Are you looking for someone to support you in helping your child develop communication skills and reach their potential with learning? Our speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologist, disability consultants and support workers are passionate about children's development. The team are experienced in working with children and families to develop skills and learning across a broad range of areas. Contact us to see how our friendly team can partner with you and your child to help your child reach their potential.  

Management Team

Carla Branson


Ba Spath MSPA CPSP Senior Speech Pathologist

Carla is a founding member and the director of Talking Matters.  Carla commenced working in the practice in 2006 when it was formed. Carla is passionate about the practice and has contributed to developing a practice that offered the type and quality of services she wanted for her own children.  Over the years she has worked in schools, provided clinical therapy, contributed to the development of the practice and the team that works within it.  Carla managed all of the day to day and longer term business needs of the practice until a Business Manager was employed in 2016.  She is Hanen certified to run the "It Takes Two to Talk" and "More Than Words" (TM) parent programs. She has completed Advanced PECS training (Picture Exchange Communication System).  She has a special interest in children on the autism spectrum and diagnosis of APD, Dyslexia, attention difficulties and speech sound disorders. 


Craig Andrews


Craig is the Business Manager at Talking Matters. Craig joins us following a long and successful career in a range of management positions at General Motor Holdens. He brings to the role a high level of professionalism and business acumen that he will use to review and lead further quality improvements in the practice.  Craig will be reviewing and leading improvement in the practice across a range of areas with the ultimate goal of improving services for our clients, work, life balance for our team, and business sustainability in a very complex and changing disability sector that is undergoing major reform.  Outside of work Craig enjoys spending time with his family, coaches a junior football team and is highly active in his local Surf Lifesaving club. 



Jodie Merola

Jodie Merola Talking Matters office manager Elizabeth East Adelaide

Jodie is our office manager and has a wealth of experience in administration. In 2013 she completed her Diploma in Business Management and fulfills a vital role managing the many administrative requirements of the practice. Jodie manages client services, the admin team, accounts, resources for clients, facilities, technology, first aid and more. She is extremely busy ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible. Her role ensures clients experience a professional service from booking and beyond and that clinicians are supported so they can get on with their job of providing high quality services. 




Stacey Nelson


Ba Spath (Hons) MSPA CPSP Clinical Manager of Speech Pathology

Stacey graduated her degree with Honours, completing here thesis on "Pragmatic Development of Children with Hearing Loss". Stacey is employed by Talking Matters as the Assistant Clinicial Manager of Speech Pathology, a position she earned with her passion for getting things done and having them done very well. She particularly enjoys working with school aged children and with teachers in developing their skills in supporting learners. Stacey is energetic and engages the children she works with very well and brings a great 'can do' attitude to her work. She is often a key organiser or contributer to student training, providing workshops, social event organising and all of the 'extra' things Talking Matters does, such as the client Christmas Party. Stacey works from the Elizabeth Downs office, as well as working within schools. She is highly skilled in providing both individual and small group sessions as well as supporting her colleagues.


Cathy Durdin


Executive Administration Assistant

Cathy has commenced in the newly formed position of Executive Administration Assistant.  Cathy has a wealth of administration and management experience, most recently working with TAFESA. Cathy will be working closely with the management team in providing leadership and support to the practice. Her role will also include assisting the management team with the facilitation of continuous improvement practices.



Speech Pathologists

Tegan Ashton


Ba Beh.Sci., MA Sp Path, MSPA Speech Pathologist

Tegan completed her Master of Speech Pathology at Flinders University in 2015, prior to this she completed a Bachelor of Behavioural Science in 2013 also at Flinders University. Tegan has a passion for working with children and has developed her clinical skills during placements at community childcare centres, Nazareth Catholic Primary School and the Flinders University Early Intervention Clinic. Through her degress and practical and personal experiences Tegan has developed a particular interest in working with children on the Autism Spectrum and their families. Tegan will work from the office several mornings per week plus provide services to in schools.  She will also be available on alternate Saturdays for families who need out of school hours appointments. 


