Who We Are

Dr Anne Chalfant

Dr Anne Chalfant

Director and Clinical Psychologist

  • B.Sc.Psych.(Hons.)
  • M.Clin.Psych.(Hons.)
  • D.Clin.Psych, MAPS, MAACBT
  • Member APS College of Clinical Psychologists

Anne is an internationally regarded Clinical Psychologist and researcher.  She has a wide range of experience in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of developmental, intellectual, emotional and behavioural difficulties within children.  She has presented at international conferences and is often cited in Australian radio and print media for her expertise on child development and parenting.  Anne has presented frequently on “Parenting” on talk-back radio as a guest expert for both Radio 2GB and Radio 2UE in Sydney.

Anne consults to schools, health organisations and universities both within Australia and overseas.  She has roles as a lecturer, Clinical Supervisor and training consultant at the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University.  She has also conducted training at the Centre for Autism and Developing Brain (CADB), which is a collaborative program between New York-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  It is one of the best clinical and research programs in the world for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Anne has been involved in developing and conducting research projects on various aspects of child health and development including the treatment of anxiety in children, early intervention programs and effective parenting programs. In recognition of her expertise, reputation, and demonstrated commitment to excellence, education, and research she was given the title of Honorary Associate at Macquarie University, Australia in 2014.

Anne is considered an international expert on anxiety difficulties in children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  She is a full member of both the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR). As a part of her Doctoral research, she co-authored the first, manual based, cognitive-behavioural intervention program for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and anxiety difficulties in conjunction with Macquarie University.  In 2004, Anne was awarded the Australian Psychological Society National Clinical Psychology Conference Prize for Early Career Research. In 2011, she published the book, “Managing Anxiety in People with Autism”, which subsequently became a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards in the Psychology section.  It has sold thousands of copies worldwide.

Emily Upton


  • B.Psych.(Hons Class 1), M.Clin.Psych., MAPS, MACPA, MAACBT

Emily is passionate about working with children, adolescents and young adults experiencing difficulties with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and behavioural difficulties. She has experience working with a range of populations and presentations within private practice, hospital, and university clinic settings, using therapeutic techniques from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She particularly enjoys assisting children and young people and has a warm and empathic approach.

Emily gained experience treating anxiety disorders using a CBT framework at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Unit in the Department of Medical Psychology at Westmead Hospital, and assisting adolescents with eating and mood difficulties and their families at the Intensive Family and Adolescent Eating Disorders Day Program at the Children’s Hospital, Westmead.

Emily is also skilled in the implementation of evidence based, integrated family intervention programs for children with disruptive, non-compliant and defiant behaviours, as well as in providing assistance for children with attentional and emotional dysregulation difficulties. She has experience conducting neuropsychological assessments for children, adolescents, and adults.

In addition to her clinical work, Emily has a wide range of research interests. She worked as a Research Assistant for several years at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW. Besides her work at Annie’s Centre, Emily also works at the University of Technology (UTS) Health Psychology Unit, and The Black Dog Institute Psychology Clinic at the Prince of Wales Hospital.


Bettina Christl


  • Dipl.-Psych, MIPH, Doctorate/MSc Clin Psych (Candidate)

Bettina is a compassionate and dedicated psychologist. She is passionate about helping children with developmental difficulties and bringing about positive changes in the life of these children and their families.

Her therapeutic approach aims to build on the existing strengths of each child and their family, to grow children’s resilience and support their optimal development.

She has worked with adults, adolescents and children in a variety of settings, including community health, hospital, and university clinic settings. Her therapeutic approach is evidence based and uses techniques from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and Family Therapy.

Bettina has gained experience working with children with ASD and other developmental difficulties at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. She has experience conducting neuropsychological assessments for children, adolescents, and adults.

Bettina has a strong background in research, including the early detection of autism spectrum disorder, as well as the impact of perinatal adversity on mother-child attachment and early child development. In the past, she has been working as research assistant at the School of Psychiatry, UNSW.


Andrew Sheridan

Clinical Psychologist

  • BSc(Hons) Psych; DClin Psych; PGDip Paediatric Neuropsychology

Andrew is a dedicated, enthusiastic, and caring Clinical Psychologist with 7 years’ experience working with children, young adults, and families. He gained his studies in Psychology at University College London, Clinical Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, and Paediatric Neuropsychology at University College London. Andrew published his doctoral thesis on the relationship between ADHD symptoms and sleep disturbance, he has lectured on Paediatric Neuropsychology at Oxford University, and he has presented at conferences to professional colleagues as well as to children and their families.

