The Team

Each member of the On Track Team has dedicated their career to helping children and have worked in community health, Child Adolescence Mental Health Service, Early Childhood Intervention Services and school settings.

We are highly trained and skilled in assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental delays as well as providing comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnosis and subsequent therapy.

Danella Taylor – Psychologist

Danella is the founder and principal psychologist of On Track Therapy Group. She established On Track Therapy in 2009. Danella is passionate about working holistically with children, adolescents and their families. She established On Track Therapy to empower families in achieving their goals and helping children thrive. The team at On Track Therapy Group represents this vision and passion. We all work together with families to create a team around the child that helps support and develop each child’s unique abilities and skills.

Danella specialises in developmental and emotional childhood disorders, including Autism, Asperges Disorder, anxiety, depression and conduct disorders. She has worked with children, adolescents and their families for more than 17 years.

Some of Danella’s career highlights include:

  • Provided expert consultation for the Australian government department of Early Childhood Intervention Service in Community Health, where she led the establishment of a community-based assessment clinic.
  • Part of the first multi-systemic team in a United Kingdom clinical trial, following training in the therapy in the United States. She worked in London for eight years with disadvantaged children and adolescents and their families.
  • Worked in Child Adolescence Mental Health Service for five years where she set up a service for disadvantaged young people and their families with extremely challenging behaviour.

Developed and delivered a comprehensive training package for social workers, nurses, educators and other professionals.

Vicky Tsiakalakis – Psychologist

Vicky has had experience with working with school aged children across the state of Victoria for the past 6 years. Vicky initially held a position with the Department of Human Services in the Behaviour and Intervention Service Team (BIST) and then worked with a private company for 6 years. During this employment period she worked exclusively with school aged children (Prep – Year 12). In this setting, Vicky worked in schools as a psychologist providing counselling and assessment services as well as providing consultation to teachers and school staff. As part of her role as a psychologist working within schools she also conducted assessments and wrote applications to provide further support for students with additional needs as part of the funding processes in Government, Catholic and Independent schools. Vicky also often worked in collaboration with other professionals such paediatricians, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, case managers, social workers and teachers. As part of her role, Vicky gained extensive experience with psycho-educational assessments including cognitive and educational tests.

Vicky is experienced in counselling and has a great interest in anxiety management. She has developed and delivered psychological interventions for school aged students. She is passionate and experienced in facilitating therapy groups (focuses included the following but not exclusively to; resilience, body image, anger management, anxiety, and social skills). She is a qualified Cogmed Coach and has experience delivering the Cogmed Working Memory Intervention to individual clients and schools.

James Willy – Psychologist

James has worked at the Department of Education and Training for 8 years focused mainly on cognitive assessment and applications for funding for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability and Behavioural Difficulties. James has worked at On Track for the last 3 years predominantly supporting social skills groups for primary school age children. James enjoys watching children develop their skills in being friendly and displaying “expected” behaviours with peers and adults. James’ areas of interest include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety, Cognitive Assessment, Theory of Mind, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Technology, Mindfulness and Positive Psychology.

Yiorgo Sgourakis – Psychologist

Yiorgs has been working with children and adolescents for nearly 15 years, having previously worked with young offenders through organisations including the Department of Health and Human Services (Youth Justice), Youth Projects (YNOT program), and Australian Community Support Organisation (PSBS). For the past 5 years, Yiorgs has been employed as a Psychologist with the Department of Education & Training, working at both primary and secondary schools in the Manningham & Boroondara regions. During this period, he provided counselling services for the students, and regularly undertook psycho-educational assessments. Yiorgs was also required to undertake assessments and write and submit applications on behalf of students who were potentially eligible for funding under the Program for Students with Disabilities.

A significant part of his role at the schools related to managing difficult behaviours in the classroom, which often involved working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Behavioural Disorders, working closely with teachers and parents in the process. This position of employment with the Department also required Yiorgs to regularly collaborate with other external professionals (e.g. Speech Pathologists, Psychologists & Paediatricians) who were providing additional support for students at these schools. Yiorgs developed and delivered a number of Personal Development Training sessions for staff at each of these schools, relating to areas such as managing students with anxiety, school refusal, and suicidal ideation.

He also carried out several sessions for parents and students relating to topics of interest to these groups, including depression, anxiety, resilience and mental fitness. Yiorgs has an interest in the areas of ASD, anxiety and depression, and is passionate about working with children and adolescents to help them confront and overcome difficult life situations, and to develop both resilience as well as a positive level of psychological wellbeing that they will be able to independently maintain.

Monique Alexander - Psychologist

Monique has been working in mental health for 12 years, having previously worked in acute adult inpatient settings, and later undertaking research on body image development in young children. She completed her Masters in Educational Psychology in 2018, and presented her research on explicit social and emotional learning programs for preschoolers at the international Stress and Anxiety Research (STAR) conference in 2019. Monique has worked closely with community based programs including residential camps for newly arrived refugee teenagers through Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse, and organisations including Sacred Heart Fitzroy and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Monique is currently employed as a psychologist with a number of independent schools in Melbourne. She provides counselling support and consultation, working closely with teachers, parents and external professionals to support students with behavioural, learning, and socio-emotional needs. She is experienced in completing educational assessments for primary and secondary school aged children for the Department of Education and Training, Catholic and Independent schools sectors. Monique is passionate about providing positive help seeking experiences for young people, through a polyvagal and trauma informed lens.

