Our People

Our staff are our best asset.

We employ over 50 staff across all three disciplines, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology. Many of our clinicians have 10-20 years experience in their field. They are all professional, dedicated and caring people who have a thorough understanding of the complexities involved with general and neurological rehabilitation and the changing needs in the disability sector with the introduction of the NDIS.

Leadership Team

Kate Phillips, Physiotherapist, Practice Principal
Natalie Pribil, Occupational Therapist, Business Manager
Ann-Maree Ng, Speech Pathologist, Allied Health Leader
Amy Jesse, Occupational Therapist, Team Leader
Talia Lipschitz, Speech Pathologist, Team Leader
Alex Scott, Physiotherapist, Deputy Team Leader
Emma Downey, Physiotherapist, Deputy Team Leader & Clinical Mentor Coordinator
Pip Cape, Occupational Therapist, Deputy Team Leader (currently on maternity leave)
Ana Brown, Occupational Therapist, Deputy Team Leader, Lead Allied Health Researcher
Kate Thomson, Occupational Therapist, Deputy Team Leader
Julie Sutherland, Quality Assurance Leader

Physiotherapy Team

Libby BussauPhysiotherapist, Senior Clinician
Danni GouldPhysiotherapist, Senior Clinician
Amy NevePhysiotherapist, Senior Clinician
James MorleyPhysiotherapist (currently on extended leave)
Nadia Larsen, Physiotherapist
Isabelle Tivey, Physiotherapist
Julie Shek, Physiotherapist
Sahba Dehghani, Physiotherapist
Anna Karlik, Physiotherapist
Stephanie Ng, Physiotherapist
Arthur Spathis, Physiotherapist
Daisy Connolly, Physiotherapist
Hannah Graham, Physiotherapist

Occupational Therapy Team

Emily Lalor, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Clinical Mentor Coordinator
Hilary Smith, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician
Melissa Bennett, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, OT Driving Assessor
Meaghan RennisonOccupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Health and Safety Representative
Nicole PendreyOccupational Therapist
Shona Rudland, Occupational Therapist
Blaine Francis, Occupational Therapist
Shimila Drysdale, Occupational Therapist
Katie HallOccupational Therapist 
Tanya BelicOccupational Therapist
Amanda NcubeOccupational Therapist 
Aleksia Jensen, Occupational Therapist
Georgia Riley, Occupational Therapist
Chloe May, Occupational Therapist
Jane Blandy, Occupational Therapist
Louise Holmes, Occupational Therapist
Margaret Kershaw, Occupational Therapist
Felicia Runting, Occupational Therapist
Julia Kent, Occupational Therapist
Kiri Kreger, Occupational Therapist
Candice Chua, Occupational Therapist
Leah Fox, Occupational Therapist
Tareena Little, Occupational Therapist

Speech Pathology Team

Amber Burnham, Speech Pathologist, Senior Clinician, Clinical Mentor Coordinator
Janie Sargeant, Speech Pathologist
Matt Fong, Speech Pathologist
Celine Anthony, Speech Pathologist

Business Support Team

Beck JoycePractice Accounts Manager
Maddie Munn,Occupational Therapist, Referral and Intake Manager
Tash Van Groenedaal, Practice Administrator, Health and Safety Officer
Danica Pringle, Administrative Assistant


Full staff profiles can be seen below.


Kate Phillips, Senior Clinician Physiotherapist, Practice Principal

Kate founded Independent Rehabilitation Services (IRS) in 1999, following a long career working in public rehabilitation. With the IRS service delivery model she has successfully combined working with a population she is passionate about (ABI and other neurological disorders) in a community setting with a multidisciplinary team.

Kate has worked  in and researched other rehabilitation centres in the UK as part of her post graduate qualification at Melbourne University  and  has also worked in neurorehabilitation  in Canada.

Kate currently is Clinical Lead in Disability and  Physiotherapy (Neurological) Consultant on the TAC Clinical Panel and is completing her PhD through the Neurotrauma Evidence Translation (NET) program at Monash University. 

An advocate for maximising quality of life in the ABI population, Kate strongly believes that ongoing and optimal outcomes are achieved when clients are seen in their own environment, particularly in the final stages of rehabilitation.

Outside of work, Kate loves spending time with her family, walking her dog along the beach, gardening and baking.

IRS celebrates its 22nd Anniversary in September 2021.

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Natalie Pribil, Senior Clinician Occupational Therapist, Business Manager

Natalie graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 1993 and commenced her career working at the Austin Repatriation Hospital and then moved to Donvale Rehabilitation Hospital and The Victorian Rehabilitation Centre in the Vocational Unit, assisting clients following severe injury to return to work.

Following further study in Occupational Rehabilitation and spending time working as a Vocational provider, Natalie then travelled and worked overseas. It was here she was exposed to a wide range of neurological and general medical conditions in an acute and inpatient rehabilitation setting. This sparked her interest in working with clients with both neurological and complex conditions and wanting to further develop her skills in a community rehabilitation setting.

Natalie commenced with IRS in 2005 as a Senior Clinician and in 2009 became Occupational Therapy Team Leader. In 2015 she was successful in being appointed Allied Health Leader at IRS. In 2016, Natalie commenced running the IRS practice and in 2020, progressed into the position of Business Manager with IRS.

Natalie is passionate about ensuring that the practice continues to provide exceptional neurological and general rehabilitation in a community setting. She enjoys working in the unique setting of IRS and values working with a team of clinicians that strive to achieve highest quality outcomes for their clients. She believes that culture is everything in a workplace.

