REBECCA (BEC) PENFOLD – DIRECTOR AND SENIOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet Bec she is the senior OT and founder of Coastwide Therapy Services. Bec has had extensive experience in providing Occupational Therapy to children, adolescents and adults since graduating in 1999. She is proud of Coastwide Therapy’s 4 clinics which offer innovative, goal directed and family centred approaches here on the Central Coast. Rebecca was born and bred on the Central Coast and resides here with her husband (Shayne – which is the operations manager) and two children Ben and Sarah.
She has spent over 25 years working with individuals with varying levels of physical and intellectual disabilities, Autism, Cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, mental health, drug and alcohol addiction, behavioural issues and countless other unique differences - across the lifespan. Before starting Coastwide Therapy Services in 2011 she was the Senior Occupational therapist at ADHC – Ageing, Disability and Homecare.
Whilst she has decided to do less face to face consistent service, she continues to provide consults to individuals and their families across environments. She can often be found in homes, schools and preschools assisting with advice, strategies and ideas when things are tough for kids and their families. When not consulting, she spends her time supervising and mentoring her team, providing them professional development and sharing her knowledge that only comes from years of experience.
Bec presents a range of workshops at her clinics, in educational settings and to external service providers and is dedicated to empowering people through a greater understanding, as to what really makes kids tick. She produces a podcast – “It’s all fun and games until….”with her longtime friend and speech pathologist – Jill Rosen, which focusses on parenting, child development, therapy ideas and all things in between. People describe her as energetic, passionate, dedicated and caring and this is seen not only in her role as Director but also in her most valued role - a mum. She is constantly thinking outside the box, coming up with new and innovative ideas to create the best therapy service on the Central Coast. She sees people’s unique differences as a strength and advocates for inclusion every day.
SUE WATSON – CONSULTANT SENIOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet - Sue Watson awesome Senior OT, Yoga master and our longest standing team member (outside of Shayne and Bec). She has stuck by us since 2013 and is so loved by every team member, no one more than me. She is a mum to her son first and foremost and has been an OT for 20 years......as such this year she is stepping back from face to face service and offering a consultative OT role only.
Along with her extensive clinical skills she brings with her an air of calm, always; kids sense it, adults feel it and I just love it. She came to our team already with lots of experience in the disability sector, how blessed we were to find her. She is a supervisor and mentor to some of our newer team members and her positivity shines through.
She is always thinking outside the box and is a trained yoga teacher for kids, previously she has been a lead in our playground skills groups, girls group, toileting groups, fussy feeding groups and social skills groups just to name a few. She is just brilliant and we are so lucky to have her consult for us when needed.
Her clinical knowledge is second to none and her ability to empower parents and educators is something she is passionate about. She does this so effectively because she is down to earth, she gives people time, she listens intently.....before; (together with the family) helping them find the next step forward.
I respect her so much as a clinician and she is certainly one of the family. I know how loved she has been by all her family’s because I hear it all the time, it's been a consistent theme over many years. I know how respected she is by all her team mates and I’m super proud to call her a champion OT and also my friend.
DANIELLE RIPPON – SENIOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST & STUDENT COORDINATOR
Danielle Rippon is another one of our Senior OT’s with a huge heart, gentle nature and calm soul which makes her a cracking therapist. She works out of our Woy Woy clinic and also see’s kids at home, school, preschool and runs some great sessions in the community.
Her giving nature means she volunteers her time outside of her busy days as an OT, at her local SLSC training kids in and out of the ocean. She is a Central Coast local and can often be found at the beach even when the weather is ugly, giving her time, selflessly to others.
Her giving nature is reflected in her work where going over and above for her family’s is a daily occurrence. She is the queen of op shopping and the resources she manages to find for her families, are just incredible. She has now stepped up to supervise and mentor her team mates, doing so by not only sharing her clinical knowledge but her passion, dedication and commitment to the families she supports
She is always thinking outside the box when it comes to delivering therapy, working on everything from safely exposing our fussy eaters to new foods, through to travel training and helping our adolescents be more independent in the community..... and everything in between. She runs several of our groups and is a champion at teaching kids how to bike ride, tailoring therapy to the individual child based on THEIR goals.... not delivering a one size fits all service (something I love about all our OT’s).
