Operations Manager, Central/Southern
I started my SLT career in 2008 on the acute wards at Middlemore Hospital assessing and managing acquired and neurogenic speech, language and swallowing impairments. However having developed a passion for AAC during my undergraduate training, the opportunity to move to TalkLink was too good to pass up and so in December 2009 I joined the Auckland office and had the pleasure of working across Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Kirikiriora/Hamilton and Tūranga/Gisborne. In 2010 I relocated to my home town of Ōtautahi/Christchurch to work alongside the amazing team down there.
During my time at TalkLink, I’ve had the privilege of working with clients across the whole lifespan and in all sectors including early intervention, mainstream and special schools, residential and disability providers, aged care and hospital settings and in people’s homes throughout the South Island. In 2014, I completed my Post Graduate Certificate in SLT from Massey University with focus areas including early intervention and RETT syndrome. I’ve enjoyed progressing through various roles at TalkLink including 18 months in a Clinical Lead role before taking a short hiatus from TalkLink to pursue private contracting for an ACC therapy provider. During this time, I also completed a short-term contract with the Ministry of Health. However my love of all things AT & AAC pulled me back to TalkLink in April 2022 when I was fortunate to secure the position of Operations Manager for the Central/Southern region.
Whilst my role now is predominantly managerial and administrative, I continue to relish in operating a small clinical caseload. I enjoy the challenge of finding appropriate low & high-tech AAC systems for my clients, and helping to build confidence and competence with internal and external team members. I look forward to continuing to work in this exciting and ever changing field, and most importantly, in helping our clients find their voice.
My training includes a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy) from AUT in 2007 and a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Rehabilitation from the University of Otago in 2009.
After graduating I worked for Waitemata DHB in Children’s Rehabilitation Services at the Wilson Centre and their Child Development Service. Across these settings, I worked with children with a wide range of disabilities, for example, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, and a range of other developmental and neurodegenerative disorders.
After working in Auckland for three years I moved to the UK, where I worked further in paediatrics in both acute and community settings. In 2012, I moved to Melbourne, where I gained experience working in an adult rehabilitation setting as well as working in neurosciences and oncology at The Royal Children’s Hospital. While working in Melbourne my passion for assistive technology was sparked when I was successful in securing a philanthropic grant to develop a service reducing barriers to young children, with physical disabilities, by introducing early powered mobility. Using a Wizzybug (a powered wheelchair), physical barriers were reduced, children were able to explore their environments and this allowed them more opportunities for cognitive and communication development.
In 2019, I moved back to my hometown of Ōtautahi, where I have worked at the CDHB in Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Community Services, before moving to TalkLink in early 2021.
I’m passionate about the use of Assistive Technology to reduce barriers for people with disabilities and especially barriers to communication. It’s an essential part of life and relationships, and I enjoy supporting clients and their whanau to achieve their communication goals.
I joined the TalkLink team in July 2016, covering a parental leave position. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Occupational therapy in 2007, I have mostly worked in physical rehabilitation settings with the adult population. I initially gained experience in Orthopaedics, before heading to England in 2009 where I worked as a locum in a variety of settings, both acute and community based. In 2011, I returned to Christchurch and spent the next four years working at the Burwood Spinal Unit with a focus on rehabilitation and wheelchair and seating assessment and prescription.
I was first introduced to the TalkLink service when working at the spinal unit and I am now excited to be a part of this team. I am dedicated and motivated to work alongside individuals in the community, to help increase their independence and quality of life through the use assistive technology.
Clinical Leader, Speech Language Therapist
I have been part of the TalkLink team since 2011. Before I joined TalkLink I spent 6+ years as a speech language therapist in other settings. I have had experience working alongside adults with intellectual disabilities and their support teams introducing low and high tech strategies for communication, I have worked in a special school with ORRS funded students age 5-21, with ORRS funded students in mainstream classrooms and with teenagers in a special unit at a high school. I have also led regular communication groups for people recovering from strokes.
