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Meet The Team

The staff at Happy Chatters are a dedicated team who work together to help you Engage, Communicate, and Connect with your children. You may see multiple clinicians at times for programs or shared sessions. Many of our clients benefit from this interdisciplinary team approach.

Who will be my child’s clinician?

Your initial intake session will be completed by a clinician who will assess your child’s needs and create a personalised therapy plan.

After this initial session, the Speech and Language Therapist will write a report and personalised targets and strategies for your child which will be discussed with the team of associate practitioners. If your child requires ongoing support, this will be delivered by an Associate Practitioner.

Speech & Language Associate Practitioner & Licensed Early Years Interventionist

Dipaley Patel SLTAP MRCSLT

Founder & Director of Happy Chatters

My journey into the world of speech and language therapy came at a time when I needed help in developing my daughter’s speech & language skills. Whilst we worked with the NHS, who did the best they could with the resources available, it became apparent that she would need more for her to progress. I felt it was up to me to open up her world further to encourage and develop her comprehension and expressive language.

As a parent when your child is non – traditionally speaking it is difficult to understand how to help them and this can be extremely frustrating. Working with my daughter has inspired me to help other parents and children in similar circumstances. Using my skills as a professional and a mother I am able to empower parents/caregivers on the best way they can help their children.

Being a proud mum to my autistic daughter has taught me so much but mostly understanding that as parents it is our responsibility to ensure that our children develop the necessary life skills to become young confident people and in doing so a big part of this is being able to recognise when ‘you’ as a parent need help to ensure all their needs are fully met.

As a Speech & Language Associate Practitioner I work with children within the early years settings and specialise in working with children on the Autism Spectrum.

Additionally, I am also part of Autism Doctor Team, run by Dr Deepshikha Thakur, Consultant Paediatrician. I carry out ADHD QBCheck assessments and 3DI’s (parental diagnostic interviews) as part of the Autism Assessment process.

Paediatrics Founder & Clinical Director of Autism Doctor Dr Deepshikha Thakur MBBS MRCPCH MD
Paediatrics Founder & Clinical Director of Autism Doctor

Dr Deepshikha Thakur MBBS MRCPCH MD

Happy Chatters is proud to work with Dr Deepshikha (Deepa) Thakur Founder and Lead Clinician for Autism Doctor based in Spire Bushey Hospital

Dr Deepshikha Thakur has a vast and varied paediatric experience spanning over 22 years. ​Her special interest is in Autism Spectrum Disorder particularly Autism in girls and teenagers as well as complex Autism.

In addition, she is an expert in assessment and management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, Developmental Delay and other aspects of Neurodisability and Developmental Paediatrics.​

She holds key leadership roles within the NHS in relation to Autism and SEND as Autism Lead and Designated Medical Officer (DMO) in Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and a board member of NHS England, East of England ASD and Learning Disability Board.

She has been involved in the capacity of chief investigator in a feasibility Research Trial using a robot (KASPAR) to improve joint attention, imitation and turn taking in children on Autism Spectrum. She has presented in international and national conferences over the years including at the prestigious RCPCH. She is a co-author of the Autism chapter in the Trainees Handbook published by Jay Pee Brothers.

Deepshikha undertakes private assessments of Autism, ADHD, Developmental Delay and other conditions for children and young people in Hertfordshire, London and also the rest of the UK.

Qualifications and Memberships:

  • MBBS
  • MD (Paediatrics)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Paediatric Neurodisability
  • Member of RCPCH ( Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health)
  • Member of BACCH (British Association of Community Child Health)
  • Member of BACD (British Association of Childhood Disability)​
Sensory Development Practitioner

Shannon Engel-Da Costa, Sensory Awareness Disorder Diploma

Shannon has over 9 years’ experience working with children within early years.

Shannon began working privately with myself over 4 years ago, where she has been trained and guided by myself into the world of speech and language therapy with extensive hands-on experience.
Growing up Shannon developed a strong friendship with an autistic girl who opened her eyes up to how she sees the world, teaching her more about her world and the challenges she once faced communicating her voice.
Shannon has been an integral part in my daughter life; she has been a valuable part of my family and team.
Shannon prides herself in helping autistic children develop this brings her great joy in seeing a child grow and flourish and breaking down communication barriers between individuals.


