About Me

Clinical Experience in Positive Behaviour Support with Disability Services

I have extensive experience working in the disability sector with adults and their support networks.  Having graduated from UQ with a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1996 and a M.Sp&Ex.Psych in 1999, I started working within Disability Services Queensland at Ipswich in October 2000. I quickly realised that the strengths based approaches underpinning Sport and Exercise Psychology had much in common with the basics of positive behaviour support and person centred planning.

Since then, I worked in a number of specialist behaviour support teams, including the Intensive Behaviour Support Teams (2005-2009) and Specialist Response Service (2009-2015).  As a result I have extensive experience working with adults with highly complex support needs who are subject to restrictive practices.  I have previously been qualified to train the Queensland Government accommodation service’s staff in the MAYBO conflict management approach.  I am also familiar with other models such as PART and CPI’s NVCI/MAPA, having worked with many NGO’s who use those providers.  I have worked alongside a number of Psychiatrists and other health professionals (e.g. QCIDD) to support the health and mental health needs of our shared clients, and manage/reduce the use of chemical restraint when appropriate.

I have extensive experience working with adults across the Autism Spectrum, most often living in supported accommodation or their family home.  For example I have worked with several young adults with Asperger Syndrome attending post-school and tertiary studies.  With these young people, their positive behaviour support included psycho-educational and CBT approaches focusing on specific mental and emotional regulation skills.  More often I have supported men and women with more severe intellectual disability or communication impairment.

I have been a Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) since 2002.  I am a member of the Society’s “Psychology of Intellectual Disability & Autism” interest group.  My practice adheres to the APS Charter for clients (Charter pdf link) and Code of Ethics (Code pdf link).


Association for Positive Behaviour Support (APBS) Logo I am also a member of the Association for Positive Behaviour Support (APBS) and its local chapter  APBS-A (Australia). The APBS promotes best practice in positive behaviour support. 


Values and Practice Framework

My personal practice framework is based largely on positive behaviour support, as promoted through the Institute of Applied Behaviour Analysis (IABA). I am a graduate of the IABA 2007 Longitudinal Behaviour Analysis Program. I have also benefited from training in the Helen Sanderson and Associates “Person Cented Review (PCR)” system.

The PCR approach reminded me to Dream Big.  Challenging behaviour often results in people placing limitations on the opportunities they provide to the person expressing the behaviour.  “Dreaming Big” to me means orienting myself to what the person you support wants and needs, and the lifestyle they wish for.

IABA taught me the mantra “Start small and go slow”.  Behaviour Support is hard work. It is no easy feat to take a plan that exists only as an idea and words on a page, and to then translate those ideas and words into tangible change that improves the quality of life of all involved. Behaviour support involves changing the habits both of the person with a disability, and as often as not, the way their support network provides support.  Changing habits is only meaningful when it is sustainable.  Safe and sustainable change occurs when you start by making small changes and take things slowly.

Taken together, my practice motto became “Dream Big. Start Small”

Another significant influence on my practice has been my involvement in supervision around the “Marte Meo” approach.  Whilst I am not a practitioner in this approach, my exposure reinforced my belief in the power of positive psychology and strengths based approaches.  The approach is based in part on focusing on examples of positive interactions, and deconstructing moments within those interactions to explore what is meaningful for the people involved in that interaction (e.g. a parent and their child; a person with a disability and their support worker).  From this approach I learnt an important mantra that has pervaded my practice and advice ever since “Connect before you direct”.  Three simple words that summarise the value of relationship.

If you allow me the privilege to provide behaviour support to you or the  person you support, I will:

  • work to establish relationship both with you (the person with a disability), and the key people involved in your support.
  • seek to understand, as best I can, everyone’s valuable perspective on a situation before I seek to change that situation.
  •  take the time to say hello and check in, before we get down to business.
  • provide thorough evidence based assessments to help you understand why things are they way they are.
  • provide recommendations and behaviour support strategies that are scientifically valid and practically achievable.  These strategies will aim to reduce the impact of behaviours of concern, improve quality of life and reduce the need to use restrictive practices. 
  • develop PBSPs to be compliant with the Disability Services Act (QLD 2006) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018.
  • seek your feedback and if appropriate feedback from your support network before finalising plans and reports.
  • support the implementation of any resulting behaviour support plans, and will often work directly with the person you support to aid the efforts of everyone else.
  • make every effort to incorporate your cultural background, values and beliefs into the work that I do.  If your background is culturally and linguistically diverse, I will do my best to understand your experience, and respect both your cultural and personal identity within the work we do together.  I am registered with TIS National to organise translation and interpreter services if needed.
  • encourage the involvement of advocates and support persons.  You have the right to have an advocate or support person with you at any point when working with me.  Or, you can choose to talk to me without others present if that is your preference. 
  • I will try to link you with formal advocacy services if you wish for support but have no-one available.  This is particularly important when your feel your needs are not being met, or you have concerns about the conduct of services or people in your life.


Thank you for considering me as a possible service provider.