Maria Fuentes Arrocha
I graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) and completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy in 1999 whilst working in rural practice and raising a young family. We moved to Perth in 2001 and though taking a pause professionally as our family continued to grow soon found myself drawing on my professional knowledge and skills as our son was diagnosed with ASD at age 3. He has given me invaluable insight into the intricate nature of family life when advocate, carer and therapist are added to the parenting role.
After my break from work I returned to paediatric practice and worked within the Child Development Services in diverse roles and locations including: a home visiting service at Koondoola and Joondalup Child Development Centres; 0 – 4 year old centre based caseload at Midland; and school age services at State Child Development Centre. In 2014 I made the move to private practice where as senior occupational therapist I was responsible for supervising Occupational Therapy students at a school, Kindergarten screenings, providing clinic based services for children under 5 and school based services at six metropolitan schools.
I established my own practice in 2017; so as to provide a truly family centred service that understands the complexity of modern day families and focuses on ability. It is timely also for our family as we enter a new phase with our son transitioning to life beyond school. I am passionate about working with young children and their parents, supporting them to become their child’s primary advocate and agent of change in their learning and development.
I graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) in 1990 and completed my Post Graduate Diploma in 1995, with specialist units in Counseling and Community development. I have over 15 years experience working in Occupational Therapy. My initial years of work were spent in the area of Mental Health, working in the country and then in Perth. This included a Senior position involving Centre Coordination and supervision of other staff.
After taking a break whilst having my own children I moved into the area of paediatrics. I spent several years working in the Government Child Development Services, at various locations within the North Metropolitan Region. My roles included developmental Occupational Therapy and several years in the Play and Learning program, home visiting and providing developmental support to young children and their families. With a strong belief in the importance of play and families’ capacity to support their children, I worked at Playgroup WA. The project involved setting up playgroups within schools to support the development of school readiness skills. I have been working in private practice since 2015, with special interest in supporting children’s emotional and social development and I enjoy working with families as they support their children.
Elisa has experience working in community paediatrics, mental health, health promotion and coaching for behavioural change. She also has experience of supporting immediate family members with mental health issues and ADD / ASD. This combination of professional and lived experience helps guide her family centred therapeutic approach and genuine understanding of how each individual member impacts the family unit as a whole.
In addition to working in private practice, Elisa works as a lecturer at Edith Cowan University teaching Occupational Therapy students. She has a special interest in strengthening family resilience, a topic she explored in depth when she completed her PhD in 2014. As an accredited coach, she is also passionate about partnering with parents to help them achieve their own parenting and well being goals.
Karen has worked as an occupational therapist (OT) with children for over 20 years. Places of work have included disability organisations in Perth, Children’s Development Teams in Darwin and Canberra, country towns, remote aboriginal communities, a rehabilitation centre in Bangladesh and an orphanage in China. She has experience in providing OT services for those with a variety of conditions, including development delays, autism, intellectual disabilities, and co-ordination difficulties.
Karen considers each child to be unique with their own path to travel. She values the important role of parents and carers. She offers practical strategies, often employing the power of play and imagination to connect with children and to empower them to gain skills to participate in their day to day occupations at home and school.