  • Advance Autism Awareness Diploma
  • Child’s Psychology Diploma
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) – Advanced course
  • Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness
  • Speech Therapy
  • Sensory Awareness Disorder


  • Fully up-dated CRB Checked, and compliant with Data Protection Legislation.
  • Safe Guarding level 1 and 2
Sunita - Speech & Language Therapist with Happy Chatters
Speech & Language Therapist

Sunita Shah Bsc (Hons), MRCSLT, MASLTIP, HPCReg

Sunita Shah qualified in 1999 from Leeds Metropolitan University; with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clinical Language Sciences, (Speech and Language Therapy). Sunita has over 20 years experience working with children in the National Health Service (NHS). Together Let’s Communicate has been established for over 15 years successfully supporting children in North West London, and in 2019 relocated to Cheshire. Sunita worked as a service lead with the well known practice Magic Words. Sunita has developed a range of specialist clinical skills working with a wide range of ages and types of communication difficulties. Sunita received and delivered training to Great Ormond Street, The Michael Palin Centre and Nuffield Speech Institute. Sunita’s clinical skills and knowledge are at a highly specialised level.

Sunita has also been involved in working with children in nurseries and schools. Sunita has successfully delivered training and developed a collaborative relationship with education establishments to support children with communication difficulties; helping staff to identify and support speech and language difficulties.
Sunita has developed a specialist interest in Bilingualism. Sunita was Chair of the Clinical Excellence network in Bilingualism (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy) for 10 years, and has supported her professional body as an advisor for the United Kingdom. Sunita has gained a wide range of knowledge and experience of working with clients from diverse communities, with a range of language, cultural and religious backgrounds. Sunita is multi-lingual: Gujarati is her primary language. Semi fluent in Hindi and Urdu, and comprehends basic Punjabi. Sunita has provided training to NHS departments in UK and Northern Ireland in bilingual matters and working with children and families from diverse communities. Sunita was a Honorary lecturer at Essex University, and University of Central London.
Sunita has worked with and supported organisations such as Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP), ICAN, Sure Start, The Communications Trust and The Baby Centre.
​Sunita has a vast array of training and therapy packages to support communication development which can be personalised to meet your needs.


  • Certified member of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
  • Member of the Association of Speech & Language Therapists in Independent Practice.
  • State registered with Health Professional Council. Health professional’s role is to protect the Public. Its main objective is to safeguard the health and well beings of individuals using a service.
  • Fully up-dated CRB Checked, and compliant with Data Protection Legislation.

Safe Guarding Level 3.

Clinical Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Anna Hamlet BSc Occupational Therapy, MSc Autism and PG Cert Sensory Integration

Anna is a Clinical Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist who specialises in working with Autistic children.

Anna has over 20 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist. She founded her company My World Therapy based in Hertfordshire, UK in order to provide individualised, timely, highly specialist Occupational Therapy for children with sensory processing differences and/or motor skills difficulties.

Through thorough assessment, Anna builds a profile of each child’s strengths and needs. In addition, she recognises the importance of understanding what the world feels like to the child and also what motivates them. This enables Anna to formulate an individualised therapy plan. As a Mum of two children, Anna understands the importance of therapy being fun and of working closely with parents to understand their priorities for their child.

Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Roberta Mackey, B.Sc. (Hons) - Speech and Language Therapy

Qualifications and Memberships:

  • B.Sc. (Hons) – Speech and Language Therapy
  • Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT)
  • Member of the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP)
  • Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Regional Makaton Tutor
  • Member of Paediatric Dysphagia CEN

Current Role:

Roberta works privately alongside her NHS job where she manages a large caseload of children and young people with severe speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). Additionally.

Early Childhood Educator

Nandita Shah

Armed with a degree in Psychology and a special interest in child development, Nandita has been delivering research based sensory development programmes for babies, toddlers and pre-school children since 2016.

Her passion has always been about laying the best possible foundations for children to thrive and this has always been through play & routine.

She firmly believes there’s no better time for children to communicate than when they are playing and having fun.

In 2023 Nandita successfully completed the Learning Language & Loving It programme from the Hanen Centre and can’t wait to share strategies with parents and early educators to helping children with their development

Speaker - Writer - Trainer

Reena Anand

My mission is to educate about life with autism and promote honest conversations about autism, especially within Black, Brown and ethnically diverse communities.

I’m passionate about recognising cultural and personal biases, stigmas and misconceptions and supporting families, organisations and communities on their journey to understand autism and how to talk about it courageously. I fulfil my mission by designing workshops, delivering talks and creating a safe space for people to learn and share their experiences.

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