When I was employed in the NHS on the Isle of Wight, I received the Medina Award for Excellence and Innovation in Practice in 2001, and the Chief Executive's Silver Award, in 2002, for the Total Communication Project on the Isle of Wight
clinical work as a Speech and Language Therapist for more than 40 years has focused on supporting adults and children with
learning disabilities and complex needs.
I started my career in the NHS on the Isle of Wight in 1972 as a clinician in general practice, working with people of all ages, from babies to the elderly. I took some time out when my children were born, and returned to work part time.
After I emigrated to Canada in 1981, I rapidly took on managerial responsibilities in a large residential institution for people with learning disabilities where I was for the most part, a single handed clinician, working closely with special assistants. We provided Speech and Language Therapy, Audiology (including brain-stem assessment) and interventions for the residents. Because of the size of the institution, and the large number of people who needed help, I developed training programmes for the care staff. I became a lecturer at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, and from the university base, I supported the resettlement of many people in Ontario, mainly in Ottawa and Renfrew County, as well as working with Colleagues in the Developmental Disabilities Programme in Kingston, where I undertook an epidemiological survey of Rett Syndrome in Eastern Ontario, with Helene Ouellette Kuntz. While in Canada, I published several articles in the Ontario Journal on Developmental Disabilities. My growing interest in Rett syndrome lead me to support the new Ontario Rett Syndrome Association, where I took on the task of being Treasurer for the Association. My developing knowledge lead to requests to provide information about Rett syndrome to conferences in Kingston, Kitchener, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg in Canada, as well as Minneapolis and Chicago, USA.
returned to England in the summer of 1996, and worked as the Manager of the SLT service in the Invicta Community Care NHS Trust for 18 months, (a Specialist Trust for
Learning Disabilities and Mental Health) in Maidstone, Kent, where I developed additional clinical skills and knowledge in mental health issues, and continued to provide training to care staff and families.
Moving back home to the Isle of Wight in January 1998 gave me the
opportunity to develop the Total Communication Project for the Isle of Wight over a three year period, where I won two awards for my work. The photo above was taken when I received the Medina Award for Innovation in Practice, and the following year, I won the silver award at the annual Chief Executive's awards for the Total Communication Project.
I became the Head of Service for the NHS Speech and Language Therapy on the Island first in an acting capacity in October 2002, and permanently from 2004, developing, supporting, and managing the three teams (Adult Acquired, Learning Disability, and Paediatric teams) providing on-going supervision for all levels of therapists and delivering specialist therapy input to a complex paediatric caseload. I remained in this role until the end of January 2012, when I was made redundant following alignment with the Local Authority Children's Services SLT team.
In addition to clinical and managerial work, I act as a referee for the British Institute for Learning Disabilities (BILD) Journal, reviewing articles for publication and making recommendations to the Editor and authors of articles about SLT and Learning Disability issues.
I am a medical adviser to Rett UK for Speech and Language Therapy, and regularly provide workshops or updates at the Annual Family Weekend for Rett UK, or at Regional Meetings organised by RettUK. In 2011, I was requested to give a presentation about Rett Syndrome at the Primary Care Conference at the N.E.C., organised by Stirling Events. I presented at the Irish Rett Syndrome Association Family Conference in October 2012, where I also held a clinic for 1:1 brief assessments for 15 girls and women. I regularly support the Rett Clinic in Cardiff.
On a personal note, I am fascinated by Social History and Genealogy; I was a founder member of the Ryde Social Heritage Group, and now volunteer for the Historic Ryde Society. I have a family tree mapped out on Ancestry. I love looking at old photographs and searching for connections in people's lives. I am an artist and Calligrapher, and enjoy a wide variety of crafts. I have started exploring Altered Art, Art Journalling, and Altered Books.