About Us

For Life and Wellbeing

Bright FACES was established to offer a multidisciplinary intervention that strives for excellence in service delivery. Our motto is for life and wellbeing. We endeavour to provide professional therapies that support families and individuals throughout their lifespan, while promoting a greater quality of life.


All programmes and techniques are based on latest research and empirical evidence that support ‘Best Practice’ interventions. Our programmes are distinct, as a multi-theoretical basis (i.e. educational, developmental and behavioural constructs) is implemented to target the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD. The programmes are delivered on an individual or small group basis (maximum of three children to one trained adult) depending on client needs.


Bright FACES is dedicated to work in partnership with families and their supportive networks by sharing their skills and expertise. The driving principle behind Bright FACES is to assist those on the Autism Spectrum to have access to individual and group programmes that will teach them to become independent, live confidently, be active members of their local community, and society in general. At Bright FACES, we believe that all people have a right to feel proud and confident in whom they are and live a dignified life.

Meet the Team


Michelle Jimeno

Director/Principal Psychologist

Read Michelle's Bio

Qualification(s): BSci(Psych), PGDip (Psych), MPsych (Ed & Dev)

Membership(s): AHPRA (endorsed supervisor; Ed & Dev Psych) MAPS, MCEDP

Number of years in the industry (or similar): Practicing Psychologist since 2004, Behavioural Therapist/Teacher’s Aide 1998-2003, Youth worker 1993-1997 (Studied Psychology from 1998-2008)

How would you describe what you do: As an Educational & Developmental Psychologist, I help people understand their intellectual and social-emotional abilities to get the most out of their learning across all aspects of their lifespan.  Our centre mainly works with paediatrics and their families but on most occasions, we continue to see our clients even into their adult years, should they ever need to call upon us.  The role of an Ed & Dev Psychologist is very systemic in their approach, as we don’t just deal with the individual in question; we also see how to support other contributing influences (e.g. parents, siblings, educational setting, workplace, etc.).  Over the last few years, we have taken on psychology students on placement while they complete their Master’s level degree.  I also supervise qualified psychologists wanting endorsement specialisation as an Ed & Dev Psychologist.

What do you like about what you do (include what you find rewarding): Seriously, apart from paperwork, what’s not to like? I adore being an Ed & Dev Psychologist and the whole gamut this role brings; from assessments to messy play.  I love the process of investigating why a child behaves a certain way or is having difficulty with their learning and being able to explain that to parents and teachers.  Using research knowledge to turn the difficult into practical solutions.  Seeing the little steps of progress and celebrating milestones with parents and teachers.  I’m in awe of how members of my team immediately come together to help a distressed child (especially behind the scenes), to see how best that child can be supported from their disciplinary perspectives.  It’s pretty amazing how they analyse as they witness, a true strength of our clinic.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): In all honesty, I loathed high school and started my career with the Public Service after finishing Year 12.  Soon after, I successfully applied for a Youth Worker position, which I did while we were raising our two young sons at the time.  Our youngest son was a handful and an opportunity came where I could take a year off work to look after our boys.  Staying at home dealing with a screaming child all day long was hard work.  As we went from one doctor’s appointment to another, the question of Autism arose. It was very unknown back then (1997), especially within the public forum, myself included.

I am a proactive person so I wanted to find out more how to help my son and manage his behaviours.  I applied for Uni, where at every opportunity my essays, research and theses were about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  I was intrigued by this condition as a mother and as an early professional.  Still while studying, I held positions with Department of Education as a teacher’s aide and as a Departmental Psychologist.  I’ve also held a position at a private catholic all girls’ school where I was the sole psychologist for over 800 students.

I started my multidisciplinary practice, Bright FACES, in the western suburbs because there was a lack of services that specialised in ASD.  I remember having to travel 45mins+ to therapy and doctor’s appointments and there were no Medicare rebates or funding support like DSS.  It is good to see how the field of Autism and the government are evolving, by providing more support to the individual across the lifespan and not just targeting early intervention.

Common misconception about what you do: Without a doubt, when you tell people you’re a psychologist many reply, “So you can read my mind”.  Unfortunately, we didn’t learn psychic abilities at Uni.

Any other information you would like us to know: Our two boys have grown up to be fine young men now both in their 20’s.  Our eldest son is a teacher at a specialist school, which he loves, so I guess working with special needs has rubbed off.  Our youngest son is no longer the handful he once was.  He has developed to be quite an independent and happy young man, who constantly surprises us, and others who know him.  He has always been my will to learn and share what I learn with others.

