The Northern Centre for Child Development is an independent private psychology practice in Preston. We work with families, children and schools.

Contact Us Learn More

About us

Amanda Abel Member (MAPS)



Amanda Abel, psychologist, has over fourteen years’ experience working with families and has a special interest in paediatrics, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, learning difficulties, disabilities and behaviour management. She has worked in a variety of settings in both the public and private sectors which has allowed her to gain extensive experience helping a wide range of clients.

While working as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA therapy) therapist during her tertiary studies, Amanda developed a particular interest in early intervention for children with autism, developmental delays, disabilities and challenging behaviours. Amanda’s honours thesis investigated the social skills, friendship expectations and attention of high functioning children with autism, and this was presented in 2004 at the 3rd Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Forum, Melbourne.

After her own experience becoming a mother, Amanda undertook the Circle of Security Parenting® (COS-P) training and is now a registered COS-P parent educator. She has now combined her knowledge of behaviour modification with the attachment principles from the COS-P program to provide families with practical strategies that are sensitive and responsive to their child’s emotional needs.



Matt is an experienced psychologist, with specialised training in the field of clinical neuropsychology. Matt’s duties at the Northern Centre for Child Development involve conducting paediatric neuropsychological assessments within a wide range of clinical presentations (including ADHD, Specific Learning Disorders and Intellectual Disability), providing feedback and psycho-education to parents/teachers regarding the best way to support those with a specific diagnosis.

Further to these duties, Matt provides forensic paediatric psychological assessment services and treatment plans to metropolitan and rural legal practices and governmental agencies throughout Victoria. These services include the assessment of child physical and sexual abuse, assessing levels of parental capacity and risk, and providing expert testimony in court.

Matt has a strong research background and works from an evidence based scientist practitioner approach. He is currently completing his PhD in clinical neuropsychology at Monash University, where he also holds a position as a teaching associate.





Cara Small Associate Member (Assoc MAPS)



Cara Small is a registered psychologist with over 11 years’ experience working with children and their families. Cara started working as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA therapy) therapist during her tertiary studies and this ignited an interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder, early intervention and behaviour management. Cara is an Associate Member of the APS and has worked across various private practice settings in Melbourne delivering high quality counselling, early intervention and ABA services to families. Cara has also undertaken volunteer work with the Kids Foundation, working with burns survivors and their families. Cara was also part of a highly successful pilot project in 2013 which delivered specialised behaviour management training to teachers in regional schools in Victoria. Cara works within a family-centred framework and has adopted Circle of Security (COS) principles in her delivery of early intervention and counselling to ensure the parent-child relationship is maximized which, as research indicates, results in optimized outcomes for children. Cara is passionate about psychology and behaviour intervention and loves working with children and their families.



Georgina Cox has 10 years of academic and clinical experience in the area of child and adolescent mental health and is currently a Research Fellow in Suicide Prevention at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. She completed her PhD in 2008, and since then, has published a variety of work assessing the effectiveness of psychological and pharmacological interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression and suicidal behaviour in children and young people. She has also been involved in the development of guidelines to help communities, and schools respond to suicide.

In order to translate her academic knowledge into practice, Georgina is currently undertaking a placement at the Northern Centre for Child Development, as part of her Doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at Swinburne University of Technology.


Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

We have extensive experience providing ABA supervision and therapy—an evidence-based early intervention treatment for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our ABA options are flexible, affordable and family-friendly.

Two hours fortnightly or monthly depending on the amount of therapy your child is receiving. Your child's program will be updated and you and your therapists will be provided with ongoing training during supervision meetings. ABA programs can be created for use at home and/or school/kinder.

Counselling and behaviour management for children

We provide individualised counselling and therapy for children of varying developmental levels. Common issues we treat are sleep problems, anxiety, negative thinking, challenging behaviours and emotional regulation. We also work with parents and teachers to provide strategies and support to manage these difficulties at home, kinder or school.

Available in the office to address a range of childhood difficulties including social skills, anxiety, behavioural difficulties etc.