Having attended numerous NDIS information sessions over the past few years, Natalie is now excited about supporting IRS clinicians in their work with participants and their families in the NDIS sector.

Outside of work, Natalie enjoys spending time with her family, skiing and taking on new challenges. She has recently started playing cricket and coaching her daughter’s AFL and cricket team.

Natalie will celebrate 16 years with IRS in 2021.

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Physiotherapy Team

Alex Scott, Senior Clinician, Physiotherapy Deputy Team Leader

Alex completed her Physiotherapy degree in 2011 at the University of Newcastle in Australia and has an eclectic work history across a variety of clinical settings, both in Australia and the UK.

Alex takes great pride in empowering her clients to self-manage their health, within their home environment. Alex finds her work hugely gratifying and it continues to give her a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Alex has a particular fascination for pain science and completed post-graduate studies in Pain Management through the University of Sydney.

Alex was appointed Physiotherapy Team Leader in 2018.

Alex is passionate about environmental sustainability and has recently started an Urban Farming and Permaculture course. On weekends, you can usually find Alex hiking in nature, tending to her veggie patch or turning her compost.

Alex will celebrate 5 years with IRS in 2021.

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Emma Downey, Senior Clinician, Physiotherapy Deputy Team Leader & Clinical Mentor Coordinator

Emma is a Physiotherapist who graduated in 2005 from the University of South Australia. She has worked in the acute care, rehabilitation and the disability sector both in Australia and in the UK, giving her a wide breadth of experience and knowledge. She developed a special interest in neurological rehabilitation 11 years ago while working in London and has since specialized in working with clients with neurological and vestibular disorders, helping them to maximize their recovery and independence.

She is passionate about teaching and as well as being a clinical supervisor for a number of years, has run student clinics for Disability South Australia and tutored for La Trobe University. In 2019 she completed her Graduate Certificate in Neurological Clinical Rehabilitation.

Emma was appointed Physiotherapy Deputy Team Leader at the end of 2018.

Outside of work Emma loves getting back to nature, going for hikes, to the beach or going skiing in winter.

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Libby Bussau, Physiotherapist, Senior Clinician

Libby graduated from The University of Melbourne in 2001 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honors. She worked at Northern Health gaining a broad range of experience across the public hospital system in acute and sub-acute settings. Libby joined the IRS team in 2005 to further her interest in neurological physiotherapy and her desire to work with people in community rehabilitation. She likes to work with people to achieve their real and functional goals, getting people to reach their best level of function whether that be walking, running, a sporting activity or something more functional that they can do around the house to make their lives easier.

Libby enjoys all aspects of neurological rehabilitation and enjoys the challenges that come with these complex clients present. She has experience with an extremely wide range of conditions including acquired brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, MS, MND, PD and a range of rare neurological disorders. She has a very caring and professional manner and is extremely thorough in her treatment planning.

Outside of work Libby loves spending time with her young family, travelling and participating in a variety of physical challenges.

Libby will celebrate 16 years with IRS in 2021.

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Danni Gould, Physiotherapist, Senior Clinician

Danni qualified as a physiotherapist in 2011. Danni has worked in a diverse range of settings in Tasmania, the UK and Melbourne since her graduation. She has developed a passion for working in neurological rehabilitation, particularly working with clients diagnosed with neurological disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Danni completed a Basic Bobath Course in 2018 and enjoys implementing many of the treatment methods in her practice. Danni loves a challenge as well as having as much fun as possible in therapy with her clients.

Outside of work, Danni is a keen runner, reader and travel enthusiast.

Danni recently celebrated 5 years with IRS in 2021.

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Nadia Larsen, Physiotherapist

Nadia completed her Physiotherapy degree in New Zealand in 2011. She started her career working in Wellington, NZ working across acute care, rehabilitation and outpatient clinics. Prior to moving to Melbourne, Nadia worked in community and inpatient neurorehabilitation in the UK. This provided her a wide range of experience in progressive neurological conditions, traumatic brain injuries and stroke.

Nadia has developed a passion for neurorehabilitation and finds working with clients in the community very rewarding. She enjoys building relationships with her clients, problem solving and supporting them to reach their personal goals.

Outside of work Nadia loves playing sport, swimming, hiking and spending time with friends and family.

Nadia will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Amy Neve, Physiotherapist, Senior Clinician

Amy completed her Physiotherapy degree at Charles Sturt University in 2002. Since this time, she has worked in both Australia & the United Kingdom within a variety of acute, sub-acute, & community settings. She has developed a specific interest in Neurological Rehabilitation & loves working with clients at home & in the community due to the variety & challenges this work provides. She believes ‘Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, & mental states’ & ‘ Behind you are challenges you’ve met. Before you lies new possibilities’.

Outside of work , Amy loves to spend time with her 3 boys, running with her dogs, and gardening.

Amy will celebrate 9 years since first starting with IRS in 2021.

James Morley, Physiotherapist at Independent Rehabilitation Services

James Morley, Physiotherapist

James completed his Doctor of Physiotherapy degree in 2017. James has previous working experience in spinal cord injury and intellectual disability and had opportunities to train in a broad range of healthcare settings throughout his degree.

Over the past few years, James has developed special interests in persistent/chronic pain, spinal cord injury and high level exercise prescription. He firmly believes in the importance of client-centred care and loves the challenge of working in community rehabilitation.

Outside of work, James loves heading out on overnight hikes, mountain biking and playing cricket.

