Clinicians

Your Steps therapist will help you capitalise on your brain’s neuroplasticity by drawing on theoretical knowledge; experience; best practice guidelines; evidence from well-designed clinical trials; and by using sound clinical judgement.

PENNY CALLAGHAN- Physiotherapist, B.App.Sc. (Phys.) & Grad.Dip.Bus.Mgt

Penny Callaghan is a practice principal and senior physiotherapist at Steps Neurological Therapy Services. She graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Physiotherapy in 2001 and also completed a Graduate Diploma of Business Management in 2013. Penny held the position of company secretary and director on the board of the Australian Quadriplegic Association (AQA Victoria) from September 2012 to December 2015. Penny’s role as business director of Steps is to support the staff and ensure all aspects of the business run smoothly. Her drive is to create a warm, friendly culture at Steps and create a welcoming space for all clients, family members, support workers and staff.

ANNA MORIARTY- Physiotherapist, B.App.Sc.(Phys.) & M.Phys.(Neurological Physiotherapy)

Anna Moriarty is a practice principal and senior physiotherapist at Steps Neurological Therapy Services. She graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Physiotherapy in 2002. In 2010 Anna completed a postgraduate Master’s degree in Neurological Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne. Anna is qualified as a titled neurological physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association, and has a strong clinical interest in spinal cord injury and gait rehabilitation.

   Physiotherapists

KELLY GIBSON – Physiotherapist, B.Science.(Phys.)

Kelly Gibson is a senior physiotherapist and clinical manager at Steps Neurological Therapy Services. Kelly has spent the majority of her physiotherapy career working in neurological rehabilitation in both Australia and England. Kelly has completed many postgraduate courses including training in the Bobath concept and a level 3 qualification in aquatic physiotherapy. Kelly has a particular interest in traumatic brain injury and complex seating assessment.

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KATE GAMBLE – B. HlthSc MPhysioPrac

Since graduating from La Trobe University, Kate has worked across a range of healthcare settings including acute hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient clinics. Kate is passionate about supporting clients to work towards the goals that are important to them. She has experience working with a wide range of neurological conditions, and she has particular interests in gait training, shoulder management and return to sports or leisure. Kate has published research in the field of stroke rehabilitation and she’s currently completing a Masters of Clinical Rehabilitation in Neurological Physiotherapy.

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GEORGIA DANIEL – Physiotherapist, B. HlthSc MPhysioPrac

Throughout her career, Georgia has gained valuable experience in hospital, public community and research settings, both locally and internationally. Her keen interest in Neurological Physiotherapy has led her to further her studies, and she’s currently enrolled in a Masters of Clinical Rehabilitation in Neurological Physiotherapy. Georgia works collaboratively with her clients to work towards meaningful goals and is passionate about a creative approach to Physiotherapy that is centered around people.

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NATASHA BONANNO – Physiotherapist, B.Physio (Hons)

In beginning her career in a hospital setting, Natasha gained experience working with a broad range of conditions. Her role as the senior physiotherapist on the Acute Stroke Unit with Peninsula Health has steered Natasha to her special interest in retraining movement, gait and balance in clients affected by Stroke and Parkinson’s Disease. Passionate about using a holistic approach, Natasha draws on her experience in rehabilitation units, hydrotherapy and clinical Pilates to support her clients in achieving their goals.

NATALIE WOOD – Physiotherapist, BHlthSc MPhysioPrac

Natalie’s passion for physiotherapy centres around her desire to work collaboratively with her clients, and to assist them with achieving their goals in the community. She is particularly interested in working with clients to retrain their gait and build higher-level mobility. Natalie also especially enjoys working with clients who have acquired brain injuries, and is proud that as a physiotherapistshe can work with her clients to assist in restoring their independence

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CHRISTINA COOPER – Physiotherapist, BSPT, ABPTS Certified Neurologic Specialist

Christina Cooper obtained her physiotherapy degree from Ohio University. Christina has extensive experience working with clients with a wide variety of neurological conditions. She is board certified in Neurological Physical Therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities. Her clinical training includes certification in Vestibular Rehabilitation, in use of the BalanceWear vest, Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery and Exercise Expert in Aging Adults (CEEAA). Christina was a co-presenter at the APTA NEXT Conference in 2018, presenting on an Algorithmic Approach to AFO Prescription for Adults with Neurological Impairments. Christina has a strong enthusiasm and passion for neurological physiotherapy with a particular interest in vestibular rehabilitation.