Finally, I’d like to say that working with families effected by ASD is indeed challenging but knowing that you’re contributing to the progress and are improving someone’s quality of life is far more rewarding.


Rolando Jimeno

Business Manager/ Sport and Recreation Officer

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Qualification(s): Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management, Personal Trainer Cert 3 & 4, CrossFit Level 1 Coach, Certificate 4 Retail Management

Membership(s): Hawthorn Football Club

Number of years in the industry 9 years in the sport, recreation and fitness industry. 23 years in a management role.

How would you describe what you do: Business Manager. As the company’s Business Manager, I look after all business matters, such as the processing of DSS Funding, controlling and adhering to company budgets, assist in developing new business, managing accounts receivables, liaising with the Melton Shire and other relevant small businesses, assist medical receptionist with client service.

Sport, Recreation and Fitness Officer: In this role I’m responsible for programming exercise sessions for our primary aged children, adolescents and parents/groups which is run on a weekly basis.

What do you like about what you do? I really enjoy the variety of my role at Bright FACES, firstly because I’m not doing the same thing all the time. For instance I maybe processing DSS accounts or other administration task in the morning and then after lunch I’ll be focusing on a sports session plan and then delivering it to the groups later on in the afternoon. But what is really satisfying about my job is seeing our clients progress, not only in better quality of movement and an increase in fitness, but also the improvements in their social skills. I also like having the term breaks which gives me the chance to travel.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field: I pretty much got into the sport, recreation and fitness industry 8 years ago because I wanted a lifestyle change. Previous to that I had a middle management role for an oil company which was very stressful and quite bluntly hated and wanted to find a better work life balance. So in 2008 I quit my job cold turkey, without even telling my wife and pursued a career in Sports Recreation and Fitness. In 2008 I obtained my Cert 3 and 4 in Personal Training, and also enrolled to complete a Sport and Recreation Management Degree, which I completed in 2011. Whilst completing my degree I worked part time for Melton Waves and Genesis as a Personal Trainer. By the time I had finished my degree I was heavily entrenched in a career in Personal Training, to the point that I started a business partnership in which we had our own establishment, Melton Personal Training. After 18 months my passion for CrossFit lead me to run my own gym (CrossFit Melton). In 2104 I joined Bright FACES to assist with managing business matters once a week, and now I’m there pretty much full time.

Common misconception about what you do: I guess one of the many misconceptions about Personal Trainers is that they only cater for athletes. In my opinion a good Personal Trainer should be able to adapt to individuals fitness and healthy living goals and not a ‘one size fits all’ attitude. As we are individuals the advice given should be personalised too.

Any other information you would like us to know: I like riding my bike especially around Mt Macedon and Hepburn region. I worship the Mighty Hawks and the players (just visit my office). I love travelling. I love my Chockie Lab Busta Brown


Deborah Conroy

Administration/Medical Receptionist

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How would you describe what you do: I welcome all of our clients to the clinic and assist them with their appointment bookings, along with providing information to our clients on the social groups that we offer. I provide assistance to ensure your appointments are handled with great ease for you and your family. I aim to make you feel welcome and comfortable with every visit into the clinic.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (and other relevant work experience): My background is working in registered training organisations providing administrative support to adult learners to achieve their goals of completing their qualifications. I enjoy working with those in our community and wanted to extend my passion for helping others to assisting children and their families in achieving their goals. I came across Bright FACES and the position was everything that I wanted.

What do you like about what you do: The team at Bright FACES are an amazing and supportive group of people, they make me laugh every day. I enjoy being able to put a smile on other’s faces and the interaction with our clients and their families allows me to do this every day, whether it is face to face or over the phone. It is rewarding watching others achieve their goals. As a parent, I know how fulfilling this is watching children achieving something new, watching their faces beam with pure pride and joy.

Common misconception about what you do: You can’t be that busy answering a phone. Every phone call is different so you never know what you are going to answer when the phone rings.

