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Rob Llewellyn-Jones Clinical Centre


Rob Llewellyn-Jones Clinical Centre


The Rob Llewellyn-Jones Clinical and Research Centre will enable medical and mental health professionals to join with our established trans-disciplinary teams in providing timely and appropriate support for our complex population of students.

In February 2014, Giant Steps opened this clinic – the first one of its kind within a school setting.

The clinic hopes to address many of the issues families face when trying to access additional support for their children; including struggling to find appropriate professionals who understand our unique population, long waiting times for appointments, having to take children to various unfamiliar medical settings, and trying to pull together all necessary information to present to professionals. The Rob Llewellyn-Jones Clinical and Research Centre runs onsite at Giant Steps, meaning that students do not need to be removed to medical settings for long appointments. Our visiting professionals visit the students in their classrooms or the playground to meet and observe them. The school team pulls together information about the concerns for a student, which may include incidence data, video footage, functional assessments of behaviour and input from the therapists and class team.

Mental health concerns are difficult to diagnose in an autism population and require a multi-modal approach in terms of their treatment. Every young person is different and therefore requires an individual response to the issues that arise from this process.

The Rob Llewellyn-Jones Clinical and Research Centre would not be possible without seed funding from The Pamela and Lorenzo Galli Charitable Trust and the support of the Giant Steps Board, in particular Dr Rob Llewellyn-Jones and Mr Steve Anthony.

This healthcare initiative is partially funded by the Wolper Jewish Hospital Health Foundation.

Dr Helen Appleton 

National Director of Student and Psychological Services

Dr Helen Appleton is the Director of The Rob Llewellyn Jones Clinical Centre. Helen has worked at Giant Steps since 2005 focusing on behaviour support, crisis management, family resourcing and training other agencies in best practice techniques in working with individuals with autism.

Helen completed her PhD; ‘An Exploration of the Presence and Behavioural Manifestation of Anxiety for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability’ through Griffith University in 2022.

Helen has presented at both national and international conferences on her work at Giant Steps within the programs and with siblings of children on the autism spectrum.

In addition to her PhD, Helen has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science majoring in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Helen is an Associate Member of APS (Australian Psychological Society).

Andrew Frakes

BAppSc(OT) MTeach(Primary)

Andrew Frakes holds a Masters of Teaching from University of New England and Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Sydney.

Since joining Giant Steps in 2008, Andrew has been integral in the expansion of the organisation and its services, including the Rob Llewellyn-Jones Clinical and Research Centre, addressing the complex mental health concerns of our students. Andrew was previously the National Director of Occupational Therapy before taking on his current position as School Principal of Giant Steps Sydney.

Andrew has a particular interest in supporting individuals displaying severe and challenging behaviours.  He successfully created and led the introduction of Giant Steps’ tiered approach –  Student Engagement Support, one of the key elements underpinning our transdisciplinary program.  Andrew has significant experience in developing plans for children who find it difficult regulating their emotions.

The clinic hopes to address many of the issues families face when trying to access additional support for their children.

Please support Giant Steps through a tax deductible donation and help change the lives of children and adults on the autism spectrum.