We provide individualised intervention at school, kinder or childcare to target social skills, behaviour, academics etc. We are able to attend school meetings to assist with planning, or meet with teachers to provide strategies for your child. Behavioural intervention programs can be created for school or kinder to be implemented by school staff.

Counselling for parents

We provide evidence-based approaches to help increase your confidence as a parent. We also provide a counselling service if you’re feeling overwhelmed for any reason, or if you would like help coming to terms with the diagnosis of your child.

To address a range of issues such as coming to terms with and understanding the diagnosis of your child, parenting difficulties and relationship issues. Sessions are held in the office and can be attended by one or both parents.

Amanda Abel is a registered Circle of Security parent educator. The Circle of Security is a relationship based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children.

Fees & funding

Our fees are significantly less than the rate recommended by the Australian Psychological Society to ensure our services are accessible. Most services are charged at $180 per hour ($220 for clients with FaHCSIA funding) and Medicare or health fund rebates may apply for services provided by fully registered psychologists. Our ABA program supervisors who are not psychologists charge $110 per hour and can be put through FaHCSIA funding.

Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative

Medicare rebates are available to people living with mental health difficulties including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, ADHD, conduct disorder, bereavement disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or sleep problems. You must be referred by a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. You’ll need to book a long appointment with your GP who will determine your eligibility and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan if you are eligible.

Helping Children with Autism Initiative

We are a registered provider with FaHCSIA under the Helping Children with Autism initiative. This entitles families of a child with an ASD up to seven years old to receive up to $12,000 for Early Intervention over a period of two years. On top of the funding, children are eligible for Medicare rebates for up to 20 sessions with a psychologist. More information about FaHCSIA can be found here.


We offer a range of developmental assessments for children. Contact us to determine whether an assessment is appropriate for your child and to discuss fees.

Autism diagnostic assessment

For a comprehensive assessment your child will need to meet separately with a paediatrician, speech pathologist and a psychologist who will liaise to determine whether or not your child meets the criteria for a diagnosis. ASD Assessment Information Sheet (PDF).

Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development - Third Edition

By administering the Bayley Scales we are able to identify your child’s areas of strength and weakness in the five key developmental domains of cognition, language, social-emotional, motor and adaptive behaviour.

The Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales - Second Edition

The Vineland is used to assess individuals aged up to 90 years. It assesses the individual’s skills in specific areas and can help with treatment planning as well as helping to identify developmental delays, cognitive disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and other impairments.

Wechsler Primary and Preschool Scales of Intelligence - Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV Australian)

The WPPSI-IV is an assessment of your child’s cognitive functioning – what some people might refer to as an IQ test. The WPPSI-IV provides us with very valuable information about how your child thinks and can be essential in helping us plan the best ways to teach in order to maximise their potential.

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule - Second Edition (ADOS-2)

The ADOS-2 is a semi-structured, standardised assessment of communication, social interaction, play/imaginative use of materials, and restricted and repetitive behaviours. It is used for individuals who have been referred because they are showing signs of possible Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Psycho-Educational Profile - Third Edition (PEP-3)

Administering the PEP-3 allows us to assess the skills and behaviors of children with autism and communicative disabilities with a developmental age between 6 months and 7 years. The profile resulting from the PEP-3 graphically charts uneven and idiosyncratic development, emerging skills, and autistic behavioral characteristics.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fourth Edition Australian Standardised Edition (WISC-IV Australian)

The WISC-IV is used to assess the general thinking and reasoning skills of children aged 6 years to 16 years. Test results include a full-scale IQ score as well as age-equivalent rankings and scores for verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed.

New Reynell Developmental Language Scales (NRDLS)

The Reynell is a widely-used assessment for identifying speech and language delays and impairments in very young children.

Get in touch


155 Plenty Road,
Preston, Victoria, 3072.

Contact Us

P: 03 9079 8043
M: 0498 648 515

Business Info.

ABN: 37 404 549 366
PDF Brochure
Facebook | Linkedin