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Ashlea Galea

Team Assistant

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Number of years in the industry (or similar): 6

How would you describe what you do: I provide administration support to the whole team and complete projects/ tasks to benefit the company and staff under the direction of our Director. I am the second contact for Reception and I manage all bookings, including’s assessments in Michelle’s diary.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): I have previously worked with Osteopaths prior to having children of my own.  When returning to work, I started in a GP clinic but soon realised I wanted to stay within the Allied Health sector.  An opportunity came up at a paediatric clinic- this caught my attention, so I applied and got the job.  After that, I wanted to move onto a different clinic that would work in with my personal life better and this is when I applied for a reception role with Bright FACES. After 1 year on Reception, I was offered my current position as an Executive Assistant to which I decided to take and give it my best shot.

What do you like about what you do (include what you find rewarding): I love being able to help families and brighten someone’s day. As a parent, I can understand how tough some situations can be and just having someone to understand and not judge or help you and your child is such a relief.  Working with children is always rewarding when you see how far they have come through therapy whether that be learning how to simply acknowledge someone else, handwriting, physical movements, handling emotions and reading other people’s emotions. Each child’s journey is so different and has lots of rewards along the way.

Common misconception about what you do: You can make decisions on behalf of the company without Director approval.


Busta Brown

Therapy Dog

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I’m working on my bio with Dad!


Sharik D’Arcy


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Qualification(s): Masters in Psychology (Educational & Developmental)

Membership(s): Australian Psychological Society

Number of years in the industry (or similar): Starting working with children and families in early 1990, working with children with Autism and in Early Intervention services since late 1990s.

How would you describe what you do: I’m a developmental psychologist helping children and parents with lifelong development.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): I was interested in working as a psychologist from having worked in childcare looking after children. I worked with staff in children services providing training and then worked with parents.

What do you like about what you do (include what you find rewarding): I like supporting and helping people with personal issues they face in their lives and find it rewarding working with people and children

Common misconception about what you do: A common misconception about Psychologists is they can ‘read’ minds. But just like parents can understand their children we can interpret thoughts and feelings from observing behaviours.

Any other information you would like us to know: Enjoy looking after my daughter and our dog ‘Jack’ who is a Jack Russell.


Misha Cowling


Read Mishas's Bio

Qualification(s): Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), Masters of Educational & Developmental Psychology (currently undertaking)

Membership(s): Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Number of years in the industry (or similar):I have volunteered within the disability sector for several years now and have been practicing as a registered psychologist since January 2020

 How would you describe what you do: I am passionate about working with children and young people with the goal of helping them develop the social, emotional and behavioural skills that are needed to foster resilience, confidence, independence and an increased sense of wellbeing. I am committed to using evidence-based practices to tailor interventions, strategies and recommendations to meet the individual needs of each client. Furthermore, I strongly believe in working collaboratively with parents, teachers and other health professionals, empowering them to support children in achieving their full potential.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): I grew up in a family that placed a heavy importance in volunteering and giving back to the community. This led me to eventually end up volunteering across several orphanages in Malaysia, where many children were abandoned just because they had special needs. My time in these orphanages made me realise that I wanted to learn more about how I could support children (particularly those who may experience various challenges) in flourishing and achieving their full potential. This led me to seek out opportunities that would allow me to do that- including working as a teacher’s aide in a special school, volunteering in centres that aimed to support the needs of refugee children, as well as in homes that aimed to equip young adults who had been diagnosed with various special needs with independent living skills.

 What do you like about what you do: I thoroughly enjoy working with children and their families, and am grateful that this is something I get to do professionally. It is interesting getting to know the unique personalities of all the children I meet, as well as getting to know all about their individual strengths and needs. There is nothing more rewarding than getting to work together with children and their families, and to see them progress and achieve their goals.

Common misconception about what you do: Every time I tell someone that I am pursuing a career in psychology, the most common response I get is “Can you read my mind?”. Other than that, people tend to assume that I am ‘psychoanalysing’ them the moment I meet them.

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Alycia Pike


Read Alycia's bio

Qualification(s): Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), Masters of Educational & Developmental Psychology.

Membership(s): Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Number of years in the industry (or similar): I recently graduated at the end of 2021. I completed multiple student Psychology placements in various settings throughout my degree, such as at private clinics and a primary school.

How would you describe what you do: I work with children with the aim of supporting them and their families to navigate the various behavioural, emotional, and academic challenges that may arise throughout development. I work with the goal of enhancing children’s wellbeing by working collaboratively with them and their families to develop skills and strategies to support their social and emotional wellbeing, and increase their capacity to thrive within their environment.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): Throughout primary and secondary school, I was unable to find a subject that I was really interested in. Psychology was offered to me as a subject in year 10, and finally, I found something that I truly loved learning about. From there, I knew that being a Psychologist was my dream job. After 6 years of study, I’ve finally made it, and I can’t wait to make a difference to the lives of the children that I work with.