I love being around her and every time I’m with her, I leave feeling like I have been heard, like she is genuinely interested and I feel inspired.... which is the exact feedback we get from families about her. So lucky to have her on our team, as are each of the families and educators she works with. She has been an amazing asset to our Coastwide Therapy family and we just love her.
MADDIE SMITH – SENIOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet- Maddie Smith one of our Senior OT's who is an absolute energiser bunny and has a passion for helping kids to match. She works across our Toukley, Killarney Vale and Woy Woy clinics and visits lots of kids at home, school, preschool along the way too. Maddie has been part of our team for a few years now and her yearning for clinical knowledge is second to none. She is always reading (and I mean she rivals me in the reading department and that’s saying something), finding new and creative ways to deliver therapy to the families on her caseload. She loves finding a bargain resource or better still making one, to share with her team mates and the families she supports.
She has taken on a senior role offering clinical supervision and mentoring to some of her team mates. She is super organised and manages to fit more into everyday than most. She is funny, a little crazy (which you need to be when working on our team) and she is dedicated. She is one of those really active humans, combing super busy days at work with long walks or gym sessions and really gets what work/ life balance should look like.
Maddie is an absolute treat to have on board and she is so loved by all the families she works with, along with all her team mates, who feed off her energy. Educators and families alike often feedback to us about the difference she makes to the kids she see’s. She is a great self reflector and is always looking for ways to challenge herself to somehow deliver an even better service.
She is always putting her hand up for groups and runs our sense rugby program, fussy feeders groups, gross motor groups, bike riding sessions and loves finding kids on her caseload she can couple up and run dyads with. She is a super skilled clinician and I have loved watching her grow into a senior clinician, stepping up and supporting others. We think she is an absolute champion, just as so many of you do.
NICOLE BROWN – OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet - Nicole Brown she is one of our beautiful OT’s and she is our quiet achiever. If you’re someone that comes to clinic, then she is not a face that you may have seen too often, as Nicole is an amazing mobile therapist that see’s kids mostly at school (but more and more at our Wyoming and Killarney Vale clinics).
She is a mum to 5 of her own kids and to say she knows what makes kids tick is an understatement from a professional and personal point of view. Nicole joined our team in 2017 after having a break from OT to raise her family and when she approached us to take her on I jumped at the chance. She is a great advocate for independence, helping kids engage and participate in school life – which not only includes all the curricula based stuff like handwriting, visual perceptual skills and executive functioning...but also the social skills, self help skills, following routines and transitioning through tasks.
She has a beautiful quiet, calm and caring nature and is always reflecting and thinking about ways to best engage kids in the things they both need and want to do. She is super-efficient and great at time management, juggling mum life and a busy OT career – all of which she seems to just take in her stride. It’s a hard gig being as a mostly mobile OT, but she is such a valued team member for her knowledge, her skills and her commitment to the family’ she supports. We are super chuffed to have her on our Coastwide Therapy team and love seeing her at the clinic a little more often now. So lucky to not only have her as part of my team but also as part of our family.
ALICIA WALSH – OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet- Alicia Walsh - one of our brilliant OT’s who started with us in 2018 and boy did she make her mark when joining our team. She works across our Toukley and Killarney Vale clinics and plenty of schools, preschools and homes in between. She is a ball of energy and it’s hard not to be motivated in her presence. She had her first beautiful little girl Lyla in 2020 and she is kicking goals in the mum department.
Alicia is a champion netball type (one of those crazy centres that is always on the go) and to play sport at such an elite level and manage a career, takes some serious organisation – which she has in spades...... it is reflected in her work every day. She is super efficient and driven, always asking questions, seeking feedback and looking outside the box for her families. She runs our Sense Rugby program and other groups in the community throughout the term like bike riding and gross motor skills combining both physical and social skills to give kids the experience of teamwork (something she knows innately).
The feedback from families and educators about her work (clinical and her reports) is always beautiful and I’m so thankful that she is part of our team. She is always up for a new idea or a new challenge and manages to squeeze into a day what some people might fit in a week. She is caring, kind and passionate and we just love having her around both personally and professionally - she is a champion.
REBECCA HUNT – OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet - Rebecca Hunt she is another one of our OT’s crew (yep another Rebecca, just to confuse everyone). Rebecca has been an amazing addition to our team since 2019 and we have had such beautiful feedback from so many of her families.
