Meet the Team

Meet the team behind Elephant in the Room:

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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

‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’ – Albert Einstein

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.

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‘What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make’ – Jane Goodall

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.

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‘There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more’ – Robert M. Hensel

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.

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‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.’ – Maya Angelou

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.

The Primary asset of any business is its organisation – William Feather

Shontane is our chief organiser and also manages NDIS plans.  She manages our business structures and promotes continuous workplace improvement and quality assurance.

Caroline Arndell has a duel role as a support coordinator and administrator.  She has extensive experience in nursing and aged care.  Caroline enjoys working with people and families and establishes rapport with them, working on their person centred goals to ensure a good life.  She understands the importance of working with families and carers and has an excellent working knowledge of the NDIS scheme, working with a range of funding and service providers.  Her extensive local knowledge allows her to connect easily with community groups and organisations.

Caroline also works as our primary administrator and initial contact for services and clients.  She operates our waiting list and organises our service agreements and referrals.