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About Us

We are a team of therapists who are focused on shaping children who are empowered members of the family and the community. We believe that truly successful early intervention is built on relationships – the relationship between your child and those around them. Although we have to call ourselves therapists, we much prefer to see ourselves as play partners, confidantes and mentors for your child. The Robin to your Batman, the Yoda to your Luke Skywalker, the Nick Fury to the Avengers. In that order.

Our Story

Project Superhero was founded by Derek Truong. He has been working with children with Autism and other developmental delays since 2009. In 2013, he was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) where he became the first mobile ESDM therapist in Australia. The underlying principles of ESDM have been instrumental in shaping his beliefs about Autism and how best to help children overcome the challenges that Autism presents.

About 5 years ago, as Derek reflected on his views on autism and it had dawned on him that he no longer saw children with autism as children with autism. He simply saw them as children. Each with their own individual profile of strengths and challenges. As we all do. The work that he was doing with them was focused mostly on helping them overcome their challenges. In other words, he was trying to help them bridge the gap between where they are and where typically developing children are. And, in a nutshell, that’s what early intervention is all about. We are playing catch up.

But what if instead of playing catch up, we aimed to play offense? One where children with autism and other developmental delays actually became proactive and helped those around them rather than needing help themselves? How would that change the way we interacted and developed these children? What kind of skills would we teach them to make this possible?

This led him to create an early intervention roadmap that is based on the differing demands on a child as they increasingly move away from the routine comforts of their own home to the unpredictability of the school and community settings. 

Our Team

Empathetic. Curious. Courageous. Fun

Meet Derek

With over 12 years of clinical experience, Derek is known for his unique ability to create a deep connection with children with autism and other developmental delays. He was also the first in Australia to bring ESDM into the home and community settings.

Some say he has yet to grow out of childhood.

Meet Jess

Jess is a Certified Early Start Denver Model Therapist and is currently completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology examining optimising efficacy of parenting interventions for child behaviour management. She is passionate about working with children in mental health and behaviour and has worked with children for over 10 years in several capacities whilst completing her studies in psychology and neuroscience. She has been working with us as a therapist since the start of 2021 and is keen to see children continue to benefit from ESDM therapy. She also has experience in adult mental health therapy and family therapy and has particular interest in working with parents and the whole family unit to help families benefit optimally from our support.

You might see her zooming around on her bicycle when not at work – be sure to wave!

Meet Monica

As a mother of two, Monica is driven by her desire to help parents support their child’s development. Although she is passionate about children, her strength lies in her ability to create individualised strategies for families to support their child’s social and functional skills development in the home and community settings. Monica has received training in the Early Start Denver Model and Project ImPACT while also currently completing her studies in Psychology.

Fun Fact: Her idea to bake cookies for children to sell as a fun way to build social engagement with community members at the local park will forever go down in folklore.

Meet Ashleigh

Ashleigh is a naturally talented therapist who can quickly connect with children regardless of their needs and motivations. Her desire to help all children build connections with others through play led her to discovering ESDM and has seamlessly adapted to the naturalistic and child-led teaching philosophy of ESDM. She is currently completing her degree in Psychology as well as her certification in ESDM.

Meet Jacinta

Before joining the team at Project Superhero, Jacinta worked with numerous children and their families across Sydney as a support worker/therapy assistant. Being able to work with children directly in the home setting allows her to express her passion in supporting children to develop the motor skills to participate in day-to-day life. Along with her degree, Jacinta is also completing her certification in ESDM.

When given the choice between the violin and viola, she chose the viola.

Meet Ryan

Our resident celebrity. Ryan has appeared on TV on numerous occasions speaking about his work supporting youth mental health. He continues to advocate strongly for vulnerable children and has a wealth of experience delivering workshops to educators and students in primary and secondary schools across Sydney. More importantly, he has been incredibly open about his ADHD and the challenges it presents on a daily basis. He has been an invaluable source of information in helping the team better understand the needs of children with ADHD both at home and in the classroom

Definitely not one to be messed with. Having spent some time in Thailand training with the locals, Ryan is just as passionate about Muay Thai as he is with the work that he does with children and youths.

Meet Michael

Michael is highly experienced in delivering educational shows to children about recycling and sustainability. He has delivered 200 shows in the past 2 years and approaches every show with an open and inclusive mindset, allowing children to discover their own unique path to becoming “Nature Warriors”, protectors of mother nature!  Michael also holds a Bachelor of Psychology and sees the combination of helping therapies and creativity as ground-breaking interventions for all children.

Out of this world fact: They say you should never work with children and animals. Michael has worked with both at the same time.
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