Our Staff

Meet Our Team

Allied Health Team

Image presents Rasiha Ozdemir

Rasiha Ozdemir – Clincal Services Manager

Rasiha is a nationally registered psychologist and is one of the co-founders of ADS. Rasiha oversees the paediatric clinical team as she is passionate about helping kids with special needs and their families/carers to overcome barriers and reach their maximum potential for a meaningful life. She is a behaviour support practitioner with restrictive behaviours authorization.

Rasiha, who is a mother of two, is also considered as the “mother of the centre” because of her extremely nurturing, positive and patient nature. Rasiha specialises in developmental disabilities and she is highly trained in Autism Spectrum Disorder as she takes an interest in this area. Rasiha has attended international child and adolescent psychiatry symposiums in her determination to extend her knowledge with all the latest contemporary information in the field. Rasiha is also a wonderful trainer who enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise with her colleagues.

Rasiha takes a holistic approach to therapy involving parents and carers in the process to ensure a robust outcome for her clients. Rasiha works with the most challenging clients from any age group. She specialises in Behaviour Support Management at ADS, which involves working with risky and challenging behaviours in children with developmental disabilities. Rasiha works with children, adolescents and adult clients using a client-centred, strengths-based service approach.

Rasiha loves travelling and reading in her spare time. She also loves spending quality time with her children.

Rasiha has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Sydney University. She completed her 2-year internship with Auburn Psychology in 2014.

Professional Achievement


  • Registered Psychologist
  • Bachelor of Psychology
  • Accredited NDIS Behaviour Support Practitioner
  • Associate Member of Australian Psychological Society
  • Certificate in Children and Adolescent Clinical Psychiatry (International)
  • Certificate in Family Therapy (International)
  • Certificate in Psychological Approaches in Complex Trauma (International)
  • Certificate in Stress Management for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Certificate in Helping Children with Challenging Behaviours
Rasiha Ozdemir

Behaviour Support Manager

Image presents Mukul Bhatnagar

Mukul Bhatnagar – Occupational Therapist

Mukul graduated with an undergraduate in Biomedical Science and Science (Major in Human Physiology). He continued his education to complete a Master of Occupational Therapy Practice (MOTPrac) from Monash University. Since then, Mukul has been actively involved in therapy services in a range of different domains including adult rehabilitation, adult and paediatric disability, mental health and a wide variety of paediatric services including therapy in clinic, home and school settings. Mukul has also facilitated group programs at Camp Jabiru and Beyond Jabiru, Australian based camps that aim to bring a therapeutic approach to a typical camp experience.

Mukul strives to provide client and family-centred services and has a strong passion for working collaboratively with children, adolescents, adults and their families. Mukul has a diverse experience in working with children and adults living with a variety of conditions including Sensory Processing Disorders, Autism (ASD), Developmental Delay, Learning Difficulties, Down Syndrome, Physical Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Health Challenges. He is strongly committed to helping all clients progress therapeutically and loves to create an enjoyable and supportive environment to see them achieve success.

Mukul’s enthusiasm for learning has provided him with many opportunities to develop his practice, including:

  • The Traffic Jam in My Brain – Genevieve Jereb;
  • The Alert Program® for Self-Regulation – Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger;
  • Understanding the Vestibular System – Sheila Frick;
  • Therapeutic Listening® Listening with the whole body – Sheila Frick and Lynette Burke;
  • Eyesight to Insight- Mary Kwar and Dr Carl Hillier;
  • The Healing Power of Your Hands: Craniosacral Therapy & Myofascial Release- Nancy Lawton-Shirley;
  • Sensory Processing & The Brain: Using Neuroscience to support clinical reasoning – Dr Shelly Lane;
  • Sensory Defensiveness, A Comprehensive Treatment Approach –Tracy Stackhouse and Julia Wilbarger;
  • M.O.R.E Integrating the mouth with sensory and postural functions – Patricia Oetter and Eileen Richter;
  • Decoding Autism – From understanding neurobiology to choosing intervention strategies- Kim Barthel;
  • Collaborative & Proactive Solutions- Dr Ross Greene;
  • Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions- Dr Eli Lebowitz

Mukul is providing Occupational Therapy services for the clients of Australian Disability Services. This includes Functional Assessments, Home Modifications, Activities of Daily Living Training, Hand Therapy, Equipment Prescription, Standardised Paediatric Assessments and Clinic-Based Paediatric Treatment for assistance with Emotional Regulation Challenges, Concentration and Engagement, Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills, SOS Feeding and Behavioural Flexibility.

