Ability Therapy Specialists ~ Armidale New England NSW Australia

Independent Consulting with Individuals, Couples, Families, Children ~ NDIS Registered Provider of Behaviour Support, Counselling Therapies with Creative Arts, Rehabilitation, Employment, Paediatric Early Childhood Intervention

Importance of Independent Behaviour Support

So many people rely on professional supports. We all need doctors, nurses, therapists of many disciplines, and specialists.

Yet in disability support many still accept in house practitioners for behaviour support and counselling. Even though these fields are highly specialist – or should be… the complexity of therapy in disability and mental health really requires at least masters qualified and experienced practitioners. But most orgs are lucky to have a bachelor qualified person on staff with little experience.

At Ability Therapy Specialists we have two doctoral qualified specialists on staff. We are independent. So we no longer need to be influenced by the policies and cultures of organizations and the politics this invariably brings. Having worked many years in different settings we have a heart of compassion for ways to deal with institutional cultures – but our focus is on advocacy for the NDIS participant and their family.

Contact us via our Contact page. We look forward to hearing from you.


Year End Reflections for 2017

Looking at 2017, many changes and developments followed just as many challenges and accomplishments. Ability Therapy Specialists (ATS) had its first year in full time practice. We have growth to include two practitioners, one full time, the other engaged part time. Our clients come from privately paid requests, government paid services under the NDIS, corporate and training clients, and educational and tutoring needs.

During 2017, the majority of clients came via the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These people asked for help with Behaviour Support, Counselling Therapies, and associated Clinical Assessments and Reports. We found by end of year that we were providing a wide range of clinical assessments, with new requests to engage the Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System 3 (ABAS 3) as well as other psychometric and educationalist assessments.

Clients used their assessments for a wide range of purposes. Some needed reports to share with Psychiatrists or Clinical Psychologists to assist with case reviews and planning, others needed reports for helping to evaluate what funding was more necessary and relevant to their needs under the NDIS Plan Review process, and other clients were seeking evaluations to share with primary care providers like Paediatricians for the purposes of diagnosis and/or to help with school/educational programs.

Our work during 2017 focused on Armidale and regional New England. Being based in Armidale we are slowly becoming known by families in the area, and word of mouth is always the best. We work with people of all ages, including children, individuals, parents, couples, families, schools, agencies, and NGOs. Much of our work with disability agencies and schools actually goes back many years within our specialist educational, therapeutic, and disability work – and we are excited to re-engage under this new and independent service.

We fairly quickly expanded beyond Armidale by offering a fortnightly day clinic in Inverell, hosted at Individual Ability Supports (IAS) across from the Inverell High School. The clinic had great success and many clients will be returning during 2018 to continue their awesome projects. The clinics run on the Monday beginning 22 January, but are by appointment only. No drop-ins please. Clients book in a month before usually, and each client tends to have at least an hour to engage in therapy activities. A sense of community is growing and participants do tend to visit with each other in a common room and have a cuppa at some point during the day. Contact for the clinic is via Dr Bowers (see this site’s Contact page), or IAS Inverell (see phone directory).

We were also excited to offer tailor made education and training for NGO staff during 2017, having designed modules in disability behaviour support and in trauma informed disability practice. Major shifts away from block funding create challenges for NGOs to find funding to pay for staff training and development. On behalf of clients we are grateful for those exceptional managers and team leaders who have taken the additional time necessary to find options during this transition.

The year also saw us using Skype for client meetings via distance. This had great success for certain client’s needs, and was useful for staff at regional NGOs. Using video/audio technology allowed these individuals to feel important, to gain better use of therapy and consultation services, and to save heaps of money that would otherwise go to travel time and costs. We hope to see greater interest by New England residents in 2018, as this form of working really does make a lot of sense for people who can communicate via this method.

Our geographic footprint seems to be in-flux given the only two year roll out of the NDIS in New England, and only first year roll out in Coffs Harbour and surrounding locations up to Dorrigo in the mountains, and along the coast north and south of Coffs. This being said, during 2017 we have calls from Coffs in the East to Moree in the West, and from Tenterfield in the North, and from Quirindi in the South and Gunnnedah in the South West.

Travel is an issue cost-wise given already inadequate funding packages under the specific line items that we can use, with inflexible terms for participant use of core funding allocations. But we have found a few work arounds for these issues. For one, we created a regional clinic out of Inverell which may assist people from Moree up to Tenterfield if they are able to travel to Inverell. We have also tended to provide significant discounts for travel costs where participant needs warrant and we were able to assist.

