At Aspire we believe in building a supportive community around each child. Only through direct interaction between parents, therapists and program managers can the best outcomes be reached for your child.
Aspire culminates in a network of over thirty Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention (EIBI) practitioners lead by our highly experienced team of Behaviour Support Practitioners (BSPs) and Program Managers
Our Aspire Family is continually growing, we are striving to work cohesively with our parents and children, as well as develop professionally. Our team is at the forefront of Aspire and are all valuable in all that they do!
Dianne Verstappen – Clinical Director
MA. (Linguistics), BCBA
Dianne is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and is available to supervise BCaBAs and people undertaking the requirements to become board certified as Behaviour Analysts.
Dianne has presented at conferences and has provided workshops internationally on Verbal Behaviour, Behaviour Management and Teaching Children with Special Needs. She frequently consults with schools in the Asia Pacific region (Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore) and provides teacher and staff training for international schools throughout Asia. Currently, Dianne lectures at Monash University for the Masters of Education, in Applied Behaviour Analysis specialisation.
Dianne is also a PART trainer and trains staff and parents in dealing with aggressive behaviour and how to restrain safely.
Our Canberra Team
Sumit Behl – Clinical Manager
B.Sc. (Physiotherapy), M. Ed (Applied Behaviour Analysis)
Sumit is an experienced Behaviour Analyst, who has 7 years’ experience of working with children ranging from the age of 14 months to 13 years of varying abilities. She specialises in teaching diverse skill-sets including, toilet training, independent and self-help skills, functional communication training, using PECS or AAC devices, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and play skills. She is experienced in conducting VBMAPP, ESDM, PEAK and VINELAND assessments and writing individualised Behavioural Intervention Plans for problem behaviours of varying severities. She takes great interest in coaching parents and supervising staff and people who are passionate to learn. At Aspire Early Intervention’s Clinic in Canberra, Sumit manages the clinic, oversees all the clients, provides supervision to all clinicians and RBTs, and supports clients for their NDIS funding on a regular basis.
Sumit started her career in ABA as a Registered Behaviour Technician in 2013. Since then, she has worked her way up to be a Clinical Manager at Aspire through gaining valuable and diverse experience, and constant up- and cross-skilling. Sumit values different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and respects individuality while working with all her clients.
Preeti Vogel – Program Manager
M.A. (Clinical Psychology), BCBA
Preeti started off her journey as a behaviour technician in 2014. She worked her way by completing post-masters course work in ABA from Florida Institute of Technology, US and got certified in 2018. She has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from India and has worked alongside a few hospitals, clinics and schools for 5 years while pursuing her education.
Her interest lies in teaching functional and adaptive life skills to her clients and adheres to the ethical standards aiming to disseminate the field. She has 6 years of experience working with clients of varied age groups (5-18 year olds), focusing on functional communication and language skills, social skills, vocational training, daily living skills and behaviour management. She has provided ABA services in multiple settings (centre based, home and community) and this experience further extends to training and supervising staff and families. She joined Aspire in 2019 and is looking forward to learning and growing with the team.
Vanessa Fernandez – Behaviour Support Practitioner / Program Manager
B.Sc. (Psychology), BCaBA
Vanessa completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology in the Philippines in 2008, with units in a masters program for Early Childhood Education in Special Education. The same year, Vanessa started working as a junior Behaviour Therapist in an early intervention centre. Vanessa worked in Dubai as an ABA therapist for four years, providing home and centre-based programs, one-to-one instruction, progress reports for clients, and conducting VB-MAPP assessments. In 2016, Vanessa moved to Australia and worked in a child-care centre for children with autism. She worked alongside the therapy and teaching team to develop individual behaviour plans, and creating a strategy to support children to engage in classroom programs.
Vanessa has worked with clients from 2.5 to 7 years of age in home, centre and school-based settings. She is passionate about teaching and supporting children to achieve their full potential. Vanessa has a strong approach to teamwork, which fosters successful relationships with families. She received her certification as a Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst (BCaBA) from Florida Institute of Technology in 2020.
Vanessa joined Aspire Early Intervention as a Senior Behaviour Technician in 2018.
Joshua Rice – Behaviour Support Practitioner
Joshua completed his Bachelor of Science in Psychology developing a passion for behaviour science and how this can be applied in a range of areas. He will continue his study, being enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Honours), and Masters of Education in Applied Behaviour Analysis to further develop his theoretical knowledge and applied skills.
Having completed his behaviour therapist training, he started at the Canberra branch in September 2018, Josh has enjoyed working with a range of clients at different skill levels, and including developing communication skills, functional skills, play, and social skills with peers.