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MELISSA BOWMAN – Physiotherapist, BBiomedSc(Hons), BPhysio (Hons)

Melissa has held various senior neurological physiotherapy roles, from neuro ICU to acute ward care at tertiary hospitals, and rehabilitation specific movement disorder and brain injury units nationally. She has a special interest in neuro respiratory physiotherapy having been on the NSW ACI working party for the development of adult tracheostomy guidelines. Melissa has a keen interest in the management of brain injury, neuro-progressive illness and stroke, with recent involvement in research and a current member of the Parkinson’s Victoria interdisciplinary working party.

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REBECCA DIRAGO – Physiotherapist, DPT, Bsc, BA

Bec spent the first part of her career working at Austin Health across various settings including the acute hospital, sub-acute rehabilitation, community and outpatient settings. Bec’s strong interest in working with a neurological population then lead to a role at Austin Health with the Victorian Spinal Cord Service. Bec enjoys being creative, thinking outside the box and making therapy fun to enable and support clients to achieve their rehabilitation goals. She has great energy and gets genuine excitement every time a client makes meaningful progress.

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LIZ CLEMENTS – Physiotherapist, BAppSc (Physiotherapy) & Grad Cert in
Rehabilitation Studies

Liz has over 20 years’ experience in wheelchair, posture and seating assessment and prescription. She has worked extensively with clients who live with a spinal cord injury – from first chair prescription to addressing issues as her client’s bodies change with age. She also prescribes complex seating systems for clients across the spectrum of neurological conditions. Liz can address power and manual mobility needs, and everything in between. Liz has a particular interest in the prevention and management of pressure ulcers. Her product knowledge is excellent, and she takes enormous pride in achieving comfortable and functional seating and mobility options for her clients.

   Occupational Therapists

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JO NIBALDI- Occupational Therapist, BOccThy

Jo Nibaldi has a passion for working with people with spinal cord injuries and neurological conditions. She has a broad range of skills from working in acute hospital, inpatient and outpatient  rehabilitation and community health settings. Jo strives to assist people to achieve their goals and optimise their quality of life. Jo is dedicated in keeping up-to-date with the latest technology and therapy techniques to assist people to achieve their optimal performance. Jo is currently on maternity leave.

KERRYN SEARLE- Occupational Therapist, BOccThy

Kerryn Searle is a senior Occupational Therapist at Steps Neurological Therapy Services. Kerryn graduated as an Occupational Therapist from La Trobe University in 2001 and soon took timeout from Australia to learn the ropes of community-based rehabilitation in the UK. Since then, she has worked in spinal and neurological rehabilitation around Melbourne, most recently as the senior clinician and manager of an Occupational Therapy department in a rehabilitation hospital. Kerryn’s passion is working with clients to modify their homes as well the use of assistive technology to enable people to live as independently as possible. While keeping an eye for detail on the practical side of Occupational Therapy, Kerryn also works with clients to stay focused on the broader philosophy of finding fulfilment in time over both the long and the short term.

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KIM MUIR – Occupational Therapist, MS, OTR/L

Kim Muir obtained her bachelor of arts degree in psychology  and master of science degree in occupational therapy in the United States.  While her specialty is in spinal cord injury and upper limb functional retraining, she also has interests in environmental intervention, assistive technology and community reintegration of individuals  with neurological deficits.  Kim has also been an adjunct faculty assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago in the Occupational Therapy Department and has been a senior therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  She has served on the board of directors in regional spinal cord injury associations in the United States and has participated in research related to spinal cord injury intervention and outcome assessments.   Kim strives to enhance the functional ability and quality of life of the clients she treats.

