Speech Language Pathologist
Autism New Zealand Board Member
Kimberley graduated from Massey University as a Speech and Language Therapist. She worked for the Ministry of Education in South Auckland before moving to Canada and specialising in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
While living in Vancouver, Kimberley worked at Canada’s largest assessment and therapy centre for Autism. She became a Registered Autism Service Provider in British Columbia, and is a certified Speech Language Pathologist with Speech and Audiology Canada.
Kimberley is very passionate about her work with the ASD community, including being asked to join the Board for Autism New Zealand. Kimberley continues to develop skills through research and professional development, such as completing the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) introductory course through UC Davis, becoming formally PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) trained, and completing all coursework to be a Credentialed Assessor for Assistive Technology through TalkLink Trust.
Kimberley is also passionate about using best-practice guidelines to support the learning of children with ASD, including providing access to a fully integrated multidisciplinary team.
PGDAP, MA (Psych)
Kerri is a registered psychologist who completed her masters degree at the University of Auckland, specialising in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis. She has had a range of experience working in special schools, the public education system, residential facilities, and within family homes.
After working in a school setting, Kerri developed a passion for working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. She believes strongly in working together to create individualized, achievable programmes that focus on positive behaviour change. This includes working closely with families and school/kindergarten staff to complete appropriate assessments in order to determine the needs of each individual.
Kerri has extensive experience in creating evidence based programmes that focus on increasing positive, pro-social behaviours and decreasing negative behaviours. She has done a lot of work with individuals with severe and challenging behaviours, and has developed successful programmes to reduce physical aggression, verbal aggression, self-injury, and running away. She has also created a number of programmes that have focussed on increasing social and communication skills, toilet training, and self-help skills.
Kerri continues to develop skills through research and professional development, such as completing the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) introductory course through UC Davis.
BCBA (Board Certified Behaviour Analyst)
Behaviour Analyst / Psychologist
Jennifer is a registered psychologist & BCBA with a number of years’ experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is also a member of the New Zealand Association of Applied Behaviour Analysis. Jennifer has worked in homes, schools, and residential settings using her extensive knowledge of Applied Behaviour Analysis to provide lasting behaviour change for staff and families.
Jennifer has worked with individuals displaying a range of challenging behaviours including physical and verbal aggression, toileting issues, noncompliance, and a range of socially inappropriate behaviours. Jennifer has also created individualised programmes to increase alternative prosocial behaviours such as communication, emotional regulation, self-help skills, and community engagement.
Jennifer has extensive training in providing Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), assessments of verbal behaviour, Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), and functional analysis of problem behaviour.
Sophie graduated from Otago Polytechnic School of Occupational Therapy as an
Occupational Therapist, and is now a New Zealand registered Occupational Therapist.
Sophie has experience working as a private paediatric Occupational Therapist in the Auckland area. She regularly works with children with sensory, learning, and behavioural differences, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD.
Sophie is passionate about using play to develop and consolidate skills. Whether that be in the home, school, or community environment. She is also passionate about understanding how the sensory system can be supported and utilised to increase functional engagement in everyday activities. This includes completing the ‘Traffic Jam In My Brain” workshop, a sensory approach to supporting challenges associated with ASD, ADHD, learning, and behavioural differences. She has also completed the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) introductory course through UC Davis, and the theoretical coursework to becoming a Registered Behaviour Technician.
Having a brother on the Autism Spectrum, Sophie values the importance of working alongside families and teachers. She has further experience in classroom observation assessments, which can support and facilitate common goals in both environments.
MHSc (nutrition and dietetics)
Tessa is a New Zealand Registered Dietitian. She studied a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition at the University of Otago and completed a Master of Health Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Auckland. Tessa has a wide range of paediatric experience, which she has gained from her clinical work at Starship Hospital.
Tessa is also trained in the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) approach to feeding. SOS supports children to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, allowing them to enjoy tasting and eating new foods.
Tessa is committed to providing individualised and practical advice based on the most up-to-date evidence. She works with each child and their family to establish a plan that will work within their life to meet their needs and goals.
Therapy Technician Lead
Lindsay studied Psychology, focusing on child development, at Wheaton College (MA) in the United States. After graduating, Lindsay worked as a Behaviour Therapist in a clinic based setting for children with ASD. There, Lindsay worked in one-on-one sessions with children and adolescents, lead social-skill groups, ran preschool classes, and completed the theoretical coursework to becoming a Registered Behaviour Technician.
In November 2016, Lindsay came to New Zealand on a working holiday, and luckily for us decided to stay! Since coming to New Zealand, Lindsay has worked in various education roles at the preschool and primary school level. Lindsay continues to develop skills through professional development, such as completing the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) introductory course through UC Davis.
Lindsay is passionate in helping children find their voice through behaviour management and social skills acquisition.
Therapy Technician, Mentor
Before joining Acorn Autism, William had 5 years of experience working as part of a private Occupational Therapy practice in the Auckland area, where he facilitated group therapeutic programmes on and off site. He has also spent the past three years coaching children of all ages and abilities to swim.
William has experience as a Camp Counsellor at Camp Kodiak in Ontario, Canada. Camp Kodiak is a camp for children with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and Learning differences. Whilst working at Camp Kodiak, William consolidated his passion for working with children and supporting them to succeed in everyday life.
William has completed the ‘Traffic Jam In My Brain” workshop; a sensory approach to supporting challenges associated with ASD, ADHD, learning, and behavioural differences. He has also completed the theoretical coursework to becoming a Registered Behaviour Technician.
Cedar finished her undergraduate psychology degree in China before moving to New Zealand in 2016 to obtain a masters of Applied Behaviour Analysis. While working on her master thesis, Cedar began to work as a therapist for children who have learning differences and/or display challenging behaviours.
In 2018, upon completion of her Master’s degree from the University of Waikato, Cedar started working with young individuals both one-to-one and in groups, in their kindergartens, primary schools, and homes. Cedar enjoys working with children to support their language, academic, play, emotional, and social skill development. Through her work, Cedar is dedicated to making a difference to each and every child.
Cedar continues to develop skills through professional development, including completing the theoretical coursework to becoming a Registered Behaviour Technician.
BA (educational science)
Julia studied Education and Educational Science at the Humboldt University of Berlin Germany, with semesters abroad at the University of London and the University of Auckland. Her studies were primarily focussed on early childhood education and learning.
Julia has experience overseas working with children and young adults with and without learning differences in various settings. After coming to New Zealand, Julia began working with a young girl with ASD. Through this work, Julia was able to observe and support her behavioural, social, cognitive, communicative, and physical development, which emphasized the important role of multidisciplinary therapy. This experience and passion inspired her to seek a role as Therapy Technician with Acorn Autism.
Julia continues to develop skills through professional development, including completing the theoretical coursework to becoming a Registered Behaviour Technician.