Nicole Grant – Gateway Therapies
After studying Psychology and then completing a masters in Occupational Therapy, I worked for a private, national organisation providing vocational rehabilitation services. As a new grad, I found this work interesting and challenging, and it took me interstate where I quickly progressed through the ranks into a management role. After 7 years, my husband and I decided it was time to return home to Brisbane and start our family. It was a bit of a whirlwind time, and only 3 months after relocating, and starting a new job, I discovered I was pregnant. Being on maternity leave – the longest I had ever been away from study or work, gave me time to think. It was during this time I discovered Connect2Mums, and found an amazing and supportive group of ladies, who inspired me to think outside the square. I decided to get an ABN and began contracting for previous employers, still within the field of vocational rehabilitation.
As I grew into my parenting role, my interest in little people of all shapes and sizes grew, and an opportunity to move into paediatrics presented itself. With my second child now 6 months old, I began working with children with developmental delays and disabilities. Some of these children were diagnosed with autism, and I found myself particularly drawn to this client group. In May 2010, an association newsletter advertised a PhD scholarship for research in the field of autism. Completing a PhD was a dream of mine, and I was thrilled when I was accepted into the program. I had a case load of clients however, that I was keen to look after so the seed of Gateway Therapies had been sown. I hired my first subcontractor 12 months later, and quickly threw together my branding and website. I turned to my network at C2M and found a graphic designer and website designer, and later a bookkeeping team.
Over the past 12 months my team has grown to include an administrative assistant, accounts manager, and 6 Occupational Therapists in all. We’ve seen more than 200 clients over the past few years, and have been accepted onto 2 national health provider panels, funded by FaHCSIA. We are also attracting referrals from local paediatricians, department of communities, and insurance providers. This is all very exciting, and at times overwhelming! I will be finished my PhD by end 2013, the year my eldest daughter finishes prep, and just before my youngest daughter starts her prep year in 2014. I love that my work and study allows me to work from home, and gives me the flexibility to be available for my children and husband.