Shauna De Jong


Ba Health Sc. MA Spath MSPA Speech Pathologist

 Shauna graduated from Flinders University in 2016 with her Masters in Speech Pathology, following a Bachelor of Health Science degree from the University of South Australia. Shauna developed her clinical skills within a range of placements, Her experience includes time at the Repatiration General Hospital, a Community Childcare Centre, various schools within the Elizabeth region and finally at Talking Matters. Shauna has developed a passion for helping children and their families to develop their speech, language, and social skills. Shauna works from the office, as well as providing services to local schools. She will also be available alternate Saturdays in the Elizabeth Downs office for families who need out of school hours appointments. 


Jasmine Kreuzer


Ba Health Sc. MA Spath MSPA Speech Pathologist

Jasmine completed her Masters of Speech Pathology degree at Flinders University in 2015. Prior to this she completed a bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia where she minored in Psychology and Allied Health. Jasmine has a passion for working with children and has a particular interested in speech and language. Jasmine's clinical skills with children developed through placements at Elizabeth Park Schools, the Queen Elizabaeth Childcare Centre and Port Lincoln Health Services where she has been exposed to a broad caseload.  Jasmine will work from the Elizabeth Downs offices and support children in schools.  She will also be available alternate Saturdays to support families. 


Rebecca Macpherson


 Ba Health Sciences, MA Sp Path, MSPA Speech Pathologist

 Rebecca graduated from La Trove University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Speech Pathology degree. She completed paediatric placements in regional Victoria, in the Gippsland region and in an early intervention service. Rebecca is passionate about helping all children reach their full potential and has a keen interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder and child speech and language development. She undertook additional volunteer experience assisting the development of social skills with a child with ASD alongside her studies.  Rebecca has also had some experience providing tutoring to a middle school student diagnosed with Dyslexia. Rebecca enjoys working closely with families and works fulltime, including alternate Saturdays.



Natalie McAllister


 Ba Sc (Speech Pathology) Speech Pathologist

Natalie graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Science (Speech Pathology) in 2013, before returning to Adelaide to work as a speech pathologist.   She joined our team early in 2016.   Natalie has gained experience in a number of clinic and school based environments prior to starting at Talking Matters. Natalie is interested in working with the deaf community and has pursued additional training outside of her speech pathology degree in Auslan. She has also been an active member of Girls' Brigade groups and has completed additional studies in Health Administration.  Natalie provides services in the office at Elizabeth Downs as well as at a number of schools in the local area.



Le Phan


 Ba Spath MSPA Speech Pathologist

Le completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology degree at Flinders University in 2016. She has experience in working with children with various speech and language difficulties, feeding difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Le completed her final placement at Talking Matters in 2016 and has now joined us as a fully qualified speech pathologist. She has developed a strong passion for working closely with chidlren to support their communication, feeding and social needs. Le works in the office, including alternate Saturdays, as well as providing services in schools.



Helen Phanos


 Ba Spath MSPA Senior Speech Pathologist

Helen joined us in 2015 as a qualified speech pathologist. Helen has a passion for working with children and worked at Talking Matters as a speech assistant throughout her final year of her speech pathology degree in 2014. She has experience in providing individual sessions to children not only at Talking Matters but in educationally based practicals in her final year. Helen has also been involved in providing "What's the Buzz" social skills intensive programs over 2 school holiday periods and this year has run an extended What's the Buzz program over 16 weeks. She is a bright and bubbly speech pathologist that families and children enjoy working with. Helen works in the Elizabeth Downs office and has strong experience working in schools also.  More recently she has focused on developing her skills in completing autism diagnosis, having grown a love of working with children on the spectrum over her years at working at Talking Matters. 


Ursula Portolesi


Ba Spath MSPA Speech Pathologist

Ursula joined us late in 2015 in a part-time capacity. Ursula has been working in adult rehabilitation since graduating however has always had a passion for working with children and has held voluntary roles supporting children within learning support roles in a private school. Prior to pursuing a career as a speech pathologist, Ursula had completed studies in International Business and Human Resource Management as well as having excelled as a hairdresser and managing a salon.  Ursula brings her maturity and previous work and life experience with her to this position.  A mother of a beautiful little girl, Ursula loves working with children. Ursula is currently on maternity leave with her second child and we look forward to her returning to Talking Matters in the future when she is ready to resume her role with us.


