Maggie Dent

Commonly known as the ‘queen of common sense’, Maggie Dent has become one of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators. She has a particular interest in the early years, adolescence and resilience, and is an undisputed 'boy champion'.

Maggie’s experience includes teaching, counselling, and working in palliative care/funeral services and suicide prevention. She is a dedicated voice for children of all ages and their families and communities. She is the mother of four adult sons and a very grateful grandmother to 7 precious grandies.

Maggie is host of the award-winning ABC podcast Parental As Anything and in 2021 released a book of the same name. She is the author of nine major books, including the bestselling Mothering Our Boys and 2020’s From Boys to Men, which explores raising teen boys. In May 2022, Maggie released her first book about girls, Girlhood: Raising our little girls to be healthy, happy and heard.

'Get to know Maggie'


Dr Alison Gerlach

Dr. Alison Gerlach is an Associate Professor in the School of Child & Youth Care at the University of Victoria in western Canada, which is located on the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. Dr. Gerlach’s program of critically-informed research and scholarship aims to inform how the governance, organization and delivery of community-based early years and child disability programs and services can be inclusive of and responsive to families whose lived experiences include marginalization, racialization and discrimination.

She is particularly interested in the continuities between children’s early experiences of adversity, dis/ability, and health inequities and the development of inclusive, responsive, and equity-oriented structural, organizational, and practice level approaches.

Her work draws on 25 years of providing occupational therapy with children in diverse community and family contexts, including in partnership with Indigenous organizations and First Nations in British Columbia. Dr. Gerlach is committed to community-engaged, participatory research that engages with communities, organizations, families, and children as research partners.

'Get to know Alison'


Prof Anita Bundy

Prof Anita Bundy is Department Head in Occupational Therapy at Colorado State University; she has an honorary appointment at the University of Sydney in Australia where she worked full time for 13 years. For more than 40 years, Anita has conducted research into assessing and promoting children’s play.

She has a particular interest in “risky play” as a way of helping children learn who they are and what they are capable of doing and in helping adults balance dignity of risk with duty of care. She developed two play-related assessments to help professionals promote play as the primary occupation of children: the Test of Playfulness (ToP) and the Test of Environmental Supportiveness (TOES) available in, Play in Occupational Therapy for Children, a textbook edited by Diane Parham and Linda Fazio and published by Mosby.

Together with Amiya Waldman-Levi, she recently co-authored the Parent/Caregiver Support of Children’s Playfulness (PC-SCP) published by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

'Get to know Anita'


Elizabeth Wright FRSA

Elizabeth Wright FRSA is a Paralympic medalist, keynote speaker and a reporter with the ABC. She brings forth all of her life experience to challenge people around disability, diversity, and inclusion.

Born with limb difference, Elizabeth was raised by parents who taught her how to fight for equality and opportunity. She holds degrees in in Fine Art and Character Education, she is an international speaker, and has edited and written for multiple disability focused and mainstream publications. Elizabeth now works at the ABC as a reporter, with a keen interest in telling Para sport stories.

'Get to know Elizabeth'


Call for Presentations Close
Wednesday 31 May

Scholarships Open
Thursday 1 June

Early Bird
Registration close
Friday 28 July

20-22 November