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Luca's Team
Sophie Karpouzidis, behavioural therapist

Sophie began working with Luca in 2012 as his ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) Program Supervisor through Autism Partnership and then as one of his Behavioural Therapists. Sophie works with Luca for 2 hours a week at home and supports him 3 days a week at school, teaching him learning, social, academic, self-care and life skills. Sophie also works with Luca at home and at social outings over the school holidays. She has been a major contributor to the wonderful progress Luca has made.

Sophie remembers the first time she worked with Luca. “I still remember Luca’s laugh and giggle, he didn’t have much expressive language but you could still see his personality shine through. I remember we focused on ‘learning to learn skills’ and I found it amazing how quickly we were able to shape Luca’s behaviour. I left that day thinking ‘This kid has huge potential’”.

Lisa says, “We first met Sophie when she came to our house to observe one of our therapists. Straight away she struck me as being very professional and switched on and someone who would be a great fit for our team. Then and there I decided I would do everything I could to get Sophie on Team Luca!”

“I think Sophie is smart and clever. She helps me with my work and checklists and we do lots of fun stuff together”
– Luca

Robbie and Luca 3
Robbie Singh, Senior Behaviour Consultant

Meet Robbie Singh. Robbie is the Senior Behaviour Consultant who has been heading up Luca’s behavioural therapy team for nearly 8 years. He consults to the intervention team and consolidates all daily living, language, self regulation and social skills goals into a functional intervention plan. As well as being a strong male mentor for Luca he is very experienced and highly regarded in his field. Robbie has guided Luca and his therapy team through his primary school years and now into adolescence and high school. Much of the outstanding progress and achievements Luca has obtained can be attributed to the programs that Robbie has expertly formulated, adjusting and reviewing them constantly. Robbie is a man of many talents holding black belts in both Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Karate, he is a leading Gracie Jiu Jitsu Instructor and also delivers the Gracie “Bully Proof” program. Robbie has his own behavioural consulting company, “Shaping Minds Consulting.” Luca says of Robbie “he is funny, he tells jokes and makes me laugh. We chat about things and he helps me with my growth sessions.” Robbie has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us:

What motivated you to get involved in behavioural consultancy and ABA therapy supervision?   Having a background in hospitality and teaching martial arts to children for 7 years I was very comfortable with kids and was able to establish a natural and quick rapport with them. Whilst completing my Master’s in Psychology I started student counselling within schools. I felt that there was a demographic I wasn’t making an impact on – children on the autism spectrum. So I gained further education and training and changed fields to focus on assisting children on the autism spectrum.

What are your interests outside behavioural therapy?   Teaching Jiu Jitsu, upskilling as a parent, comic books

What do you remember about the first time you met Luca?   I recall meeting a charismatic child who was highly engaged in an imaginative game of LEGO. He immediately resisted our assistance when he smelt an ounce of compliance was desired from him! He also had a very strong support team around him

What is your favourite thing about Luca? SPUNK – you can’t teach that!

What are your hopes for Luca?    That he lives a very independent life getting to engage in any field of endeavour he wishes to enter, because he really has that potential.

Luca's treatment

A huge number of people have been, and still are, involved in Luca’s care.

Speech pathologist, ENT and audiologists for his hearing loss; renal consultants, dietician, paediatrician, transplant coordinators, dialysis nurses and pathologists for his kidney failure; behavioural analysts, special educators and a child psychologist for his autism spectrum disorder (ASD); and his dedicated teachers at school and extra-curricular activities.

Much of Luca’s progress is due to the thousands of hours these amazing professionals do with Luca behind the scenes, and the endless advocacy and administration Luca’s parents manage daily.

Unfortunately government funding and assistance goes nowhere near covering the tens of thousands of dollars in costs associated with the level of support that Luca and other children in his situation, require and deserve. This applies in particular to the area of ASD.

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