Frances Brennan, Speech Pathologist, and owner of The Speech Tree, has been working with children with additional learning needs for over seven years, as an integration aide, tutor and speech pathologist. Frances enjoys working with children and families with complex needs and is passionate about working with children and adolescents who are struggling to engage in learning.

Frances completed her Honours and Masters degree at La Trobe University and conducted research examining the applicability of a frequently used language assessment tool to Victorian children and presented her findings at the Speech Pathology Australia conference in 2013.

Frances has experience working with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder, speech and language impairments, Down Syndrome and Literacy difficulties. More recently Frances has worked as part of the CELF-5 Standardisation Team and is working in conjunction with a publishing company to produce classroom literacy resources.

Frances strives to provide holistic therapy that empowers her clients to succeed and thrive in their daily lives.

Frances is a member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist.

Emily Ellis, Speech Pathologist, joined The Speech Tree team in 2017. Emily has a keen interest in working with children with speech sound disorders and emerging literacy difficulties. Emily’s clients and their families enjoy her warm and engaging approach to therapy – there is always lots of laughter coming from Clinic Room 1!

Emily is a member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist.

Joanna Huiswaard, Speech Pathologist, joined The Speech Tree team in 2018. Joanna completed her Masters degree at La Trobe University and is passionate about providing evidence-based intervention in a fun and motivating environment. Joanna has worked as a disability support worker and has a keen interest in the areas of speech sound disorders, literacy and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Joanna is a member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist.

Kate Cranage, Speech Pathologist, joined The Speech Tree team in 2019. Kate completed her Masters degree at La Trobe University and is passionate about working with children with speech sound disorders, as well as language and literacy difficulties. Kate strives to create fun and engaging therapy activities that cater to each child’s unique personality and interests.

Kate is a member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist.

Celeste Verhoef, Practice Manager, joined The Speech Tree team in 2018. She is the face you’ll find at our reception desk and the voice you’ll hear on the other end of the phone, handling the goings-on of our administrative and management tasks.

Prior to joining The Speech Tree Celeste worked as a veterinary nurse for almost 13yrs. Celeste is a Mum of two children, Karl (4yrs) & Isla (8mth.) She looks forward to meeting all our clients upon their next visit to The Speech Tree.

Samantha Darragh, Administration Assistant, joined The Speech Tree team in 2019. Samantha is a mum of two, Chelsea (11yrs) and Tanner (4.5yrs) and previously worked in the dental industry for over 13 years.

Even though Samantha is new to the team she is not new to The Speech Tree as Samantha’s son Tanner has autism and has been a client for nearly 3 years. Samantha is excited to be able to use and share her personal experience of having a child with autism and being a client of The Speech Tree and is more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Samantha looks forward to meeting you all and being part of such an important service within the community.