Skilled professionals

Our Team

The Kids First team is made up of a group of highly experienced professionals

 

The Kids First SA team is made up of a group of highly experienced professionals. We are constantly learning from each other and believe that through collaborative practice and sharing knowledge, ideas and skills we will be able to offer schools and families a service that is truly integrated and most importantly, we hope, effective.

Amanda Davis

M.Sc (Speech and Language), M.A (Dyslexia), B.Sc (Hons) Founder

Amanda qualified with a BSc(hons) in Logopaedics from the University of Cape Town in 2001. She completed an MSc in speech and language therapy from UCT in 2005 and an MA in dyslexia from Kingston University (London) in 2007. She has worked across numerous settings including hospitals, special and mainstream schools in London and started her independent practice, Words First Ltd (www.wordsfirst.uk) in 2009. Words First Ltd is now one of the largest independent practices in the UK. Amanda is an advisor in dyslexia to the Royal College of Speech and Language therapy (UK) and is passionate about collaborative practice and injecting some of the outstanding special educational needs principles found in the UK into South Africa. Amanda lives in Pinelands, has 2 little girls Amy and Emily and is married to Pete. She is currently doing a PhD in reading and reading comprehension through UCT. Amanda loves the outdoors, hiking, camping and running and is partial to a glass of bubbles

Caroline Sullivan

Play Therapist

Caroline achieved a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch in 2003 and then moved to the UK for 7 years. While there, she studied Play Therapy and worked extensively with children doing special educational needs support, remedial teaching and play therapy, both privately and in primary schools. Caroline received a Diploma in Counselling from the Blackford Centre and a MA in Practice Based Play Therapy from Canterbury Christ Church University in England. Caroline moved back to Cape Town 6 years ago where she practices play therapy privately and at a shelter for abused women and children in Athlone. Since returning, Caroline has specialised in attachment, and works with babies, young children and families strengthening attachment relationships. Caroline is a member of Play Therapy International and is the chairperson of the Western Cape Association for Infant Mental Health. She lives in Pinelands with her husband, Daniel and two busy boys, James and Matthew. When she is not playing with her own children or other children, she enjoys exploring the beautiful Western Cape and baking cakes!

Bridget Surtees

Dietitian

Bridget is a registered Dietitian. She qualified in 1996 with a BSc (medical Honours) in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Cape Town. Bridget is a member of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) and a member of The Association of Dietetics of SA (ADSA).
After graduating from UCT Bridget worked in the United Kingdom She specialised as a paediatric dietician through the Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London Hospital. In 2003 Bridget moved to Sydney, Australia with her husband, where she worked as a specialist paediatric dietitian at the renowned Sydney Children’s Hospital. She worked in a variety of different paediatric specialities, providing nutritional care for critically ill babies and children as well as patients suffering from allergies and bowel disorders, working with children and adolescents with eating disorders, administering the ketogenic diet for children with intractable epilepsy, and providing nutritional care for children with muscular dystrophies and other neurological conditions.

In 2012, Bridget returned home to South Africa with her young family, where she now runs a private practice, seeing both children (www.nutrition4kids.co.za) and Adults (www.realfooddietitians.co.za).

Bridget is a bestselling author –she co-authored the book Raising Superheroes along with Prof Tim Noakes and Jonno Proudfoot. This book advocates a low sugar lifestyle for children.

Bridget Enjoys cycling, camping and hiking with her family

Lyndall Sharfetter

Occupational Therapist

Lyndall was born in Cambridge, UK to South African parents in 1972. She returned to SA when she was 18 months on the Windsor Castle. After some time in the Gauteng area the family relocated to Cape Town. Lyndall attended most of primary and high school in Pinelands. She maticulated from Pinelands High School in 1989 and was accepted into the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Cape Town from 1990. Lyndall qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1993.