James is currently on extended leave.

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Isabelle Tivey, Physiotherapist

Isabelle graduated as a physiotherapist from Monash University in 2013. Since then, she has worked in a range of physiotherapy specialties in both private and public systems, across the whole spectrum of health – from admission into the Emergency Department, to helping clients achieve their goals in the community. Her experience includes over a year spent specifically with clients after traumatic brain injuries, as well as several rotations working with those who have had strokes, spinal cord injuries, and progressive neurological disorders. This has instilled in her a strong passion for neurological physiotherapy.

Isabelle, or “Izzy”, loves working with new people and enjoys problem-solving to help clients achieve their goals.

Outside of work, Izzy loves doing all things aerial sports: pole, aerial hoop and aerial silks. When she’s not climbing things and hanging upside-down, she can be found tucked up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book or a puzzle.

Izzy will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Julie Shek, Physiotherapist

Julie graduated with Bachelors of Health Sciences and Masters of Physiotherapy Practice from La Trobe University in 2015. With experience in large public and private hospitals, she has gained a broad range of skills having worked in various settings from acute hospital, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and community health settings. During this time, Julie developed a strong passion for rehabilitation and a particular interest in neurological physiotherapy.

She is passionate about working collaboratively with her clients and their families to achieve their goals, facilitate independence and optimise their quality of life.

Outside of work, Julie enjoys hikes, picnics and Pilates.

Julie will celebrate 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Sahba Dehghani, Physiotherapist

Sahba is an enthusiastic and diligent clinician with a Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. With a background in Psychology and research, she is passionate about holistic client care and taking into account all of the factors affecting a client’s wellbeing when implementing a physiotherapy program. She has worked in both acute and long-term rehabilitation settings, sparking in her a keen interest in the development and care of chronic neurological conditions. Having lived in a number of different countries, Sahba is also focused on the role that culture plays in health and effective intercultural communication for optimal treatment.

Outside of work, Sahba loves reading, theatre, singing, working on craft projects, and volunteering for social justice.

Sahba recently celebrated 3 years with IRS in 2021.

Anna Karlik, Physiotherapist

Anna completed her postgraduate Doctor of Physiotherapy degree at The University of Melbourne. Anna has worked with a range of neurological clients within the community setting. These experiences allowed her to discover her passion for treating clients following traumatic brain injuries and stroke. Anna has also recently enhanced her understanding of the complex nature of chronic pain, and further developed her assessment and management skills in this area through further learning. She has also further developed her skills in the assessment and management of amputees and vestibular presentations.

Outside of work, she enjoys playing tennis and going to the beach with her two toy Cavoodles.

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Stephanie Ng, Physiotherapist

Steph graduated as a physiotherapist from the University of Melbourne. In the past, she has enjoyed working with clients with various neurological conditions in social groups such as Dance with Parkinson’s.

Over the last few years, Steph has developed an interest in gait retraining and balance training for amputees and clients with various neurological conditions. As a Mandarin and Cantonese speaker, Steph has a keen understanding of the difficulties clients from non-English speaking backgrounds face in a community rehabilitation setting and is particularly dedicated to supporting these clients. Steph also believes that Physiotherapy works best when it is enjoyable for the client.

Outside of work, Steph enjoys baking, cooking, dancing and travelling.

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Picture of IRS physiotherapist Arthur Spathis

Arthur Spathis, Physiotherapist

Arthur recently graduated as a physiotherapist from the University of Melbourne in 2019. During his studies, he experienced a diverse range of clients with neurological conditions, in an array of clinical settings including inpatient, community-based and paediatric rehabilitation. This sparked his passion for connecting clients with neurological conditions to their best possible quality of life. Additionally, he continues to focus on the role that clinicians have in responding to the intersection of a client’s identities, in order to best engage them in treatment plans.

Arthur also has experience in pharmaceutical science research and his Honours work in classifying future potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia has been published.

Outside of work, Arthur loves to play tennis, hike, spend time with his poodle Maxie and cook for family and friends.

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Picture of Daisy Connolly, physiotherapist at Independent Rehabilitation Services.Daisy Connolly, Physiotherapist

Daisy completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree in 2017 at Monash University. Since this time, she has been working in an inpatient setting at one of Melbourne’s largest tertiary public hospitals.

Throughout her time there, she was able to gain experience working within many different clinical areas; including acute trauma, burns injury, acquired brain injury (ABI), general medicine and neurological rehabilitation.

Daisy has developed a keen interest in rehabilitation, specifically in acquired brain injury (ABI), acute and progressive neurological disorders and multi-trauma, as she loves the challenge of complex clinical presentations. She enjoys working with her clients and wider multidisciplinary team, and employs a client centred approach to assist them to achieve their goals.

Outside of work, she enjoys the outdoors, especially at the beach, as well as enjoying time with her friends and family.

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Picture of Hannah Graham, Physiotherapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesHannah Graham, Physiotherapist

Hannah qualified as a Physiotherapist at Macquarie University, Sydney in 2017. She has worked across acute, rehabilitation and outpatient settings within the private and public sector.

Hannah has developed a strong interest in working with individuals living with neurological conditions. Hannah enjoys working with people in their own environment and local communities to achieve meaningful goals.

Outside of work Hannah enjoys swimming, camping and heading to the beach.

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Occupational Therapy Team

Amy Jesse, Senior Clinician, Occupational Therapy Team Leader

Amy completed her Occupational Therapy degree at La Trobe University in 1998, with a special interest in Neurological Rehabilitation and further post-graduate study in this area.