Josh particularly enjoys working on communication, and watching as clients use their developing skills to build relationships, evolve their play and access reinforcement from their natural environment as growing autonomous individuals.
Our Sydney Team
Marie-Morgane Hieulle – Program Manager
M.A. Psychology, BCBA
After finishing high school, Marie started working to help empower children with specific social or educational needs and facilitate their access to schooling in various settings (including learning centres, homes, and children who were squatting).
Marie completed her Masters in Psychology in 2011 and worked in a hospital for children and teenagers with mental health issues and developmental disabilities. She particularly enjoyed working with children with complex needs, and started specialising in ABA. Between 2013-2018, Marie switched to work as a private consultant, supervisor or therapist in homes and schools in Belgium and France. She received her certification in 2016.
Marie particularly loves working with parents and families to make therapy functional and achieve critical life skills, including self-help, communication and access to medical services. Marie has a special interest in feeding, alternative communication, functional communication training and the development of language in general.
Marie is looking forward to developing her behaviour analytic skills further by joining the highly motivated people at Aspire. She is keen to venture into research in the future.
Emily Shahen – Behaviour Support Practitioner / Program Manager
B.Sc. (Speech and Hearing), M.A. (Speech Language Pathology)
Emily completed a Bachelor degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2010 and a Master of Arts degree majoring in the area of Speech and Language Pathology in 2012 at Macquarie University. She also completed Certificate III in Disability in a Pre-Vocational Program with Cerebral Palsy Alliance in 2011.
Emily’s prior experience consists of 3 years of private tutoring covering all areas of the school curriculum, with young adolescents with special needs, including Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD. Additionally, Emily has worked in the disability sector as a Direct Support Professional for adults with a variety of disabilities. Emily joined the Aspire team in 2013 as a Junior Therapist and became a Senior Therapist in 2014.
At Aspire, Emily has developed knowledge and experience in working with children from 2 to 10 years of age and has worked with boys and girls with a variety of skill sets. Emily has experience in providing one-on-one therapy at clients’ homes and the Aspire centre, shadowing at schools and daycares as well as conducting the VB-MAPP assessment tool to assess children’s skill sets. She has attended all training workshops provided by Aspire.
Emily has a passion for working with children with special needs across all ages, and their families as it brings her great satisfaction being able to make a difference in their lives. Emily is very interested in the language development of children, relative to both the receptive and expressive components.
Emily hopes to continue to build her knowledge and experience further in ABA therapy.
Peter – Behaviour Support Practitioner / Program Manager
B. BSc (Behavioural Science)
Peter completed his Bachelor of Behavioural Science in 2011 at the University of Notre Dame, Australia and holds a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance from Open Colleges. Since then, he has worked in the individual services industry, the education system, and the disability sector implementing programs for a variety of individuals ranging from early learners to adults. He joined the Aspire team in 2017 as a Behaviour Technician and became registered with the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board in the same year.
Peter finished his Behaviour Support Practitioner training in 2018 and is currently studying towards becoming a Board Certified assistant Behaviour Analyst (BCaBA) with the Florida Institute of Technology. Peter is passionate about developing children’s functional skills and will strive to unlock your child’s full potential. He believes that establishing himself as a reinforcer is one of the most important aspects of therapy as it fosters learning, builds a positive relationship with your child and overall allows your child to have fun!
Krystal Hilly – Behaviour Support Practitioner / Program Manager
Krystal completed her B.A. in Psychology in 2014. She was trained as an ABA therapist in 2011 and worked as an independent therapist until joining Aspire as a Behaviour Support Practitioner in 2016. She has completed all coursework for her BCaBA qualification at Florida Institute of Technology and plans to sit her final exam in 2021 before welcoming her first baby into the world in May!
Krystal has therapy experience across multiple settings including clinical, home-based, school, and social skills groups.
A kid at heart, Krystal has an unmissable love for all things sparkly, Disney, and Christmas related!
Karishma Khullar – Program Manager
M.A. (Psychology), BCBA
Karishma graduated top of her class in MA. Applied Psychology from Amity University, Uttar Pradesh in 2018. She is a licensed Registered Behaviour Technician and has worked in India as well as The Cayman Islands, now she is ready to embark on her journey with us at Aspire in Sydney! She is currently studying to become a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst with the Florida Institute of Technology, Florida. She has also written a research paper on the ‘Impact of ABA on basic language and learning skills of children with disability in an inclusive environment.”
