Our Therapists are passionate and dedicated to ensuring a positive experience that is unique to all clients and their families. A caring, friendly and professional approach is central to our practice.
Sarah Hickey (Occupational Therapist and Director)
BAppSc (Occupational Therapy) - The University of Sydney
Sarah is the owner and Director of Kids First Occupational therapy. Sarah has worked as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist for over 12 years and during this time she has developed extensive knowledge and skills in Occupational Therapy Assessment, treatment, evaluation and Business Management. Prior to setting up Kids First Occupational Therapy, Sarah spent much of her employment in paediatric practices located across Sydney conducting clinic, school and home therapy services. Sarah has worked with a wide range of conditions including Autism, Perceptual Motor Difficulties, Handwriting difficulties, Sensory Processing Disorders, Learning Difficulties, ADHD, Hypermobility and Motor Dyspraxia and Fine and Gross Motor Skill Acquisition. From her experiences she has developed a love and passion to work with children and their families which is why she founded Kids First Occupational Therapy. Sarah is extremely passionate about building a reputable business that values strong relationships with their children and families and works hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for them.
Sarah is a highly dedicated and motivated individual who values the importance of working closely with families, health professionals and educators. She believes that therapy should not only boost confidence, learning and skill development but also be a positive, fun and enjoyable experience for the child and their family. Sarah is known for her warm and friendly nature and building caring relationships with her families.
Melanie Cook (Occupational Therapist)
BOccTh (Hons) - The University of Newcastle
Melanie is a compassionate, energetic and enthusiastic Occupational Therapist. Melanie has a natural ability to build rapport with children of all ages and needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Disorder, Developmental Delays, as well as learning and behavioural difficulties.
Melanie is a firm believer that therapy sessions should be fun, flexible and enjoyable! Melanie takes particular care to incorporate each child’s interests and novel activities into therapy sessions to keep the child engaged, and ultimately achieve their individual goals.
Melanie completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours). Melanie has a strong interest in development of infants born prematurely, and has participated in research projects with this interest as the focus. Melanie is committed to professional development and is always eager to participate in learning activities and skill development.
Melanie has experience working with children in their classroom and has skills in integrating therapy activities into the usual classroom routine. Melanie enjoys working collaboratively with parents, teachers and other health professionals to achieve goals.
Katherine Fowler (Occupational Therapist)
Bachelor Applied Science (OT) - New Zealand
Katherine is originally from Christchurch in New Zealand. After studying for a BA in Fine Arts degree in Auckland, Katherine decided to move to study Occupational therapy in Otago, New Zealand. After graduating, Katherine was working in Auckland before making the big move to Sydney. Katherine has been working in Sydney for over two years in a neurological sensory gym before starting at Kids First Ot.
Katherine is bright, bubbly and enjoys energy packed play based sessions of fun, games and learning.
Katherine is specialised in providing sensory and functional assessments and interventions for children with a wide range of conditions such as autism, developmental delay, sensory processing disorder and ADHD in the home, clinic and school.
Katherine has a special interest in using sensory intervention in collaboration with functional interventions to develop a holistic therapeutic approach to treatment. Katherine is interested in breaking down functional tasks and working to develop a child’s processing to support the development of a transferable skill set and supporting engagement and success in all tasks a child wishes to achieve. Katherine also has a special interest in including creativity and arts into functional activities to support development and is hoping to complete her masters in art therapy in early intervention paediatrics. In her spare time Katherine enjoys going out with her friends, attending live music and concerts, making art and going to the gym.
Katherine is trained in DIR floortime, Synergetic play therapy and has a wide knowledge of neurological sensory processing intervention.
Katherine has been trained in many therapeutic programs such as The Alert program, Zones of Regulation and attended conferences such as the Traffic jam in my brain and Kim Barthel’s Be and Belong course.
Katherine’s aim is to support children in a holistic manner to allow them to have fun, reach their goals and progress further in their life’s journey.
Emily Newbold (Occupational Therapist)
BHlthSc Disability Studies - Flinders University
BHlthSc Masters of Occupational Therapy - University of South Australia
Emily is passionate about children’s development and making therapy fun!
Emily has always been fascinated by a child’s development and believes, like snowflakes, no two children are the same. She loves helping families and engaging parents and siblings in therapy where possible. Emily strongly believes frequency of therapeutic methods (such as practising what you learn in OT at home) is the key to achieving goals.
Emily has worked with children of varying ages and disabilities, including cerebral palsy, ASD, ADHD and ODD. In her therapy sessions she focuses on client centred goals that are established from standardised assessment results and discussions with parents and teachers. Emily makes sure therapy is fun and engaging whilst focusing on areas such as functional skills, including gross & fine motor skills, emotional and sensory regulation, motor planning, visual perceptual skills, handwriting and social skills.
Emily is motivated and enthusiastic about expanding her knowledge and developing clinical skills further through professional development.