Amy has always worked in the area of neurology, across the full continuum of care. She has worked in numerous locations in Australia and the UK including Peninsula Health, Cairns Base Hospital, Royal Talbot Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London.

In addition to working with people recovering from Acquired Brain Injury, Amy has a special interest in supporting people with a progressive neurological condition. Amy enjoys the highly client-centred and goal-focused approach to community-based rehabilitation.

Amy commenced working with IRS in 2011, and was successful in being appointed Occupational Therapy Team Leader in 2016. Currently, Amy takes a keen interest in leadership development within the team through supporting quality supervision, supporting leadership of self and others to build a thriving team.

Outside of work, Amy enjoys going to the beach, skiing, running, spending time with her friends and family, especially keeping up with her two young children!

Amy will celebrate 10 years with IRS in 2021.

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Pip Cape, Senior Clinician, Deputy Occupational Therapy Team Leader

Pip completed her Occupational Therapy degree in New Zealand in 2007. Since this time, she has worked in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia within a variety of acute, sub-acute and community settings. She has developed a keen interest in Neurological Rehabilitation and Aged Care.

Pip enjoys the client-centred approach of community rehabilitation and loves that no two days of work are the same. She appreciates the challenge of working with complex clients and displays a practical problem-solving approach to her work.

Pip has a particular interest in Motivational Interviewing and using this to help client’s resolve ambivalence and deepen motivation to pursue the changes that are meaningful to them. She is also passionate about supporting clients with ABI return to meaningful work.

Pip has established a Buddy Program at IRS which provides informal peer-support, advice and guidance to new staff entering the community private-practice ABI rehabilitation setting.

Outside of work Pip enjoys walking her dog each evening, weekends away hiking and baking.

Pip celebrated 8 years with IRS in 2020 and is currently on maternity leave.

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Ana Brown, Senior Clinician, Deputy Team Leader, Lead Allied Health Researcher

Ana recently joined the IRS team as the Lead Allied Health Researcher and comes from a broad clinical background in public health, private hospital rehabilitation and experience in the UK’s NHS and Social Services systems. She has experience in sub-acute and community rehabilitation, ranging from secure environments to people’s own homes, both in neurological and mental health clinical areas.

Ana has specialised in neuropsychiatry and enjoys working with people who have comorbidities of ABI and mental illness. Her clinical strengths include functional rehabilitation, motivational interviewing and sensory modulation interventions with adults. Ana is completing her PhD in sensory modulation interventions for adults living with ABI and is very passionate about this area of practice. She has numerous international publications and has presented at national conferences on this topic. One of her roles at IRS is to support the team in using evidence-based interventions to make sure we are practising to the best of our knowledge.

Outside of work, Ana enjoys reading and watching geeky sci-fi novels/shows, tending to her veggie patch and life drawing.

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Kate Thomson, Senior Clinician, Deputy Occupational Therapy Team Leader

Kate completed her degree in Edinburgh in 2002. Since then she has worked in a variety of settings, the majority of which have been community rehabilitation. In the last 5 years Kate has focussed her intervention on supporting those with neurological conditions. She has been involved in setting up a pilot clinic focussing on wheelchair skills and community access, and assisting with the development of a postural management pathway in Edinburgh. Since relocating to Australia in 2017 she has continued to work in community rehabilitation, and recently completed an upper limb rehabilitation course. Kate is a passionate advocate for her clients, supporting them to work on their goals, and encouraging self-management.

Outside of work Kate enjoys travelling, spending time with her husband and kids and watching soccer.

Kate recently returned to IRS in a new role as Deputy OT Team Leader.

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Emily Lalor, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Clinical Mentor Coordinator

Emily completed her Occupational Therapy degree at La Trobe University in 2006. She commenced working in 2006 before moving to the United Kingdom to work in 2007 where she had a variety of positions in acute medical and neurological services, neurological rehabilitation and neurobehavioural rehabilitation.

Emily returned to Australia in 2011 where she worked in a neurobehavioural rehabilitation unit before joining Independent Rehabilitation Services in 2013. She has a particular interest in stroke and traumatic brain injury and working with clients with complex care needs.

Emily will celebrate 8 years with IRS in 2021.

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Hilary Smith, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician

Hilary completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy/Behavioural Science in 2004. Since then she has worked in various fields of Occupational Therapy across Australia and the UK. Hilary has experience across the healthcare continuum including Emergency, Acute Care, Inpatient and Community Rehabilitation.

Hilary has a strong interest in rehabilitation for clients with Spinal Cord Injury and various neurological conditions including Acquired Brain Injury. Hilary’s interest in Spinal Cord Injury has developed from her time working at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in the UK and at the Victorian Spinal Cord Service in Australia.

Hilary enjoys working with complex cases and putting her organisational skills to work to increase one’s independence in activities of daily living. Her special interests also include; complex home modifications, upper limb rehabilitation, equipment prescription and complex report writing.

Hilary is the OT Student Coordinator at IRS and provides senior clinician support to the Intake team for the allocation of referrals.

Outside of work Hilary likes going on outings with her family including her young kids, exercising, catching up with friends and getting some sunshine.

Hilary will celebrate 7 years with IRS in 2021.

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Melissa Bennett, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Driving Assessor

Melissa graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy) from The University of Sydney in 1995 and has worked with IRS since 2005.

During her career she has gained a wide breadth of experience and knowledge working across the whole continuum of care from emergency department, acute inpatient care, rehabilitation and the community setting.

