Our Team

Meet our specialist multidisciplinary team.

Our Multidisciplinary team’s partner with schools to provide:
·       Multidisciplinary assessment
·       Intensive support capacity building
·       Professional learning

Athena Panagopoulos – SSS Allied Health Manager & Senior Speech Pathologist
Athena Panagopoulos – SSS Allied Health Manager & Senior Speech Pathologist

Athena is a dedicated senior speech language pathologist and serves as the Allied Health Manager for the Language Disorder Australia School Support Services team. With a wealth of experience, including a background in private practice, Athena specialises in supporting students in accessing the curriculum, particularly those with Language Disorder and related challenges. Originating from a bilingual family, Athena holds a keen interest in working with bilingual and English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD) populations. In her managerial role, Athena strategically leads her team with a vision honed by nearly a decade of experience. She champions a holistic approach to qualitative assessment, emphasising the pivotal role of language in the educational puzzle. Athena’s leadership style is defined by her unwavering commitment to excellence, accountability, and knowledge sharing. Her influence extends beyond the managerial domain, actively engaging in presenting at professional development sessions and conferences at a national level. Through these platforms, Athena passionately advocates for the needs of children and young people with Language Disorder. In her personal time, Athena loves to try new cuisines and across various restaurants and is also an avid movie fan.

Liz Lorraway – Team Leader & Senior Speech Pathologist
Liz Lorraway – Team Leader & Senior Speech Pathologist

Elizabeth is an experienced speech language pathologist who has been part of the School Support Services team since 2017. She travels to schools around Queensland to meet and collaborate directly with principals, learning support staff and classroom teachers to support their students with Language Disorder. She is passionate about understanding the ‘whole student’, taking into account their social-emotional needs and ability to access the curriculum. Elizabeth has worked closely with educators, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists throughout her working life, and greatly values a multidisciplinary approach to helping students achieve success. Elizabeth is also one of the content experts and creators of Language Disorder Australia’s upcoming online learning modules, and is passionate about upskilling professionals to identify and support young people with Language Disorder. Outside of work, Elizabeth loves to read, cook new recipes, and visit her hometown in Central Queensland to see her family.

Nicole Lindgren – Team Leader & Inclusion – Specialist Educator
Nicole Lindgren – Team Leader & Inclusion – Specialist Educator

Nicole Lindgren is an experienced inclusion specialist educator committed to providing inclusive learning environments so all students can thrive. Nicole has worked in both Queensland schools in various capacities, including as a reading coach, inclusion teacher, and classroom teacher. Driven by her passion for continuous professional development, Nicole completed a Graduate Certificate in Special Education. She is currently studying a Master of Autism Studies through Griffith University. Nicole uses her knowledge of evidence-based practices to create and deliver modules on the Language Disorder Australia online learning platform. Townsville born and bred, Nicole is a proud mother of four and, when not studying, enjoys travelling with her husband and children.

Jordan Wellington – Senior Speech Pathologist
Jordan Wellington – Senior Speech Pathologist

Jordan is a speech pathologist at Language Disorder Australia working within the School Support Services team in Townsville. Jordan is dedicated to supporting and advocating for young people with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Language Disorder through collaboration with teachers, families and health professionals. She has a particular interest in working with neurodiverse students and ensuring support that is both person-centred and evidence-based, aligning with her commitment to delivering an effective and individual service.

Taryn Van Der Westhuizen – Senior Occupational Therapist
Taryn Van Der Westhuizen – Senior Occupational Therapist

Taryn is a senior occupational therapist for the Language Disorder Australia School Support Services team. Taryn has been working in paediatrics since 2014 and has extensive experience in school-based settings and early intervention with children with various diagnoses. Taryn is passionate about development and ensuring children and young people can be successful and find meaning and joy in all their occupations of daily life. As part of her current role, Taryn enjoys allowing teachers to better understand their students’ strengths and challenges and empower them with strategies to allow their students to thrive. In her spare time, Taryn loves being outdoors, spending time with family and friends and going on adventures with her husband.