Rose Murrell (Occupational Therapist)
Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) - Curtin University of Technology
Rose is a warm, enthusiastic and motivated Occupational Therapist with a passion for working with children and their families to achieve the best outcomes possible. Rose is always looking to develop her skills and learn more to ensure meaningful change can be made with the children and families she works with, and tailors her approach to each individual child, as no two are ever the same! Rose has experience with children of a wide range of ages and diagnoses, including Autism, ADHD, Global Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Language Delay. Rose has carried out individual and joint therapy sessions in a range of settings such as schools, homes and the clinic, and works hard to ensure the gains made in therapy can transfer to all other aspects of the child's life. Rose places great importance on building positive and strong relationships with the child, their family and all other supports around them, and encourages open communication among all involved to enable as much growth and development as possible. Rose has a specific interest in working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, those with sensory processing challenges and developing fine and gross motor skills. Rose is a strong believer in early intervention with children and maximising participation and engagement in all tasks and activities throughout their day. Rose understands the importance of making therapy sessions fun and enjoyable for the child while ensuring progress is made toward their goals, and is always finding ways to bring new and engaging ideas to therapy sessions. Rose is committed to ongoing professional development and has completed courses such as the 'Traffic Jam in my Brain', and is trained in the SOS Approach to Eating Program and the Zones of Regulation Program. Rose is also currently in the process of finishing a Postgraduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis through the University of Western Australia. In her spare time Rose loves to keep active, spend time with friends and family and find the best places for brunch.
Sabrina Smart (Occupational Therapist - Clinic Practice Co-lead)
BSc (Occupational Therapy) - The University of Witwatersound
Integrated Learning Therapist
S.N.H.S. Dip (Naturophathy), Live Blood Analysis and Functional Nutritionist
Sabrina graduated overseas in 1998 and started her career in paediatrics setting up her private practice at various schools assisting children with learning difficulties and developmental delays. She is passionate about early intervention and the focus of her work is to assist children to reach their full potential and enabling them to fulfill their occupational roles in everyday life activities, with ease. She has a strong interest in working with children with sensory processing difficulties, learning difficulties and visual perceptual difficulties. Sabrina furthered her studies with Integrated Learning Therapy, which focuses on neurodevelopment. She is a strong believer in empowering parents to assist their children and as such treats the child holistically, using her Naturopathic studies to provide guidance on improving areas such as nutrition, sleep, screen time, and stress reduction.
Sabrina ensures therapy is fun while providing the just-right challenge to support the child through the therapy process. She works closely with parents and teachers to ensure therapy is carried over into the classroom and at home, allowing the child to be supported in their environment.
When not working, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her two active daughters and husband, spending time outdoors going for long walks, going to the beach and exploring new and wonderful places. When relaxing, Sabrina loves to write children’s books and has a book in the process of being published.
Sabrina is one of our clinical practice co-leads. Her role is pivotal as she supports our wonderful team of Occupational Therapist so they can support you better!
Lacey McWhirter (Occupational Therapist)
BOccTh (Hons) - The University of Newcastle
Lacey is a paediatric Occupational Therapist with a passion for helping children achieve their full potential in life. She has experience working with children of all levels of Autism, Developmental Delay, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Learning difficulties. Conducting group, individual and joint sessions with other health professionals within the clinic, school and home environment.
Lacey strives to deliver a holistic and bottom up approach to therapy, and believes in working closely with Families, Teachers and Health professionals to create a supportive setting for the child to learn and grow. She believes in implementing evidence-based practice in conjunction with new and fun strategies, into her programs and sessions to improve the outcome of therapy. Her goal is to make every encounter with the child and their families enjoyable and informative.
Lacey is enthusiastic about continuing professional development and has completed multiple paediatric workshops such as Zones of Regulation, Handwriting workshops, and Traffic Jam in my brain. She is excited to further expand her skills through upcoming workshops in the future.
Lacey recognises that every child is different, and she strives to make therapy, goals and outcome measures tailored specific to each individual child’s wants and needs in every day life.
Jessica Roze-Polura (Occupational Therapist) -
BHlthSc, MOT - The University of Sydney
Jess assists children to develop their confidence and resilience, as well as build their independence skills. She believes that each child has unique strengths and it is her passion to work with children and help them reach their full learning outcomes and academic potential.
Jess graduated with a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Sydney and previously completed a Bachelor of Health Science at the University of Western Sydney.
Jess has over five years experience providing occupational therapy services to children including; children who have been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy, Dyspraxia, Down Syndrome, have handwriting difficulties as well as various other developmental, neurological and behavioural impairments.
She has a particular interest in early childhood and considers that the early years of schooling are the most important in a child’s life. Positive early school experiences can only be achieved through good preparation, smooth transitions to school and supportive learning environments at school and at home. Jess enjoys educating parents and teaching children life skills, in order to guide them to become more independent and confident. Jess thrives on hearing positive feedback in relation to a child’s progress from both teachers and parents, be it in their social, emotional, academic or developmental domains.
Improving the life of a child is at the heart of her approach to therapy; in particular, watching them master new skills, regain function and ultimately gain independence.
Throughout the course of therapy, Jess liaises with both families and schools in order to help implement home and school programs including (but not limited to):
Jess believes that Occupational Therapists who specialise in paediatrics pave the way in providing strategies for enhancing early childhood development – beginning in the classrooms and spreading to the wider community.
She is committed to ongoing professional development and has undertaken courses in the