Karishma has 3 years of experience in working with kids from ages 2-15 years at homes, schools and clinics. As well as hands on experience in DTT (discrete trial training). She enjoys making her sessions fun with a naturalistic teaching approach, allowing the child to take the lead. She is also skilled in ABLLS-R Assessment, as well as experience in Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication System (AAC)
You may not know but Karishma has done theatre for 3 years and she enjoys cooking fusion food (Indian, Italian and Asian). If she’s not studying, she will be in the kitchen concocting new recipes!
Deblina Das – Behaviour Support Practitioner / Program Manager
BPsych, M.Sc. (Clinical Psychology)
Deblina completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Delhi in 2014 as well as Masters of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Christ University, Bangalore, India in 2016.
She has 3 years of experience in ABA and is currently pursuing her certification for Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) from Florida Institute of Technology. She aims to sit for her BCBA exam in early 2021.
Deblina is passionate about working with children from various backgrounds. She wishes to expand her scope of knowledge and experience in advanced language & communication skills and is interested to work with adolescents in the near future. She is also keen on exploring research opportunities in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for adolescents and parents of young learners.
In her spare time, Deblina loves to drink tea, do food & lifestyle photography, dance and travel.
Akanksha Nayar Chhettri – Program Manager
M.A. (Psychosocial Clinical Studies), BCBA, IBA
Akanksha Nayar Chhettri is a Behaviour Analyst (BCBA/IBA). She has previously worked at a centre in India from 2014 until 2018 and moved to Ghana in May of 2018 where she served as the Senior Clinical Supervisor at Autism Compassion Africa until 2021. When she first moved to Ghana she was one of two BCBAs in all of West Africa (which is roughly the size of the United States). Her responsibilities included helping run the centre in Cape Coast and to also do consultation work for clients in Nigeria. She is now a board member of Autism Compassion Africa, Ghana.
Over her time in the field, she has developed a keen interest in international dissemination, staff training, autism advocacy, social justice and decolonisation of systems. She believes that ABA as a discipline requires a multicultural ethos to help shape what is being built; the more perspectives that contribute to the growth, the more dynamic and multifaceted the field can be.
Akanksha enjoys stimulating conversations and meeting people that help broaden her perspective of the world. She is also a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Preferred pronouns: She/ Her
Hannah Roberts is a Registered Behaviour Technician and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Macquarie University. She is currently completing her Honours in Psychology. Hannah has 7 years experience working with children across a wide range of roles, including 1.5 years’ experience as a therapist at Aspire. Hannah has therapy experience across multiple settings including clinical, home-based and school. Hannah is passionate about working with children from a range of backgrounds and consistently strives to deepen her knowledge of ABA in order to provide the best outcomes for her clients.
In her spare time, Hannah loves to travel, practice the art of Jitsu and bake.
Daniella Wrasse de Freitas – Registered Behaviour Technician
Daniella is a Registered Behaviour Technician and has been working at Aspire since February 2020.
She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in 2017. At the moment, she is finishing her postgraduate course in Neuroscience and Behaviour at the same University. She has previous experience working with children in clinical psychology, including children with autism.
Daniella is always open to new experiences. She likes to help in the process of teaching new skills to her clients, but also learning from them. She believes that life is a constant learning process.
In her spare time, Daniella loves to watch movies (animated movies are her favourites), play video games, read and travel.
Ashley McSpadden – Registered Behaviour Technician
Ashley is a Registered Behaviour Technician and holds a Bachelors Degree in Speech, Hearing and Language Science at Macquarie University. She is currently working on completing her Masters of Speech Pathology at UTS.
Ashley has been working at Aspire since 2019 and has experience working in a wide range of environments including school, home and clinic. She loves working with her clients and teaching them new skills that will be functional in their everyday environment, particularly in regards to language development. She is passionate about creating a fun learning environment for her clients so they are engaged and enjoy everything ABA has to offer!
During her free time Ashley likes cooking, spending time with her family and hiking.
Kimberley Geary – Registered Behaviour Technician
Kimberley is a Registered Behaviour Technician and has been working at Aspire since July 2020. Currently completing a Bachelor in Psychological Science at the University of Wollongong, Kimberley aims to continue her higher education through both honours and masters.
Kimberley has therapy experience across multiple settings including clinical, home-based and school, and wishes to deepen her knowledge in the area of ABA therapy. She is passionate about developing children’s functional and communicative skills as well as about working with children from a range of backgrounds and walks of life.
During her free time, you can find Kimberley in the gym, on a hike, spending time with her friends, dreaming about travel or snuggled up watching Netflix.