Melissa obtained her postgraduate qualification in Driver Assessment and Rehabilitation in 2006 from La Trobe University. Along with driving, Melissa has a keen interest in community mobility, assistive technology prescription including complex wheelchair and seating, scooters, pressure care, beds and home modifications. Falls prevention and education, complex care planning and
clinical mentoring and supervision

Melissa enjoys all aspects of community rehabilitation and it’s complexities and is passionate about supporting her clients to participate to their full potential in meaningful activities in their home and community.

Mel recently celebrated 15 years with IRS in 2020

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Meaghan Rennison, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Health and Safety Representative

Meaghan completed her occupational therapy degree in 2009 at Monash University. Since this time, she has worked in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working across acute, subacute and community settings. She has experience working with an array of conditions including stroke, trauma, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic and progressive neurological conditions such as MS and Parkinson’s Disease. She has a particular interest in neurological rehabilitation, upper limb therapy, cognitive rehabilitation and SDA assessments.

Meaghan enjoys the client centred approach of community rehabilitation and the flexibility of working with clients in their own home to achieve occupational engagement in their life.

Outside of work Meaghan enjoys playing netball and futsal and getting outdoors with family and friends.

Meaghan will celebrate 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Nicole Pendrey, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesNicole Pendrey, Occupational Therapist

Nicole completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences and Masters of Occupational Therapy Practise degrees at La Trobe University in 2013. Since then, she has worked within a variety of acute, sub-acute and community settings across Melbourne.

Prior to her university studies, Nicole volunteered at a school for the blind and partially sighted in Krakow, Poland, for six months. She has been working specifically in the area of neurological treatment and rehabilitation since 2014.

She appreciates the opportunity to work with clients in a person centred manner; supporting them to achieve their own meaningful goals. She has experience in a variety of areas related to acquired brain injury intervention, including upper limb intervention, concussion, post traumatic amnesia, cognitive intervention strategies and prescription of complex seating.

Outside of work, Nicole loves to spend time with family and friends.

Nicole will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Shona Rudland, Occupational Therapist

Shona qualified as an occupational therapist in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2003.  Shona worked in a variety of settings before moving to London, where she worked in the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery then Guys and St Thomas’ Community Neuro Rehabilitation Team.  She lead the occupational therapy team there before managing the community inpatient neuro-rehabilitation unit.  She relocated to Melbourne in 2017.  Shona has particular experience and interest in working with people with acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions including motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s Disease.  Shona has a passion for supporting people to achieve their personal goals to optimise their purpose and quality of life by supporting them to lead their own rehabilitation and empowering them to manage their own life.

Outside of work Shona loves spending time with her family, running and breathing fresh countryside air!

Shona will celebrate 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Blaine Francis, Occupational Therapist

Blaine completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Occupational Therapy at Latrobe University, Melbourne in 2013. He went on to complete 2 years in the Alfred Health graduated program in which he fulfilled roles in acute inpatient and community mental health. Blaine has always had a keen interest in physical rehabilitation spending the past 2 years in a community role’s specialised in treating stroke, traumatic brain injury and progressive disorders. Blaine is a firm believer of supporting clients within their natural environment and prides himself on having individualised approaches to building client rapport. Areas of special interest included upper limb rehabilitation and postural management. Blaine’s primary goal is to assist clients in returning to functional meaningful activities.

Outside of work Blaine enjoys the gym.

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Shimila Drysdale, Occupational Therapist

Hello there! After completing my studies in Occupational Therapy at Deakin University in Geelong, I moved to Sydney, and then to the UK for a few years. Along the way I gained some great experience working in hospitals in acute and subacute in general medical, oncology, aged care, neurological and stroke rehabilitation. I’ve also worked in the community in vocational and neurological rehabilitation.

It was whilst working on the stroke and neurological hospital wards that I developed my passion for empowering clients to achieve their goals despite the complex challenges that neurological conditions can present. I believe strongly in a holistic approach to therapy, and I understand the importance of creative problem solving when collaborating with my clients. I love the work that I do now in the community as I help my clients overcome challenges and live happier, more fulfilling lives.

I also recently completed my Diploma in Professional Writing and I hope to use my freshly honed writing skills to help people connect and communicate effectively.

When I’m not at work I love catching up with friends, reading a thrilling novel, and planning home renovations!

Shimila will celebrate 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Katie Hall, Occupational Therapist

Katie completed her Honours Degree in Occupational Therapy at Monash University in 2014. While at university, Katie worked as a Disability Support Worker and as a Research Assistant for the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria. Since graduating, Katie has worked in numerous settings including inpatient rehabilitation, occupational rehabilitation, and non-profit organisations. Katie has developed a strong interest in working with people with brain injuries and intellectual disability. Katie enjoys working with people in real-life contexts towards goals that are important to them. Katie has experience working with vulnerable populations, for example long-term homeless people. She has special expertise in working with people with epilepsy.

Outside of work, I enjoy being outdoors, reading a good book, or travelling with my hubby.

Katie will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Tanya Belic, Occupational Therapist

I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2015 from the Australian Catholic University. I previously worked in the Occupational Rehabilitation setting which provided me with the skills to deliver a client-centred and holistic approach to rehabilitation. With a focus on defence members, veterans and the TAC client population, I have worked with a wide range of complex client needs; including both physical and psychological conditions. I have developed a strong passion for working with people with a brain injury in the context of their natural environment. I thoroughly enjoy completing equipment prescriptions and home modification recommendations. Through my work, I have developed a passion for fostering independence and facilitating client goal achievement. I enjoy that no two days are the same and that I can make a difference in an individual’s overall well-being in their natural environment.