Elyce Mitchell – Senior Occupational Therapist
Elyce Mitchell – Senior Occupational Therapist

Elyce is currently on maternity leave. She is a senior occupational therapist who has been supporting students within the education system for over 10 years. During this time, she has developed a broad range of clinical skills that allow her to provide high-quality services in both a consultative role with the School Support Services Team and within a clinical setting at Bright Door Clinics Australia. Within her primary role with school support services, Elyce is passionate about supporting educators to understand the challenges that students with language disorder face, and how to foster their independence through utilising their strengths. During her free time, Elyce is a part-time CrossFit Coach and also enjoys chasing around her busy 4-year-old daughter (and husband).

Jessica Casale – Senior Speech Pathologist
Jessica Casale – Senior Speech Pathologist

Jessica is currently on maternity leave. Throughout her career Jessica has developed an extensive set of clinical skills to support students presenting with Language Disorder and related difficulties. Jessica’s clinical expertise has allowed her to provide a high-quality speech pathology service within a school-based context and in a private clinical practice setting. While Jessica’s primary role is within our school support services team, she also provides therapy services as a part of our Bright Door clinic. Jessica is passionate about allowing students equal access to communication and has developed a special interest in supporting students with complex speech, language and literacy difficulties. Jessica is driven to provide clients and their families a holistic therapy approach and therefore, works closely with members of the multidisciplinary team to incorporate their clinical expertise into her practice. Being a life-long learner, Jessica continues to attend regular professional development to further her clinical skills in alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) and speech sound disorders. During her free time Jessica enjoys cooking and spending time with her family.

Ashton Moncrieff – Speech Pathologist
Ashton Moncrieff – Speech Pathologist

Ashton is a speech pathologist working at the Bright Door clinic and Language Disorder Australia’s School Support Services in Townsville. Ashton has always been passionate about working with children and helping them to build capacity for participation in their functional daily activities. She is experienced in assessing and providing interventions for a wide range of speech and language needs. Ashton enjoys working closely with other allied health and education professionals to adopt a holistic approach when supporting children to thrive in all environments. When working to build children’s communication skills, Ashton’s approach to therapy is client-centred, evidence-based, innovative and fun. In her spare time, Ashton enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading a good book, and walking her dog.

Edwina Crowe – Inclusion – Specialist Educator
Edwina Crowe – Inclusion – Specialist Educator

Edwina is a qualified and experienced early childhood and inclusion teacher who has taught in mainstream schools, early childhood settings and a Montessori school. Edwina works in the multidisciplinary School Support Services team to engage and collaborate with teachers and allied health professionals to support children and young people with language disorders. Edwina has a strong understanding of primary education standards and strives to provide and promote best inclusion practices for school students in her role as inclusion specialist educator on the SSS team. Edwina practices daily transcendental meditation and is learning to read music.

Hayley Symington – Speech Pathologist
Hayley Symington – Speech Pathologist

Hayley is a speech pathologist who has experience working in education and community sectors across Australia and the United Kingdom. Currently, Hayley enjoys working in Language Disorder Australia’s School Support Services. She finds great joy in her work supporting and advocating for children and young people with Language Disorder, and appreciates working within a multidisciplinary team of allied health and education professionals. Hayley particularly enjoys visiting schools across Queensland and working with education staff to further understand and support their students with Language Disorder. Hayley loves singing, reading, knitting and planning her next travel adventure!

Meg Mackenzie – Speech Pathologist
Meg Mackenzie – Speech Pathologist

Meg is a speech pathologist here at Language Disorder Australia currently working in the School Support Services team. She is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children with Language Disorder and language difficulties. Meg has a particular interest in language development and supporting young people with DLD and Language Disorder. She is passionate about integrating evidence-based practices and person-centred intervention to support young people to reach their full potential. Meg hopes to support families, teachers, and professionals, by fostering a network of support and understanding. She aims to raise awareness and advocate for all people with language disorder and associated difficulties.