From1994, she accepted her first appointment as an occupational therapist at Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital and soon after that a position in a Private Practice which served mostly children, hand and neurological patients. From approximately 1996 to 1998 she worked in the United States as a general Occupational Therapist. On returning to Pinelands she quickly found work in a large practice in the Northern Suburbs. She thouroughly enjoyed being part of a mulitdiscilpinary team at a Rehabilitaion Centre, hospital work and work with children. During this time she started a family and happily has a husband Brendon and two daughters Tamlyn age 8 and Christine age 15. From about 2008 she has grown her own private practice and has helped a variety of chlidren and adults predominantly in the Pinelands area as well as at the Helen Keller Society She has developed a special interest and passion for children, the families, community and schools they move in. She continues to pursue education and activities that assist her in developing her skills to help these special little people. She is very excited and honoured to be part of Kids First Therapy Centre, South Africa.

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Meghan Roderick

Speech Language Therapist

Meghan qualified from UCT in 2017, after which she spent her community service year in rural KZN where she learnt that speech therapy is best provided in collaboration with families and care givers.
Meghan has a special interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder and has begun her training in the Makaton Language Programme and AAC. Meghan believes that child led therapy is the best approach, allowing the child’s interests and strengths to guide her sessions.

 

 

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Nicole Soames

Educational Psychologist

Nicole has always had a love of working with and supporting the youth, and this passion has driven her life pursuit to assist children and adolescents struggling with emotional, developmental, or learning difficulties. She is a qualified Educational Psychologist, assisting children and adolescents with therapy and assessments. Through these services, she strives to develop a child’s coping strategies and personal agency in order to overcome various difficulties in the school or home environment.

She also has a special interest in hosting workshops for parents and teachers, which focus on using positive discipline within the home and school environments by setting boundaries. Nicole pursued an Honours degree in Psychology and Masters degree in Educational Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Before starting her Masters degree, she also completed a short course in Practical Psychometry (University of Johannesburg), registering as a Psychometrist thereafter. Nicole has gained experience working with children, adolescents, and university students, as well as volunteering at a centre of learning with a focus on improving the emotional development and wellbeing of children under 7, their parents, and other caregivers around Alexandra Township in Johannesburg.

Julia Lee-Sylvester

Physiotherapist

Julia is the youngest member of the team and has a one year old daughter named Isla who keeps her on her toes.
After graduating with a BSc Physiotherapy and completing her community service year, Julia devoted herself to paediatrics as a special interest and passion. She worked briefly for a private practice seeing children with respiratory illnesses, developmental delays, and neurological impairments, followed by two years at Eros School where Julia provided therapy to children with an array of congenital and genetic conditions. It was during her time at Eros that she completed her Bobath-Neurodevelopmental training, and her love for working with children with Cerebral Palsy grew.

In 2016 Julia gave birth to her first child, which further entrenched her dedication to paediatrics, and spurred her growing enthusiasm for mother and child wellness. Becoming a mother has inspired her to become a strong advocate for mothers and children, and she hopes to empower women to be able to make informed choices about the healthcare and support of themselves and their children. While on maternity leave in 2017, she furthered her knowledge and skills by beginning a postgraduate certification offered by the women’s health special interest group of South Africa. She also recently completed her ante and post-natal Pilates certification as well as attending a breastfeeding education course to better advise mothers who seek help with breastfeeding challenges.

Juliette Reynders

Speech and Language Therapist

Juliette qualified from UCT in 2015. Following her Community Service year in 2016, she spent a year living and working abroad in London. During that time Juliette learned many valuable skills in assessment, intervention and management of children with a variety of speech, language and communication difficulties. Juliette then returned to South Africa, in the hope of sharing her knowledge with those in her field. 

Juliette believes in using a child’s strengths to make therapy fun, interactive and effective. Through her experience in working across a range of different settings, Juliette is able collaborate effectively with teachers, families and relative MDT team members to ensure intervention is holistic and that progress is made as efficiently as possible. Juliette’s special interests include neurological conditions, picky eaters/problem feeders, as well as apraxia of speech.