Andrew has worked at Oxford Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital; he has worked at an adult brain injury hospital; and he has worked at a number of private clinics. He has gained experience working with children who have various developmental conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, specific learning disorders, and global intellectual delays; he has worked with kids diagnosed with a variety of Neurological and medical conditions such as epilepsy and brain tumours; and he also has experience working with children who have anxiety and behavioural difficulties. He has experience with conducting neuropsychological assessments, and also testing for Autism Spectrum Disorders using the ADOS-II.

Andrew chose to work with children, young adults, and families because he believes in the importance of early intervention in maximising the happiness and opportunities of the patient and those in their family. He works collaboratively and sensitively with his clients to identify goals, barriers to progress, and strengths that can be harnessed. Andrew believes that working closely with schools can enhance generalisation of treatment if this is in line with the family’s wishes, and that the care and support from a loving family is paramount throughout.


Tom Butterworth

Clinical Psychologist

  • B.Sc.Psych.(Hons) M.Psych.Clin, MACPA, MAACBT

Tom is a dedicated, warm and friendly clinical psychologist who uses evidence-based interventions to help children, adolescents, and families overcome challenges and manage difficult situations. He draws upon extensive experience in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), interventions for child conduct problems, Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and social-emotional skill development.

Tom is a skilled Psychologist who has experience in a diverse range of issues that affect young people and their families, including behaviour problems, anxiety, depression, trauma, developmental delays, grief and parental separation. He has experience in a range of settings, in particular community health and tertiary child and adolescent mental health settings. He has worked in multidisciplinary teams and his work with schools includes helping to establish a mental health and well-being clinic school for children with ASD.

Tom has experience conducting comprehensive psychometric assessments that assess intellectual ability, academic ability and adaptive functioning. As well, he is able to assess for conditions including ADHD, specific learning disorders, intellectual disability and ASD.

Tom’s passion for improving the lives of people with ASD is evident in his commitment to the training and development of health, education, and medical professionals. He has experience in training professionals in social-emotional skill development as well as how to adapt mental health interventions to be most effective for individuals with ASD. He has delivered at parent information events and presented research at domestic and international conferences, including the Asia Pacific Autism Conference.

Tom is a certified facilitator and recognised trainer in Emotion-based Social Skills Training (EBSST), a social-emotional program that aims to promote the well-being of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Tom received the Australian Psychological Society Prize for highest academic achievement in his Honours program and was the inaugural recipient of the competitive Nikki Fellowship in Clinical Psychology at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Leah Park

Leah Park

Speech Pathologist

  • B.AppSc (Spch Path) MSPAA
  • Practicing Member of Speech Pathology Australia
  • Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP)
  • Member of Health Professions Council, UK

Leah has worked as a Paediatric Speech Pathologist for more than 10 years. She enjoys working with children and their parents to help develop functional communication skills. Leah places a strong emphasis on family-centred practice, so that each child’s specific communication needs within the family are acknowledged and taken into account when planning intervention. Leah has extensive knowledge and experience in both assessment and intervention of children with a wide range of communication and developmental difficulties, including; speech and/or language delays/disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Disorder), literacy difficulties, fluency difficulties, developmental delays (including Global Developmental Delay), physical difficulties/impairment and hearing impairment.

Leah values working directly with parents in order to help them develop their own skills which will lead to enhanced communication between them and their child. This enhanced communication can then help their child’s language develop to the best of their ability. Leah is accredited by the internationally regarded Hanen Centre in Canada to run the ‘It Takes Two to Talk’, ‘More than Words’ and the ‘TalkAbility’ Hanen parent training programs.

Leah is also one of the registered practitioners and trainers for the MULTILIT Reading Tutor Program (Revised) at Annie’s Centre. Early speech and language difficulties can be one of the key factors in children not reaching their potential with reading and literacy skills. Leah is experienced in providing intensive support and systematic instruction to children with delays in literacy skills.

Prior to joining Annie’s Centre, Leah worked at The Sydney Children’s Hospital and has also worked in the UK (both London and Scotland) for six years. Leah brings a diverse range of experience with her to Annie’s Centre, which all children and families she works with will benefit from.


Ben Bailey

Speech Pathologist

  • BSPath (Newcastle)
  • Practicing Member of Speech Pathology Australia
Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist (CPSP)

Ben is an enthusiastic and committed paediatric Speech Pathologist. He is experienced in the assessment and treatment of children presenting with oral language delay/disorder, speech sound disorder (including Dyspraxia), fluency disorder, literacy difficulties and developmental delays/disorders (including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)). Ben has strong experience in the administration of the MULTILIT reading tutor program and the application of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems such as PECS, and proloquo2go.

Ben is a strong believer in family-centred practice and acknowledges the pivotal role parents play in all aspects of clinical practice, including goal setting and therapy planning.

Committed to ongoing professional development, Ben is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney where he is currently investigating literacy development in children diagnosed with ASD and computer-based literacy interventions. He has presented on this topic at international conferences.

