Our dedicated team is made up of individuals with an array of skills and qualifications.
More importantly, our team is passionate to see our kids succeed in all aspects of their life.
Founder and Director
Business Administration Manager
A lifetime ago, life prior to becoming a single mother raising two young Autistic children, aged 8 and 9, I spent my days in a laboratory as a Medical Research Scientist.
However, it seems life had a different plan for me, and I now find myself drawn to working in a field near and dear to my heart. The opportunity to develop and support neurodivergence, meeting Autistic teens 'where they are at' and nurturing their strengths, is what drew me to the W.I.L.L program.
My background in Business Management and number crunching enables me to support the team, allowing them to focus their energies on the most important thing, the teens and their families in the program.
Education Support and Therapist
I have been directly associated with, and had a strong passion for, people on the autism spectrum since I became a carer for a 9 year old boy while I was completing a Visual Arts Degree at USQ at 17years old. I went on to complete a double major in Psychology at the University of Queensland. During this time I began work at Autism Queensland at Sunnybank. Autism QLD was very small, intimate, fairly new and ground-breaking program when I first began and I absolutely loved it. I worked with a very talented team of passionate, like minded people and gained valuable practical on the job learning. While I learnt so much from my colleagues at AQ my main learning was from the children and adolescents themselves.
During this time it became very obvious that to get any real results you had to get to know these individuals on an intimate level. A one hour consultation was going to be almost impossible to get any real results and so after completing my Bachelor of Psychology I enrolled to do a Bachelor of Education (Further Education and Training) at USQ. After completing this Bachelor I began working fulltime at Autism QLD as a Teacher Therapist at Brighton. I worked at AQ until I went on to maternity leave with my first child and went on to have 2 more children.
I have heard the same stories, the same battles, the same heartache and desperation from the people closest to these children over my 25 years in this field. I strongly believe that one size DOES NOT ever fit all and that children on the autism spectrum will reach their full potential in a supportive, knowledge and evidence based environment where the people around them know them and provide them with individual opportunities for success. 100% I believe that autism spectrum does not and would not have the same impact on individuals lives and those who love and support them if this individualised approach to learning was applied.
I am so proud and excited to be part of Annie’s Program and this gifted, unique and passionate team including our Allied Health partners. We are seeing some phenomenal results!
Dedicated mother of two teens on the Spectrum, Kath brings to the program her experience as a teachers aid, working one on one with high needs children.
Kath is extremely knowledgeable in the management of diabetes and anaphylaxis allergies.
Our resident hairdresser and much loved 'Mum' figure in the program, Kath is the loving and gentle guidance our teens turn to when they need a 'not hug'.
Komisi 'Misi' Gale
Father of five beautiful children of his own, Misi has been supporting the participants at W.I.L.L for the past two years. Fondly known to all as 'the man who can do everything, even fly', Misi's deeply engrained 'Island culture' provides our teens with a role model every parent dreams of.
Support Worker/All things Gaming
Steve's skill and love for creating games provides him with a segway into the minds of our incredible teens. Together with the kids, Steve takes their imaginations to the next level by turning their greatest fears, emotions and passions into fun games for all to enjoy. The greatest therapy of all, and they don't even know it is happening!
Eneliko 'Liko' Tuliau
The baby of our team, Liko is the big brother everyone wishes they had.
Sometimes teens just want to hang out, no pressure, and just have fun, Liko is the man for the job. Liko is an incredible role model, respect and family mean everything to him, and he practices what he preaches.
All our participants love him and really look up to him.
It's impossible to be as cool as Liko!
Thomas 'Tom' Pokaia
This man knows his way around the football field and is loved by all of our teens, especially those who can't sit still! There is no better therapy than a good old fashioned run in the fresh air. A born leader and mentor, the teens naturally gravitate towards this gentle giant.
Miss Tahlia is the Big Sister we all want!
Tahlia brings with her a lifetime of knowledge and understanding from growing up with a brother on the Spectrum. Tahlia's love for her brother and wanting to see him succeed in life provides her with an understanding on a level so few of us can provide.
Donna has worked supporting individuals with diverse needs for over 20 years. Donna's 'no nonsense' approach to neurodiversity enables our teens to achieve things they never thought possible of themselves. This little pocket rocket fills every room she enters with love and laughter!
After many years of trying to be the perfect employee in the corporate world, trying to be the perfect friend, trying to be the perfect wife and trying to be the perfect mother to a 15 year old son with ASD and a 10 year old daughter, I finally had a 'breakthrough'. Most in the medical profession would have diagnosed me as having a breakdown, but for me it really was the breakthrough I needed. It forced me to stop. It forced me to really consider what I wanted from my life and it sent me on a search for 'my life purpose'.
I packed up my family, leaving the beautiful Samford Valley behind us, put them on an airplane and we traveled the world together. Off we went in search of my life purpose. Apart from the fact that we had the time of our lives, it was a most enlightening time for us all. During the trip I realised that there was so much more to life than trying to be the perfect person for everyone else.
On our return, armed with a lifetime of learning in the school of hard knocks, it occurred to me that I have been given so much in my lifetime that now was my time to give back.
My passion for understanding people and how they think, ignited during my corporate days, led me to make the decision to go back to study.
Completing studies in Psychology, Counselling and holistic practices has provided me with the formal qualifications enabling me to fulfill my life purpose of helping others.
I created the W.I.L.L program out of necessity, for my own son. The differences we saw in him led me to extending the program to others. Seeing the incredible growth in all of the participants left me with no choice but to make this program available to as many as possible!