Who we are:
CreateCATT was pioneered and founded by CEO Caroline Essame and is co-run by two Directors and supported by a team of global consultants and advisors that help bring best practice to the children who need it most.
Caroline Essame - CEO and Founder
Caroline is a British occupational therapist and creative arts therapist with a Masters Degree in education specialising in play based learning. She has worked for over 35 years in the field of creativity and human development, with experience in health, welfare and education services in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the UK, the Philippines and India. Based in Singapore she is the pioneer of CreateCATT Developmental Play and works with pre-school children and school-aged children with special needs as well as teaching at Singapore University of Social Sciences. She is a consultant for Deepti special school in Kerala, India, a Playfutures Explorer for the LEGO Foundation and an award winning international trainer and author.
Caroline Clay - Director UK
Caroline is an occupational therapist with over 35 years’ experience in disability, welfare, health, education and management. She has worked as a senior manager and has won a leadership award for innovative practice within health and social care. She works with children with extreme challenges in the UK, is a trained neuro-linguistic practitioner and sensory processing specialist. Caroline is Chair of the Candle for India Charitable Trust which supports special needs services in India and a global consultant with CreateCATT training across Asia.
Dr Andrew Duffy - Director of Communications
Andrew is an assistant professor of journalism studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He has worked in communication for over 30 years, and has a PhD in communications and new media from the National University of Singapore. His undergraduate degree is in English from the University of Oxford, and he worked as a journalist and editor for 15 years. He is the Director of Communications for CreateCATT.
Advisors, consultants and affiliates
Dr. Susan Mathew
Susan is the Director of Deepti Special School and Rehabilitation Centre in Kerala, India. She has a PhD in Theology from the University of Durham, UK, and is the mother of a child with cerebral palsy who was her inspiration for developing services for children with special needs and their families at Deepti, which started in 2009. Based in India, she teaches at the Department of The New Testament at Faith Theological Seminary in Manakala, Kerala, with a special interest in theology from a disability perspective. Susan has a Bachelors in Special Needs Education from India, and has been working for the past seven years integrating creative play and innovative integrated practices into the work at Deepti.
Monaliza is the Director and owner of Kaleidoscope Therapy & Learning Center. She is a licensed occupational therapist in the Philippines and Oregon, USA. For the past 20 years, Mona has devoted her career working with exceptional children and promoting inclusion of these children into our society, as an occupational therapist and early educator. She worked in Singapore for seven years and was the head of Early Intervention Programme for five years. Mona is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy and is involved with research into inclusion programmes and Developmental Play.
Shoba has a background in psychology and a Masters degree in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai with 35 years of professional experience in Mental Health, Development, Disability and Health of which over 20 years have been in leadership positions. She has worked in India and internationally and served as an invited member on a number of Global Mental Health expert committees and advisory bodies including theWorld Bank-WHO Advisory Group on Scaling Up Mental Health, Mental Health Innovation Network and BasicNeeds representative in two leading global mental health research consortiums: PRIME(funded by DFID) and EMERALD (funded by EU).She advises CreateCATT on building strategic partnerships, bridging the researcher-practitioner gap and measuring impact of work on the ground.
Dr Suvi Pitkola
Suvi is a Finnish Occupational Therapist and Music Therapist based in Singapore. She is Director of Mighty Oaks Pre-School, the first Floortime School to be registered in Asia and also Co-Director of Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre. She has a Masters in counseling, the Advanced Level Certificate in DIR Floortime and a Ph.D. thesis on sound therapy and autism. Caroline and Suvi developed the first creative arts therapy network in Singapore in 2002, working on the launch of the Art Therapy Masters in 2004 and the first Creative Arts Centre for children with autism in Malaysia 2013.
Ying Li Looi
Ying graduated from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication majoring in TV Production. She produces corporate videos for clients including Singapore Airlines, SingTel, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Media Development Authority (MDA), British High Commission, SingHealth, Singapore Technologies, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Community Development Council (CDC). A scriptwriter, director and editor she mixes her interest in social media as a multi-channel tool to craft forward-thinking and creative productions and develops the online content for CreateCATT.
Dr David Whitebread
David was the founding Director of the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK. He is a developmental psychologist who is widely recognised as a leading international expert in early childhood education. Before his academic career he taught in early-years schools and primary schools for 12 years, and during his first 17 years at Cambridge he worked in early-years teacher training. His research has focused on self-regulation in young children, and the roles of play and oral language development. He has published widely in academic journals and book chapters, and has edited and written a number of influential reports and books on play-based learning.
Sue is a children’s occupational therapist, postgraduate lecturer, clinical researcher and author. Based in Singapore, her clinical work aims to increase participation in home, school and community environments, and she specialises in working with families and children with developmental challenges. Sue is studying for her PhD with Reading University Department of Psychology looking at mechanisms to support families of children with sensory processing and integration difficulties, and she is also a published author of several books and articles on sensory processing. She was awarded the Sensory Integration Network (UK and Ireland) Fellowship recognising her contribution to the field.
Reddy is the founder of Huegah Life, Bangalore, a play practitioner and entrepreneur committed to bring play back into the life of children and adults. After 15 years of IT experience in cybersecurity in Malaysia and Singapore he is now back in India. Huegah Life, it is now his full-time Playground and it strives to revive the Inter-Generational play for betterment of next generation. Reddy has anMBA in Business Administration and Management from Murdoch University.
Dr Sue Jennings
Sue is an anthropologist and pioneer drama therapist, play therapist and storyteller based in Malaysia and the UK. Her work for the past 40 years has mainly been developing play, theatre, and attachment-based interventions with people with special needs, especially those at the margins of society. Her doctoral fieldwork was in the Malaysian rainforest where she lived for 18 months with her three children, studying the Senoi Temiar people. She has held academic appointments at universities in the UK and was recently awarded a visiting professorship at Taiwan University of the Arts. She also works as a trainer in neuro-dramatic play in Malaysia, and has published over 40 books.
Janine is an Australian registered nurse and midwife with a Masters in Global Health. Clinical experience includes work in Australia, UK, Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore with a specialism in maternal and infant health and early nurture. A recently qualified Developmental Play Practitioner she has a special interest in child development in areas of conflict and crisis.
Krupa is the founder and art therapist for Sankalpa: Art Journeys in Tamil Nadu, South India. Born in the US and of Indian ethnic origin she has formal, graduate Art Therapy training from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, US, and has experience working with children and women with HIV/AIDS, in child protection and in art exchanges between youth/adults from differing backgrounds. Krupa is a certified Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Consultant, an Ambassador to India for Art Therapy Without Borders, and specialises in working with the traditional arts in India.
Carrie is an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, qualified Trainer, supervisor and consultant. As Director of Arts Therapy Services for Ragamuffin International. Carrie has extensive experience in the following areas: asylum seekers and refugees, mental health, trauma and abuse, conflict & post conflict work, therapeutic training and supervision. Carrie is also a photographer, musician (saxophone/guitar) and singer/songwriter, with an avid interest in all of the arts for expression, social action and change.
Clive Essame is the inspiration for much of the work of CreateCATT. Born with a disability he was a passionate advocate for life in all its diversity. A horticulturalist, a playwright and an artist he also worked with people with challenges through arts and nature constantly bearing testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit and the right of everyone to creativity and play. As his sister I dedicate my social enterprise to his memory.