Operations Manager, Central/Southern
My involvement with assistive technology began in the 1980s working on the development of environmental control systems for people with spinal cord injuries. Coming from a background in industrial automation, it was exciting to see how technology could be applied to assist people with disabilities and this soon became a passion for me.
As assistive technology moved from custom built and modified devices to commercial off-the-shelf solutions, the need for formalised assessment became apparent. This led to the establishment initially of the Southern Technology Assessment and Resource Team (START) which later became the Burwood Assistive Technology Centre where my role was rehabilitation engineer.
During my time with the Burwood Assistive Technology Centre I broadened my engineering qualifications by completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Rehabilitation though Otago University. I also became very familiar with the processes and requirements for securing funding for equipment through ACC and Enable Funding. Through these years I had the privilege of working not only with a fascinating range of new technologies as they developed, but also with many remarkable people as they embarked on their rehabilitation journeys.
Some people will know me through other related roles, either as a founding member of the New Zealand Spinal Trust or as Chairperson of the Computers for Special Needs Trust and I keep an active interest in both these organisations.
In 2009 I took up a new position as Team Leader – Bioengineering at Christchurch Hospital, where I managed a small group of biomedical engineers and technicians. This was interesting work developing innovative high technology solutions for specialised needs in the Canterbury health system. Alongside this I continued my interest in assistive technology, though with the focus moved to hospital inpatients.
When the position of Southern Operations Manager with TalkLink became available I saw an opportunity to not only use my team leadership experience, but also to return to hands-on work with assistive technology. Alongside my management role I expect to be supporting the South Island team with technical and engineering expertise. But most of all my desire is to see our clients achieve fulfilment in their lives through the use of assistive technology.
Team Leader/ Occupational Therapist
I joined the TalkLink team at Wellington in January 2009. Prior to this, I studied sports and therapeutic massage, and sport and recreation in Hawkes Bay. Ultimately deciding to study Occupational Therapy, I subsequently graduated from Auckland University of Technology in 2008
As the senior Occupational Therapist on the TalkLink Lower North Island team, I am involved in assessing the functional abilities of clients in regard to supporting their independent access to both written and spoken communication technology. I provide support to staff with my Occupational therapy expertise.
Team Leader/ Speech Language Therapist
I am a Speech and Language Therapist who initially joined the TalkLink Lower North Island team in 2012 after a clinical placement at TalkLink that sparked my interest in AAC. I went on my OE to London in 2014 where I worked for the NHS in a range of paediatric settings including AAC.
When I returned to New Zealand in 2016 I was very excited to re-join the TalkLink team and to work in the area I am most passionate about.
I strongly believe that just because someone can’t talk, doesn’t mean they have nothing to say. My favourite part of my job is problem solving with clients and their teams to find the best tool to enable the client to communicate.
I am an AAC activist and I am dedicated and motivated to educate the community about AAC.
Speech Language Therapist
I have worked in a range of settings with both children and adults with communication delays, communication disorders and complex needs. This has included working in healthcare settings/hospitals and with the Ministry of Education, with preschool and school aged children. I have experienced a range of communication and learning needs and worked with a number of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. I am from Wellington and graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Education. I also studied at the University of Canterbury, completing a Bachelor of Speech-Language Therapy (Hons).
Speech Language Therapist
I joined TalkLink as a newly graduated Speech Language Therapist at the beginning of 2020. Language and communication have been life-long interests of mine, but I have taken a bit of an alternate route to get on this pathway.
I first graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam, Auckland University which led to time working as a curator and publicist in public art galleries. The birth of my first son stimulated my interest in child language development and I knew that I wanted to work more directly with people to make tangible differences in their daily lives. This resulted in me studying Linguistics where I developed an interest in language maintenance and te reo Māori in particular, gaining a Graduate Diploma of Arts from Victoria University of Wellington. In 2019 I completed a Masters in Speech Language Therapy from the University of Auckland.
As a Speech Language Therapist I am most looking forward to working with and empowering whānau to communicate in the way that works best for them. I am especially interested in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Speech Language Therapist
In 2015, I graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Speech Language Therapy. Following my studies, I worked for 5 years at the Ministry of Education, Learning Support, in the Bay of Plenty region. During that time, I worked with a wide range of children, from 3 – 21 years of age, with diverse communication and learning needs. Of these clients, I had a real passion for working with children who had complex communication needs and their teams. I also really enjoyed facilitating training with teachers and parents; watching people grow as they built confidence and competence in supporting their child’s communication. My best days at work were when a team felt like they no longer needed my support.
In 2020, I joined the TalkLink team to build on my interest in complex communication needs and helping people to find their voice. I enjoy the challenge of working with clients and their teams to find the best solution to help a client communicate. The smallest changes can have the biggest rewards. I’m excited to be a part of the TalkLink team and to continue to build my knowledge in the area of augmentative and alternative communication.
I create low tech communication books and resources. My background and training is in graphic design.
Having recently graduated from Oxford Brookes University, UK with a BSc Occupational Therapy (Hons), I am delighted to now be a member of the TalkLink Team.
Although I was born in New Zealand, I have spent the majority of my adult life overseas; including USA, Belgium and England.
In England, I worked within the NHS (Lewisham & Greenwich, London) facilitating rehabilitation to stroke patients and then conducting research into post-stroke wellbeing within the community. I also gained a lot of experience whilst on placement working at an in-patient adolescent facility plus community adult mental health service and, understand that; “Being, Becoming and Belonging” is necessary for all of us to get through life’s challenges.
What keeps us occupied, engaged and contented is an important aspect of living well and I strive to incorporate this into each and every one of my client liaisons. An aspect of this is the most basic human right – the ability to communicate with each other. On a daily basis, it allows us to connect with people, make decisions, express feelings and feel part of the community.
Therefore, in my position as an Occupational Therapist at Talklink, I am committed to assessing communication needs and investigating how to best access Assistive Technology to enhance our daily interactions.
I enjoy the challenge of problem solving, having a mindset to ensure satisfaction and finding a way to get things done. A personal motto has always been “Where there’s the Will – There Is a Way”!