Radhika Tanksale worked for nearly 10 years as a psychologist at Minds and Hearts until February 2021, a private clinic in Brisbane that provides therapeutic services for individuals on the autism spectrum. She is grateful for the learnings she received from her supervisors Dr Michelle Garnett and Prof Tony Attwood and continues to be mentored by them. She has completed 50-hours of training from Zenergy Yoga - the leading training organization of children's yoga in Australia. She also completed Yoga Psychology for Mental Health Professionals training and the 8-week course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. She developed a yoga-based program for children on the autism spectrum between 8-12 years of age and ran a pilot randomised controlled trial as a part of her PhD candidature from 2016-2020. During her doctoral program, she realised the importance of connections that exists between the mind-body, parent-child, as well as connecting to the here and now, to the group with a shared intention, to the surroundings, and to the wholeness that lies within everyone. She conceived the idea for Social Space Community in January 2020 just before “social distancing” became the new norm. Experiencing social distancing herself fortified her passionate commitment to making this social enterprise a reality.
Tejashree Dhoble is a software engineer by profession. However, for the past couple of years, she has changed her professional tracks and is at present a stay-at-home mum to two beautiful boys. During her maternity break, she took to card-making and paper-crafting and fell in love with it. She enjoyed making personalised cards for her friends and family. She decided to convert her growing interest in this area into a business. “HandKrafted Hugs” has been around for two years. It has evolved from being just a paper-crafts business into more of a handmade gifts/functional art for homes. She has been trying to learn and grow as an artist. By no means would she call herself a professional artist, nevertheless she loves trying new things. She also works with acrylics, resins, mixed media and is trying to incorporate them into her handmade gifts business. She has participated in a few art exhibitions in Melbourne and has received positive feedback. She hopes to continue to learn new skills and see where this passion for art and craft journey takes her next. She is a Creative Consultant for the Social Space Community “Create to Connect- Craft” groups.
Atousa Salehpour is a visual artist. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and has experience in the fields of painting, pottery, photography, wood carving, sculpture, miniature inlaying and jewellery making. For the last 20 years, she has been teaching visual arts to different age groups. Over the years, she has come to realise how much art activities can help people identify their emotions, express feelings they may not be able to verbalise, or even be aware of. She believes art provides an opportunity for people to relax, gain confidence, self-understanding, and provides a unique opportunity for creating and maintaining a positive social connection. These experiences have encouraged her to find a way to help people through Art Therapy. Because of this Atousa completed a Diploma in Art Therapy to not only expand her knowledge and skills in both a theoretical and practical way but also apply her art teaching knowledge and experience to the area of Art Therapy. She is a Creative Consultant for the Social Space Community “Create to Connect- Visual Art” groups.
Aashni Pratap professionally is a specialist working in the domestic and family violence sector, predominantly working with men who use violence. She is also completing her doctoral degree and looking at the effect of trauma and its link to the use of violence. Aashni has previously co-facilitated groups at the Minds and Hearts clinic, working with young people on the autism spectrum. She has also been the lead facilitator in a number of intervention groups for adult clients and believes that the connection and shared experience through group work, is second to none. When she is not at work, Aashni enjoys cooking, shopping, watching crime shows and movies and going for nice bush walks. She is a HUGE dog lover and you will no doubt hear stories of her two puppies. Aashni is passionate about being proactive in the early intervention space, with a focus on empowerment, healing and social connectedness. Aashni is the creative coordinator for the Social Space Community "Space to Connect- Compassion" groups.
Aarti Pratap is a botanist by profession and is completing her Masters in Agricultural Science. Aarti grew up appreciating nature so it made sense that this passion translated into her professional life. She also has worked for four years in administration at Minds and Hearts, a clinic working with individuals on the autism spectrum. When she is not working or studying, Aarti runs her own photography business. She loves being able to capture special moments in a natural and candid manner that is true to her clients' style. Aarti also loves travelling and capturing the world through her lens. She has travelled to over 22 countries and cannot wait to see more! Aarti believes photography is a powerful tool that can turn our everyday world into something special, we just need to open our eyes and see the world as our canvas. Aarti is the consultant for the Social Space Community "Mindful Connection - Nature and Photography groups."
Kelly Stansmore is an Experienced Senior Teacher of 14 years with Education Queensland, and a fully qualified, certified and insured 250-hour adult and kids yoga teacher. As a committed life-long learner and educator, she is passionate about inspiring and empowering children and adults to be the brightest version of themselves. Her love of yoga started over 10 years ago when she discovered the life-changing benefits of yoga for stress and anxiety in her own life. Since then, her personal yoga practice has helped to transform her life completely, giving her the confidence to chase her dream of becoming a yoga teacher. She has travelled to India to train with world leaders in yoga, as well as an internationally recognized and leading Kids Yoga expert of 25 years, Loraine Rushton, from Zenergy Yoga. Kelly’s business, Ignite Yoga, helps to educate children and adults about the many emotional, social and physical benefits of yoga, so that everyone can feel more CALM, CONCENTRATED and CONTENT. Her business mission statement is "inspiring and empowering children and adults to IGNITE the light within to be the brightest version of themselves." Kelly is the coordinator of the Social Space Community "Mindful Connection - Yoga groups."
Dee has been a counsellor and autism specialist for over 25 years. She has recently written a 530pg book for laypeople, on dealing in most situations where autism presents – which book is currently with the publishers. She and a colleague have also developed a ground-breaking screening tool for women on the autism spectrum, which should soon be published. The data is spectacularly significant. Dee is also a couples (relationship), family, mental health and trauma specialist, and works in most areas of counselling. When not working, Dee is an avid reader, a writer, a poet, has done stage production and directing of various musicals and writes theatre reviews, loves swimming and walking, and most importantly, caring for her therapy dog and Burmese cat, and socialising with family and friends. She is the coordinator for the Writing, Poetry, and Drama groups.