I am a Speech-language therapist

TTANZ’s team values the highly supportive network of speech-language therapists in NZ and the relationships we have with those working overseas. We have received incredible encouragement and support for the work we have been doing in new areas for NZ. We want to continue to learn from others and encourage SLTs to get interested and involved.

If you are an SLT, keep in touch with us via the Special Interest Group or contact us directly to discuss issues relating to your work. We can provide one-off advice sessions in person or over the phone, and we also provide regular clinical supervision services.

If you’ve been asked to do something in a legal context, and you would like more information or support you can talk to us.

Special Interest Group

The Special Interest Group (SIG) is for those Speech-language therapists (SLTs) working with vulnerable children, young people and adults. This covers those with emotional, behavioural, or mental health difficulties, or those involved with care and protection or  justice services.

This group is open to any SLT in NZ (or from overseas) and is free to join. It meets about every 3-4 months in Auckland for 2 hours, with a number of people dialling in via Zoom and those who cannot attend in person receiving minutes and updates. This growing group (over 300 members on the mailing list) provides an exciting opportunity for SLTs in NZ to make sure that the language and communication needs of our most vulnerable children, young people and adults are recognised and addressed. The SIG provides a way of sharing ideas, research, resources and best practice. All SLTs are welcome, whether directly involved with vulnerable children, youth and adults or just interested. Contact us to find out more or fill in the form on the right/below to join the SIG mailing list.

The first meeting of this SIG took place in 21 April 2015.

Next meeting:

Honouring Autism culture and social skills training; are they mutually exclusive?

You can choose to come in person (we’ll be meeting in Auckland), or participate via Zoom. All welcome.

DATE:    Thursday, 3 November 2022

TIME:     4pm for networking, session starts at 4.30pm

WHERE: University of Auckland/ZOOM – details will be sent out to the SIG mailing list.

This SIG session is a group-think rather than a presentation.

Alayne McKee will get the conversation started by presenting a brief overview of some work she has been involved in and by posing some questions e.g.,

  • What does honouring Autism culture mean to you? What does it look like in your work?
  • When asked by funder to enable an autistic person to make friends, what do you consider (within the environment and within the person), how do you respond? Does it make a difference if the person is a child, adolescent or adult?
  • If/when you do work to build social skills, what does it look like, what does it not look like?

Come and join in the conversation.

Before the SIG, you might like to check out the following:

One page resource about the steps we can be taking regarding Autism Awareness, Acceptance, Appreciation, Empowerment, Advocacy


Try out this quiz from the DivergAntz Collective to explore your own neurodivergent affirming beliefs and practices


SLT, Emily Lees’ website. She is an Autistic SLT working in the UK.



Past meetings

30 March 2022 Dr Enys Delmage, Psychiatrist from  Nga Taiohi, an adolescent forensic inpatient unit in Porirua talked with us about Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry

8 September 2021 Using Talking Mats with those with involvement in justice, care and protection, behaviour or mental health contexts

25 March 2021 Dr Rishi Duggal, Consultant Psychiatrist from the Mason Clinic Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services spoke with us on the topic of psychosis and communication.

23 February 2021 We hosted a one day Child Protection Training Day for speech-language therapists delivered by Emily Stephen from Te Puawaitahi, Starship.

22 October 2020 Emily Stephen from Te Puawaitahi presented on Protecting our tamariki and rangatahi – understanding our role, and how to respond, when child abuse is happening…. Emily has kindly shared her slides which are available on this link. Emily Stephen SIG child protection SIG members can watch a recording of the session. A password protected link has been sent to the membership. If you are not a member (all welcome – join by filling in the form on the right of this webpage), please email [email protected] if you are interested in watching this.

19 August 2020 SLTs from Talking Trouble presented two new NZ research reports on a) Language and communication skills among young people at a youth justice residence, and b) The language involved in protection orders. You can read those reports here:

23 March 2020 SIG members who met via Zoom (no in person because of COVID-19) discussed the topic: Communicating about bodies and consent: issues relating to accurate and non-leading communication when discussing sensitive topics and private body parts

14 November, 2019 Dr Kim Turner talked about her research and clinical practice relating to neurodevelopmental issues facing young people in contact with the criminal justice system and how this affects their access to justice. Her PhD focused on the speech, language and communication skills of young men within the custodial youth justice system in England and evaluating how speech and language therapy is delivered to them. She is currently working on three research projects with Prof. Nathan Hughes across the criminal justice system.

 30 October, 2019 Safeguarding adults and supported decision making

Speakers: Sue Hobbs and Erika Butters from The Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust (PASAT).

Many thanks to Sue and Erika for a fantastic informative talk about the services they provide relating to adults at risk and supported decision making. There is a video link of the talk we can provide that is password protected for SIG members – information about accessing the password will go out with the reminder about the next SIG. Links to some services that Sue and Erika mentioned are below, which we’ll also link to on the resources page of this website.

https://manawhaikaha.co.nz/ Mana Whaikaha Enabling Good Lives project – “transformed disability support system” pilot

Contact PASAT if you are concerned about an adult at risk for advice and support.

From the PASAT website:
“Safeguarding is a range of activities and response that promote and protect human rights, health, wellbeing and culture, and prevent or reduce harm, abuse and neglect”  www.PASAT.org.nz

25 March 2019 Dr Andi Crawford presented about her fantastic NZ research relating to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and children and their whānau. Her presentation considered the psychosocial environment and the wider historical context of Aotearoa.

3 September 2018 Alayne McKee and Sally Kedge talked about their visits to SLTs in care & project/justice settings in the UK. Alayne had received a Winston Churchill Fellowship for this trip.

22 March 2018 Graham Barnes from Shine: Making Homes Violence Free provided an overview for understanding family violence and how it impacts on children and families. Graham kindly made his slides and handout available electronically to SIG members. These documents can be downloaded from this page which is password protected. The password was emailed to SLTs on the SIG mailing list or you can request this by emailing [email protected]

30 November 2017 Sharon Rickard, Psychologist from Te Aho Tapu Trust discussed ‘Engaging Whānau and Tamariki Māori’

31 July 2017 Julia Wright, SLT presented case studies relating to her work with children involved with care and protection services.

11 April 2017 Dr Colette Muir, Paediatrician presented about what SLTs need to know about what Paediatricians do and how SLTs and Paediatricians can best work together. Her slides can be viewed School Age Child with ADHD, Learning Difficulties Colette Muir for SLT SIG 11 April 2017

7 February 2017 Mark Stephenson discussed the issues that arise for young people with language and communication needs from the perspective of having been a teacher, SLT and court-appointed Communication Assistant. He has worked extensively in NZ with children and young people involved with care and protection and youth justice services and will discussed ways SLTs can support and work effectively with the other professionals involved (particularly in Education) to address the needs of these young people, particularly in maintaining or integrating them back into mainstream education.

31 May 2016 A case study was presented by Tracy and Alice from Kelston.

1 March 2016 A case study (preschooler) was presented by Alayne McKee from Ohomairangi Trust and TTANZ and the themes generated in the group discussions at the end of Judy Clegg’s two workshops in December 2015 were discussed – notes available here: SLT workshop and general audience. Other brief topics were: recent overseas brief article on youth justice SLT service winning an award (article here),  Annette Stock’s article in the Rangitahi Court newsletter about the language context of a youth court held on a Marae (see page 11 on this link. For some useful background about the Court, please see the summary on page 2).

25 Aug 2015 Presentation and discussion of two case studies provided by Emily and Zanna and a number of short topics: Linda Hand’s recent sabbatical trip investigating the intermediary system in the UK, TTANZ’s recent involvement in a court trial providing communication assistance to a young defendant, an update from anyone on resources, research, providing responsive services for Maori, and other clinical issues.

Clinical supervision and professional development for SLTs

If you are an SLT interested in receiving one off or regular clinical supervision from one of our experienced SLTs, please contact us.

Working with TTANZ

Interested in working with us? Our team of contractors is growing and we are lucky to have a highly skilled, creative, passionate and supportive team. We value flexibility and family friendly work practices.  If you think that being an SLT with the TTANZ might be for you, please email [email protected] or phone 09 889 8738.

All our SLTs are highly experienced clinicians who are members of NZSTA and who have completed Police vetting processes via TTANZ. We have over 30 team members, based in a range of places in Aotearoa, with the biggest group based in Auckland. We receive referrals from around NZ, and we are interested in hearing from clinicians around the country. We are one of two providers of Communication Assistant roles for the Ministry of Justice and provide training and support for this work. We have a highly collaborative and supportive team and value ongoing professional development, research and innovation.

Contact us to find out what opportunities we have.

NZSTA Expert Advisor (vulnerable children and youth)

Sally Kedge is the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association’s (NZSTA) Expert Advisor: vulnerable children and youth. In this role Sally contributes to parliamentary submissions relating to children, answers queries from NZSTA members, and assists the NZSTA Executive with issues such as child protection. Please contact Sally with any relevant query.

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