Tracey Huttley – Inclusion – Specialist Educator
Tracey Huttley – Inclusion – Specialist Educator

Tracey Huttley is an inclusion specialist educator with Language Disorder Australia’s School Support Services team. Tracey started her education journey with a Bachelor of Education more than 20 years ago, initially working in the upper primary sector before transitioning across to teach in the early years sector. She completed her Master of Education in Organisational Leadership and Management in 2015. Tracey found her passion for working with students who find the school setting a challenging space and has spent the past 8 years working as Deputy Principal supporting students and staff with getting the best out of their school journey. Tracey is passionate about helping students access learning. She aims to ensure the curriculum is more accessible and inclusive for all students regardless of the challenges they may face. In her current role, Tracey feels extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to continue to support fellow teachers with meeting the sometimes-complex needs of students with language differences. She is continuingly learning and growing in this space, and hopes to share what she has researched, seen, and experienced in her time as an educator with others in the field. In her spare time Tracey enjoys spending time with her four beautiful children and husband, Trevor.

Erin Gaedtke – Administrative Assistant
Erin Gaedtke – Administrative Assistant

Erin has extensive experience working in administration across many different industries, including disability employment services. Erin works within the School Support Services team assisting the therapists in preparing resources and reports after school visits. Erin brings a friendly and approachable attitude to the office and prides herself on her ability to take initiative and support the team in any way needed. Outside of work, Erin loves spending time with her family, which includes two young daughters. Erin is also currently studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at James Cook University.

Lauren O’Brien – Administrative Assistant
Lauren O’Brien – Administrative Assistant

Lauren has a background in finance and administration support spanning many, many years. Lauren brings an additional wealth of knowledge having worked various roles in both Primary and Secondary Schools for over 20 years. She hopes to support the Team with her calm, friendly and supportive nature. Outside of work Lauren enjoys spending time with her grown family and catching up with friends. She enjoys Yoga and getting away to the beach on weekends enjoying the sun, surf and going for long walks on the sand.

Our Specialist Educators

Specialist Educators bridge the gap to support the implementation of individualised approaches for students with Language Disorder. In supporting school staff, the specialist educators provide evidence informed strategies, resources and recommendations to optimise student engagement with the Australian Curriculum.

Our Speech Language Pathologists

Speech language pathologists (SLPs) work with school staff to support students who have Language Disorder. Effective communication underpins many of the skills required for success in the classroom. Our SLPs provide a range of strategies, resources and recommendations specific to developing language and communication skills within the curriculum.

Our Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists (OTs) support a student’s ability to participate in both required and desired daily school activities. This is achieved by providing strategies, resources and recommendations to teachers and support staff to address a range of areas, including perceptual, motor, and social-emotional skills.

Our Psychologist

The psychologist assists school staff to understand the impact of cognition on language development, as well as the implications of Language Disorder on mental health and wellbeing. They provide strategies, resources and recommendations regarding co-occurring difficulties with executive functioning (attention, working memory, planning), processing speed, problem solving and higher order thinking.

Our Administration team

The team is ably supported by administration officers who assist the running of the program.

Our Support Networks

Therapy support for children and young people with Language Disorder and other developmental and learning needs.

A full educational experience for children and young people with Language Disorder – from Prep to Year 12.

Enhancing outcomes for students with Language Disorder through consultation, capacity building through intensive support and professional learning for school staff.

Stay up to date

Sign up to the Language Disorder Australia newsletter to receive the latest news and professional resources straight to your inbox.

Support Developmental Language Disorder Day

on #DLDday, Friday October 14th, 2022

14 October is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day.
The 2022 DLDday theme is Growing with DLD, highlighting that DLD is a lifelong, permanent disability.

LEARN MORE