Presenter Profiles


Catherine Olsson

National Advisor, Disability
Speech Pathology Australia

Catherine Olsson

Catherine (Cathy) Olsson has provided speech pathology supports to people with disabilities, their families and supports since graduating, including 28 years as Professional Lead with Novita Children’s Services, and 4 years as Clinical Lead for Speech Pathology with Disability Services, the South Australian Government therapy service provider. Cathy is passionate about the speech pathology profession, and has a range of interests including exploration of the concept of participation for people with Complex Communication Needs, and Clinical Governance and allied health service provision. Since early in 2014, Cathy has been focused on understanding the NDIS and the implications of the scheme for the delivery of speech pathology supports and outcomes for people with communication and oral eating and drinking difficulties and disabilities. It is possible that she knows as much (or more) about the NDIS, than anyone else on the planet.

In this PD event, SPA's National Advisor Disability, Cathy Olsson, will provide information about the new NDIS National Quality and Safeguarding Framework that been designed to ensure high quality supports and safe environments for NDIS participants.

Cathy will discuss the transition period for this national scheme and implications for speech pathologists working with NDIS participants in private practice.

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Clare Burns

Speech Pathology & Audiology Department, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital

Clare Burns

Dr Clare Burns is an advanced speech pathologist at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital with expertise in dysphagia and cancer care. She has experience in working at quaternary and regional hospitals in Queensland and also in the UK. She conducts clinical research in adult speech pathology telepractice services. She is co-author of Speech Pathology Australia’s position statement on telepractice and has developed and implemented a range of telepractice service models supporting the swallowing and communication management of patients with head and neck cancer and adult clinical swallow assessment services.

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Jane McCormack

Australian Catholic University

Jane McCormack

Associate Professor Jane McCormack has just completed a role as the Speech Pathology Discipline Leader at Charles Sturt University where she coordinated the Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology and the Master of Speech Pathology programs. She will commence a role with the School of Human Communication Sciences at the University of Sheffield in the UK in October 2015. Jane teaches subjects relating to child speech and language impairment and professional practice and has worked as a speech-language pathologist in community health and early intervention settings.

Jane conducts research into the experiences of individuals with communication difficulties and their families, the application of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; WHO, 2001) in speech pathology, collaborative practice and alternative models of speech pathology education and service delivery. In 2009-10, Jane was awarded the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship for Research in the Allied Health Sciences and in 2011, she was awarded the SCOPUS Australian Young Researcher of the Year for Humanities and Social Sciences for her research. In 2012, Jane received an Early Career Research Fellowship at CSU to extend her research in the health and wellbeing of children in the early years. She was runner-up in the international Pursuit Award for research in childhood disability in 2013. 

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Jenny Baker

Fremantle Speech Pathology Services

Jenny Baker

Jenny Baker is a Speech Pathologist with extensive experience in the assessment and intervention of written language - from early narrative constructions right through to analytical text-based essays, as well as everything else in between! Jenny has presented this workshop on numerous occasions to speech pathologists, teachers, tutors and parents both at DSF (Perth) and at The Language, Literacy & Learning Conference in 2017. Jenny has such a wealth of experience and depth of knowledge regarding written language; she is also committed to employing highly explicit teaching strategies, ensuring that workshop participants always have their learning goals met.

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Leigha Dark

Australian Catholic University

Leigha  Dark

Leigha Dark is a certified practising speech pathologist and lecturer in Speech Pathology in the Bachelor of Speech Pathology program at Australian Catholic University. Leigha completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney in 2002 and her PhD, also at the University of Sydney, in 2010. Leigha’s clinical, teaching and research areas of interest and expertise focus on client and family experiences of using aided and unaided forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), perspectives of clients on ageing with a childhood onset disability and the functional changes associated with this process, engaging clients and families as partners in service delivery and refinement, and knowledge brokerage and translation. Leigha regularly utilises qualitative methodologies in her research to prioritise the voices and lived experiences of clients, families and community stakeholders. Leigha is also involved in projects exploring and evaluation approaches to teaching and learning within Speech Pathology, including multimodal approaches to curriculum development, authentic teaching and assessment, simulation and co-construction of learning content.

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Leisa Turkington

PhD candidate
The University of Queensland & The Royal Brisbane and Women?s Hospital

Leisa  Turkington

Leisa is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland and is supervised by Professor Liz Ward and Dr Anna Farrell. Leisa has worked at a number of quaternary centres in the U.K and Australia since graduating in 1992 from The University of Sydney.  Leisa has a special interest in compensation strategies used in neurogenic dysphagia including the use of SES in VFSS. The focus of her thesis examines the efficacy of a specific SES (Carbonation) when used during VFSS. This workshop will provide an overview of the research activity which forms the content of her thesis.

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Natalie Munro

Associate Professor

Natalie Munro

Associate Professor Natalie Munro is a certified practising speech language pathologist whose research, teaching and clinical interests span across child and adolescent language development and disorders. Dr Munro's research interests include: 1) investigating individual differences in children's speech, language and social skills development among learners who have developmental language disorder (DLD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); 2) intervention research and evidence-based practice to support children and adolescents with additional needs, their families, their educators and their communities. Natalie is a founding committee member of speechBITE and serves as an Associate Editor for IJLCD and an Editorial Board Member for LSHSS. Natalie is passionate about paediatric language

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Rachel Tosh

Therapy Alliance Group

Rachel Tosh

Rachel is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) with a wide variety of clinical experience in inpatient and outpatient care in both Australia and the UK which enables her to translate theory into real life application across diverse clinical contexts. Rachel is passionate about: business; team leadership; literacy and feeding difficulties; educating and empowering others; and optimising therapy outcomes. Although these interests may seem diverse, the recurring theme through them all is a love for facilitating growth and development in others, so they can achieve their own unique potential. In addition to running her own large, multi-disciplinary, multi-site private practice she provides business coaching and consulting services to other private practice owners. Rachel helps private practice health professionals build successful, profitable, ethical and sustainable businesses that are also deeply fulfilling.

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