Qualia Occupational Therapy for Children has been operating in the inner west of Sydney since 2010.
We provide comprehensive intervention services to assist children with areas of difficulty (including learning, developmental and motor skills) as identified by a child, parent or teacher. Therapy is meaningful, addressing areas that are most important to a child and their family.
Our therapists participate in regular professional development and love working with families and children. Our experienced team offers practical skills and empathy when working with children.
Qualia (pronounced kwa–li–ah) is a theory explaining how unique individuals each perceive the world differently in relation to their sensory, emotional and environmental influences.
After completing an undergraduate degree in occupational therapy at the University of Sydney, Avalon moved to Perth and worked for two years in a paediatric private practice. While there, she received extensive training and mentoring from two of the most established and knowledgeable paediatric occupational therapists. Inspired to continue learning, Avalon returned to Sydney and completed a Masters in Occupational Therapy to specialise in paediatrics. Avalon started Qualia in 2010 with the wish to create the highest quality service for children and their families. To ensure Qualia maintains the best support, Avalon has continued her relationship with the university, occasionally teaching in the paediatric stream. Avalon is also currently completing a PHD in the field of paediatrics, measuring organised writing and the impact of cognitive strategy on performance.
Avalon is married to the lovely Perth fellow she moved interstate for all those years ago and has three beautiful children – Henry, and twins, Madeline and Odette. Understandably, Avalon is certainly able to empathise with a busy family life and maintaining a work/life balance each day.
Avalon’s favourite game to play with a child is hopscotch and if she could time travel she would travel to the future!
Sophie-Anna is a co-director of Qualia. She has specialised in paediatrics for 8 years and has experience working in a variety of settings, including at the Children’s Hospital Network, within schools, preschools and home environments. Sophie-Anna is committed to evidence based practice and continually engages in professional development to ensure she is best equipped to assist children to reach their potential. She is the co-chair of the OT Australia NSW/ACT Paediatric Special Interest Group and is passionate about developing occupational therapy as a profession. Outside of work, Sophie-Anna has a little baby named Dorothy who loves going for walks in her pram to the park. In her spare time, Sophie-Anna loves playing music, sewing and craft.
When Soph was a young girl she loved painting a fairy tree in her garden for the fairies to live in. If she was a fruit, she would be grapes because she loves to have people around!
Bryony completed her Master of Occupational Therapy Degree at The University of Sydney. She is a kind, creative therapist who values getting to know children’s passions and interests, ensuring therapy is a positive experience. Bryony takes a holistic approach and is drive to support a wide range of children to reach their potential across all areas of their lives. She is committed to providing evidence-based practice and a client-centred approach to all of her therapy.
Bryony previously worked as a mine geologist and has an understanding of the inner workings of Minecraft, but is yet to defeat the Ender Dragon.
Mark, an enthusiastic and friendly Occupational Therapist, has always been passionate for helping children reach their potential in all aspects of life. Qualified with a Masters as both a Primary School Teacher and Occupational Therapist from the University of Sydney, he has always enjoyed working with children and chose to focus on occupational therapy to be able to work with those who had learning and developmental difficulties, helping children on a more individual level to reach goals that are meaningful to them and their families. Mark also loves playing soccer, exploring different countries and cultures, and playing with his dog Bella.
If Mark was a fruit he would be a Mango, because then I’d be living in a tropical place, hopefully near a beach. If he could time travel, he would go back in time to see the dinosaurs!
Sarah is a passionate and caring Occupational Therapist, who completed her masters degree at University of Canberra. Sarah has worked in a range of paediatric settings throughout the last ten years and has a strong passion for working with children. She is committed to working collaboratively with schools, teachers and families. Sarah loves seeing the change in confidence within kids when they reach their goals. In her spare time Sarah enjoys playing netball, going to plays and spending time with her friends.
Sarah loves to play dress ups with children she works with. When she was little, her favourite toy was a doll called Rosie.
Alexa is an energetic and passionate Occupational Therapist who completed her undergraduate degree at the Australian Catholic University. Alexa has experience working alongside children and their families in home, school, and daycare settings. Alexa aims to empower families, schools and educators to work holistically towards achieving children’s goals. Alexa engages children creatively in therapy to enable them to achieve their goals by delivering innovative and evidence-based practice. Alexa believes working towards a child’s strengths is imperative to engagement and participation in therapy, and daily life.
In her spare time, Alexa enjoys travelling, going to the beach or for walks and learning to make new recipes to share with friends and family.