Prior to completing my SLT training at the University of Canterbury, I was fortunate to have a wide range of caregiving experience, with adults with intellectual disability, children with disabilities, and elderly people with a variety of neurological conditions including Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia and Stroke. This gives me a good understanding of some of the practical issues facing clients, families and caregivers.
I look forward to continuing to learn more and to using my own knowledge and experience to assist people with communication difficulties to gain the supports for communication, which will best suit their needs.
Speech Language Therapist
I have worked at TalkLink since the early 1990s, as a speech-language therapist and have considerable experience in AAC and Assistive Technology. From 2007 to 2022 I was also the TalkLink Trust Chief Executive, and have recently stepped down from this role to make way for new leadership, as I move closer to retirement. This will give me an opportunity to focus on clinical work mainly in Otago and Southland, with some work based in the TalkLink Central region. .I will also focus on AAC advocacy including the Tua o te Pae project to develop Te reo Māori resources.
I am passionate about communication and breaking down communication barriers for a more inclusive society.
Speech Language Therapist
Being able to empower people with the ability to communicate was my aim when I graduated from the University of Canterbury with my Masters of Speech Language Pathology.
Following my studies, I worked for the Ministry of Education in the Wellington Region where I supported preschool, primary, and high school aged children with a range of communication and complex learning needs.
Having previously completed a Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Waikato, I have become dedicated to incorporating the counselling skills I learned into my practice.
I am so excited to be a part of the team at TalkLink, where I have the great privilege of getting to know clients and working together through their journey with assistive technology.
Outside of work, you will find me hiking on a sunny day, cooking, or sewing.
I am an Aotearoa/New Zealand trained Occupational Therapist / Kaiwhakahora Ngangahau and have been fortunate to work in two of my passion areas - paediatrics and assistive technology - for most of my career.
I first worked for TalkLink as an almost-new graduate in 1997 before heading to the UK for my Big OE where I worked as an occupational therapist in a range of paediatric and assistive technology settings. Returning to New Zealand in 2006, I helped set up the TalkLink South Island service based in Ōtautahi Christchurch and saw the team there grow from three to 11+. After eleven years with TalkLink as a clinician and then a manager, I took a break from practice during which time I gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Supervision, which is the other area of work I am passionate about.
I am now based in the beautiful Te Tai o Aorere Tasman region and have re-joined the TalkLink whānau serving Te Tauihu Top of the South, and Ōtautahi. I love the journey of walking alongside a person, hearing their story and learning their goals for communication, and then working to find a good fit technology solution that supports them to meet their goals. Finding that ‘just-right’ spot can unlock so much potential and literally change lives, which is a large part of what makes this role so rewarding.
It is a privilege to be part of an organisation that is passionate about enabling communication for all and that is committed to recognising the Rangatiratanga of Tāngata Whenua.
Speech Language Therapist
After completing my Masters of Speech Language Therapy Practice at Auckland University in 2010, I worked as an SLT in a special school in south Auckland. This involved hands on experience in the area of AAC and working closely alongside TalkLink for several years. I loved helping the complex children I was working with access alternative means of communication, ultimately giving them a voice. During this time I became more interested in understanding all there was to know about AAC, the successes and pitfalls of implementation, and the ever evolving assistive technologies available.
I joined the TalkLink team in Auckland in 2015, and in 2019 relocated to Christchurch. In my time here I have taken a keen interest in acquired communication disorders, and now enjoy supporting adults as much as children. I love the variety of the work, working nationally across regions, and problem solving collaboratively to help those living with a communication impairment live more independent, fuller lives. My role at TalkLink has evolved to include training and CAT 1 credentialling and support in more recent years – no two days are the same and I love being part of a team that is constantly finding new and better ways to fly the AAC flag!