Michelle Simpson


Ba Spath MSPA Speech Pathologist

Michelle completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology degree at Flinders University in 2015.  She has completed several paediatric placements and has a passion for working with children who experience speech, language and mealtime difficulties. Michelle has completed placements at the Women's and Children's Hospital speech and language outpatient clinic and Flinders Medical Centre Fluency clinic. She has also undertaken observations in childcare centres and at schools with the Department of Education. She completed her final placement at Talking Matters in 2015, where she gained experience working with a range of areas including speech, language and literacy.  She also worked closely to support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Global Developmental Delays. Michelle is actively engaged in developing her clinical skills and has undertaking training in PECS, Key Word Sign and mealtime management. 


Sarah Tindal


Ba Spath MSPA Speech Pathologist

Sarah completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Flinders University. She spent 18 months working in rural Victoria with a special focus on Indigenous children in kindergartens and schools. During this time she developed a keen understanding of working with families from diverse backgrounds. Sarah has a passion for working with children of all ages on their speech, language and literacy difficulties. She will be working both in clinic and in schools and will provide services on alternate Saturdays.





Lauren Bollard


 BaSocSci, Ba (Psych) (Hons), MPsych(O&HF), MAPS Registered Psychologist

Lauren is a Registered Psychologist with a strong academic and professional background in psychology. During her time at university Lauren was awarded for academic achievement by both the University of Adelaide and the Australian Psychologica Society (APS), graduating from the Master's program in 2013. Lauren has gained experience in a number of fields, including corporate consultancy and EAP support, cognitive research, occupational rehabilitation and community services. She has worked with a number of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients in remote environments, as well as working with children and young people in out-of-home care arrangements, disability and refugee services. Lauren is passionate about working with children and young people to support their learning and development. Lauren relies upon evidence based, best practices research and interventions when working with clients, including CBT and ACT based approaches.  Lauren current offers appointments on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays.


Autism & Disability Consultants

Chris White

Christine White

Dip. T (Primary) & B. of Sp. Educ

Chris joined us in 2015 as an Autism and Disability Consultant.  Chris has had a long career as teacher, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal within the Department of Education, spending much of her career working in schools within the northern suburbs of Adelaide.  Chris spent a number of years coordinating services for children with additional needs and has worked alongside professionals such as speech pathologist, psychologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.  She has a thorough understanding of the school system, available supports and options for accessing them.  She is well skilled in working with teachers and schools to support children and families in schools. Chris works with schools and families and assists with implementing professional recommendations into children's everyday learning environment. Chris works part-time so her availability is limited to specific days. Please call the Talking Matters office for further information.  

Sharna Loader


Autism & Disability Consultant

Sharna is a registered teacher, having graduated with a combined degree in arts and teaching from the University of Adelaide in 2014.  Having a passion for working with children with additional needs, especially ASD, she then completed her Bachelor of Psychological Sciences in 2016, and is now completing post graduate studies in psychology, specialising in working with children with developmental disorders.  Sharna is also mum to two children with ASD and so combines personal and professional experience to develop strategies to help children succeed at school and to flourish in the community.  



Occupational Therapists 

Francesca Arlotta


Ba App Sc (OT)  Occupational Therapist

Francesca graduated from the University of South Australia as an occupational therapist in 2016. She completed an additional voluntary placement at Talking Matters during her break period in order to further develop her skills working with children and their families. While studying Francesca worked closely with children on the autism spectrum, settup up ASD specific Lego clubs as part of her placement. She has also undertaken several professional development courses focusing on children with ASD and sensory approaches to intervention. She is very passionate about working with families to help children reach their full potential. Francesca works in the office, including alternate Saturdays as well as within schools.



Gael Sutherland


Ba Health Sc,  MA (OT)  Occupational Therapist

Gael graduated from the University of South Australia as an occupational therapist in 2016 and commenced working at Talking Matters in 2017.  She has completed professional development in areas such as social and emotional development, toileting and autism and is dedicated to staying up to date with the latest evidence based practice. With a can-do attitutde and passion for working with children and families, Gael always commits her all to make therapy fun and effective. She has a young family herself and thrives on supporting children to reach their potential. Gael works at Talking Matters four days per week, providing services within the Elizabeth Downs office and in schools.  