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SOPHIE PHARE – Occupational Therapist, BoccThy

Sophie graduated as an Occupational Therapist from La Trobe University in 2010 and began her career working at Epworth Healthcare. With experience in a variety of settings including orthopaedics, cardiac and respiratory, pain management and neuro rehab, Sophie has a passion for being client centred and improving her clients’ quality of life. After gaining specialist skills and a love for neurological rehabilitation in London, Sophie has a particular interest in stroke rehab and upper limb treatment. Sophie is currently on maternity leave.

KIMBERLY PAUL– Occupational Therapist, BOccTher

Joining Steps, Kim brings her experience of working with those in the aged care and community sector. Throughout her career as an OT, Kim have developed an interest in assistive technology and home modifications.  Her love for puzzles gets her brain thinking in different ways to reach a solution and this skill has helped Kim think outside the box as an OT to help her clients reach their full potential. Kim believe that her clients are the drivers of their lives, and she focuses on what is most important to them.

MONIQUE LAMERAND – Occupational Therapist, B.App.Sc (OT)

Monique brings a breadth of education and training to the Steps Occupational Therapy team, with over 30 years’ experience in treating clients with neurological conditions. She is also a keen mentor and has spent the past eight years training supervising allied health professionals in severe ABI rehabilitation. Monique is passionate about supporting her clients to achieve their functional goals, ensuring they can return to the activities that are important to them. She is particularly interested in working with clients who have acquired brain injuries. 

   Exercise Physiologists

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KIRSTY MCRAE – Exercise Physiologist, B. App. Sci (Human Movement), Post Grad Dip (Exercise Rehabilitation)

Kirsty McRae is a senior Exercise Physiologist at Steps Neurological Therapy Services. Kirsty is an accredited exercise physiologist and a level 2 pilates practitioner with varied experience working in aged care, neurological rehabilitation and elite sport training. Kirsty has a special interest in spinal cord injury with 6 years’ experience in inpatient rehabilitation delivering strength and conditioning programs, lifestyle education and wheelchair skills training. Kirsty is passionate about maximising her clients’ outcomes and providing them with the knowledge and tools to manage their condition long-term.

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ABBEY HERON – Exercise Physiologist, BEx&SportSc, MClinExPhys

Abbey studied at Deakin University where she completed her Batchelor in Exercise and Sport Science/ Business (Sport Management) and Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Abbey is passionate about helping people reach their goals and full potential through education around the importance of maintaining general health. She is also particularly driven in helping people improve their mental health by building trust with clients and delivering meaningful exercise programs.

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SARAH DAVIS – Exercise Physiologist, MClinExPhys

During her career, Sarah has always been a big believer in helping people through exercise. Her experience in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Holmesglen Private Hospital has only strengthened this belief, and she has loved seeing her clients discover the same appreciation for exercise. Sarah believes in building trusting relationships with her clients in order to best help them achieve their goals. Driven by the diversity of neurological conditions, Sarah is always looking to further her knowledge in the neurological area of Exercise Physiology.

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MICHAEL CZAPLOWSKI – Exercise Physiologist, BEx&SportSc, MClinExPhys

Michael’s experience as an Exercise Physiologist has exposed him to working in a variety of settings including occupational rehabilitation, and most recently working alongside the oncology population in private practice. He believes that there is no one size fits all approach to using exercise to optimise one’s health and that having fun while exercising is the key to unlocking its many positive benefits. Michael is fascinated by the plasticity of the brain and is passionate about helping people get back to doing the things they enjoy doing the most.

   ALLIED HEALTH ASSISTANT

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JIM FENBY – Allied Health Assistant

Jim is passionate about improving the life of others through exercise and takes great pride in making a difference and improving the life of his clients. Jim believes creating friendly and trusting relationships are key to his success. Jim has completed a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance from Exercise Research Australia. He is currently in his final year studying a dual degree of Exercise and Sport Science and Business (Sports) Management at Deakin University and intends to follow this passion into a Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology.

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