Outside of work Tanya enjoys spending time with her family, engaging in reformer pilates, going away on weekends and strolling markets.

Tanya will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Amanda Ncube, Occupational Therapist

Amanda graduated with a Bachelor in Health Science – Occupational Therapy degree in 2012 in New Zealand. She worked briefly in acute and community settings where she gained experience working with clients in an acute physical setting as well as in Community mental health. She moved to Australian 2013 where she worked in Occupational Rehabilitation Industry for over 4 years. As a Rehabilitation Consultant she assisted injured clients return to work, where she established a strong understanding of the impact of physical and psychological injuries on return to work and has worked under a variety of legislative framework which allowed her to guide and assist injured workers, their employers and health professionals through the rehabilitation process. She is passionate about working with clients from various backgrounds and their families on an individual level, and supporting them in achieving their chosen goals.

Outside of work Amanda enjoys listening to 80s and 90s music, reading Australian Outback books and spending time with her family.

Amanda will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Aleksia Jensen, Occupational Therapist

Aleksia graduated with an Honours degree in Occupational Therapy from Monash University in 2015. During her studies she worked as both a Disability Support Worker and Occupational Therapy Research Assistant. Since graduating, Aleksia has worked in community and inpatient rehabilitation with a variety of client populations, including people with both non-progressive and progressive neurological conditions. Aleksia has a strong passion for neurological rehabilitation and enjoys working with clients in their own contexts, towards their own goals. She enjoys the challenge of working with people with complex needs and using her expertise in motivational interviewing, assistive technology/home modifications, various pain management techniques and cognitive rehabilitation to assist clients towards achieving their goals.

Outside of work, Aleksia enjoys exercising, being creative, spending time with family/friends and playing with her cat.

Aleksia recently celebrated 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Georgia Riley, Occupational Therapist

Georgia is passionate about working with clients from diverse backgrounds and supporting others to achieve their unique and meaningful goals. She has a variety of experience in acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, acute rehabilitation and aged care. She enjoys building genuine rapport with her clients and working collaboratively to achieve client outcomes. Since working at IRS, Georgia has developed a keen interest in complex equipment prescription, return to work and cognitive rehabilitation.

Outside of work Georgia enjoys running, hiking and catching up with friends. (Currently on extended leave)

 

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Chloe May occupational therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesChloe May, Occupational Therapist

Chloe graduated from Australian Catholic University in 2019. With previous experience working within a community rehabilitation team, she has a strong passion for working with clients and their families in achieving meaningful goals.

Applying a client-centred approach to rehabilitation, Chloe is motivated by working collaboratively with each client to identify their unique needs and strengths to ensure therapy is specifically tailored to their goals and everyday environments. Chloe has a strong interest in cognitive rehabilitation, upper limb management and exploring ways to enhance community engagement through participation in social groups and volunteer work.

Outside of work Chloe enjoys being by the beach, reading and spending time with her friends and family.

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Jane Blandy, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesJane Blandy, Occupational Therapist

Jane is an occupational therapist who graduated from the University of Sydney in 2004. Jane has a special interest in neurological rehabilitation, including acquired brain injury and progressive neurological conditions. Jane has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient and community rehabilitation, neurology outpatient clinics and working for people with complex disabilities in the community. She also has experience working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Jane has recently completed a postgraduate certificate in clinical rehabilitation from Flinders University in South Australia.

Jane enjoys working closely with clients and families, and looks forward to learning each individual’s interests and priorities. Jane is motivated to support clients achieve their real life goals through shared decision making and practical problem solving.

Outside of work Jane enjoys pilates, coffee with friends, book club and getting out into nature with her young family.

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Image of Louise Holmes, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesLouise Holmes, Occupational Therapist

Louise completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at LaTrobe University in 2010. She started her career working for Epworth Rehabilitation before moving to London and working in a variety of roles within the NHS. Louise returned to Melbourne in 2015 and since then has worked in both acute and sub acute positions of orthopaedic, trauma, brain injury and neurological clients before joining IRS.

She has an interest in traumatic brain injuries, degenerative neurological conditions and home modification, and likes to work with clients in their own homes. Louise enjoys working with clients and their families and loves seeing them progress towards their goals and improve their quality of life.

Outside of work Louise loves being active, going on hikes with friends, watching the football and spending time with her nephews.

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Margaret Kershaw, Occupational Therapist

Margaret recently completed her Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2020. She has completed clinical placement in the areas of community health, residential aged care, as well as inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Through her experience, Margaret has developed a passion for supporting people with neurological conditions to achieve their goals and flourish in their environment. Margaret has previously worked as a Disability Support Worker where she was able to empower clients to engage in meaningful activities and live an everyday life.

Outside of work, Margaret enjoys playing football and basketball, and spending time with friends and family.

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Felicia Runting, Occupational Therapist

Felicia graduated her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons) from the University of Queensland in November 2019. During her degree, Felicia developed a strong foundation in all aspects of Occupational Therapy and completed her primary clinical placements within a hospital rehabilitation setting with an adult Stroke caseload and a Telehealth rehabilitation setting with a paediatric caseload.

Felicia has been a practicing Occupational Therapist since January 2020 in an acute hospital setting within Queensland Health. She has a keen interest in developing her knowledge and skills in the neurological rehabilitation field and a passion to empower people of all ages and abilities to reach their occupational goals within their home and community environments.