Speech Language Therapist (Parental Leave)
Kia ora! Ko Georgia Holibar tōku ingoa. I became part of the TalkLink Team in 2018 as a Speech and Language Therapist. I have lived in Christchurch my entire life and my passion for Speech-Language therapy began when my grandfather had a stroke leaving him with an impaired ability to communicate. His rehabilitation team inspired me and led to completing a Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology at the University of Canterbury. Prior to TalkLink I worked for the Canterbury District Health Board in the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Service and the Adult Community Therapy Service. In these teams, I created treatment and management for adults who had acquired communication and swallowing difficulties. I thrive on building close relationships with a variety of people and families. I strongly believe that everyone should have access to communication. As I have built relationships with different people, I have become determined to continue improving myself and the profession. Mostly, I am looking forward to giving back to the community I grew up in.
Kia ora. Having worked alongside TalkLink therapists since I began my role as a Specialist Teacher in 2012, I am excited to now be part of the TalkLink team. Based in Invercargill, I am pleased to be able to provide a more regular presence for TalkLink in the Southland, Otago and Central Otago areas.
I am a registered teacher and completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Complex Educational Needs) in 2014.
After completing my Bachelor of Arts in 1994, I worked in a wide variety of roles before undertaking my teacher training in 2006. In 2012, my principal offered me the opportunity to work as an Additional Teacher for some of our students with special educational needs, including complex communication needs. The experiences I have had working with those students, and the learning and professional development opportunities that have come along with that role, have served to build my passion for working in this area. Many of the students I work with are, or have been, involved with the services provided by TalkLink and I often work closely with the TalkLink staff as I support those students. Moving from working alongside the TalkLink team to working as part of that team is an absolute privilege.
My role as Teacher/Trainer involves assisting users of assistive technology, and their teams, to enable those users to become confident, capable communicators in a variety of contexts. This includes looking at how the technology can be used to support and enhance their presence, participation and achievement in the learning community of their school as well as at home and in the wider community. My particular area of passion is in the development of literacy skills.
I joined the TalkLink team in Ōtautahi in April 2022.
Since graduating, over 20 years ago, I have predominantly worked in acute hospital settings, with some community work in mental health, and paediatrics as well. Initially I worked in Orthopaedics, and built my Occupational Therapy knowledge by working in many other acute care areas, before specialising in Burns/Scar Management and Hand Therapy.
I was introduced to TalkLink by an Occupational Therapy colleague, and am excited to now be part of the TalkLink team in Ōtautahi. I am motivated to learn all I can to work alongside our clients and their whānau to increase independence and quality of life through the use of assistive technology.
I joined the Talklink team in Auckland in 2012. I trained at the Christchurch College of Education and worked in Christchurch for two years in special education before moving to the UK. It was in a special school in London where I first developed an interest in communication for my students with complex needs. When I returned to Christchurch, I started working with ORS funded students in mainstream settings. My different teaching roles have given me experience with a wide range of children and young people with communication difficulties. These teaching roles have also seen me working with students at the very beginning of their AAC journeys (both low and high tech). I am interested in setting up environments and programmes which create opportunities for communicating at all levels and creating literacy programmes to suit the needs of my students.
I have worked across both the private and corporate sectors in an administration capacity. Before working at TalkLink Trust I worked for the Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Museum.
In my role, I manage referrals, course registrations, South Island car fleet, and other administration enquiries for the South and Central North Islands. I enjoy the variety of work within my role and the collaborative nature within TalkLink.
Happily married, father to a beautiful daughter, no pets, yet.
I joined the TalkLink team in November 2018, initially in a casual role, and then accepted a permanent part-time role.
I graduated from Otago Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons) in 2005. After graduating I worked for the Hutt Valley DHB in the Child Development Service, where I developed a love of working with children and their families. After three years in Wellington I headed overseas, where I settled in Dublin, Ireland for three years. During this time I worked in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (and took every opportunity to travel around Europe). I then moved to Sydney for several years, where I continued working in different paediatric settings, including private practice, an early intervention service, as well as a community not-for-profit organisation. It was whilst working in Sydney that I was introduced to the use of technology to support learning and communication, and this sparked my interest in the area of assistive technology.
