The Behavioural Support Team

Emma McCarthy - Behavioural Support Manager

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Emma, is a highly-experienced teacher and social worker, with a Masters in Special Education and over 25 years’ experience in the sector. Most of her career has been at the forefront of working with at risk students suffering complex trauma. Emma successfully established the Berry Street School in Noble Park as the Principal, and now brings her expertise to other schools by developing and running programs that support their teams to work with complex and challenging behaviours. Emma has a deep understanding of how to work with a range of special needs, has extensive leadership experience implementing strategies within a community of practice, and is an expert in helping teachers to understand what escalates students and how to create strategies that increase their self-regulation and improve their learning outcomes. She provides coaching a professional development in writing and implementing Behaviour Support Plans using the functional behaviour analysis principles and trauma theory to assist schools to cater for students with a range of needs. 

Dr Louise Van Corler - Social Worker/Teacher

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  Louise started her social work career in child protection. During her time in CP she had a number of roles, including being the first court support worker in Victoria and a member of the first SIPW team. She has worked as a registered mental health practitioner with both adults and children, as well as running a social work recruitment company. Louise then moved onto Monash University as a member of the fieldwork team, then taught a range of units, including human development, group work, mental health and the skill based units. After 8 years with the Department Louise left to undertake a Grad Dip in Education as a way of gaining further insight into the educational system and working with children with special needs. She has spent 8 years within primary schools both as a teacher and a supervisor of social work students. She is currently undertaking a range of school based research projects including: the evaluation of cognitive based programs within primary schools, the use of play therapy in schools and exploring the use of social work services within the Australian school setting. 

Marian Sharp - Teacher

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Marian Sharp studied at Seattle Pacific University to be an Elementary (primary) school teacher.  While the kids were in school,

Marian worked with the Education Support Unit with SE Melbourne Department of Human Services CIRC (Children in Residential Care). Individual Education Programs (IEP) were developed and delivered to meet the needs of the students and/or the schools.  Marian then gained a Graduate Certificate in teaching ESL to adults.  Marian joined the team at Berry Street Education, again in the CIRC program as Education Case manager. The opportunity arose to be the Learning Support Co-ordinator at Lighthouse Christian School. Applying for funding to support the learning needs of the students was an important part of this role. Individual Education Plans (IEP) were developed for the students’ special needs as well. Marian moved to Taree, NSW to help set up a special education program for young people with Asperser syndrome. 

Currently, Marian in working at We Support U on the Behaviour Support team, assisting in assessing the clients needs and writing the Behaviour Support Plans that help guide the use of NDIS funding. Families, schools and other relevant people in the clients lives are interviewed in the development of the  Behaviour Support Plans.

Emily Spender - Occupational Therapist

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 Emily Spender is a graduate Occupational Therapist, recently completing her studies at Monash University. She is passionate about accessibility and inclusiveness, as everybody deserves to have the opportunity for a meaningful life. In addition to working within the Behaviour Support Team, she has a role as a mentor within the WeSupportU community. She has had previous placements working with children with developmental delays and disabilities, and worked as a support worker with children and adults. This has helped her to understand the impact of people’s difficulties upon occupational engagement in everyday activities, and the family. Her passion for creating change within the community has also lead her to volunteer opportunities supporting the health of school children in Nepal, as well as the Melbourne Bandmates program for access to live music for those with a disability.  

Madeline Hanrahan - Occupational Therapist

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Madeleine is a registered Occupational Therapist with a passion to make a real difference to increase occupational independence and satisfaction in the lives of children and their families. In addition to working with WeSupportU ,  Madeleine works part time as an Occupational Therapist at a primary school in Keysborough and has been developing the occupational therapy program and providing intervention to children with a variety of needs. Madeleine has volunteered in Vietnam working with children living with disability in remote and disadvantaged communities. This role included providing interventions to increase children’s independence and educating families to ensure sustainability.

She is excited in to provided her new and evidence based knowledge to support families and children in the WeSupportU community. 

Brien Lobascher - Intensive Therapuetic Support Worker

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 Brien Lobascher has been working in the welfare industry for 25 years.  He  worked in child protection with Berry Street for 7 years and provided disability support for youth under the age of 18 for a further 9 years with Berry Street.  Brien is experienced in crisis intervention and crisis management and is committed in helping people who find themselves in crisis, providing intensive support when they need it.  Brien is enjoying working with mature aged adults at WeSupportU.