Prior to working as an OT, Felicia was taking care of patients of the 4-legged kind, working as a Veterinary Nurse for 6 years. One day, Felicia hopes to integrate animal-assisted therapy into her OT practice.

In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, going on bush walks and spending time with family and friends.

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Julia Kent, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation Services

Julia Kent, Occupational Therapist

Julia qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2018. During her studies Julia developed a keen interest in neurological conditions and mental health and took on volunteer positions with CoHealth and the Cure for MND Foundation to increase her exposure in these areas.

Over the past 2 years, Julia has worked in residential Aged Care which has provided her experience working with people with a diverse range of conditions. Julia prides herself on her friendly and caring nature and her ability to develop strong working relationships.

She is excited to be working in a role where she can work with people in their own communities and supporting them to participate in what they most want and need to do.

Outside of work Julia enjoys gardening, spending time with friends and family, cooking, reading and travelling.

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Kiri Kreger, Occupational Therapist

Kiri Kreger, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesKiri completed a Master’s of Occupational Therapy at Latrobe University in 2018. Since graduating Kiri has worked in aged care and gained experience working with clients with a range or conditions.
Kiri has skills in manual handling education, pressure care management and equipment prescription and a keen interest in neurological and cognitive rehabilitation. Kiri is passionate about collaborating with people and their families to problem solve and progress towards meaningful goals, and engage in fulfilling roles and activities within their community.
Outside of work Kiri enjoys spending time in nature, whether it is growing her vegetable garden, collecting plastic from beaches and waterways or going bushwalking with friends.

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Candice Chua, Occupational Therapist

Photo of Candice Chua, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesCandice is a recent graduate who completed her Master in Occupational Therapy at La
Trobe University in 2020. She has completed clinical placements in the areas of
community neurological rehabilitation, community mental health, community NDIS,
along with subacute spinal and acute mental health. Candice completed her undergraduate degree in Nursing in 2015, and since then has had over 3 years of work experience as a registered nurse back in her home country (Singapore).

As a registered nurse, Candice has worked in various settings such as acute medical/surgical, outpatient surgery and acute mental health, where she provided direct care to her clients and supported them in their road to recovery. During her placement in community neurological rehabilitation, Candice developed a passion for supporting individuals with a neurological condition. She is dedicated to empowering clients to regain their independence and reach their personal goals.

In her free time, Candice enjoys singing and going out with friends for a bite. She also indulges in geeky hobbies such as anime and comics.

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Leah Fox, Occupational Therapist

Photo of Leah Fox, Occupational Therapist Independent Rehabilitation ServicesLeah completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at Monash University in 2019. Her interest in neuro-rehabilitation was sparked by her honours research project and thesis into the experience of a rehabilitation program “LVST-Big® for people with Parkinson’s disease”.

Since graduating, Leah has worked in hospital acute and sub-acute settings, and gained valuable experience with people presenting with a range of neurological conditions such as stroke, acquired brain injury, dementia, Parkinson’s and MS.

Leah is excited to now be working in community based rehabilitation, where she can assist people towards their individual goals and maximise their participation in the everyday life at home and in the community.

Prior to becoming an occupational therapist, Leah has had previous careers as a lawyer and remedial massage therapist, and has lived in both the UK and the Middle East. Aside from being a busy mother to 4 teenagers, when Leah is not at work, she enjoys running, tennis, and bushwalking.

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Tareena Little, Occupational Therapist

Photo of Tareena Little, Occupational Therapist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesTareena completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honors at Monash University in Melbourne in 2019. Since completing her degree, Tareena has worked within the acute hospital setting focusing on a range of general medical to acute surgical conditions from orthopaedic to urological issues. In this setting, she has developed knowledge and experience in discharge planning and completing various cognitive and functional assessments to facilitate and enable independence.

She has a strong interest in neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, and aims to enhance her skills with this particular population within their own environment.

In her down time, she enjoys eating diverse cultural dishes, listening to 90’s RnB music and spending time in nature.

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Speech Pathology Team

Ann-Maree Ng, Senior Clinician, Allied Health Team Leader

Ann-Maree graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology from La Trobe University in 2010. She has worked at a number of private acute, rehabilitation and community rehabilitation services around Melbourne.  Ann-Maree is passionate about working with people with Traumatic Brain Injury and Disability and she enjoys the unique challenges of helping people to find their voices through augmentative and alternative communication solutions. She has completed her level two training in Community Based Rehabilitation for ABI and is LSVT certified. Ann-Maree is also one of only four accredited ‘Sensory Modality Assessment and Rehabilitation Technique’ (SMART) Assessors in Australia.

Outside of work, Ann-Maree likes to catch up with family and friends, read and make and eat delicious food.

Ann-Maree recently celebrated 5 years with IRS in 2021.

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Talia Lipschitz, Senior Clinician, Speech Pathology Team Leader

Talia completed her Speech Pathology degree in 2010. Since graduating she has worked in both private and public health sectors across the continuum of care. This has given Talia a deep understanding and appreciation of the needs of clients and their significant others throughout their recovery and rehabilitation. Talia has discovered a passion for community rehabilitation, particularly in the fields of traumatic and acquired brain injury, and other neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s Disease). She has completed her Level 1 and 2 Acquired Brain Injury Training, and is an LSVT qualified clinician. Talia finds working in this field extremely rewarding, and believes in communication access for all.