You might not know but a she was a teacher by trade (or degree really, but you know what I mean) - before deciding to jump into another degree and do Occupational Therapy. If that’s not the best of both worlds in one professional, when working with kids, I don’t know what is. She is a super hard worker and understands how OT’s can work collaboratively in schools for best outcomes for kids. She heads up our program within schools involving screeners and weekly small group programs for children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to therapy services. It’s so awesome to work with schools who think outside the box.
She see’s kids at our Toukley and Wyoming clinics mostly and plenty of schools, preschools and homes in between. She is passionate and self directed always listening, watching and reading information to expand her knowledge and ultimately deliver the best service to her families. She is a great team member who is always up for peer mentoring, for sharing her knowledge and her ideas. We love having her down to earth, caring and can do attitude as part of our team and the feedback from families is always beyond amazing.
TAHLIA CURTIS – OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet- Tahlia Curtis – a gentle, caring and considered OT who joined our team in 2020. Tahlia grew up on the central coast but for the last 5 years she has been living in Albury. She has come into our crazy team so easily and is loved by everyone. She works at our Toukley and Killarney Vale clinics and like everyone else also see's little people in their homes, preschools and schools. She is part of our school program where she provides screeners and small groups each week to children who wouldn’t usually have access to therapy services. She is currently on maternity leave after becoming a mum to the beautiful Harriet,
She moved back to the Central Coast in 2018 after marrying her partner Mason and has been with us ever since. She was drawn to be an OT from personal experience - when her nephew was born with APERT syndrome. This personal, lived experience gives a sense of understanding that usually comes from many years of being an OT – but Tahlia is a natural. She is caring, self directed and always wanting to know more. Her efficiency puts me to shame and she is always extending herself for her families. The positive feedback has flowed thick and fast since she started on our team and we cant wait to welcome her back later in 2021.
MELISSA HAIN – OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet – Mel Hain another of our beautiful OT’s who has lived on the Central Coast for most of her life. Her passion for OT started when she spent many hours going to OT sessions with her sister and just loved what OT’s did. This lived experience gives her a sense of understanding that usually takes years to develop and the unique experiences and insight she brings to our team is so valuable.
She joined our team in 2020 and works across our Killarney Vale, Wyoming and Woy Woy clinics- and visits lots of schools, preschools and family homes along the way. She is dedicated, caring and full of energy. She has a yearning for learning and our family’s just love how quickly she has been able to develop a rapport with them. She is so excited to be able to work with kids who have unique needs, share her experiences and to help them reach their full potential.
INDIA PAFF – OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
Meet India - who graduated from Australian Catholic University in 2020 but was working on our team since 2019 in our Therapy Assistant program. She is a bundle of energy, nothing is ever too much and she is super efficient. She has boundless energy supporting lots of our little people at home, schools and in the community. She is based out pf our Killarney Vale and Toukley clinics has a strong passion for enabling others to reach their potential and achieve their goals through a practical, creative and client-centred approach. She believes that sessions should be fun, engaging and a learning experience that is centred around play which she does effortlessly.
She is motivated, dedicated and passionate about running sessions for children that are not only super fun, but provide specific therapeutic benefits for the individual. She is self directed and is a sponge for new information, being first at professional development sessions and at every social gathering too. She is well and truly imbedded in the Coastwide Therapy family and feels like she has been here forever. Families absolutely love her.... but not more than we do.
Matt Fitzsimmons – Occupational Therapist
Meet Matt – who graduated as an OT from the Australian Catholic University in 2020, but joined our team before he graduated as one of our Therapy Assistants. He was born in Sydney but grew up on the Peninsula and lives locally with his family. He works out of our Woy Woy and Killarney Vale clinics and also see’s kids at home, school, preschool and in the community. He has a huge personality and energy to boot, which let’s be honest he needs, to be part of our team (Shayne is also very happy he finally has another male team mate). He is so passionate and dedicated in helping people reach their own level of independence and is always thinking outside the box for his little people.
His love of OT is driven from the satisfaction that comes from supporting people to do the things that they both need and want to do…… the things that are most important to them. When he isn’t in his OT role he loves surfing, playing Rugby Union, guitar, bushwalks and camping. We are so lucky to have him on our team and families absolutely love him.
