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!

 


FOUNDER

Dianne Verstappen
MA. (Linguistics), BCBA

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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.

Her current research interests are in Relational Frame Theory and its practical applications. Dianne is a member of the APBA, ABAI and AUABA

 

 

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Dr Leaora Wagner
M.A., BCBA, LBA, Ed.D.

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Leaora is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) with over 19 years’ experience in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

She has completed bachelor and associate degrees in psychology, and also holds a Masters degree in ABA. 

Leaora has given professional presentations at the annual symposium of the Association for Behavior Analysis in Texas (2010), the annual Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis (2009) and the annual Association for Behavior Analysis in Phoenix (2009). She also worked as adjunct faculty at John Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington DC Campus. 

Leaora is passionate about staff support and development, supporting individuals with mental health needs and fostering resiliency.

 


 

OUR CANBERRA TEAM

Sumit Behl – Clinical Manager 
B.Sc. (Physiotherapy), M. Ed (Applied Behaviour Analysis)

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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

 

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.

Preeti joined Aspire in 2019 and is looking forward to learning and growing with the team.

 

 


OUR SYDNEY TEAM 

Justyn Landis – Operations Manager

JustynJustyn joined the Aspire admin team in September 2020. Justyn started her professional career working in Disability Law in the US. After a period in law, she trained and worked as a teacher for six years. Upon moving to Australia, Justyn started working in the non-profit sector, learning the infrastructure of government funded supports through NDIS, My Aged Care, iCare and Veterans Affairs. 

Justyn has a passion for communication, organization and creative problem solving. She loves working in tandem with clinicians and clients to support therapeutic outcomes.

Justyn enjoys traveling, vegetarian cooking and creating art.

 

Emily Shahen – Behaviour Support Practitioner & Program Manager 
B.Sc. (Speech and Hearing), M.A. (Speech Language Pathology)

Emily Profile

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, 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.   

  
 

Liora Milner – Program Manager 
M. Ed, BCBA

1633342295218 (1)Before becoming a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) in 2021, Liora completed her Bachelor of Science at Monash University and her Masters of Education in Applied Behaviour Analysis also from Monash University.

Liora began her career in ABA supporting children with additional needs in a pre-school environment in 2016. In 2018, she began working as a Behaviour Technician in clinical, home-based, and community settings and later as a Senior Clinician and Program Manager. She is most passionate about not only teaching but also empowering the children she works with. Her areas of interest include functional life skills and independence, functional communication and play. She is also interested in using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) across her practice.

Liora loves being creative, particularly painting large colourful abstract pieces and is always up for an adventure.

     

Ashley McSpadden – Behaviour Support Practitioner
BSpHLSc

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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 – Behaviour Support Practitioner

Kimberley Geary

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.

 

 

 

Alexandra Hopkins-Baum – BCBA Program Manager

Alexandra Hopkins-Baum

Alexandra received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Liberal Studies from the University of Redlands in 2017. Following graduation, she found her love for working with children and parents in the field of ABA. She started her career as a behavior technician and then became a training coordinator for a company in the United States. She completed her Masters of Science in ABA from Drexel University in 2021. A few months later, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Alexandra has experience working with children ages 2-16 in the home, school, and community settings. She is passionate about the importance of parent training, functional communication training, and helping children increase their independence.

She is excited to continue learning and to start working as a BCBA for Aspire Early Intervention in Sydney!

 

Kaitlyn McCluney – Program Manager
M.A., BCBA

Kaitlyn McCluneyKaitlyn McCluney completed her B.A. in Psychology in 2013 from San Diego State University and started working as a Behavior Technician in 2014. During her time as a Behavior Technician she participated in a Pivotal Response Training research project with University of California San Diego. She then graduated with her M.A. in Education Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University in 2015 and completed her ABA coursework at Florida Institute of Technology in 2017. Kaitlyn became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2018 and has loved being a part of the BCBA community.
  
Kaitlyn has worked in many roles, settings, and age groups while working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Her passion is spreading love, understanding, and knowledge to the children and families she works with. She joined Aspire in January 2022 and is excited to gain and share knowledge with the Aspire team.

 

Jessica-Lily Perlov – Behaviour Support Practitioner
BSpHLSc

Untitled design (6)Jessica-Lily completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech, Hearing and Language Sciences at Macquarie University. Starting 2023 she will be working towards gaining her Masters of Applied Behaviour Analysis at Griffith University in order to become a BCBA.

Jess started working in ABA in 2016 during her bachelors degree to grow her knowledge and practical experience but quickly fell in love with the fun and energetic nature of the role. During her time as a therapist, she has worked in home, school and clinical settings in Sydney as well as Cape Town, South Africa. She is passionate about creating group learning experiences for children to foster social and school readiness skills.

During her free time, Jess loves all things water; kayaking, swimming and scuba diving regularly with friends and family.

 

Raihan Suhaimi – Behaviour Support Practitioner
BSc (Hons), M. Ed. (ABA), Dip in Special Education

Untitled design (7)Raihan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Science and Management in 2015 and a Diploma in Special Education in 2017. She started working with children with special needs in Singapore 7 years ago which deepened her interest in the field.

She went on to complete her Masters in ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) in 2021 and joined Aspire in the same year. At Aspire, Raihan works with a diverse group of clients and seeks enjoyment in facilitating her clients’ development in functional skills that support independent living in their everyday lives. She is always keen on learning new teaching strategies especially from her peers. 
 
In her free time, you won’t find Raihan as she will be travelling, hiking or at the boulder gym.
 
 

Lynda Hayes – Administrative Assistant

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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.

  

   

Julie Spring – Administrative Assistant

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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.

 

 

Shilu Vasudeen Sofia – Accounts Administrator

Shilu Vasudeen Sofia Joining the Aspire team in December 2021, Shilu has completed her Bachelors in Technology with specialisation in Electronics and Instrumentation from India. During her college days, she volunteered for social services as part of an NGO, which focused on the education and upliftment of socio-economically challenged communities. The experience encouraged her to deviate from the technical stream and take up the job of a tutor, working with children.

After moving to Australia, she worked in the retail sector as part of a fast-paced customer relations team before completing her Cert-III & Cert-IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping in 2021. Her role with Aspire is very close to her heart as this where she can put her skills to use along with the passion she always carried.

Outside of work, Shilu loves travelling and spending time with family and friends.

 


Kumari Bandara – Scheduling Coordinator

Kumari Bandara

Kumari completed her high schooling in Sri Lanka. After moving to Australia, Kumari completed a Bachelor of Management at the University of Western Sydney. She has experience working in the not-for-profit sector where she has worked with UN agencies, international donors and many disadvantaged communities in Sri Lanka.

Kumari has also completed a Certificate III in Childcare and owned and operated a childcare business prior to joining Aspire. Kumari joined Aspire in September 2021.

In Kumari’s free time she loves being a mother, reading, traveling and eating chocolate.

 

Kerry-Anne Sherson – Speech Pathologist
B.App.Sc.(Speech Pathology); M. Inclusive Education (Autism); MSPA, CPSP

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Kerry-Anne studied Speech Pathology at the University of Sydney and graduated in 2008. 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) 
BPsych

Alan Conradi B&W

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.