Talia has recently been successful in achieving the role of Deputy Speech Pathologist at IRS.

Outside of work Talia enjoys going to the gym, and baking delicious cakes – a healthy balance!

Talia will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Amber Burnham, Speech Pathologist, Senior Clinician, Clinical Mentor Coordinator

Amber completed her Speech Pathology degree at La Trobe University in 2006. She has worked for a number of major health services across Melbourne, primarily in Community Rehabilitation. She has always enjoyed working with clients and their carers/families in their own environment as she feels this allows them to focus on areas that are important to them.

She has more than 10 years experience working with clients with acquired brain injury with a special interest in working with people with aphasia and has spent time on the committee for the Australian Aphasia Association (Victorian Branch). She also has specialised experience in working with clients with Movement Disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease) and accent modification.

Outside of work, Amber loves hanging out with her young family and enjoying the local beaches and parks.

Amber will celebrate 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Janie Sargeant speech pathologist at IRSJanie Sargeant, Speech Pathologist

Janie completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences / Master of Speech Pathology degree at La Trobe University in 2016.

Experience gained on university clinical placements, and employment in health administration in the hospital-based rehabilitation setting have fuelled Janie’s interest in progressive neurological disorders and acquired brain injury.

Janie is passionate about client-centred care, and supporting individuals to achieve their rehabilitation goals in order to maximise independence and participation in all aspects of daily life.

Outside of work, Janie enjoys spending time with family and friends, seeing live music, soaking up the sunshine whenever possible, and has a love for art and design.

Janie recently celebrated 4 years with IRS in 2021.

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Matt Fong, Speech Pathologist

Matt completed his Master of Speech Pathology degree in 2017 at The University of Melbourne. He has a background in psychology, and is particularly passionate about aphasia rehabilitation and working with clients with neurological disorders to achieve personally meaningful and functional goals. Matt takes a person-centred approach and is committed to providing holistic care to improve the quality of life of his clients within their community.

Outside of work, Matt is a tragic AFL and cricket fan and loves supporting the Western Bulldogs. On the weekends, he is usually watching/playing/training for some sort of sport and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Matt recently celebrated 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Celine Anthony, Speech Pathologist at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesCeline Anthony, Speech Pathologist

Celine graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Master of Speech Pathology in 2020. With a background in Health Sciences, Celine has had experience working with people of all ages with varying complex presentations.
During her postgraduate degree, Celine began to develop a deeper interest in disorders of speech and voice, which led to her completing a year-long independent research project on the speech of people with progressive neurological disorders.
Celine is looking forward to developing as a clinician. She is keen to support her clients to achieve their own functional goals, and practice a holistic approach to care through collaborating with other allied health professionals.
In her spare time Celine enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, or getting a little creative indoors.

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Business Support Team

Julie Sutherland, Quality Assurance Leader

Julie has a background in health promotion and experience working with general practitioners and Allied Health providers to develop, implement and evaluate programs.

Julie has been with IRS for two years having worked previously at WorkSafe Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Networking Health Victoria and at various Medicare Locals. Her program management experience is diverse and includes programs about Diabetes Prevention, Chronic Kidney Disease and the Health Benefits of Work. She enjoys working across each of the teams at IRS to ensure a focus on continual quality improvement.

When Julie is not at work you might find her going for a run or walk, catching up with friends or indulging in chocolate treats.

Julie will celebrate 3 years with IRS in 2021.

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Beck Joyce, Practice Accounts and Administrative Manager

Beck is our Practice Accounts and Administrative Manager. Beck started with us in 2015 and is skilled at running the IRS office like clockwork. She is our superglue!

Beck recently celebrated 6 years with IRS in 2021.

 

 

Maddie Munn, Occupational Therapist, Referral and Intake Manager

Photo of Maddie Munn, Occupational Therapist and Intake Manager at Independent Rehabilitation ServicesMaddie completed her Master of Occupational Therapy in Melbourne in 2019. Previously, Maddie completed her undergraduate degree in psychology in 2014. After her undergraduate degree, Maddie worked in the community as a peer support worker and at Austin Hospital as a consumer consultant. She has worked in the community as a therapy assistant for clients with acquired brain injuries, and had an extended placement at Epworth Hospital in the neurological rehab unit.

During her time at IRS, Maddie has developed a passion for managing intake and allocation processes, enhancing referral relationships, and developing efficient systems to support clinicians in their work.

Outside of work, Maddie loves to spend time with her family (especially her cats), hike, cook, and read sci-fi books.

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Tash Van Groenedaal, Practice Administrator, Health and Safety Officer

Tash is our Practice Administrator who joined IRS two years ago bringing with her a strong background in administration management. Since beginning with us Tash has decided to further her skills in the disability sector by enrolling into a Cert IV in Disability

Tash assists with the efficient management of administration duties and our office, and is a vital link between the office and our staff on the road.

Outside of work, Tash loves spending time with her friends, going on bush walks with her dog and travelling.

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Danica Pringle, Administrative Assistant, Independent Rehabilitation ServicesDanica Pringle, Administrative Assistant

Danica commenced with IRS in 2020 as part-time as an administrative assistant. She has engaged with our occupational therapy, speech pathology and physiotherapy services as a client following a major motor vehicle accident in 2014. She has since, with the help of IRS, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science at Deakin University and is now ready to commence working. Her position at IRS is an integral step in Danica’s recovery as she is now returning to the workforce and hopeful to build her endurance. She is excited to join the team and play a role in the rehabilitation of others.

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