Jodi Fairbrother- Occupational Therapist
Meet Jodi who joined our team as an OT in 2021. She has a degree in Primary Teaching, along with one in Environmental Science and finally a masters in OT. She is a mum to two kids and two very cute sausage dogs. Even though she had two degrees, she fell in love with OT after a first-hand experience when she had to take her son to Occupational Therapy. She knew right there and then that giving people practical, hands on advice and suggestions that truly make a difference to kids, is what she wanted to do….. and here she is in her dream job. She works out of our Woy Woy clinic and see’s kids at home, school, preschool and in the local community. She is fun and caring and is a very organised planner, often putting my skills in this area to shame.
She is quick to develop a rapport with kids and their families and is a self-directed learner who is always keen to know more. She has settled into our team so well, hitting the ground running and families love her (as do we). When she isn’t wearing her OT hat she loves to travel (well she did prior to COVID -19), ride her bike, walk her dogs and head to the beach. So chuffed to have her as part of our team and in the Coastwide Therapy family.
JEMIMA GARVEN – EDUCATIONALIST/ THERAPY ASSISTANT
Jemima completed her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Teaching at the Australian Catholic University and after working for 10 years as a Visual Arts teacher, Jemima pursued her original interest in learning difficulties, Autism Studies, and disabilities. She has since completed postgraduate qualifications in special education though Macquarie University, and is continuing with Autism Studies and learning difficulties. Jemima has worked in a variety of school settings including primary special needs, collaborating with a multifaceted therapy teams from which she gained experience working on communication, sensory needs, positive behaviour management, schedules, and learning difficulties.
Jemima has completed emotion based social skills training, and is continuing to pursue her interest in multisensory learning. She enjoys the opportunity to create learning situations that are play based and encourage communication and multi-skill development. Jemima is passionate about building community inclusion and stronger informal networks for families. Her recent roles have been around building individual and community capacity for inclusion, including the Special Needs Nippers programs for both the Avoca Sharks and Toowoon Bay Stingrays. She also works with families to create a better understanding of disability inclusion and support within school settings. Jemima employs person-centred practices and loves to assist individuals to flourish, and families to achieve their goals.
She is a mum to a beautiful little girl and a is a passionate, caring human being who has bought a beautiful energy to our team since joining us in 2018. She is so knowledgeable, insightful and always willing to share the latest book, resource or information she has found with her team mates – we love having her on board.
Maddy Sullivan- Therapy Assistant
Meet Maddy – she completed her placement with us in 2020 whilst she was studying her Cert IV in Allied Health Assistance (Therapy Assistant)…. And she was so great that we offered her a job. Maddy has lots of experience with children working as a nanny and in OOSH programs on the Central Coast. She is the queen of developing and making resources and she is constantly looking at ways to help our OT’s be as efficient as possible. She has been seeing little people since the beginning of 2021 and she has had the most beautiful feedback from both families, pre-schools and schools she visits. She loves to travel (well she did prior to COVID -19 when all her plans were turned upside down), she enjoys spending time with friends, playing AFL and she has a huge heart. She is passionate about finding unique ways to support kids to be their best whether that be in the clinic, at home, in schools or doing cool skill building in the community. She hopes one day to study OT at University, but for now she is being just awesome in her Therapy Assistant role. We absolutely love having her on board – she is a gem and we were so lucky to find her.
Kathleen Tollner- Therapy Assistant
Meet Kathleen – she is on an internship with us whilst she completes her Certificate 3 and 4 in Allied Health Assistance (Therapy Assistant). Since becoming an OTA Kathleen says she has loved being able to give children purpose and improve their quality of life both directly and indirectly. Being an OTA has shown and exposed her to the importance of others psychological and emotional well-being, along with their physical needs.
When she isn’t busy making resources, helping our OT’s and seeing little people, she spends her time playing AFL and going to the gym. Our OT’s love having her around and her willingness to help our team members does not go unnoticed. She hopes in the future to study OT at University but for now she is super happy to be on our team where she can learn on the job whilst studying.
Sue Steer – Key worker/ Therapy Assistant
Meet Sue – she comes to our team with a wealth of knowledge and experience and we are so lucky to have her supporting our families. Sue has been an SLSO (teachers assistant) and swimming instructor at St Lucy’s, she was part of the learning support team at Knox Grammar school, she was an early educator for 10 years and has a diploma in Early Childhood Education and a Cery III Teachers Aid Special Needs. Wowsers. She applied for a position on our Coastwide Therapy team because she has a passion for empowering children to believe in themselves and to ensure they have a voice that is heard. Sue loves working one on one or small groups in play based learning environments. She is flexible, following the child’s interest/lead while supporting their needs.
