A picture of three children at different ages with different support needs. The text: National Framework for assessing children's function strengths and support needs

The team working to develop the Framework incudes people with diverse knowledge, skills, experience, and perspectives relevant to the Framework.

Emmah Baque

Emmah is a senior clinical paediatric physiotherapist, early career researcher and physiotherapy lecturer at Griffith University. Her research creates meaningful ways for children with disabilities to optimise their physical activity, participation in daily activities and quality of life. Emmah brings experience investigating the effectiveness of assessments and interventions for children with disabilities. Emmah has also worked in large multi-disciplinary teams across clinical, research and academic settings.

Teena Caithness

Teena is a speech pathologist who has worked in a range of settings including government, non-government and private practice. Teena has experience as a research assistant, has contributed chapters in books and co-developed the Australian Key Word Sign Vocabulary (Auslan version). A former Board member of Speech Pathology Australia, Teena also has experience with clinical guideline development.

Nicole Dargue

Nicole is a Lecturer within the Autism Centre of Excellence, School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University. She is a registered Clinical Neuropsychologist who brings experience in the assessment and support of individuals across the lifespan with a range of developmental conditions. Nicole was also involved in the recent update of the National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia.

Kiah Evans

Kiah is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at UWA and an Honorary Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute. She brings over two decades of clinical, research, and management experience across a range of sectors aimed at enhancing participation and wellbeing among children and adults who have a disability. She coordinated Australia’s first National Guideline on autism assessment and diagnosis, and subsequently led a research program exploring strengths, functioning, and support needs of individuals and families in the context of neurodevelopmental conditions.

Amy Fitzpatrick (Co-chair)

Amy is a neurodivergent and disabled speech pathologist with many years of clinical practice in early childhood intervention as a certified practicing speech pathologist and also holds a Masters in Health Leadership and Management, as well as being a early career researcher. She is passionate about disability advocacy, neurodiversity affirming practice, timely access to services, and ensuring the person with disability is the expert and decision maker in their own life, particularly when it comes to decisions about therapy, assistive technology and healthcare.

Sonya Girdler

Sonya is a Professor of Occupational Therapy affiliated with the School of Allied Health at Curtin University and is Director of the Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG). Sonya has extensive experience in the field of autism research and neurodevelopmental disorders more broadly. Sonya is particularly interested in understanding functioning in autism using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (WHO), the development, evaluation and translation into practice of evidence-based interventions (particularly social skills, strengths-based programs and mental health), and research directed at improving the participation of autistic individuals in major life areas such as employment and education.

Libby Groves

Libby is a speech pathologist who brings clinical experience working with people who may not rely on speech alone for communication with others. She also lectures in multi-modal communication within the Master of speech Pathology Program at Griffith University. Libby was a research assistant for the development and update of National Guidelines relating to the provision of evidence-based services, assessments, and supports for children and their families.

Emma Hinze

Emma is a PhD candidate and research assistant at Griffith University, with a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours. As a parent of an autistic son and an individual with a physical disability, she brings a unique dual perspective to her research. Her PhD research focuses on understanding depression in autistic adults, aiming to improve identification and diagnostic processes. Emma's personal and professional experiences fuel her drive to enhance mental health outcomes within the autistic community. She is a member of the Autism QLD Advisory Committee and has contributed to the updating of the National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia.

Ashley Llambias

Ashley is a dedicated PhD Candidate and Lecturer in Industrial Design and Engineering at Griffith University. Her research journey is deeply rooted in understanding the sensory needs and preferences of children on the autism spectrum, aiming to contribute to more informed and inclusive designs and devices. With a focus on Human-Centered Design and Empathetic Design practices, Ashley aims to foster practical, innovative solutions that prioritise inclusivity and accessibility for all.

Rhylee Sulek

Dr Rhylee Sulek is a Research Fellow within the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, Griffith University. She brings experience in working with young children on the autism spectrum and their families when receiving early supports and therapies, and the inclusion of key stakeholders in the co-production of research.

David Trembath (Co-chair)

David Trembath is an Associate Professor in Speech Pathology at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University. He brings to the GDG over 20 years of clinical-research experience working with children on the autism spectrum and their families.

Hannah Waddington

Hannah Waddington is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington and a practicing Educational Psychologist. She is also Clinic Lead of the Victoria University of Wellington Autism Clinic. She brings experience in early identification and support for autistic children and those with other types of neurodivergence. Hannah was involved in the development and update of National Guidelines relating to the provision of evidence-based services, assessments, and supports for children and their families.

Andrew Whitehouse

Andrew Whitehouse is Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism at the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia. He is the Director of CliniKids, a clinical research centre of excellence for children on the autism spectrum. Andrew also chaired the development of the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia.

Rachelle Wicks

Rachelle is an autistic Research Fellow at Griffith University, Honorary Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute, and Chair of the Autism QLD Advisory Committee. She brings lived experience of late-diagnosed autism and knowledge of the perspectives of individuals within the autistic and autism communities gained through her research and professional activities. Rachelle was also involved in updating the National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia and advocates for neurodiversity-affirming practice and research that is co-designed and co-produced with the communities that it aims to benefit.