Alexa’s loves to play Mr Potato Head and memory games with children.
Paige is an empathetic and kind therapist who is passionate about supporting children and their families to achieve meaningful and individualised goals. Paige believes in the importance of providing fun and creative evidence-based approach to all of her therapy. Paige recently graduated from Australian Catholic University with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.
Paige discovered her passion to support and assist children whilst working in Broome, Western Australia and as a community support worker with primary and high school aged children. Paige has worked with children with a range of abilities and diagnoses, including sensory processing difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, emotional regulation difficulties and trauma backgrounds.
In her spare time, Paige enjoys playing soccer, board games with her family and friends, painting and playing with her dog Oliver.
Lena is a creative and driven Occupational Therapist, who joins the team with a versatile skill set. Following a very successful career in Events and Marketing, Lena retrained as an Occupational Therapist, graduating from The University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) First Class Honours.
Lena is passionate about working with children to facilitate growth and change, to positively impact their lives. Lena understands the importance of collaborating with parents, carers, educators and children to achieve target outcomes together. Lena has a healthy obsession for researching the most innovative, creative and playful activities to engage children in therapy. With a warm and welcoming personality, Lena makes children and their families feel comfortable and at ease quickly. As a mother of two beautiful (and cheeky) kids, Elka and Noah, Lena has a strong understanding of the challenges and commitments families may be facing.
Lena loves spending her free time outdoors (rain or shine) with her kids, husband, and dog Tiki. Lena’s favourite pastime as a youngster was jumping on the trampoline in summer with the sprinkler on. These days her passion lies on the yoga mat. Lena loves to engage children with music and movement, especially yoga to teach them about their mind, emotions and body.
Becci is our full-time Clinic Manager and has many years’ experience in administration in education, corporate companies and small businesses along with a Certificate IV in Frontline Management. She lives in Sydney’s Inner West with her husband and two children. In her spare time she enjoys music, travelling and trying out the best cafes. Becci also volunteers with her dog, Sydney the Schnoodle, through a local therapy dog organisation, Delta Therapy Dogs. She is always happy to help with any enquiries.
If Becci could time travel, she would go to London in the 1960s. If she was a fruit she would be a kiwi fruit, not because she is fuzzy but because her dad used to call her Kiwi!
Lisa joined the team at Qualia as the Practice Manager in 2020. Before joining Qualia, Lisa oversaw the day-to-day operations of several corporate offices, primarily in the medical device industry and has also worked in medical device marketing. She is originally from the United States but has happily called Australia home for the last 10 years. She lives on the Lower North Shore with her partner and their energetic toddler, Rosie. When she isn’t chasing after Rosie, Lisa enjoys playing tennis and spending time in the kitchen baking sweet treats.
When Lisa was a little girl, she had a stuffed bear named Chubby who went absolutely everywhere with her. Chubby is now happily retired from a toy’s life and lives with Lisa’s parents in Florida.
Qualia Student Volunteers
Qualia is so lucky to have a lovely team of student volunteers who help out with our group programmes and school holiday workshops.
Angela Liu– Angela is currently in her third year at the University of Sydney completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) degree. She loves interacting with children and helping them achieve their specific goals through working together as a group. Through multiple paediatric placements, Angela has gained experience working with children with a range of clinical conditions and all abilities and has a special interest in helping children meet their developmental milestones.
Jacinta McGrath– Jacinta is a third year Occupational Therapy student studying at the University of Sydney. She has completed placements in rehabilitation, disability and at Qualia. Jacinta works part time at Before and After School Care and has experience volunteering for children’s programs with St Vincent de Paul and the Sony Foundation. She loves cooking, sports and lego!
Kate Spender– Kate is a fourth-year occupational therapy student studying at the University of Sydney. She has a passion for working with children and their families as she enjoys the opportunities to equip children with the tools they need to achieve their goals through fun activities. She completed a paediatric placement at a primary school in Lismore NSW and has previously volunteered at holiday workshops with Qualia and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. She is currently researching the friendships of children with ADHD as part of her honours project. In her spare time, she loves to play AFL and netball with her friends!
Elle Tsai– Elle is currently completing her third year in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) at The University of Sydney. Elle has experience working with children in a range of sports and school subjects. She believes each child has their own special strengths and talents, and she loves to help them realise these and build on their confidence. Elle has loved dancing and swimming since she was a young girl. Now, no matter rain or shine, Elle loves to spend time at the beach, surfing and swimming.