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KiwiChat Group meets Minister Nicky Wagner

Nicky Wagner speaking to KiwiChat Group participants

University of Canterbury student Kenny Ardouin and Minister Nicky Wagner talking with KiwiChat Group participants

TalkLink recently invited the Disabilities Issues Minister, Nicky Wagner and our Christchurch based TalkLink Trust Board member Sir Gil Simpson along to a KiwiChat Group meeting in Christchurch. University of Canterbury speech-language therapy (SLT) students ran the session which had a “Space” theme. We used stories from Tar Heel Readers http://tarheelreader.org/, watched space videos (we even know how to wash hair in space) and made Aliens. It was a fantastic session with the students having great fun making and naming three different Aliens.

Alien Nicholas

Alien Nicholas





It was also a great experience for the SLT students who did a fantastic job of planning a fun session. They had an opportunity to reflect immediately after the event with TalkLink SLTs. One of the challenges for future events is to look at ways we can expand on some of the responses made by the students, so that there are more 2 and 3 word phrases instead of just single words. This is where practicing modelling on a communication device is really important, as it is not always as simple as it looks.

We learned that the Minister is very interested in technology and how technology can be used to assist disabled people. She was very impressed with what she saw and had fun talking to the students. We were able to tell the Minister that the Ministry of Health’s recognition that TalkLink’s role includes not only assessment of communication assistive technology but also on-going support, is much appreciated. Without this recognition we would not be able to run KiwiChat Groups and KiwiChat Camps.

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Ann Smaill

Ann Smaill

General Manager, Speech Language Therapist at The Talklink Trust
I am the General Manager of the TalkLink Trust, and also a speech-language therapist. I have been working with people who have complex communication needs for many years.
Ann Smaill

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