Mukul Bhatnagar

Occupational Therapist

Image presents Elvan Yusuf

Elvan Yusuf –  SLP Team Leader / Senior Speech Pathologist

Elvan’s role as a Speech Pathologist is to support people of all abilities in being successful communicators. She provides swallowing, functional communication, speech, and language services for adolescents and adults. She takes a client-centered approach to set goals and providing therapy. She strives to reach realistic and relevant outcomes with her clients to increase their participation, independence, and overall quality of life. Communication is a fundamental human right, and everyone should have the opportunity to engage in it.

When she is not at work supporting her clients to reach their communication goals, Elvan stays connected to language through reading and creative writing.

Elvan has worked with Australian Disability Services for 3 years and has had prior experience in disability and hospital settings.

Elvan completed a Master of Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Sydney. She also has a Master of Primary Teaching and Master of Early Childhood Studies from Western Sydney University.  Elvan is a certified practicing member of Speech Pathology Australia and has specialist training in Key Word Sign, Alternative Augmentative Communication, and voice therapy.

Elvan Yusuf

Senior Speech Pathologist

Busra Ozer – Provisional Psychologist

Busra is one of the members of ADS and the Clinical Team. She is a nationally registered provisional psychologist and therapy assistant at ADS. Busra’s formal qualifications include Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from overseas. She has mental health experience in community including Turkey, Germany, and Australia.

Busra is motivated by her passion for helping people in need. She guides her clients to achieve their therapeutic goals and is aware of these core values. She is an active listener and is both firm and compassionate. She provides counselling and also had received Psychodrama Training from overseas and she applies Psychodrama in her sessions. She practices mindfulness and breathing techniques in her sessions as well.

Busra also bilingual – speaks in English and Turkish. Moreover, she is open to growth and development within her career. Busra has been working with ADS since late 2020. She joined our team as a therapy assistant and has worked her way through the role of a therapist, she developed her skills and experience and became a provisional psychologist.

She enjoys traveling and discover new things. She enjoys dancing and spending time with animals. She believes in the mantra that “What you can do on the stage of psychodrama, you can do in real life”.

Busra Ozer


Image presents Harika Kaynar Okell

Harika Kaynar Okell – Provisional Psychologist

Harika is one of the clinical team members of ADS. She is a nationally registered provisional psychologist and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Turkey. Harika has experience working in mental health hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and special education centres with children in Turkey.

Harika moved from Turkey in 2017 to pursue her psychology career in Australia. She speaks both English and Turkish and can conduct sessions in both languages.

Harika enjoys working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and gains great satisfaction in helping her clients. Harika is a warm, empathetic and pragmatic provisional psychologist. She utilises evidence-based therapies to assist her clients. Harika predominantly works with clients with depression, anxiety, panic, trauma, grief, self-esteem or addiction. She empowers her clients by working collaboratively with them to achieve their goals.

Harika Kaynar Okell


Image presents Oleander Lee

Oleander Lee – Speech Pathologist

Oleander is a certified practising speech pathologist who provides speech pathology services to people with communication and swallowing difficulties. She has previous clinical experiences in preschool, private clinic, public hospital, specialised clinics, and rehab units. She speaks fluent English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Since starting her practice at ADS in 2020, she has worked with clients with a range of diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), intellectual disability, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) etc., to provide therapy related to speech, language, literacy, voice, fluency and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and swallowing. She is particularly passionate about literacy and speech sound disorders.

Oleander sees being able to communicate effectively as a basic human right, and she believes that everyone has the potential to communicate and interact with the others with proper support. Therefore, she enjoys using a family-centred approach to support participants and caregiver make decisions that improves their quality of life.

Outside of work, Oleander enjoys cooking, doing art and craft and curling up with a book in winter. Her favourite quote is ‘Everyone has inside him a piece of good news in him. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!’- Anne Frank, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

Oleander Lee

Speech Pathologist

Image presents Shilpi Ashta

Shilpi Ashti – Counselor / Behavior Support Practitioner

Shilpi is a qualified M.A in Clinical Psychology.  Shilpi is a registered counsellor level 4 with Australian Counselling Association and a registered Behaviour Support Practitioner.

Shilpi has over 12 years of experience working in the disability sector across multiple countries such as Singapore, UAE, India and now in Australia. She gained extensive experience and training in working ASD and other neuro-developmental disorders. Shilpi has extensive work experience in working with children and adults with other mental health issues. She is trained on TEACCH, PECS, Certified in neuroscience and self-regulation, art therapy and Autplay- Autism based play therapy.


Shilpi recognises how difficult and intimidating it can be to seek counselling. She is committed to providing a warm, sympathetic, and safe space for you to discuss and explore your concerns. She feels that during treatment, it is critical for you to feel valued, respected, and supported.

She employs a collaborative approach while remaining pragmatic in order to work together on taking steps towards significant change.

