Meet the team behind Elephant in the Room:
L-R: Brooke Skinner, Julie Morrissey, Alison Thomas, Natalie Mudford.
Elephant in the Room was established in 2015 by four friends and colleagues who were keen to provide a service of the highest quality to individuals with a disability living in the central and far west region of NSW. We are all passionate about working with people with a disability and the people who support them. Our aim is to provide the highest quality, evidence based service we can, incorporating client centred functional goals and recommendations and ensuring a flexible approach to our training and consultancy services.
Brooke Skinner has been working as a speech pathologist for the past 13 years. As well as having a Bachelor of Speech Pathology, Brooke has also completed her Masters in Teaching (Primary), hence a special interest in communication and literacy. She has completed her Cert. IV in Training & Assessment and has a real love for adult learning and training.
She has worked in both the community health, education, private practice and disability setting and for the past 10 years she has specialised in working with people who have significant communication difficulties.
She is a certified Hanen “It Takes Two to Talk” and “More than Words” trainer as well as a “KeyWord Sign”, “Person Centred Planning” and “Inclusive Communication and Behaviour Supports” presenter. She has a passion for augmentative and alternative communication and combines this with her interest in technology. She has worked with a range of organisations and client groups using person centred practice and functional goal setting tools. Together with the other members of Elephant in the Room, she has consulted on many clients with complex and challenging needs to obtain positive and meaningful outcomes.
Julie Morrissey has been a registered nurse for 33 years. For the past 9 years she has been working as a case manager for Ageing, Disability and Home Care. She is highly experienced in working with clients with complex needs and challenging behaviours. She is experienced in creating and implementing person centred plans and liaising with key stakeholders and non-government organisations. As a registered nurse she has specialised in early childhood, diabetes education, geriatrics and discharge planning, all of these skills she utilises in her complex case management role. Julie has a passion for working with families and individuals on reaching their dreams and goals and loves working as a part of a dynamic team. She is an expert in working with people with an intellectual disability on sexuality and sexual behaviours and provides various training and education packages on this topic.
Alison Thomas has worked for the NSW Government providing support for people with intellectual disabilities for over 30 years. She has a Bachelor of Social Science in Habilitation and has completed a number of specialised disability specific courses in positive behaviour management, sexuality and relationships and person centred planning.
She is passionate about supporting people with a disability to live the same life enjoyed by others in the community and also enabling people with a disability to have choice and control over the supports they receive.
She has completed a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment and is certified through Family Planning NSW to provide training in sexuality and relationships.
She is experienced in providing training, planning and support to people with complex needs using a strength based, person centred approach.
Natalie Mudford is a Speech Pathologist who has been working in the disability sector for over 15 years. Natalie has previously worked for Community Health, Ageing, Disability & Home Care, Private Practice and the Early Childhood Intervention Co-ordination Project. Natalie also has a Certificate IV in Frontline Management, a Certificate IV in Assessment and Training and is a Certified Hanen ‘It Takes Two to Talk’ trainer. Natalie is a also a Key Word Sign Presenter, and Trainer for ‘Inclusive Communication and Behaviour Support’
Natalie is extremely motivated and passionate about working with individuals with a disability and their support networks to empower them, and work towards goals that allow them independence and better long term outcomes.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication is one of Natalie’s strong interests and she has worked with a number of clients who use speech generating devices for communication and access to everyday activities for inclusion. Natalie has worked with a large number of complex clients and clients with complex mealtime needs. Together with her Elephant in the room partners Natalie has collaborated on running various training events and looks forward to more through her work with Elephant in the Room.
Shontane Whillock is our practice manager. She looks after all the finances, including working with NDIS PRODA and plan managers. She has background in working at a legal firm and with the local preschool.
Shontane is our chief organiser and also manages NDIS plans. She manages our business structures and promotes continuous workplace improvement and quality assurance.
Shontane is our plan manager for clients who wish to utilise this service with EITR and ensures that clients invoices are paid and the funds allocated are up to date. She is also available to train clients and their carers on navigating the finances related to their plan.
Sallie Weatherall is our physiotherapist. Sallie comes to our team with a wealth of experience, working as a physiotherapist for disability services for over 10 years and then as a case worker for department of Communities and Justice. Sallie is able to provide equipment prescription such as standing frames, wheelchairs and sleep systems. She can provide gross motor, exercise and hydrotherapy programs for clients.
Ashlee McDowell is one of our talented therapy assistants working with a range of participants in the Coonamble area. Ashlee works with both adults and children, implementing a range of speech pathology and occupational therapy programs on a regular basis. Ashlee is a fun and dynamic personality who enjoys sports, playing games and thinking outside the box when it comes to building a rapport with her clients. She has experience working with AAC, language goals and fine motor movements.
Emma Horan is our Early Intervention Key Worker / Support Coordinator and Therapy assistant for the Coonamble and Gulargambone area. Emma is a qualified teacher with a 4 year Bachelor of Early Childhood / Primary Teaching. Emma is an experienced early childhood teacher and has worked with families and children with a range of complex needs and support requirements. Emma is able to assist with planning early childhood education supports, provide local links to community groups and implement therapy programs from our speech pathologist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist on a consistent and regular basis.