Speakers: Family Conference – 27th May 2017

Prof Ingrid Scheffer Professor Ingrid Scheffer is a physician-scientist whose work as a paediatric neurologist and epileptologist has led the field of epilepsy genetics over 25 years, in collaboration with Professor Samuel Berkovic and molecular geneticists. This resulted in identification of the first epilepsy gene and many more genes subsequently. Professor Scheffer has described many novel epilepsy syndromes and refines genotype–phenotype correlation. Her major interests are in the genetics of the epilepsies, epilepsy syndromology and translational research. She has research projects in genetics of speech disorders, autism and intellectual disability. She led the first major reclassification of the epilepsies in two decades as Chair of the International League Against Epilepsy Commission for Classification and Terminology. Awards include American Epilepsy Society Clinical Research Recognition Award, 2013 GSK Award for Research Excellence, ILAE Ambassador for Epilepsy Award, 2013 Emil Becker Prize for child neurology and Asia-Pacific L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate for 2012. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Vice-President of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She was co-recipient of 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and received the Order of Australia in 2014.

Prof Steven PetrouProfessor Steven Petrou is a Deputy Director, Head of the Florey’s Division of Epilepsy, and heads the Laboratory of Ion Channels and Human Disease, a multidisciplinary team of researchers with a focus on revealing fundamental mechanisms of disease genesis in the central nervous system. Current major areas of investigation centre on the development and characterisation of genetically engineered mice models for the study of human familial epilepsy. He works closely with industry and has several patents for his discoveries. In addition to his many roles within the Florey Institutes and the University of Melbourne, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal Neurobiology of Disease and the Investigators Workshop Committee for the American Epilepsy Society.

Dr Tristan PawseyDr Tristan Pawsey currently practices out of Cobaw Community Health in the Macedon Ranges. Tristan  works with children with complex health and developmental conditions and spends a lot of time with families and children trying to ‘get to the bottom of what’s going on’. Tristan  works in partnership with families, building strong relationships  and providing ongoing support . She’s ‘in there for the long haul’ to ensure each child and family gets the support they need at different stages.   Tristan completed her Paediatric studies at The University of Adelaide. She has worked with Aboriginal communities in South Australia, and remote communities around Broken Hill. Tristan worked in Community Health in the UK for several years and returned to Australia with a passion for supporting children and families through a Community health model of practice. Tristan also  provides fly in Paediatric services through St Giles in Tasmania and Autism assessments through The BEARS clinic in Bendigo.

Dr Katherine Hyde is currently a Senior Trainee in Paediatric and Community Child Health working at Cobaw Community Health in Woodend. Katherine is passionate about early childhood development, child and adolescent mental health and providing support to families of children experiencing vulnerabilities and  children with complex needs.

stacy cohenStacy Cohen has been working as a Speech Pathologist for 12 years supporting preschool and school aged children and their families. She is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist and member of Speech Pathology Australia. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Linguistics and a Masters in Speech Pathology. Stacy has completed formal training in PECS, Hanen ‘It takes Two to Talk’, PROMPT (level I and II), Cortical Vision Impairment assessment and intervention, is a Victorian Keyword Sign trainer and a PODD National Presenter in the use of the Pragmatic Organisational Dynamic Display communication book, developed by Gayle Porter. She is passionate about working with each individual and their families  to see them reach their communication and learning goals. She aways ensures that FUN is had whilst supporting her clients in reaching their full potential!

Sue HymusSue Hymus is a Child and Family Psychologist with 20+ years experience working with children and adults with additional needs.  She uses a variety of approaches in her work, including behavioural interventions, social skills coaching and narrative approaches. She has a particular interest in Emotion-Focused Interventions and family systems approaches.  Sue’s passion is helping people work through difficult emotions and unhelpful behaviours to find more effective ways of responding.   She supports parents and carers to help set and achieve realistic goals for themselves and their children. A member of the College of Counselling Psychologists and also the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists, she provides individual and small group supervision to Allied Health Practitioners.  Sue also supports teachers and early childhood professionals to build capacity and strengthen their ability to provide appropriate programs for children of all ability levels.  Sue works in  private practice and in school settings. She is a Certified Daring Way™ trainer and draws heavily on the work of Brene Brown, which incorporates a methodology that helps people learn how to show up, be seen and live braver lives.

Dr Giselle Withers is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years experience treating people with mental health and chronic health problems. Giselle has practiced yoga and meditation for over 25 years. Recognising the benefits of these Eastern traditions for healing and personal growth, she undertook further training to become a qualified yoga teacher (RYT200) and mindfulness teacher.  She has undertaken MBSR/MBCT teacher training, including teacher development retreats with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli (Centre for Mindfulness, UMass), Southern Synergy Monash University, and the Mindfulness Training Institute Australasia. Giselle draws on mindfulness-based therapies in her work as a Clinical Psychologist and has developed online mindfulness programs for insomnia, chronic fatigue and anxiety at A Mindful Way

Laura GreenLaura Green has worked from the ground floor of disability support through to strategic design. In 2007, she graduated from University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Community Education. Laura developed the Housing Options Framework for ACT Government to improve demand management for disability housing and support. In 2012, she commenced as a foundation staff member of the National Disability Insurance Agency where she delivered national engagement activities, design and pricing of supports and procurement of Local Area Co-ordination Services. Most recently, Laura has managed a program supporting people with cognitive impairments in police interviews for the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate. Laura is passionate about strengthening families and continues to volunteer her time to support families and continues to volunteer her time to support families in the planning, advocacy and implementation of a good life for their sons and daughters.

cathy loveCathy Love is an Occupational Therapist, Coach, Speaker and the founding director of Nacre Consulting. She works with children, families and disability service providers to create brilliant lives for children with special needs. Her passion is coaching parents to feel strong, informed, organised and powerful advocates for their children.


The 2017 Family Conference was Supported by: