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Dr Sarita K Hamall

Stuttering Specialist

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Dr Sarita K Hamall is the owner/Director of Little Star Speech Therapy and has over 22-years experience working as a speech pathologist. She is a highly experienced clinician in the treatment of stuttering disorders in clients preschool-age to adults. Sarita is knowledgeable in the Lidcombe Program and modified treatment approaches for severe stuttering. In 2012, Sarita completed a PhD at the University of Newcastle, where she contributed to the evidence-base of early stuttering treatment delivery. She has mentored speech pathologists and students for over 15-years and continues to share her expertise with those in the community. Sarita  has a true love of the profession and feels the happiest when she sees the achievements of each and every client.

Director / General Manager

Chris Hamall is born in Newcastle, NSW and is the owner/General Manager of Little Star Speech Therapy. Since 2012, Chris has been instrumental in growing Little Star from a single clinician to multiple skilled professionals. He brings his 15 years knowledge and experience working with children with multiple needs, disability, and mental health issues under the "Community Services Sector" in the Hunter. This experience has helped him grow into a compassionate professional who truly understands and respects the needs of clients and families. His extensive knowledge in community outreach and business matters ensures that he maintains the very best standards for the clinic and the wellbeing of all staff and clients. He is happy to be part of a team of compassionate professionals and takes pride in maintaining quality services for all children.

Chris Hamall

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little star staff

Administration Officer

Marisa Smythe


Marisa was born in Newcastle, Australia and has lived here for most of her life. Her working career has varied over the years. She worked as a carer in the community before moving into aged care, where she remained for 20 years. This taught her about respect, empathy, looking after the needs of the disabled and the importance of making a difference in other people's lives. Following the birth of her two daughters, Marisa advanced into an administration and leadership role with medical specialists and allied health.  She is very excited to be working at Little Star Speech Therapy as our Administration Officer including the wonderful staff and team. She is a people person who loves talking, listening and helping those in need. Marisa is very excited to be working with children and their families to achieve their goals.

Reception / Admin

Shilpa Khanal

Shilpa was born and raised in Nepal and she came to Newcastle, Australia 6 years ago.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in field of Business and Accounting and has extensive experience working in age care and disability. Shilpa is an energetic and optimistic person who loves working with families and children.  She loves to be "the reason behind someone's happiness" and it shows with her genuine and vibrant personality.  Shilpa is our receptionist/admin at Little Star and her intention is to help families, clients and staff with their administration needs.  Her preferred area of work is in the allied health and disability sector.

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Clinical Educator / Clinician

Rhiannon beattie

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Rhiannon completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) at the University of Newcastle, where she also works as a Clinical Educator. She is a warm and caring clinician who is passionate about supporting clients to achieve their goals no matter how big or small. Rhiannon values the therapeutic relationships she has with her clients and enjoys seeing them succeed in therapy which plays to their strengths and interests. Rhiannon brings extensive experience working in multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams across Newcastle supporting a range of clients with complex disability. She enjoys and welcomes working collaboratively with other professionals to create the best outcomes for her clients and their families. Rhiannon is dedicated to ongoing professional development and has completed courses such as: Nuffield Dyspraxia Program for motor speech intervention, Sounds Write for literacy and Hanen More Than Words. She is passionate about finding the right approach for the right client, and empowering children and families.


Joanna Nelson

Jo completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) degree at the University of Newcastle. She has worked in Newcastle and on the Mid North Coast of NSW to help children and their families build confidence and achieve their communication goals.
Jo gained early experience working alongside occupational therapists and continues to welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with other professionals. She loves supporting children in the areas of early communication, literacy, fluency, and pragmatic language.
Jo is trained in programs including Hanen It Takes Two to Talk, Sounds Write, Lidcombe, and Secret Agent Society and is passionate about ongoing professional development to best support her clients and families. Jo’s positive outlook and ability to focus on each person's strengths and areas of interest helps her build meaningful connections with her clients.  

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Alana Wilson

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Alana completed her Bachelor of Speech Pathology degree at the
University of Newcastle. She is an energetic and vibrant clinician who is
passionate about working with children in achieving their communication
goals. Alana is extremely dedicated to professional development and has
completed many specialised postgraduate training courses. Alana is
trained in the Lidcombe Program for stuttering intervention, she is a Hanen
Certified Clinician with training in the It Takes Two to Talk & More Than
Words’ and ‘Target Word’ programs. Alana is also trained in the PROMPT
technique and literacy programs such as Sounds-Write and Talk for Writing
programs. Alana has a warm, caring, and captivating rapport with her
clients and always strives to make each session not only fun and engaging,
but also tailored to suit each individual child and their family’s needs.


Annemarie Laurence

Annemarie is from Newcastle, NSW and is a clinical educator and speech pathologist. She has touched the lives of many aspiring speech pathologists at the University of Newcastle with her excellence in mentorship and leadership.  Annemarie is trained in Professional Development programs, some of which includes Sounds-Write for literacy and Story Champs for language development.  She has a beautiful demeanour, which calms busy clients, as they relate to her warm presence.  Annemarie is available to see clients at Little Star Speech Therapy for later appointments in the afternoon.  She strives to make a difference for children who struggle with communication and help empower families along the way.

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AHA Speech Pathologist

Isabella Gerritsen

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Isabella Gerritsen was born and raised in Newcastle NSW. She is in her final months of completing a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Newcastle University where she will be graduating in the middle of this year. She has a passion for working with children to achieve their goals big or small empowering families along the way.

She brings her previous experience working within the early education setting as well as an Allied Health Assistant where she can integrate these skills into her new role at Little Star Speech Therapy. Isabella is excited to be joining the team at Little Star Speech Therapy and is looking forward to get to know all the beautiful families she will be working alongside. 


Sophie completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) at the University of Newcastle. She has worked with clients throughout the lifespan and within a broad variety of scopes of practice. This includes articulation therapy, augmented alternative communication (AAC), dysfluency, early intervention, expressive and receptive language development, and pragmatic language (social communication skills). Sophie has experience providing intervention for NDIS participants that have complex needs and working cooperatively with their multidisciplinary teams. This experience has influenced her perspective of the necessity of taking a holistic approach to therapy. Sophie provides a client-centred, family-centred approach to intervention that is founded on evidence-based practise. She is motivated by the progress and achievements of all of her clients.

Sophie Gonano

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AHA Speech Pathologist

Amiza Azmali

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Amiza is Bruneian, born in the United Kingdom and raised in Brunei Darussalam. She came to Newcastle, Australia 2 years ago. She is a few semesters away from completing a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) at the University of Newcastle where she will be graduating in mid 2025. She possesses a profound passion for collaborating with children, driven by a deep commitment to helping them attain their aspirations. Her dedication extends beyond just the children themselves; she is equally devoted to empowering families throughout the journey. Drawing from her background in outside of school hours care and paediatric clinical placements, she is poised to integrate these skills at Little Star Speech Therapy. Amiza is thrilled to embark on this new journey with the team, anticipating the opportunity to connect with the wonderful families she will support and work alongside.

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