Nerida Maclean

QueenslandRDI® Program Certified Consultant

Certified Practising Speech Pathologist

As a Speech Language Pathologist (Advanced Practitioner in Autism Intervention), I have many years’ experience in supporting families who have a child with complex communication needs. Helping families to modify the communication environment for their child promotes rewarding interactions, reduces stress and frustration and paves the way to developmental progress. I have always practised a family centred model of intervention, whereby parents are empowered to understand their child’s needs and implement changes in their daily communication and interaction style. I became aware of the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Program while working in an early intervention service with many children diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism. I immediately saw the value and relevance of this approach for families impacted by ASD.

From my early self-directed learning about RDI in 2005 through to mid 2009 when I completed my training at the Connections Centre in Houston, Texas, I have witnessed many children’s remarkable journeys.  I am also skilled in the assessment and provision of low tech and high tech AAC supports for children who have complex communication needs. Many parents have purchased a communication tool (such as an iPad App, or a PODD book), but have struggled to guide their child’s language development at home. My focus within my practice includes assessment of very young children suspected of an ASD diagnosis, early intervention, school age support and intervention with many young adults who wish to build their social competence and improve their relationships.

I continue to see the benefits of implementing RDI in both my professional work and family life. Restoring the Guiding Relationship benefits children’s communication, dynamic interaction skills and social competence resulting in a better quality of life for everyone involved. Helping to promote a sense of competence within parents and children increases their engagement and participation in everyday life. Witnessing these changes motivated me to work privately with families who are seeking to play a major role in their child’s development. In late 2014, I moved my private practice to a community setting in Zillmere, Brisbane. The Connection Zone is a space where parents can find out more information about Relationship Development Intervention. This venue allows me to offer individual appointments, group programs, dyad sessions, parent support meetings and training events.

When children are ready, social dyad sessions can be provided in person at The Connection Zone, or via the online platform, Zoom. Two children of a similar age and skill level are matched and assisted by a trained facilitator. The creative play sessions are for 1 hour each. The series of sessions usually occur in school holidays, but may continue on through the term. Vocal and physical playfulness, social games, sharing ideas and small creative projects are typically included. Expressions of interest are always welcome, with previous family involvement in the RDI Program desirable.

Qualifications and Memberships

  • RDI® Program Certified Consultant
  • Bachelor of Speech Therapy
  • Member of Connect and Relate for Autism Inc (CARFA)
  • Member of Speech Pathology Australia
  • Member of Autism Spectrum Disorder Speech Pathology Advisory Group
  • Member of the Australian Group on Severe Communication Impairment (AGOSCI) since the 1980s
  • Hanen Program Certified
  • PROMPT trained
  • 1, 2, 3, Magic and Emotion Coaching certification
  • Safe and Sound Protocol listening program trained practitioner

Service Areas

  • Brisbane suburbs and distance consultations

Contact Details

Registered Provider for rebates from

  • NDIS – Self Managed
  • NDIS – Plan Managed
  • Medicare HCWA funding package
  • Medicare Chronic Disease Management Plan
  • Most Private Health Funds