Shilpi Ashta

Counselor / Behavior Support Practitioner

Image presents Zarife Algul

Zarife Algul – Counsellor

Zarife Algul has been working as a counsellor at Australian Disability Services and she is known by her kind, polite and empathetic nature, and personality in the Centre.

Zarife has completed her counselling degree at Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) and her areas of strengths include working with woman who are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds. Zarife has demonstrated to have strengths in the areas of Family and Domestic Violence and working with individual who have experienced trauma.

Zarife also describes herself as being open-minded,  and having a compassionate approach in her scope of work that is Holistic to meet the needs of her clientele. She is dedicated to always upskill herself with keeping up to date with research and emerging trends of therapies.

Zarife  have worked with clients with a wide range of concerns including  relationship problems, domestic violence, depression, anxiety,  family conflicts, intimacy-related issues, parenting issues, anger management, self-esteem, negative self-talk, compassion fatigue, abandonment, attachment issues, chronic pain illness and disability, dependent personality, multicultural concerns, obsession, compulsions, post-traumatic stress, women’s issues and boundary setting.

As a counsellor Zarife is very passionate about empowering her clients and improving their quality of lives. Her hobbies include reading books, doing research and exploring nature.

Zarife Algul


Image presents Burak Gunduz

Burak Gunduz- Therapy Assistant

Burak Gunduz has been working in the disability sector since the beginning of 2020 and is an affiliate member of the Australian Psychological Society. In the past Burak has worked as a Disability Support Worker which involved providing care and assistance to people who has various disabilities including mental health conditions and physical disabilities. Currently, Burak works as a Therapy Assistant to conduct therapeutic related activities under the guidance of a psychologist and is also the Team Leader of the Applications Team. Burak has successfully graduated from Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from Turkey and completed his studies in English.  He has extensive knowledge and experience in Mental Health which he attained from training and practice overseas.

His work placement included working at various Psychiatric Hospitals, Clinics, private and government education settings as Intern Psychologist in Turkey. Burak has provided psychological, emotional and other areas of support to families and children who were living in refugee camps at the Turkey – Syrian border.

Moreover, he has expanded his knowledge and skills by receiving ongoing professional development through workshops/training (Such as, psychometric testing and other related (therapies) and ability to perform his role in the related field. Burak also has experience in other human service sectors, which involves volunteer work for government and non-government organizations and other services related to people who have experienced traumatic life events overseas. Burak is passionate and committed to empower, support, and encourage people from different cultural backgrounds to meet their needs and improve their quality of life.

Burak Gunduz

Therapy Assistant

Image presents Mert Ercan

Mert Ercan- Therapy Assistant

Mert Ercan has been working as a therapy assistant to conduct therapeutic related activities under the guidance of a psychologist at Australian Disability Services since 2020.  Mert has successfully completed his Undergraduate Degree in Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from Turkey. As part of his work placement, he has undertaken role as Intern Psychologist overseas and has worked in the areas of Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorders, Dementia and other mental health conditions in government Hospitals and Clinics.  Mert has been known at ADS with his great sense of humor as well as his very empathetic attitude towards his clients and team members.

Mert has particular interest and strength in the areas of problems with addiction, substance or related disorders whom he demonstrates excellent work ethics, boundaries and professionalism. Mert is also bilingual and speaks Turkish and English. He has contributed to the wellbeing of his clients specifically while working with various scope of disabilities. He also has deep understanding of multiculturalism and demonstration of cultural competency.

His long-term goals include gaining his endorsement in the area of Clinical Psychology and focusing on further experience and upskilling himself in the areas of Drug & Alcohol, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders. He also would like to explore further research on signs and expressions of Body Language. His hobbies and interests include scuba-diving, bike riding and exploring nature.

Mert Ercan

Therapy Assistant

Image presents Tugba Senel

Tugba Senel -Social Worker / Specialist Support Coordinator

Tugba Senel has been working in human services since 2014 and is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. She has had previous roles as a Support Worker and experience working for the Department of Communities and Justice as a Child Protection Caseworker. Tugba has graduated from Social Work and is currently studying Bachelor in Psychology (Honours). Tugba is employed as a Social Worker and provides Specialist Support Coordination by working alongside families and individuals with complex support needs. Her role involves identifying and addressing complex barriers and/or other risks which may affect a participant’s ability to access supports.

Additionally, she develops plans to support their needs in advocacy, person-centred planning and in accessing the necessary supports and services. Tugba finds it rewarding when she builds trust with her participants, support her clients to build their capacity, resilience, and networks with the aim of greater choice and control in managing their personal choices. Tugba is proficient in understanding her participants’ needs and she has a passion for empowering them, getting to know them and appreciates listening to their stories.