Her positivity, patience and empathy are clearly evident in all she does and she is such an asset to our crew. She loves building strong relationships with families and children and has slotted into our Coastwide Therapy Family like she has been here for years. When she doesn’t have her key worker/ Therapy Assistant hat on she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, going on walks, getting coffee with friends and taking some time out to read.
Ashlee Stevens – Therapy Assistant
Meet Ashlee – she is a 4th year OT student from Newcastle University who is one of our awesome Therapy Assistants. She volunteered for us until a position came up on team and has loads of experience with children as an early educator (cert III in childcare) and private nannying for families on the Central Coast. She grew up in a large Maltese family helping on their vegetable farm and her passion for food and cooking is certainly connected to her culture (well that’s her excuse for always thinking about food – it’s in her blood).
She recently married her high school sweetheart Robbie and they have two pet rabbits which are spoilt rotten. When she is not studying or being a Therapy Assistant she loves camping in her mini caravan, fishing & kayaking bushwalking, cooking, hosting dinner parties and gardening. When I asked her why she wanted to be an OT here is what she said “I can remember being in year 11 at school when a Paediatric Occupational Therapist came and told us about her job. The OT brought in all her amazing resources and toys – which I can still remember! But it wasn’t until I started childcare that I got to see the ‘day in the life’ of an OT and really fell in love with the style of Occupational Therapy. It wasn’t until 2015 when I was travelling around Australia, I had an ‘epiphany’ that I wanted to become an OT so I could work with a therapy dog. The very next day I went to a book shop and found a book called ‘A dogs Gift by Bob Drury’ about war veterans and children living with disabilities - the stories of families and their children lead me to the realisation that I wanted to become an OT. Still to this day I would love to train a dog as a means for children to engage in therapy.
I am passionate about helping people to do Ordinary Things! The everyday things in life that fill our days and shape our identity - We often take these things for granted. I also believe in inclusion for all people - I love hearing stories where action has been made to improve accessibility for all - it’s so liberating. I’m still smiling about wheelchairs and beach matting being available at some of our beautiful Central Coast beaches”. She is an absolute treat to have on our team and she is going to be a cracking OT at the end of this 2021. We are chuffed to have her as part of our Coastwide Therapy family.
SHAYNE PENFOLD – OPERATIONS MANAGER
Meet - Shayne he is so proud of the business he has built with his wife Bec Penfold. Together they are passionate about going over and above to service families across the Central Coast. Prior to commencing the business in 2011 Shayne worked in Sydney for 17 years, firstly a printer before moving into the medical industry. He worked for KCI – medical; in varying roles including manager of customer services and operations manager. This extensive business experience has been an essential contributor to the success of Coastwide Therapy Services.
He is a dedicated dad to their two children- Ben and Sarah; and juggles home life and work life for the Penfold’s. He is passionate, caring and supportive of not only the families we work with, but of each of our team members. He is a respected and valued team member who we simply could not do without.
KATIE SCHUBACH – ADMINISTRATION
Katie works out of our Killarney Vale clinic and is most often the voice you will hear on the phone when you call. She is a mum to two gorgeous boys, one of whom has ASD. She has walked your journey and is able to give genuine empathy when listening to your story. She has a huge smile; an infectious laugh and she keeps us all grounded.
She has a love of systems and since starting with us in 2017 she has been a driving force to many of the changes in our business that has allowed us to be more efficient. She helps our therapist's stay on top of the things they hate most, paperwork and I know, as a clinician, I would be lost and drowning in paperwork if it weren’t for Katie. She is my right-hand woman and I know that every team member just loves her, not only because she is great at what she does but because she is passionate and caring and always thinks outside the box for our Coastwide Therapy family.
KAREN HOOK - ADMINISTRATION
Meet - Karen who mostly works out of our Killarney Vale clinic and is an integral part of our team. She is a mum to her beautiful daughter and brings a wealth of book keeping and reception skills to our team helping us stay on track and be more efficient. She is dedicated to supporting our families along with all our therapists and is the queen of calculations.
She has extensive experience working in a range of local businesses and we genuinely value her skills and her pommy humour in our Coastwide Therapy family. She makes us laugh every day and her laugh is infectious.