In 2015 my family and I moved back to Christchurch. We have enjoyed being back in our home town, and being close to family again. After moving home I took some time off work to be with my young children.
I was introduced to TalkLink in 2018 through an occupational therapy colleague and I am really excited to be a part of the team. At TalkLink I love that I get to work with clients of all ages, visiting many different settings, and in a field that is constantly developing. As an occupational therapist I enjoy seeing the incredible way assistive technology can reduce barriers and open up new opportunities.
Assistive Technology Support
I have 15 years of experience working with students who engage with the world using a range of technology. I began working as a teacher’s aide, as part of a highly skilled teaching team, to support and address the learning needs of
High and Very High needs students in a special school environment. During this time I began to develop a keen interest in technology and the beneficial impact it often had on the learning and communication of the students I worked with. In 2000, I extended my teacher aide role and put my experience and knowledge of technology to work as the resource and technology support person and therapy assistant at Ferndale Special School and Resource Centre. I Joined the TalkLink South team in November, 2009 as an admin person. I have recently began extending this role to encompass making of resources, as well as programming and troubleshooting of devices, training clients and support people around use of their technology, and general support to the other team members here in the South Island.
Speech Language Therapist
Kia ora koutou,
Ko Taranaki tōku maunga.
Ko Waitara tōku awa.
He uri ahau nō Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai.
Ko Puketapu tōku hapū.
Ko Mary Browne tōku ingoa. Ko Mere tētahi o ōku ingoa kārangaranga.
I joined the TalkLink team in Ōtautahi in October 2022. Prior to that I worked at the Ministry of Education for four years followed by two and half years at Waitaha Specialist School. I have a Bachelors of Speech and Language Pathology with Honors which I received at the University of Canterbury. Through studying at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa I have also received New Zealand Certificates in Te Reo, Levels 1-5.
At the Ministry of Education, I enjoyed supporting students from early childhood age to school age with various communication or education related needs. In this environment I had the privilege of working with mostly Māori whānau and in some Māori medium education settings. While at Waitaha I found my love for working with people who use AAC with a focus on creating meaningful connections and enabling participation.
I enjoy working with tāngata whaikaha (people with disabilities) of all ages and backgrounds. At TalkLink, my overarching goal is to remove barriers for tāngata whaikaha by finding communication tools that can make a big difference to everyday life. Through my mahi I aim to ensure that tāngata whaikaha have a voice within society.
As well as working as a Speech-Language Therapist at TalkLink, I have an additional role as a Pou Āwhina supporting the way in which we as an organisation work with Māori. In relation to this mahi I am a member of the TalkLink project team, Tua o Te Pae. The aims of this kaupapa are to ensure that Māori AAC users have access to their reo me ōna tikanga through the creation of AAC resources and a synthetic Te Reo voice.
Occupational Therapist (parental leave)
I decided to study to become an Occupational Therapist as I was interested in enabling people to participate in meaningful occupation with a client-focussed approach. After graduating from Otago in 2011 I went on to work for the Canterbury District Health Board in an orthopaedics setting. Through this role I enjoyed assisting my clients to become as independent as possible and return to their homes and day-to-day lives. Seeing people achieve their goals and regain confidence in themselves has been immensely rewarding.
I am excited to implement these skills with my TalkLink clients. Since I was a child I have always gravitated towards technology. Its many uses, in this ever developing field, fascinate me. I look forward to working within the TalkLink team and developing my skills further.
Speech Language Therapist
I joined the TalkLink team in Christchurch in January 2019, prior to that I worked for the Ministry of Education in the Wellington region for four years. In my role at the MoE I worked with preschool and school aged children with a range of moderate to complex communication needs. I worked closely with teams around the clients to come up with clear goals and supported the teams to achieve these goals.
Prior to my work in Wellington I completed my Bachelors of Speech and Language Pathology at Canterbury University, I enjoyed my time in Christchurch so much I returned!
In my role at TalkLink I enjoy working with clients of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and identities. I enjoy helping people achieve their goals by matching them to the right assistive tech to meet their needs.