Christine Beckett - Psychology Assistant

Christine is currently undertaking her Master of Professional Psychology qualification at the University of Melbourne. She has been part of the On Track Therapy Group since February 2021 and supports the team with The Learning Project and Social Skills sessions for children and adolescents.

Christine is dedicated to building self-confidence in the children she works with and helping them to discover the strengths in themselves to be the best they can be. Having two boys of her own, Christine appreciates the challenges and the joys of raising children. She is passionate about supporting and educating parents with an emphasis on making their lives easier and happier.

Christine has experience as a crisis support worker with Lifeline and in supporting adults with mental health illnesses transition back into the community. Prior to her profession change into the field of psychology, Christine had an extensive career in the corporate sector. She specialised in people leadership, change management, and communications. Christine also holds a Master of Business Administration.

Joanne Kostopoulos - Assistant

Joanne is currently studying psychology at the University of Melbourne. She has a strong interest in emotion regulation and is passionate about working with neurodiverse populations diagnosed with ASD and ADHD. Joanne has worked as a support therapist in The Learning Project since January 2021, assisting with teaching and implementing a range of strategies that focus on executive functioning, emotion regulation and behavioural modification.

Gosia Capuzzi – Speech Pathologist

Gosia is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP). She graduated from LaTrobe University, Bundoora, in 2003 with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology. Gosia has worked for the Department of Education in mainstream schools, Special Schools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and in private practice. Gosia sees both children and young adults in a variety of therapy settings (kindergarten/ child care, school, day service and at home).

Gosia has worked within a multi-disciplinary team, alongside Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Music Therapists for many years. Gosia enjoys working together with parents, kindergarten teachers, school teachers and support staff in order to meet each clients individual needs. Gosia was born in Krakow, Poland, and is fluent in both English and Polish languages.

Fernanda Descouvieres – Speech Pathologist Assistant

Fernanda has studied Speech Pathology in Chile, where she also did a Graduate diploma in Paediatric Neurorehabilitation. She is currently finishing a Master of Education in Inclusive and Special Education at Monash University, where she is conducting a small-scale study on students’ personal experience with school inclusion. She has 7 years of experience working with children and adolescents in varied therapy settings which include mainstream schools, special education centres and private practice.

For the past 2 years Fernanda has worked in Australia as a Speech Pathologist Assistant, as well as providing learning and behavioural support for children, both in school/childcare settings and at home. She believes in a holistic approach to therapy where children are active participants in their learning. She enjoys working in a multi-disciplinary team, as well as working with parents and caregivers. Her interests are in inclusive practices, Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems, parental training, and behavioural support. Fernanda is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Brigita Balbata – Speech Pathologist & Primary Teacher

Brigita Balbata has over 11 years of paediatric Speech Pathology experience. She has worked in both the UK and Australia with individuals from birth to adulthood. She has completed a postgraduate certificate in Sensory integration and more recently a masters in Primary Teaching.

Brigita enjoys working with children of various abilities and has a wide amount of experience working with children who have additional needs. She is experienced in alternative and augmentative communication modes and is PROMPT trained. Her enthusiasm and passion makes for a fun session!

Andrea Ponce – Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Andrea graduated from La Trobe University in 2010 with a double degree in Occupational Therapy/ Psychological Science. She has experience in working as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist in private practice, kinder and school settings. She also had the opportunity to work in Santiago/ Chile as an Occupational Therapist at sensory integration infant and child development centres where she gained skills working with various children and their families from different cultural backgrounds. Andrea has experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses including Global Developmental and Intellectual Delays, Autism-Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Angelmans Syndrome, Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorders.

Andrea enjoys working with children and their families to help reach their goals and independence. She helps them in areas including fine and gross motor skills, handwriting, visual perception, motor planning and organizational skills, attention, sensory regulation, and play/ social skills. She takes an interest in using a sensory integration approach in her interventions to help with sensory processing difficulties such as over-sensitivities to sights, sounds, textures, flavours and other sensory inputs, spatial/ body awareness and self-regulation. This approach has also been useful in developing emotional regulation, attention, learning and greater participation in daily life.

Yuki Sands – Occupational Therapist

Yuki has over 15 years experience working as a paediatric Occupational Therapist in Japan and Melbourne. During her early career in Japan Yuki worked as part of child developmental support teams in community health centres and hospitals. Since moving to Melbourne in 2010 Yuki has worked in private practices, providing occupational therapy service to children and their families in a variety of settings including kindergarten, childcare, primary school, and home visits. In addition to individual therapy she has also been involved in facilitating group programs collaborating with other professionals such as Speech Pathologists, Psychologists and qualified teachers. Yuki has experience working with children with a range of diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, Global Developmental Delay, handwriting and fine/gross motor difficulties, learning disability, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and various other developmental or behavioural difficulties.

