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.

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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.

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Victoria Gottliebsen

Victoria is a passionate neurodiversity affirming Psychologist with lived experience. She has over 20 years of experience in disability, mental health, and education, supporting people from varied backgrounds. Victoria has held a range of roles including as a School Psychologist & Counsellor and as a Senior Clinician in Clinical and Youth Justice settings. She is also a member of Positive Partnerships Autistic Advisory Board and an Oversight Committee member for the development of the National Autism Strategy. Victoria started REI Psychological Services in the outer region of Darwin with a focus on supporting Neurodivergent clients in the pursuit of an authentic life. Through her work with clients, other professionals, and families, she aims to support self-understanding and self-compassion, provide practical strategies, and embrace self-advocacy skills that promote authenticity and genuine wellbeing for clients that respects their unique self and neurotype.

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Prof Christine Imms

I am an occupational therapist with 17 years of clinical plus 20 years of academic experience. My research foci are (i) effectiveness of occupational therapy and allied interventions particularly in the field of childhood-onset disability, including cerebral palsy; (ii) development and testing of valid, reliable outcome measures, a number of which have been translated and are used across the world; (iii) longitudinal follow-up of participation, health and well-being outcomes for children and families; and (iv) conceptual work about ‘participation’ that resulted in the publication of the family of Participation Related Constructs, that underpins all my related research and which is being used internationally to support research and practice in this area of childhood disability and beyond.

I have a strong commitment to enhancing evidence-based practice and integrated knowledge translation as demonstrated through: invited education opportunities and publication of books, chapters and systematic reviews focused on best practice in childhood disability. Two themes cross all my current research: (i) inclusion of an integrated knowledge translation approach with consumers (parents and young people with disability) engaged as co-researchers and advisors; and (ii) involvement of students (honours, masters, doctoral and/or post-doctoral) wherever possible within the research programs to build capacity and ensure development of the next generation of researchers. Demonstration of effectiveness of student engagement includes 33 completions, 7 in-progress; of these 40 students, 35 undertook projects in childhood disability. With over 130 peer review publications and $15M in grant income, my research expertise has been recognised through awards, including my appointment as a Fellow of the Australian Occupational Therapy Research Academy.


A/Prof Laura Miller

Laura is an occupational therapist with 25 years clinical experience working with children with disabilities, and their families. Laura has a PhD in Clinical Sciences and a Master of Health Services Management and has held leadership positions within non-government, private and public health, and disability sectors, both nationally and internationally.

Laura is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Allied Health and is the Chief Investigator on the ENVISAGE program of research. ENVISAGE: Enabling Visions and Growing Expectations is a nationally and internationally funded program of research that seeks to empower families and communities raising children with developmental concerns and disabilities.

Laura has conducted multi organisational, international, and national clinical trials with children with disabilities and their families over the past 12 years. She is committed to research using integrated knowledge translation approaches and partners with parents and communities raising children with disabilities to drive consumer led research. Laura’s research priorities focus on codesign and parent engagement, caregiver wellbeing, participation, community connection and culturally responsive practice. Laura is passionate about empowering individuals, families and communities to take a strengths based, participation and future focussed approach to development, health and wellbeing.


Dr Peter Rosenbaum

Peter Rosenbaum, MD, FRCP(C), DSc (HC), FRCPI Hon (Paed) RCPI joined the Department of Paediatrics at McMaster University in 1973, and became Full Professor in 1984. In 1989, with his colleague Dr. Mary Law, he co-founded CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, now recognized worldwide as a leading centre of innovative and ground-breaking childhood disability research, including the creation of clinical classifications and measurement tools, and for its Knowledge Translation activities that attract > 1million visitors a year from >170 countries to its award-winning website (

Dr. Rosenbaum has held > 100 peer-reviewed grants; is a contributing author to > 450 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters; has co-authored 5 books; and has been a guest lecturer in >30 countries. He has worked with >75 master’s and doctoral-level students at many universities.

Dr. Rosenbaum’s career has focused on a range of interconnected aspects of the ‘childhood disability’ field: the daily functioning of children and youth; the wellbeing of families of children with long-term impairments; ways of thinking, talking and acting to provide services to these kids and families; the language we use to talk about clinical conditions like Cerebral Palsy and other impairments; and how to communicate these many issues to families, learners and the general public (including policy-makers) in plain and accessible language.

'Get to know Peter'


Child & Sibling Voice
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20-22 November