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Auckland

Glen Dixon

Auckland Regional Manager

I have had a long standing interest in the area of technology and disability sector. Coming to work at TalkLink has really been the perfect fit in bringing these areas and related skills together.

I have previously worked as an Occupational Therapist in both acute and community based health settings since 1998.  Exposure to multiple workplace and multidisciplinary team environments has provided valuable experience across a range practice areas including, wheelchairs and seating, hand therapy, worksite ergonomics, and adaptive building design. I have assisted with individual, family and community based projects, and also provided training packages to support workers and other education facilities. Joining TalkLink in 2006 provided the opportunity to combine the various compatible skills and familiarity with funding processes to explore assistive technology options for people with disabilities.

I was appointed as Manager at TalkLink’s Auckland office in September 2007. This role has two components. The first of which remains client focused with assessment, application and training of communication and assistive technology.   The second part of this role is with managing Talklink’s Auckland based service. Primary responsibilities involve developing and supporting staff to meet and excel with service standards in the area of communication assistive technology. I manage incoming referrals and allocation, manage budget allocations, and help develop service initiatives with projects and general processes in general day to day operations. Regular contact with the TalkLink General Manager provides continued support and alignment with the vision set by the Talklink Trust Board.

Technology will always continue to change and develop, making both old and new ideas to become reality. This will continue to broaden the access and freedom for those with disabilities; making it a continually rewarding area to be involved in.

Occupational TherapistRaewyn Aprea

I have been a member of the TalkLink team since 2001. I am involved in the assessment of clients with both spoken and written communication needs, who also have fine motor or accessing difficulties. Client independence in communication is my focus.

I have worked in a wide range of fields including psychiatry, geriatrics and paediatrics. While at Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy, I developed an interest in assistive technology, which at that time was developing rapidly with new computer access and voice output device innovations. I saw first-hand the difference having access to assistive technology made to my client’s quality of life. The ability to express themselves and the independence resulting from this encouraged me to continue in this field. Moving to TalkLink was a natural progression for a therapist with a passion for low and high technology that empowers the user. I hold a Diploma of Occupational Therapy from C.I.T in Petone and a post graduate Certificate in Neurodevelopmental Therapy (Bobath).

Occupational Therapist

As an occupational therapist within the team, I am involved in the assessment of functional abilities of clients in regard to their independent physical access to both written and spoken communication technology. Some of my main activities are advising on the positioning of the person, placement and mounting of assistive technology onto wheelchairs and other locations. I also advise in the area of alternative computer access software and hardware. This includes rate enhancement software and voice recognition software, telephone access, switch access for communication devices and computers, wheelchair tray design for integrated switch and/or communication incorporation, and alternative call bell alarms.

I have specialised in this area within TalkLink since graduating from Auckland University of Technology with a BSc in Occupational Therapy in 2000. I have attended and presented at Assistive Technology forums both in New Zealand and Australia. I bring to the position a strong background in practical problem solving, construction and design.

Occupational TherapistAdrian2013

I am a NZ trained occupational therapist, and graduated from AUT in 1996.  Most of my work has been with paediatric services in both Ministry of Health and Education settings, so I have a good understanding of children’s home and school based needs.  From that paediatric experience, I am a strong proponent of early intervention, so that people can be set up to become as able and independent as possible.  I have done a number of Post Graduate studies in areas including upskilling support staff, outcome measures for treatments, and research methods, and am currently considering topics for a Masters thesis.

I joined TalkLink in May, 2013, but have worked with staff here since 2007 to provide input for children in home and school settings, so have seen many great benefits for people when they have good communication systems.

Originally from Scotland, I have lived in NZ since I was 14-years-old.

Chris O'hara(Mar2014)Occupational Therapist

I am an English trained Occupational Therapist who graduated in 2006 and moved to New Zealand in 2008. I have experience working within a range of hospital settings in England (including orthopaedics, acute neurological rehab and  rheumatology / hand therapy), but have predominantly worked in a Community OT role in New Zealand completing assessment of functional ability and carrying out interventions including complex equipment provision, housing modifications and wheelchair and seating. Having carried out Postgraduate study in Accessibility & Inclusive Design I gained a strong interest in the use of technology and environmental design and their potential application in increasing independence, social inclusion and occupational performance. I believe that the ability of a person to communicate within and interact with their environment is central to minimising disability and social barriers.

I joined TalkLink in March 2014 in order to work in a setting that allows me to further expand and implement my learning in assistive technology, and provide a client centred service to meet client goals.

 

Speech-Language TherapistMagnus Hammarsal

I joined the TalkLink team in 2003 and as a speech-language therapist my role is assessment and development of clients’ communication skills. As part of the TalkLink process I make recommendations regarding communication devices and strategies, arrange equipment trials and provide ongoing assistance and training for clients and carers. In addition to this I’m also involved running additional training courses and in organising our “Communicators Days”, which provide opportunity for children from all over the Auckland area to join together and have fun using their communication equipment and strategies.

I am Swedish by origin but trained at University College London and worked in the UK prior to coming to New Zealand in 2000. I have worked privately as well as in public healthcare and school environments. I have experience of working in paediatrics with children with speech and language delay and communication disorders including autism and have also worked with adult clients, primarily in rehabilitation of neurological conditions and traumatic brain injury.

Speech-Language Therapist

I am a Speech and Language Therapist who joined the Talklink Auckland team in November 2011 after working with the Wellington team since February 2010.