Yuki is passionate about creating engaging, play based activities. She would like children to have a fun and successful experience in her sessions while assisting them in improving their fine and gross motor skills, self care skills, play and social skills.

Education Consultant & Learning Intervention Specialist

Angela Sharp

Angela is a qualified teacher and is fully registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Her teaching qualifications include a Bachelor of Teaching (Honours), as well as recently completing a Master of Education specialising in Literacy. Additionally, Angela holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree whereby she completed units of study in Psychology, Disability Studies and Health Promotion. Angela has 17 years of experience teaching in a variety of schools in Melbourne, and at well-regarded international schools.

Angela’s philosophy of effective educational practices centers around combining engaging teaching and learning strategies that have clear outcomes with executing a flexible program that differentiates for individual needs. Angela has a breadth of experiences across a range of year levels and is skilled in implementing a range of supportive learning strategies. Her experience of working in numerous international schools allowed her to develop educational connections across the world and develop her understanding of best practices implemented in a variety of countries.

Angela has been a member of the leadership team at a range of schools, such as being the Team Leader of the Foundation – Year 2 area at two different schools. This role involved leading teams of teachers in the planning, development, implementation, assessment and reporting of the curriculum. She has also held other positions of responsibility, such as being the Literacy Team Leader that involved co-ordinating the English program across the school. Angela has also presented to staff on best practices related to implementing effective literacy strategies. Additionally, Angela has also been a member of the school council, as well as mentored numerous teachers.

Furthermore, Angela has effectively planned, implemented and assessed a range of Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) in order to modify the curriculum to assist with catering for the needs of students at multiple schools. Implementing this process involved working collaboratively with psychologists, speech therapists, principals and parents in order to best support individual children.

Emma Harty

Emma is a qualified teacher and is fully registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology major), Bachelor of Education (Primary) and a Master of Learning Intervention (Specific Learning Difficulties). Emma has over 15 years teaching experience and has taught in a range of schools both here and in the UK. She is also trained in a number of evidence-based literacy programs, including The Spalding Method and Sounds-Write. Emma has a breadth of experience across a range of year levels and is skilled in implementing a range of supportive learning strategies.

Kayleigh Flaks

Kayleigh is a qualified teacher and is fully registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. She has studied at Monash University and completed a Bachelor of Primary Education (with honours) and a Master of Education with a Specialisation in Inclusion and Special Education. Over the past five years Kayleigh has been working with a large range of students in Primary and Secondary school.

Kayleigh is extremely passionate about creating engaging, safe and interactive learning environments. It is her priority that all individuals can enjoy and partake in learning which is relevant, purposeful and transferable. Kayleigh incorporates a range of effective evidence-based pedagogy into all her lessons, utilising teaching and learning strategies which are flexible and differentiates learners’ individual needs, goals and desired outcomes. Additionally, Kayleigh strives to provide learners with lifelong academic, organisational and emotional skills while developing their confidence, self-worth and intrinsic motivation.

Kayleigh’s philosophy is that every individual is capable of success, growth and achievement when provided with the correct tools and strategies to assist them.

Elana Melzak

Elana is a primary school teacher, who is fully registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. She has had many years experience working at independent schools across Victoria. She has also undertaken positions within these school settings in the Curriculum Support Department and as an Integration Aide. Her passion has always been working with children with additional needs, whether that be educational/ academic only or also combined with social/ emotional/ behavioural issues.

She loves nothing more than working with children that unfortunately have been labelled as “ unteachable”.
Supporting and encouraging a child to reach their full potential brings enormous joy and pride to her.
She also relishes the opportunity to work collaboratively with home and school to provide the right environment for success.

Elana began her career at an Educational and Psychological Consulting Firm, working with children of all ages. She ultimately became the Director of Educational Services with a team of forty staff under her direction. She feels it is so fitting to be returning to a clinic style environment, facilitating social skills and educational workshops.

Her underlying belief system is that “children are here to teach us. We just need to be open to receiving those precious learning lessons”. We as educators no longer impart knowledge. We facilitate learning and growth.

Jacinta Conway

Jacinta is a trained primary school teacher and has taught in a range of school settings here and in the UK, in government and independent schools since 2002. Whilst in the UK, she worked closely with special educators and developed an interest in learning interventions. She has since trained in a range of evidence-based literacy programs, including The Spalding Method, the Multilit programs, Macqlit and has more recently consolidated this knowledge by undertaking her Masters in Learning Interventions at the University of Melbourne. Jacinta has been implementing Literacy and Numeracy interventions for more than ten years now.

With a special interest in social capabilities and how behaviour affects learning, she is now looking to integrate social capabilities into Learning Interventions for Literacy, to provide a more holistic approach for sustainable learning. Jacinta believes in Evidence-Based Practice, where parents are included in the journey for the intervention, and has experienced the most success when implementing interventions when this happens.