Jessica Lai

Jessica Lai Occupational TherapistBa App Sc (OT) Senior Occupational Therapist

Jessica joined us mid 2015 after graduating in 2014 from the University of South Australia as an Occupational Therapist.  Jessica has a passion for working in paediatrics and has had the opportunity to complete placements as a student. Jessica completed a placement at a special school working with children with autism and other developmental delays.  Jessica is a quiet achiever who has shown herself to be thorough in her preparation and management of her clients and is always willing to help out a colleague. Jessica works during the week in the offices and in some schools in the area.



Jillian Chia


Ba App Sc (OT) Occupational Therapist

Jillian graduated from the University of South Australia as an Occupational Therapist at the end of 2014 and has been working in rehabilitation within a hospital setting since graduating. Among her placements Jillian completed a placement at the Women's and Children's hospital where she worked in a multi-disciplinary team with children with a range of developmental delays. She is passionate about working with children and supporting them in a holistic way to reach their potential.  Jillian has also volunteered in Japan supporting families that were affected by the Tsunamis.  Jillian has completed additional time work shadowing Talking Matters occupational therapists to familiarise herself with our processes in preparation to commence with her own paediatric client load.  Jillian will be working Monday to Fridays at this stage both in the office and in a number of schools. 


 Olivia Hutchings


Ba App Sc (OT) Occupational Therapist

Olivia completed her occupational therapy degree in 2016 at the University of South Australia. After volunteering with the Starlight Children's Foundation and completing a final year placement at the Women's and Children's Hospital Olivia knew her passion was in working with children. She has a particular interest in children with developmental difficulties and in providing quality early intervention to her clients. Olivia has worked with children with behavioural, developmental and sensory needs, as well as with difficulties in social and play skills. Her caring and enthusiastic personality assists in developing positive relationships with children and their families. She believes in a holistic, family centred approach to intervention.



Art Therapy

Megan Lille

Megan small

Graduate Diploma in Art Therapy, Registered Nurse Div 1

Megan joins us as an Art Therapist, having recently completed post graduated students with the Latrobe University.  Megan is passionate about the impact that art therapy can have on clients as an alternative tool for expression and communication, having safe places to explore psychological, physical, social, and cognitive aspects of their lives.  Prior to commencing her Art Therapy qualification, Megan was a registered nurse working in the general nursing, mental health and disability sectors.  Megan also worked as a Neurotherapist Technician at the Brain Health Clinic SA.  Megan is available for appointments on Tuesdays at our Elizabeth Downs office.



Support Team 

Rebecca Justice

Rebecca Justice

Rebecca works as a receptionist on a fulltime basis from Tuesdays to Saturday in the practice.  Rebecca has a work history that includes many roles in customer service.  She has a friendly and approachable manner and is always looking for ways to do things better.  She has a strong knowledge of the health and disability system and how to help clients book the services they need to support their children.   Rebecca has her own lovely little family that keeps her busy when she's not at Talking Matters.




Kate Furner

Kate 2

Kate works in the office on accounts and general office duties as well as filling in at reception at times. She helps Jodie with organising resource orders and with all the processing and preparation that goes into helping families with NDIA funding to access services. Kate has experience working in similar accounts roles for other companies and has transferred those skills into our allied health practice well. She manages many of the complexities of working in a busy paediatric practice and is a key team member we can rely on to help out when needed. She has a young family herself and works fulltime in our office. Kate makes a valuable contribution to the team.


Hannah Illingworth


Hannah works on the front desk at Talking Matters as a receptionist.  Prior to joining our team, Hannah worked with a recruitment agency in an administrative capacity.  Hannah has completed her Certificate III in Business Administration and would like to continue her studies with the aim to complete a Diploma of Business Administration.  Hannah will be greeting people and checking them in as well as managing the various paperwork needed by families. When Hannah isn’t on the reception desk at Talking Matters, she is undertaking renovation projects on her house.




Gillian Hadden


Gillian has worked in previous clerical and customer service positions, and has taken on the role as casual receptionist with Talking Matters.  You may recognise Gillian as she was previously the owner of a Play Café in the northern suburbs.  When she is not at Talking Matters she is very busy with her little family.








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