I completed my studies at Massey University in Auckland in 2009. I have had experience working both with Paediatric and Adult clients in the education and health settings throughout my clinical placements.

I have an interest in the area of Assistive Technology and enabling and empowering individuals to communicate using various means.

 

Fern jonesSpeech-Language Therapist

I joined TalkLink in November 2011. I have worked as a Speech and Language Therapist since 2008 working mostly with the school aged population. I studied at City University London and my first job was working with mainstream school children in North London. I moved to Auckland in February 2011 and spent my first 8 months working as a contractor for GSE Auckland City. In all my roles I have worked with AAC (low and high tech) and also provided training to internal and external groups.

My passion is working with profound and multiple learning disabilities and providing communication solutions for clients and their families. I am also passionate about raising awareness of speech, language and communication needs across both the child and adult populations. I am looking forward to facing new challenges and working in an area that is constantly changing.

 

Speech-Language TherapistPolly(Mar2014)

I graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan University in 2003 with a Bsc (hons) in Speech Pathology and Therapy. After a year travelling through and volunteering in a children’s charity in Africa, I began my speech therapy career in 2004 and worked with children and young adults with complex needs in a special school in West London. In 2008, I took a post in the health service again in West London and worked across a number of paediatric services developing specialities in working with complex speech and language difficulties and supporting children with learning difficulties and Autism in educational settings.

I joined Talklink trust in November 2012 after moving over to Auckland from the UK. I have always had a keen interest in working with complex needs and I enjoy problem solving with my clients, their families and their care or education staff to find the right communication support to meet their individual needs. I am excited about joining a highly specialist service in an area of communication support which is constantly evolving.

 

Speech-Language TherapistRebekah(Feb2013)SQ

I joined TalkLink in January 2013. Prior to this I worked as an SLT in a private practice, specialising in the assessment and treatment of children’s speech and language disorders. I have also gained experience working with adults who have complex communication needs through hospital and community placements. Before obtaining my Master of Speech Language Therapy Practice from the University of Auckland, I studied French and Linguistics, and taught English as a Second Language to children and adults. I have always held a strong passion for communication and language, so I feel very at home at TalkLink.

I am very happy to be a part of the TalkLink team as I have a strong interest in augmentative and alternative communication. I believe strongly in the empowering force of AAC. Through my job at Talklink, I feel very privileged to be able to work alongside clients, their families, and their support teams to help promote communicative competency where its potential might otherwise be overlooked.

Speech-Language Therapist

Jessamy Amm

I was born in Zimbabwe and moved to New Zealand in 2001.  I graduated from Massey University in 2011 as a Speech Language Therapist and started working at a special school and a mainstream school in Auckland. While working in special education I completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Emergent Literacy for Students with Complex Communication Needs.  Throughout that time I worked with several TalkLink therapists to assess, trial communication devices and provide training for students and their families who required alternative communication systems and strategies to support and enhance their communication. The more I worked in the area of augmentative and alternative communication the more passionate I became about it.  I started working at TalkLink’s Auckland office in October 2013.

 

I am passionate about providing the right communication solution for clients and their families, whether it is giving advice on strategies or making recommendations about low or high tech communication systems.  Another area of interest is helping to provide students with access to a comprehensive communication system in order to support development of their literacy skills.

Speech-Language Therapist

Kate MentiswebI joined the Talklink team in January 2014 after completing my degree in Speech Language Therapy at Massey University. I have always had a keen interest in assistive technology, and have gained some valuable experience with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) throughout my study and clinical placements in preschools, schools, hospitals, rest homes and in other areas of the community.

During my study, I attended the Spectronics conference in Australia, in 2012, and became inspired by people who used AAC. I am passionate about working with clients, their families and wider support teams to find the right communication support and I am looking forward to working at Talklink in a constantly adapting and developing area.

Technical SupportJustin Tate

I’ve always had a great passion for computers. From an early age I learnt to program, repair and modify computers for both entertainment and work related tasks. In fact, I can often still be found tinkering around with old classic arcade machines. With such interests, I went on to formalise and enhance my skills and completed a diploma in systems technology.

Despite these avid interests in all things computer related and techy, my working life for the last 10 years has also centred around the health sector and community; from care giving, mental health support roles and even art therapy. Work tasks have always revolved around communication in some form or another, so coming to work at TalkLink was a great way to combine my skills and interest areas.

My primary role at TalkLink is to support staff and clients on anything with computer hardware or software; from computer repairs and diagnostics to dedicated communication devices and training of specialised software. I am also the administrator for all backend TalkLink servers. Keeping everything running smoothly is no small task as technology changes and improves and TalkLink continues to grow.

Technical Support

alex staffphoto I started working for TalkLink in 2011. I’m the other Tech/Admin Support person for TalkLink Auckland. I mostly deal with maintenance, preparation, and repairs of TalkLink’s and Client’s AAC devices. I also maintain/develop a small amount of TalkLink’s IT infrastructure.

I’ve been interested in computers and mobile tech since a young age and find myself learning a lot of valuable, and interesting, skills and knowledge working at TalkLink.

 

Mandy Slade

Clinical Assistant.

I have been a user of Assistive Technology for a number of years. Since graduating from Mt Roskill Grammar in 2002, I have been working at TalkLink in a clinical assistant role to support staff. I am responsibility for developing communication resources including creating symbol resources on BoardMaker, and programming communication devices.

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