Emma Ballantyne

Emma Ballantyne

Provisionally Registered Psychologist, Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant


Bachelor of Health Science (University of Sydney)
  • Graduate Diploma in Psychology (The University of Sydney)
Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology (Thesis) (Bond University)

Emma is a registered Provisional Psychologist who is enthusiastic, dedicated and passionate about supporting children and their families.
Emma strongly believes in the delivery of a holistic model of intervention that promotes positive learning environments which aim to support and foster a child’s growth and development. Her holistic approach to intervention focuses on empowering a child’s family and creating consistency across environments.

Emma has experience working with children with a diverse range of developmental difficulties including specialised knowledge in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), behaviour support and communication systems. Emma values and actively participates in continuing professional development to ensure that her skills remain cutting edge in the treatment of a range of child developmental and mental disorders. Alongside her work as a Senior Behaviour Therapist at Annie’s Centre, Emma works for SDN Children’s Services as a Provisional Psychologist within the Early Learning Links team in Mascot.

Shristy Bastola

Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant


B.Sc. Psychology

Shristy is a committed and compassionate Senior Behaviour Therapist who specialises in intervention plans and therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. She strives to ensure that both individual and social group therapy sessions are productive yet enjoyable for the children through a play-based approach.

Shristy advocates the importance of the family’s role in achieving therapy goals; providing all the required knowledge and tools to families through the parent coaching program in order to promote consistency and generalisation across all environments. She tailors every intervention plan and program to each individual child and family’s specific needs, drawing from the evidence based principles of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). Shristy frequently liaises with other relevant health practitioners to ensure that the goals for the targeted areas of development are updated and beneficial to the overall well-being of the child.

Dean Spirou

Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant

  • B.Psych.(Hons.)

Dean is a Senior Behaviour Therapist who is committed, caring and enthusiastic about his work with children and their families. He brings a warm-hearted and dynamic approach to his role.

Dean has knowledge and experience working with children and adolescents who present with a range of behavioural and developmental challenges, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Dean develops and implements tailored intervention programs, which draw upon the evidence based principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). He creates programs within a multidisciplinary team to maximise the development of life skills that are necessary for social interaction and communication as well as various other childhood developmental domains. Dean also advocates the importance of family centred practice and fostering positive therapeutic environments, which optimise interaction with families and their child.

Dean has completed a Bachelor of Psychology Honours degree and is currently continuing further education undergoing a postgraduate degree in clinical psychology (Master of Clinical Psychology). Dean was previously a volunteer within the Telephone Information and Referral Support Service sector at One Door Mental Health, formally known as the Schizophrenia Fellowship of New South Wales. In this role he provided social contact and emotional support to consumers and carers across different ages and with different mental illnesses, who were often socially isolated or simply enjoyed having a chat with someone who understands.

Alison Edmonds

Speech Pathologist

  • BSPath (Honours) (University of Newcastle)
    Practicing member of Speech Pathology Australia

Alison is a passionate, caring and committed paediatric Speech Pathologist. Alison has experience in the assessment and treatment of children presenting with a range of communication and developmental difficulties, including; speech sound disorders (including Childhood Apraxia of Speech/Dyspraxia), expressive and receptive language disorders, literacy difficulties, developmental delays (Global Developmental Delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome) and fluency difficulties.

Alison is dedicated to delivering a family-centred approach which positively facilitates the learning and development of each child by strengthening their communication skills and participation in everyday life.

Alison is trained in 9 levels of Key Word Sign (KWS), a form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and has experience utilising KWS to reinforce speech and language development alongside therapy within early intervention.

Alison has strong clinical skills and knowledge in the administration of the MULTILIT reading tutor program.

Through her university (UoN), Alison had the opportunity to work at an early intervention centre in Fiji as part of her final fourth year university paediatric placement. During this time Alison developed strong clinical skills and experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome, as well as providing professional development for special education teachers.

Sakina Khan

Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant

  • BSc Psychology (University of Auckland)
  • PGDipSci Psychology (Applied Behaviour Analysis) (University of Auckland)

Sakina is a dedicated and diligent Senior Behaviour Therapist with a genuine passion for making positive changes in the lives of her clients and their families. She has five years of experience working with children with a wide range of behavioural difficulties in Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia, in both 1:1 and school settings.

Being a caring, creative, and compassionate therapist with a strong background in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Sakina draws from principles of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and adopts a holistic style in her play-based therapy. She strongly believes in the value and effectiveness of early intensive behavioural intervention as she has seen the positive outcomes for children and their families first hand.

She continues to strive to better the learning process and welfare of the families she works with and is excited to continue pursuing her passion to one day become a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst.