Operations Manager, 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.
Office Administrator and Equipment Support
Following my career as a social worker involving the support of children, youth and families I joined TalkLink in 2012. My role includes reception, the management of the client referral process and providing general administrative functions for the office and for all team members.
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).
I joined the TalkLink team in September 2015 on a part time basis and have enjoyed the challenge of working and completing further study. I graduated with my Bachelors of Occupational Therapy in 2014, then went on to complete my Honours degree in 2015. Since graduating, I have worked in older adults’ rehabilitation in acute hospital settings before joining TalkLink.
My role in TalkLink mainly involves providing support to clients in the processes of equipment assessment, trials, training, and client support. I work with individuals who have difficulties accessing technology and controlling their environment, such as computers, phones, TV’s, and gaming consoles. Utilising technology in Occupational Therapy is a particular interest of mine, and I value the role that technology can play in helping people to be independent with their daily activities.
As well as working at TalkLink, I am also currently completing a Masters’ research project as part of a team where we are developing a robotic exoskeleton glove for upper limb stroke rehabilitation.
I create low tech communication books and resources. My background and training is in graphic design.