Horse / Animal experience
While Aretha grew up in the city, she found every opportunity to spend time with animals as a child. After learning to care for animals and ride horses through the volunteer program at The Collingwood Children’s Farm, Aretha commenced pony club at age 11 with her first pony, Taj.
Eventually, her family moved to the Yarra Valley where Aretha owned several horses, including two retired racehorses. Aretha has volunteered at Riding for the Disabled and has taught horse riding to people of all ages. Although she no longer has her own horse, Aretha enjoys spending time with her nephew and his Shetland Pony, Belle.
Professional experience and practice
Aretha is a paediatric speech pathologist and a Certified Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia. Since graduating from the Master of Speech Pathology program at Melbourne University in 2013, Aretha has attended ongoing professional learning opportunities in many areas including Autism, ADHD, demand avoidance and Specific Learning Difficulties. Aretha is Hanen certified (It Takes Two to Talk & More Than Words) and has completed advanced training in Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (Dr Ross Greene) to support children with challenging behaviours.
Having worked for many years in the disability and private sectors, Aretha is experienced in assessing and supporting preschool and primary school-aged children with their speech and language development, play and social communication, fluency (stuttering) and literacy skills. Aretha began her career in Early Childhood Intervention Services, working in the community with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds across regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne. After moving into private practice and providing predominantly clinic-based services, Aretha developed a strong interest in behaviour and emotional awareness and regulation. This led to Aretha spending two years working in a specialist primary school for students with social, emotional and behavioural disorders.
In her clinical practice, Aretha places great importance on building trusting relationships with children and their families and ensures that therapy is individualised and family-centred. Aretha has a passion for supporting children with neurodevelopmental differences to understand themselves and be understood by others. She recognises the significant impact that social and learning environments can have on children’s sensory and emotional regulation, and is excited to be able to work alongside horses and ponies in the beautiful setting at Rehab4Rehab.