All up 2017 was an eventful and memorable year, with many amazing gifted people crossing our paths. We are inspired and encouraged. We wish everyone a peace-filled and healing 2018 for personal growth, and for family and friends.

Dr Joseph Bowers and Dr Dwayne Kennedy

GLBTI2S Couple and Marriage Counselling – Video

On the cusp of Australia’s revealing the results of our postal vote on same sex civil marriage, show host Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers discusses the dynamic of professional supportive counselling and psychotherapy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Two Spirit couples, marriages, and families. His message is profound and provocative. Intentional relationships and families are places to grow mature loving human beings. At the same time, he concludes that minority couples face many of the same dynamics and issues that straight couples and marriages deal with.


Ask A Therapist Episode 6 Couple Counselling vs Mediation? What is Available for Couples?

Episode 6 What is Available for Couples? looks at the enrichment-to-counselling-to-psychotherapy-to-mediation-to-litigation spectrum in couple relationship services. With five areas on the spectrum Dr Bowers offers couples a realistic view on how to seek help depending on their needs at the moment.


Ask A Therapist Episode 4 What is “Ability” AKA “Ability” Therapy Specialists

Episode 4 What is “Ability” explores this amazing word and what this means for people today – and what it can mean for you…


Ask A Therapist Episode 3 Workplace Stress – Help Please?

Episode 3 Workplace Stress looks at the natural ways we can work with our mind for a change, to de-stress, and find a new perspective.


Ask A Therapist Series Episode 2 What is Intellectual Ability?

“Episode 2 What is Intellectual Ability?” covers the cognitive intellectual and adaptive social skills and capacities that people have. This is huge!


Ask A Therapist Video Series, Episode 1 What is Intellectual Disability?

“Ask a Therapist” Video Series is based on participant’s questions and topics of interest. “Episode 1 What is Intellectual Disability?” covers the cognitive intellectual and adaptive social aspects of Intellectual Disability. Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers is our host to this question and answer series. Questions are welcome please send them by email via the Contact page at and thank you for your participation.

Facebook users can send questions in comments or direct message, thanks heaps. Linkedin users please message Dr Bowers, or visit our website as above.



Essentials of Behaviour Support – From NDIS Provider Ability Therapy Specialists in Armidale New England NSW

Behaviour Support begins with your goals, strengths, and skills.

Goals come from two places.

  1. The first is personal feelings. This is how you feel about your life and what you want to do.
  2. The second is social feelings. This is how others feel about your life and what others want for you and with you. Others are your family, friends, carers, staff, and community.

The balance of your feelings and other people’s feelings make for a stronger behaviour support plan.

After all what is a behaviour support plan?

Any good plan is made by you, your behaviour support specialist, and other people.

A good plan is to help you to feel safe and able to live your goals, strengths, and skills.

Strengths come from two places.

  1. The first is your feelings on your own strengths. What do you like best? What do you like least? What do you like to do most? What do you not want to do? What things do you really dislike?
  2. The second is other people’s experience of your strengths. What do they see about your likes, dislikes, and capacity to do different things?

The balance of your feelings and other people’s feelings on your strengths provides a good beginning to a strong behaviour support plan.

A good behaviour support plan is to help you practice your strengths.

Practicing strengths is best done with the help of friends, family, staff, carers, and community.

Skills come from two places.

  1. The first is your feelings on what you can do best, and what you can do least of all. All the things in between are also important. You may feel OK about house keeping skills. But you might feel yuk about eating ice cream in winter. Well, maybe not…! LOL
  2. The second is other people’s feelings on what you do best and least, and everything in between.

A good behaviour support plan will build on your skills.

Building skills means you can feel good about what you do good and not so good.

We are all learning and growing.


To finish Things Up

So we got goals, strengths, and skills.

Three things make a map or plan of how you are going. The behaviour part is social and relationships. How you can go, and how others can help you go.

Your plan can help to celebrate your goals, strengths, and skills.

Your plan can help to build up new strengths in things you would like to learn and do in future.

By making a plan your family, friends, staff, carers, and community members can better support you too.

Other people can use the plan to understand your goals, strengths, and skills.

This is how we make a good behaviour support plan.



Call Ability Therapy Specialists on 046 886 3740. Or email by going to the Contact Page. There is a form at bottom. Fill this in and say hello!

Sorry we cannot put the email on this page – there is too much junk mail that comes from putting the email here. But the form is good.

We do want to get your email. And we are excited to hear from you. Have a great day!




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