What do you like about what you do (include what you find rewarding): I absolutely love working with children and their families, and getting to know each and every child individually No child is the same, with different backgrounds, histories, personalities, and unique stories to tell. The most rewarding part of the job is definitely seeing them progress towards their goals.

Common misconception about what you do: If you ask any Psychologist this question, I’m sure they’ll say that people often ask them “can you read my mind?” Although I wish I could, unfortunately we aren’t trained to do that. Another misconception is that we do the same job as Psychiatrists.


Amy Rawson

(Currently on Maternity Leave)

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Qualification(s): B.A. (Psych – Hons), Grad. Dip. Primary Teaching, M. Ed. Psych (currently undertaking)

Membership(s): AHPRA (Provisional Psychologist), Victorian Institute of Teaching (Registered Teacher)

Number of years in the industry (or similar): 10 years, including years of study

How would you describe what you do: I get to know children and their families so that I can understand the challenges they are facing, and work with them to find strategies which enable the child and their family to flourish. I use a range of tools to help me understand more about how children think, feel, and behave, and use this to guide me in making recommendations, suggesting strategies for them to try, or delivering interventions.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): While working as a primary school teacher, I realised that my passion was really working with the children who find school challenging or having difficulty learning at the same pace as their peers. I wanted to learn more about how to help these students to reach their goals and develop to their full potential.

What do you like about what you do (include what you find rewarding): I am very fortunate to be placed at Bright FACES and have the opportunity to meet so many unique and special children and their families. It is a privilege to get to know them and to hear their challenges and successes, joys and frustrations, highs and lows, and to join with them in working to achieve their goals.

Common misconception about what you do: That I am a mind reader or analysing everyone that I meet.

Any other information you would like us to know: I love sewing, colouring in, and doing craft activities. I also enjoy baking cakes and bread.

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Sheyma Balkis

Occupational Therapist
(Team Leader)

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Qualification(s): Bachelor of Applied Sciences and Master of Occupational Therapy (La Trobe University)

Membership(s): AHPRA, Occupational Therapy Australia

Number of years in the industry (or similar): I graduated in 2019 with 2 years of placement experience in paediatric and adult settings.

How would you describe what you do? As an Occupational Therapist, I assist children in building their skills and confidence to participate in everyday activities. I work closely with parents and caregivers to support children’s participation across all environments. I value the importance of working as part of a multi-disciplinary team to provide collaborative, high quality interventions and support best outcomes for children and families.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): Whilst completing my Masters in Occupational Therapy, I wanted to put my skills to practice by volunteering in a child orphanage in Cambodia. The time spent at this orphanage involved me assisting children in facilitating their personal care tasks as well as their functional activities. I participated and ran group activities that promoted child development and encouraged children to participate in play and social situations. This was such an eye-opening experience for me, and I felt as though I had learnt a lot about culture, different levels of care and the impact of environment on a child’s health and wellbeing. Hence my passion for understanding the brain, wanting to make a difference and love for working with children drove my decision to specialise in paediatrics.

What do you like about what you do? I love what I do as an occupational therapist because it creates a space for me to support children to achieve their best and live their life with joy. Being able to help individuals reach their goals and seeing the excitement on children’s faces when they have completed a once challenging task is greatly rewarding.

Common misconception about what you do: A common misconception about occupational therapy is that it deals with workplace injuries or job-related issues. Whilst one field of occupational therapy does involve occupational rehabilitation, there is far more to OT than just that. Occupational therapists work in a variety of fields with a focus on helping individuals’ function in their meaningful daily activities, which would include self-care, school and play for children in a paediatric setting.

Any other information you would like us to know: Professionally, I have an interest in supporting children across a range of areas including sensory processing, emotional regulation, social skills and motor skills such as handwriting. I value collaboration with families, parents, carers and teaching staff throughout the therapy process to achieve the most effective and sustainable outcomes for the child. I am committed to providing individualised interventions to support children in their growth and development.
Personally, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, keeping active by playing tennis on the weekends, cooking and curling up with a good book.

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Jocelyn Ong

Speech Pathologist
(Team Leader)

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Qualification(s): Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Speech Pathology

Membership(s): Speech Pathology Australia

Number of years in the industry: I have been working at Bright FACES for 2 years and have completed an array of placements in primary school, hospital and rehabilitation settings.

How would you describe what you do: Speech Pathologists assess and provide therapy for people with communication difficulties. This can cover articulation, understanding and using language (receptive and expressive language), literacy, fluency and social skills.

What do you like about what you do: I’ve always loved making things, even as a child. Working as a Speech Pathologist allows me to use that creative part of my brain to help adapt and make my sessions both fun and productive! I love having the ability to create new and fun ways to apply therapy.

Common misconception about you do: Lots of people think we’re ‘just playing with kids’ but really we are teaching them an array of life skills! Through play, we can teach concepts such as turn taking, being able to read people’s emotions, learning how to handle losing and winning, joint attention, adapting to change, the list goes on!

Additional information: I have a greyhound named Nimbus and despite what lots of people think, she’s a massive couch potato! I also love reading and playing games (mostly on the PlayStation but I have always wanted to build my own PC).


Kate Watkins

Speech Pathologist

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Qualification(s): Bachelor of Applied Science & Master of Speech Pathology at La Trobe University.

Membership(s): Speech Pathology Australia.

Number of years in the industry (or similar): I graduated in 2019 and have completed placements in a variety of settings (including schools & hospitals) throughout my degree since 2017.

How would you describe what you do? As a Speech Pathologist, I assess and provide therapy for people with communication difficulties – this can include many different ‘areas’ including articulation (sounds in speech), understanding language, using language, literacy, and social skills. My goal is to support people to interact with others in their everyday life with success and with confidence.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): I always had a great interest and love for English and the sciences throughout my schooling. There is the saying “never work with children or animals” – and when it came time to finish high school, my two choices were either to become a speech pathologist or a vet! I rang some speech pathology clinics to hear about the work they do, and I was immediately sold on the idea of becoming a speech pathologist myself. I began my university degree in speech pathology soon after, and following 4 years of study, I am so lucky to be doing a job that I love.

What do you like about what you do? I am so proud of the work that speech pathologists do in supporting people to communicate – Communication is such an important part of every person’s life, and because of this, being able to support my clients to be able to communicate is so rewarding. I also love working together with the families of our clients and becoming a ‘teammate’ with families to work together and help kids achieve their best!

Common misconception about what you do: I think the most common misconception about speech pathologists is that we just treat speech sounds (e.g. lisps, or sound errors such as saying “tat” instead of “cat”). We support clients in so many other areas of communication as well! Another luckily less common misconception is that we might ‘just’ be playing with kids during sessions – we often intentionally structure play to focus on building language, because practicing language in play can be so much more meaningful for children than worksheets and lessons!

Any other information you would like us to know: Just some fun bits about me. I have 2 dogs which I will gladly talk about whenever possible. In my spare time I love taking them for walks, being crafty (currently trying to learn to sew…), relaxing with a bit of reading, and playing games – I’m a bit of a big kid when it comes to hobbies!


Tara Gladman

Speech Pathologist

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Qualification(s): Bachelor of Health Sciences, Graduate Certificate of Health Promotion, Bachelor of Speech Pathology

Membership(s): Speech Pathology Australia

Number of years in the industry (or similar): I graduated in 2021 and have been an Allied Health Assistant for about 2 years. I’ve completed placement in schools, clinics, and community health settings.

How would you describe what you do: Speech Pathologists assess and treat communication difficulties across the lifespan. A Speech Pathologist can assist children who have difficulties with: Speaking, listening, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and voice.

Tell us a story about how you got into the field (+ other relevant work experiences): I first learnt about speech pathology, whilst completing a health promotion internship based in Sydney. During the office Christmas party, I started chatting to a few of the clinicians. The Speech Pathologist role sounded quite interesting. So, I begged my boss to follow them around for a few days. I really enjoyed my time observing the Speech Pathologists. As a result, I enrolled in a course the following year and haven’t looked back!

What do you like about what you do (include what you find rewarding): It is such a privilege to work alongside children and their families. I find it so rewarding to see client’s communication skills build and as a result their self-confidence growing!

Common misconception about what you do: I’d say that a common misconception would be that speech pathologists only work with children who have lisps or stutter. We are very fortunate to be able to work across the lifespan, assessing and treating language, voice, alternative communication, fluency, swallowing, social skills and speech.

Any other information you would like us to know: In my spare time I enjoy taking the dog for a walk, going to the beach / scuba diving (when the weather is nice!) and reading.

For Life and Wellbeing