to unlock your child or young person’s speech and communication dreams and goals.

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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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Join Our Team

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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