Nipuni Munasinghe – Registered Behaviour Technician
Nipuni has worked in the ABA field since 2017 and looks forward to making a difference in the lives of her clients. Nipuni completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Missouri Science and Technology University (USA). She is set to complete a Master’s degree in Education specialising in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Monash University in June 2021 and is hoping to take the BCBA exam in mid 2021.
Her experience includes multiple settings such as schools, preschools, homes, and daycare centres. She has worked with clients between the ages of 2.5 to 11 years. Nipuni has a special interest in behaviour management and functional communication training.
In her spare time, she likes to paint, spend the day at the beach, hike, cook and travel with her friends and family.
Lynda Hayes – Admin Manager
Lynda joined the administration team in April 2016. With previous roles as a Team Leader and Manager in the cosmetics industry, Lynda brings her skills in customer service, management and high levels of organisation to Aspire. Lynda is highly adept at problem solving, and loves working with people to find the best outcome. With her versatile skill set, Lynda enjoys a hands-on approach and leads the administration team by example. With her passion in delivering tangible outcomes, Lynda works tirelessly to see Aspire continue to grow, and deliver services to more families in need.
Max Jaye Pick – Communications and Content Manager / Admin Ninja
Max joined the administration team in July 2017. With a background in policy advising, community work, advocacy and politics, Max is passionate about social justice. They completed a Bachelor of Arts, with a Major in Gender Studies in 2013, and a Diploma in Community Services in 2010. Max brings a diverse skill set to the administration team, including organisation, communication, policy development, writing and teamwork. They foster the values of inclusivity that Aspire encourages. Max really likes the 2016 release of Ghostbusters.
*As a trans, non binary person, Max uses the pronoun they/them.
Julie Spring – Administrative Assistant
Julie has an Arts degree, is a Registered Midwife, and a Childbirth and Parenting Educator. It gives her great satisfaction to inform, equip, and prepare parents for all things babies and kids! Underlying it all is a secret passion for organisation, communication and administration. This is where she fits into the team at Aspire. Julie joined the admin team in 2020 with a desire to support the talented and dedicated Clinicians at Aspire, so that they can thrive and achieve great things for all the Aspire families.
Outside of work, Julie will be running, reading, wife-ing, parenting, enjoying music and eating dark chocolate.
Kerry-Anne Sherson – Speech Pathologist
B.App.Sc.(Speech Pathology); M. Inclusive Education (Autism); MSPA, CPSP
Kerry-Anne began working at a busy Western Sydney private practice in 2009. Soon after starting, she developed a keen interest in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their families and their educators. This interest led Kerry-Anne to complete her Masters of Inclusive Education in Autism through the University of Canberra, graduating with a Dean’s Merit in 2010.
Kerry-Anne started Cheeky Speakers Speech Pathology in the Newington area in 2015.
Kerry-Anne assesses and delivers speech pathology services for children aged 18 months to 18 years with communication difficulties including: articulation; phonological disorders; receptive language; expressive language; literacy and fluency. She has experience working with children who have a range of diagnoses including: specific learning impairments; ASD; Down’s Syndrome; ADHD/ ADD; ODD; VCFS and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome as well as families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Kerry-Anne enjoys working with families at the Aspire Early Intervention Centre, Newington Medical Centre, their preschools/ schools and their homes to assist them with improving their communication skills.
Alan Conradi – Behavioural Consultant (Adolescents and Adults)
Alan has completed a Bachelor of Psychology degree, with a focus on autism and intellectual disability. Alan also holds a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and is a Motivational Interviewing trainer. He has provided expert clinical support in government, non-government and private sector roles as the leader of specialist teams, a senior clinician, and in specialist roles.
Alan has over 10 years experience in providing high quality individualised behaviour and positive lifestyle supports to people from all backgrounds, situations, circumstances and needs, from parenting support, to supporting clients in the criminal justice system; day programs, group homes, work, respite, schools, recreation groups, and much more.
Alan has particular skills in providing consultation and behaviour support to adolescents and adults, with a thorough understanding of support services, systems, and personal needs across these important life stages. Alan can assist with behaviour assessments, reports and support plans, positive practices, restricted practices, skill development, safety planning, implementation, goal attainment, ongoing therapeutic supports, assisting with establishing and maintaining placements at respite, school, work, group homes, day programs and community groups.
Alan also has a wide range of direct support experience, having worked in respite, vacation care, day programs, group homes, among many others. The combined sum of this training and experience is high quality, realistic and down to earth clinical supports and intervention from a place of understanding, caring and support.