Category Archives: Health team

Brando – Therapy Dog

Brando – Therapy Dog

Brando is the canine companion of Kids First dietitian, Lauren Hogg.

As cute and friendly as he looks, Brando also plays an important clinical role because together with his ‘boss’, Lauren, he helps children to build trust, self-esteem and the courage to talk about tough topics, such as their worries about food.

Brando is a very effective ‘social lubricant’ and many children find it easier to talk about big feelings, worries and problems in his comforting presence.

International studies have shown that the inclusion of animals in therapeutic settings can make a big difference to the outcomes that children can achieve. For example, animals have been shown to:

  • Support people with Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to build more positive social interactions and communication skills
  • Help children with behavioural problems such as verbal resistance, aggression, violence & compliance with rules by giving immediate feedback that helps them to better manage their responses
  • Assist children and young adults experiencing issues such as anxiety, fear and depression by providing opportunities for positive interactions that build emotional well-being and self-esteem

Brando knows when he is ‘on duty’ and helps Lauren to provide a sense of calm, comfort and safety in her dietetics and food therapy sessions.

Brando (and Lauren!) work at Kids First on Mondays.

Cleo Eshun-Wilson – Psychologist

Cleo Eshun-Wilson – Psychologist

Cleo ran a successful psychology practice in Hervey Bay for more than a decade before relocating to Sydney to join the Kids First team. She has supported children of all ages and their families and as a highly qualified Educational Psychologist, she is uniquely positioned to provide advice and guidance to families about children’s learning… Continue Reading

Morgan Webster – Occupational Therapist

Morgan Webster – Occupational Therapist

Morgan has a Masters’ degree in Occupational Therapy and more than a decade’s experience as an OT. A long-standing member of the Kids First team and the busy mum of two active girls, she has a unique understanding of the challenges that many children and families face. Throughout her career, Morgan has worked extensively in… Continue Reading

Rhiannan Close – Occupational Therapist

Rhiannan Close – Occupational Therapist

Originally from Western Australia, Rhiannan attended Curtin University where she completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy – Honours). She has extensive experience working with children and adolescents with additional needs and prior to joining the Kids First team, worked for the Autism Association of WA for several years. Rhiannan’s work in paediatric private… Continue Reading

Majella Barbe - Occupational Therapist

Majella Barbe – Occupational Therapist

Majella’s 30 year occupational therapy career has made her one of Sydney’s most respected paediatric occupational therapists. With vast experience supporting children, parents and teachers, she is particularly committed to supporting kids who struggle with learning, behavioural and functional problems that impact upon their lives at home, preschool and school. Majella’s unique ability to build… Continue Reading

Texon Xu – Speech Pathologist

Texon Xu – Speech Pathologist

Born and educated in Sydney, Texon graduated from The University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) His early career experience saw him work in schools, hospitals, and immediately prior to joining the Kids First team, Texon worked for a learning support service in Sydney’s northern suburbs. Texon is an active, innovative… Continue Reading

Kirsty Gale - Early Learning Support Specialist

Kirsty Gale – Early Learning Support Specialist

Kirsty’s 20 year teaching career has been dedicated to helping children meet their full potential and providing parents and educators with practical strategies that improve children’s learning, social and emotional futures. With a Masters’ Degree in Special Education, Kirsty’s post-graduate training in supporting children and families with unique needs means that she is a respected… Continue Reading

Kate Kartikeyan – Psychologist

Kate Kartikeyan – Psychologist

Kate is a highly experienced psychologist and fully qualified Special Education teacher. Throughout her long career, she has supported children and families with a variety of needs, helping them to overcome the social and emotional challenges they face in a kind and compassionate way. Kate’s unique combination of skills gives her a deep understanding of… Continue Reading

Chloe Clark – Occupational Therapist

Chloe Clark – Occupational Therapist

Chloe is a highly skilled Occupational Therapist whose passion for paediatrics is evident in everything she does. Her work in community, preschool and school environments means that she has had lots of opportunities to guide children of all ages and the energy she brings to her OT sessions is infectious. Chloe’s aim is to help… Continue Reading