The Northern Centre for Child Development is a multidisciplinary paediatric practice in Melbourne. We work with families, children and schools.

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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.

Lisa Cassar



Lisa is a registered psychologist with over 10 years' experience working with children and their families. During her tertiary training, Lisa developed a particular interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and now applies her experience and knowledge to our autism diagnosis and assessment team and ASD early intervention programs as an ABA supervisor. In 2010 Lisa completed her Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and sumitted a qualitiative thesis that explored the lives of parents with young children diagnosed with ASD. In particular, the thesis investigated how parents cope post-diagnosis.

Lisa is now able to use her intricate knowledge in this area to support the families she works with when diagnosing, as an ABA supervisor, and when counselling children and adolescents. Lisa has volunteered with the KIDS Foundation by working with burns survivors and their families. Lisa is dedicated and passionate to help children and families feel supported and empowered through learning new skills for life.

Dr Liam Tjia



Liam is a paediatrician, having completed specialty training in 2005. Over the last two years, Liam has concentrated on outpatient consulting, especially for young children for whom concerns about their development have been raised.

Over this period Liam has taken particular interest in new scientific understanding of, and research into, the amazing mystery of brain and mind development in both normal children, and in children with disordered or atypical development. He is particularly galvanised by findings from the emerging fields of developmental cognitive neuroscience, and “neuroconstructivism”.

Liam’s approach with families is engaging, and firmly based on the need of families for meaningful explanations of “what’s going on” for their individual child, rather than abstract theorising or pigeon-holing.

Liam’s PhD dissertation was strongly medicolegal, examining profound and complex social, legal and ethical issues inherent in promoting the interests of vulnerable children in society.

When work and professional commitments allow, Liam enjoys home life with his wife and three young daughters (this pursuit is generally just as hectic). He secretly quite enjoys putting their shattered Lego sets back together when they can’t be bothered, though he passes this off as his “mindfulness” time.

Member (MAPS)



As a registered Psychologist, Madeline’s passion and experience lies in supporting children and young people in their development and helping them to overcome personal challenges in order to meet their individual potential.

Madeline completed a Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology at Monash University, and has since gained 13 years’ experience working in government and independent schools. Several years working in the United Kingdom as a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society broadened her experience, particularly in the areas of cognitive and educational assessment and solution-focussed consultations with schools.

Since her return to Australia, Madeline has enjoyed engaging in counselling and assessment with adolescents, as well as the development of primary prevention programs in a Catholic co-educational Secondary College. Her therapeutic interests lie in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focussed Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, mindfulness and positive psychology techniques. In recent times, Madeline has also found ways to involve families whilst balancing the needs of the client, as she believes consistency and support from home is key to making positive changes for young people.

Dr Georgina Cox Member (MAPS)



Georgina is a registered psychologist, who has a particular interest and passion in working with children, young people and their families.

Georgina completed a PhD in Psychology in 2008 at the University of Nottingham, UK and in 2018, graduated with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Swinburne University. Over the past 10 years, she has worked in a variety of research and clinical roles in the area of child and adolescent mental health. During her doctoral training, Georgina undertook placements in private and public services, in both inpatient, and community settings, which allowed her to gain experience with a wide range of clients, including those with complex issues. She has supported children with a variety of difficulties, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and emotional dysregulation. While working as a Research Fellow at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, she conducted international research into effective treatments for mental health disorders in young people and presented these findings at both national and international conferences.

Since becoming a mother to two young children, Georgina’s commitment and motivation to support families has continued to grow. She has seen first-hand the importance of both maternal and paternal mental health in helping a family to thrive rather than just survive. She uses a variety of therapeutic techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and believes that involving communities around a family can have a profoundly positive impact for both children and parents.

Georgina is also a Research Psychologist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) within the Autism Research Team, where she undertakes cognitive and developmental assessments with children and their families.


Paediatric psychology & parenting support

Our team of experienced and enthusiastic psychologists provide a range of services tailored to suit your family’s needs. From early intervention (Applied Behaviour Analysis or ABA) for children with autism, to counselling for children and adolescents—we provide evidence-based and solution-focussed interventions. For parents who are struggling to understand their child’s behaviour, we offer supportive sessions to increase your parenting confidence and improve your connection with your child.

General paediatric medicine

Our highly-skilled paediatricians Dr Daniel Golshevsky and Dr Liam Tjia accept referrals for general paediatric issues such as neuro-developmental problems, autism spectrum disorder, newborns and unsettled babies, toileting problems, as well as sleep and behaviour issues. Both Daniel and Liam are experienced with treating children with autsim spectrum disorder (ASD) and their associated medical issues.

Autism diagnosis

We understand that the process of determining whether your child presents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often stressful, drawn-out and time-consuming. To make this easier, we offer a streamlined ASD assessment service—we provide all the necessary assessments and services required for a ‘gold standard’ ASD assessment. From your initial consultations with experienced paediatricians, to the psychology assessments (ADOS-2, ADI-R and WPPSI-IV/WISC-5) and speech pathology assessments, you can complete the entire process under the one roof—and quickly! You can also come to us with a paediatrician’s referral for specific assessments if you’ve already started the process.

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 $220 per hour and Medicare or health fund rebates may apply for services provided by fully registered psychologists.

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.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

We work with families who self-mange their NDIS funding as well as supporting those who are just starting out with the application process. For families who don't self manage, we can help link you in with an agency to ensure you're still able to receive our services.

Assessment & Autism Diagnosis

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

Business Info.

ABN: 37 404 549 366
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