How a brain develops hinges on a complex dance between the genes you inherit, and the life and education experiences...
Growing the reputation and program uptake with healthcare professionals is a major ambition of TALi. We know that early intervention is not only important but, in some cases, critical to a child’s ability to achieve gains in a variety of cognitive developmental milestones early on in life.
Someone who understands this better than anyone is TALi’s most recent key appointment, Clinical Lead, Dr Simone Gindidis.
Simone comes to TALi with vehement interest for the use of innovative technology and digital health applications in a clinical setting. She remembers fondly the firsthand thrill and excitement of video games, computers and technology as a child: the way they unleashed a playground of possibility and imagination.
Moving through her studies, an interest grew in the convergence of using digital and gamified technology platforms as an adjunct to psychological assessment and therapy.
“My favourite quote has always been from Socrates: ‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.’ This growth mindset – coupled with many, many hours on Sega Mega Drives and Macintosh computers in the 1990s, wonderful mentors and plenty of coffee – has fostered a love for all things digital in my work with children and families,” says Simone.
It’s this innate curiosity for modern psychology settings that led her to undertake a Masters and PhD in Educational and Developmental Psychology, exploring advanced training to promote the appreciation for broader psychological systems and supports that people need to live, learn and age well.
“In light of my experience and passions, my PhD research was motivated by the need to contribute evidence to the field, by evaluating the clinical use of apps in adolescent therapy from the perspectives of clinicians and clients.”
“I get my energy from connecting with children and adopting their world view. Digital technology forms an important part of how they interact with the world, and being able to speak this language to promote positive mental health, self-esteem, academic achievement and wellbeing is incredibly fulfilling,” says Simone.
Because of this, Simone continues to provide clinical services to balance her time when she’s not with the TALi team. She says her clinical and in-session work remains a major part of what she loves but, also admits, this work is generally supported by an indulgence of Harry Potter-themed resources – because who doesn’t enjoy seeing their child’s clinician pretending to fly an imaginary broom!
“Harry Potter aside, I am passionate about utilising and advocating for the exciting potential that digital health platforms can offer people of all ages – especially children. I strongly believe in the ongoing development of evidence-based digital innovations such as the TALi DETECT and TALi TRAIN programs as a means of administering engaging, valid and robust assessments and interventions.
“Some of the many benefits of using digital health tools as adjuncts to clinical work are that healthcare practitioners can capitalise on the love children have for using devices to develop important skills. These tools also offer the flexibility of being used alongside established therapies, both in-session and remotely – an important consideration as we move toward a post-COVID-19 world,” says Simone.
Simone promotes responsible and efficacious approaches to the clinical integration of TALi programs for healthcare professionals, and is here to facilitate clinically meaningful research alongside our Chief Scientist, Dr Azadeh Feizpour; developing psychoeducational resources for teachers and families as well as useful resources for practitioners. For fellow healthcare professionals, this means you now have an ‘insider’ at TALi – she speaks your language! Armed with an appreciation for the demands of clinical work, Simone is the bridge between TALi and healthcare professionals.
So, why TALi? Well, I think TALi’s mission to create engaging, evidence-based products for early childhood is innovative, ambitious, and proactive. We’re not only developing, validating and helping to make digital tools for use with very young children more widely available, we’re also contributing much-needed evidence to the study of performance-based cognitive attention in an effort to help as many kids as possible - and in a fun and responsible way,” says Simone.
As Clinical Lead at TALi, Simone helps children by bridging the divide between parents, healthcare professionals, educators, researchers, and software developers. She is only at the beginning of a journey that’s will see her adding significantly to the suite of digital tools on offer.