Kia Ora, I’m Ami-Lee!
Like many young adults, I was unsure what I wanted to do after I left school. There were many options, but I felt I hadn’t found the right one. I was fortunate to spend my last year of High School as an Exchange Student in Denmark, where I lived with a Danish host family, attended school, and was immersed in a new language and culture. During this year, communication was difficult – there were many memorable (and frustrating) conversations where I struggled to communicate with the people around me. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn’t quite get it into words. I began to realise the true value of communication, and how language is involved in everything we do! Although I could begin to learn Danish, I realised overcoming communication challenges is not always so “easy”. There are a lot of people who face challenges with communication every day. This realisation sparked an interest in Speech & Language Therapy, and so my journey began.. I completed an Honours degree in Speech and Language Therapy at Massey University when I returned to New Zealand.
I began my working career with the Ministry of Education, working in South Auckland with children with moderate-complex learning and communication needs. I spent four years in this role, collaborating closely with whānau, teachers and therapists to provide holistic, family-centred, community based services. I used adult coaching to up skill the important adults in a child’s life, and ensure therapy could be easily imbedded into a child’s daily routines. I believe therapy should be individually tailored to the strengths, needs and interests of the child, their routines and experiences.
I have developed skills working with children with language delay, speech sound disorders, Autism, Down Syndrome, Genetic conditions, and with the use of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC). I continue to be passionate about my ongoing learning and development in these areas.
I am trained in the ‘More than Words’ Hanen programme, “Way to Play” (Autism NZ), Lego-Based Therapy, Routines Based Model, SCERTS Model, Language Acquisition Through Motor Planning (LAMP), and am an accredited tutor in the Makaton Language Programme. I also hold a Communication Assistive Technology Level 1 accreditation (CAT Level 1) to support assessment and application of Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. I am a registered member of the New Zealand Speech and Language Therapy Association (NZSTA) and ATANZ.
My areas of interest include early language development, AAC, social skill development, and supporting neurodiverse communities. I am passionate about holistic, inclusive, and neuroaffirming practices that are tailored to suit the child, their world view, and family.