Tugba Senel

Social Worker / Specialist Support Coordinator

Support Coordination Team

Image presents Mehmet Ali Uluc

Mehmet Ali Uluc – Support Coordinator / Turkish Interpreter – Translator

Mehmet Ali graduated from Gazi University in Ankara, in 1982, and worked as a French Language Teacher for around 5 years before migrated to Australia in1987. He completed English courses and worked in variety of jobs. He had his interpreting and Translation accreditation from NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) in 1993.

He also obtained casual approval to teach Turkish and French languages in NSW schools however he worked as a Turkish Language Teacher at Government Saturday schools for around 24 years as well as five years of teaching at community language schools run by community organisations.

After working as a freelance on-call interpreter for a few years he started working as a Turkish interpreter for Social Security (currently known as Centrelink) in mid 1990s. He later held positions of Customer Service Officer, Youth Liaison Officer and Disability Officer during his 11 years of service.

He ran own interpreting and translation business until he joined Australian Disability Services (ADS) in mid-2021. He is experienced in variety of government services and procedures such as Centrelink, employment services, housing, health, education, legal issues and community services. Mehmet Ali is well-known figure in Australian Turkish Community. Being patient and easily reachable person, he is usually the first contact person for most people in case of crisis or emergency in the community.

Mehmet Ali is providing support coordination services for the clients of Australian Disability Services. He endeavours to improve service recipients’ life quality by assisting them with variety of issues. He is a great listener. He approaches to the issues in wholistic and analytical manner. He prefers not to give false hope to people with their applications or matters. If he can’t solve the problem, he would refer them to the appropriate services and professionals.

Mehmet Ali Uluc

Support Coordinator / Turkish Interpreter-Translator

Applications Team

Image presents Nahide Acar

Nahide Acar – Applications Team Member

Nahide joined Australian Disability services as a support worker in 2021. She has now commenced into working with the applications team, she also on her way to completing Bachelor’s in Occupational Therapy. As part of her job, she is providing information to people who would like to apply to NDIS both in English and Turkish. She focus on empowering clients while expending their knowledge about the NDIS application.

She is a strong believer in the power of positive thinking in a workplace. She dedicated to becoming inspiring person to others and enjoy helping  people. Her hobbies consist of singing and dancing. She lives by mantra “ when the music and dance create with accord, their magic captivates both the heart and mind”. Jean-Georges Noverre

Nahide Acar

Applications Team Member

Image presents Merve Varol

Merve Varol – Applications Team Member

Merve joined Australian disability services late 2020. Her role consists of the administration and applications team. She is currently on her way to becoming a registered counsellor.

Merve believes in equality and makes sure that her clients receive the best possible experience whilst also encouraging her clients to seek the greatest assistance possible with unconditional positive regard and acceptance. She remains focused on her goals and believes success comes with consistency. Merve loves to challenge herself and is a big believer in telling everyone’s story to defy it till the end ‘we don’t have to do all of it alone’. She is particularly passionate about working with individuals with disabilities, she loves to handle things with delicacy as “the stories of these individuals are so real everyone has been through something that has changed them, so never judge a person by the chapter you walked in on”.

Merve Varol

Applications Team Member

Support Coordination Team

Meltem Sahinbas Yagli – Plan Manager / Finance Manager

Meltem is one of the co-founders of ADS and she is responsible for all financial matters. After a long career in finance, her passion for helping young people has led her to study early childhood education. With her kind and nurturing personality, she dreamt of establishing a unique service for people from all walks of life – a contributing factor to the creation of ADS.

Meltem is known in the organisation as one of the most skilled and versatile persons at ADS. She takes on a successful role of wearing many hats in the organisation. Along with managing all financial matters for ADS, Meltem dabbles in creating educational and enjoyable day programs for our participants, which is a testament to her hands-on attitude and warm, fun-loving persona. When she is not in her office, you will find her dancing and signing with participants in our music room.

Meltem is an incredibly talented plan manager and she works with support coordinators to help participants get the best out of their budgets.

Meltem loves animals, particularly dogs. She reads in her spare time and she loves travelling and discovering new destinations.

Meltem Sahinbas Yagli

Plan Manager / Finance Manager

Caner Saklavaci – Plan Manager

Caner Saklavci is a dedicated and experienced Plan Manager at Australian Disability Services. With a degree in Public Finance and a diploma in Accounting, Caner brings a wealth of knowledge to his role, ensuring that individuals with disabilities receive the support they need through the NDIS. Over his five years at the organization, Caner has demonstrated a deep commitment to his clients, advocating tirelessly on their behalf and ensuring that their needs are met with compassion and efficiency. His contributions have made a significant impact on the lives of many, and he is a valued member of the Australian Disability Services team. Caner’s passion for helping others and his expertise in the field make him an invaluable asset to the organization and the community at large. Additionally, Caner is a member of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), further highlighting his dedication to professionalism and excellence in his field.

Caner Saklavaci

Plan Manager