Panel discussion: Families building foundations for their child’s future

October 28, 2021
By Kindred

Hear host Deb Herbert and panel members – Clare Gibellini, Marlena Katene, Maryam Roghani, Sam Paior discuss how therapies are only a part of building a good life.

During the panel they discussed:

  • Good professional–parent partnerships
  • Creating and achieving a vision for a child
  • Positive outcomes from supportive parents
  • The benefits of self-managed NDIS funding
  • Parents as experts on their child

The panel discussion was presented live at our Family Conference, hosted in partnership with Plumtree and Now & Next. The Conference brings together families of children with disabilities and their allies. The presentations aim to inspire, educate and empower families in building a good life. The conference also celebrates people with a disability who are making a difference in their community.

The Panelists

Sam Paior

Sam has over 20 years’ experience in disability as an advocate, parliamentary advisor, family educator, board member and consultant. A parent of two young people with a disability, she is a strong believer in building inclusive communities.

Sam is the founder and director of The Growing Space, a South Australian social enterprise that provides support and training to NDIS participants and families.

She is a winner of the 2021 Impact 25 awards, which celebrate people dedicated to making positive social change and supporting communities.

Clare Gibellini

Clare is the WA Peer-to-Peer Networks lead at Valued Lives, a peer-led community organisation supporting and empowering vulnerable people and their families.

Her previous roles include work in the NDIA’s Community and Mainstream Engagement team. Clare also served as the Deputy Chair for Western Australia’s NDIS Transition Governance Advisory Group, which supported the state’s transition to the scheme.

Clare also volunteers at organisations such as the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia and the South West Autism Network. As a person living with autism and carer for an NDIS participant, she is passionate about developing inclusion opportunities within her community, and related strategies and policies with organisations.

Marlena Katene

Marlena Katene is Australia’s most unique entertainment journalist. Having Cerebral Palsy Marlena communicates via an ABC Board and iPad.

After completing her Bachelor of Communications degree Marlena has interviewed a wide range of people ranging from Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and even the Dalia Lama. While her journalism focuses mainly on music she also has written on other issues and freelance writes for a variety of magazines.

Apart from her journalism work, Marlena is an avid traveller and adventure seeker. In 2016 she became the first person in the world with Cerebral Palsy to Base jump, achieving this feat by jumping off the 421 metre KL Tower in Malaysia.

Addicted to travelling she is always seeking the next adventure and place to explore.

Maryam Roghani

Maryam specialises in challenging behaviours and Positive Behaviour Support, and is experienced in working with children and adults with a variety of strength and needs. She sees behaviour as not a problem to be fixed: it is puzzle where pieces need to be assembled to clearly see what is being communicated.

Maryam enjoys collaborating with families and teams to create individualised Behaviour Support Plans. She is also trained in delivering the Early Start Denver Model for young children with autism, which helps develop language, social and cognitive skills through play and other activities.

Deb Herbert

Experienced in advocacy and campaigns, Deb comes from a professional background in social justice and social change. She is a Content Developer and Digital Storyteller at Reframing Disability.

Deb and her husband, Chris, are proud members of the T21 community. They have two children; their daughter Elsden was diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth.

Deb is passionate about reframing ablest views, so people with disability are seen for their strengths, not deficits. She envisions an inclusive world of equal citizenship, where people with disability are vital and valued members of the community.


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