McKenzie Centre - Realising a child's potential - Early intervention for children with special needs - Te Whare Awhina o nga Kohungahunga Haua

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Staff

Trisha Benge, Centre Director/OT
Role

Centre Director/OT

Qualification

NZROT

General Information

I trained as an Occupational Therapist and graduated in 1982. Since then I have been involved in working with children at Tokanui Hospital, Child Development Centre: Waikato Hospital, Conductive Education Unit: Hamilton and McKenzie Centre. I began at McKenzie Centre in July 1997 and worked as an OT until I took the position as Centre Director in August 2006.
I have had 3 trips to Ireland, the Mid West area, to train early intervention teams in using the transdisciplinary approach to early intervention.
In 2012 I completed a Graduate Diploma in Not for Profit Management at Unitec.

Estelle Pretorius, Speech Language Therapist
Role

Speech Language Therapist

Qualification

B Logopedics (University of Pretoria, SA, 1994)

General Information

I received my qualification as Speech Language Therapist/Audiologist in 1994 at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Since then I have had experience as Speech Language Therapist in community centres, specialist schools, and in private practice, both in South Africa and in England but have now made New Zealand my home. I am certified to present several parent workshops, including the DIR FloorTime approach and Hanen parent programs for parents of children who present with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication difficulties. I am on the Professional Expert Group for Altogether Autism, NZ, which offers me a wider range of opportunities in facilitating conversations regarding supporting people with a diagnosis of Autism. I am loving the daily opportunities to interact with the children, and partnering with families around living and supporting children with special needs. I feel very blessed to be able to share in their success and achievements!

Ruth Michels, Assistive Technology Specialist
Role

Assistive Technology Specialist

Qualification

Degree in Teaching (2014), PG Dip TESOL

General Information

I trained at Hamilton Teacher’s Training College and studied at Waikato University. I have developed a strong interest in maximising the learning and communication opportunities available for children with disabilities and so I was drawn to explore assistive technologies. I have eight years experience in the assessment and implementation of assistive technologies for learning and independence for preschool and school aged children. I’ve worked for a Waikato based charitable trust and latterly for the Ministry of Education-Special Education Services before coming to the McKenzie Centre.

Anita Wilson, Speech Language Therapist
Role

Speech Language Therapist

General Information

Hello, I’m Anita and I have been a Speech Language Therapist at McKenzie Centre since 2007. I really enjoy getting to know and working with children and their families and particularly enjoy seeing the gains they make in their development. As a Speech Therapist my main role is supporting a child’s development in areas such as speech, language, social communication skills and feeding.

Helen Gempton, Business Manager
Role

Business Manager

Qualification

LLB

General Information

Hi. I began as Business Manager at the McKenzie Centre in January 2011, and provide management and administration support to our Early Intervention team to enable them to continue their fantastic work with children and families. I am married to Brian and am the mother of two fabulous teenage children. Our family first became involved with the McKenzie Centre in 1998, when one of our daughters was diagnosed with a genetic condition and special needs. From 1999 - 2010, I was a member of the McKenzie Centre Trust and have seen the Centre go from strength to strength during that time. I have a background as a lawyer and, prior to coming to the McKenzie Centre, worked for seven years in the disability sector for a family support and advocacy organisation, Parent to Parent. I understand the enormous value of early intervention and how lucky the Waikato is to have the unique McKenzie Centre, and its quality services and support.

Claire Hintz, Occupational Therapist
Role

Occupational Therapist

Qualification

NZROT

General Information

I completed my training as an Occupational Therapist in 1983. I have worked in a variety of settings since that time; at Community Health Service, Child Development Centre, Hillcrest High School and then coming to McKenzie Centre in April 1999.
Since being at McKenzie Centre I have had the opportunity to attend many valuable courses and notably attended a Bobath Neurodevelopmental Course in 2002.
McKenzie Centre is a rewarding and stimulating environment to work in, allowing opportunities to share in the success of a child achieving a skill- what could be greater!

Teresa Blake, Early Intervention Teacher
Role

Early Intervention Teacher

General Information

Hi, I am Teresa Blake and I have been working as an Early Intervention Teacher at McKenzie Centre since August 2007. I originally trained in Early Childhood and taught in kindergartens in both Hamilton and Tauranga. While my two children were young, I worked as an Education Support Worker for Ministry of Education, Group Special Education for seven years, so that I had the flexibility to be available for their school activities. While studying for the Diploma in Early Intervention which I gained in May 2008, I also worked at Conductive Education. I have a passion for children and have gained a variety of skills and knowledge during my teaching career.

Sue Scott, Physiotherapist
Role

Physiotherapist

General Information

I qualified in 1990 with a Diploma in Physiotherapy from Auckland and have worked in the Paediatric field since, both in the hospital setting and privately in Tauranga and Whakatane. I have been at McKenzie Centre since 2003 and really enjoy seeing the children progress (both big and little gains), and I love being the physiotherapist at McKenzie Centre.
When not working I’m busy caring for our three children (and husband) plus a “zoo” of animals at home, or maybe escaping to the beach.

Lillian Martin, Office Coordinator
Role

Office Coordinator

General Information

Hi, my name is Lillian Martin and I started in January 2009 as the part time Office Coordinator. I am married to Tony and we have two children who are young adults now, one of whom has special needs. We came to McKenzie Centre when my son was young so I am very pleased to be able to come back now and share my skills. It’s also great to see the progress the children and families make while they’re here.

Richard Edghill, Pyschologist
Role

Pyschologist

General Information

Hello I trained as a clinical psychologist at Waikato University and qualified in the early 1990s. For 13 years I worked for the Behaviour Assessment Team of the Community Living Trust, where I worked to support people with an intellectual disability and their families. In the last six years I have been in private practice as a psychologist and work at Patricia Avenue Special School, and with adult services that support people with intellectual disabilities. I will be working 6 hours per week: most weeks I will be in on Wednesday and Friday mornings. I will also be available to do some home visits and visits to early childhood centres and schools.
I enjoy working with families and hearing their stories. I see my work at McKenzie Centre as a way of supporting families to find ways of enhancing their child’s life. I am looking forward to meeting you!

Marcia Ranganui Charlton, Social Worker
Role

Social Worker

General Information

Kia ora koutou.
My name is Marcia Ranginui Charlton. As a social worker, my role is assisting families to access community services and making sure you are receiving as much support as is available. I can help with personal or family issues so speak to your key worker about a referral. Look forward to meeting you all 

Suzanne Kok, Early Intervention Teacher
Role

Early Intervention Teacher

General Information

Hi, my name is Suzanne. I have worked at the McKenzie Centre since July 2013. I have gained most of my knowledge and experience in The Netherlands. There, I gained my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Peadagogical studies and worked for 5 years with children with special needs and their families.
In 2011 I emigrated with my New-Zealand raised partner to New Zealand. Before I started at McKenzie Centre, I worked for an In-home Childcare agency, which gave me the opportunity to work alongside educators and families from different ethnicities.
I feel fortunate to work closely at McKenzie Centre with the children and their families and help them to achieve new milestones.

Stephanie Wacker, Early Intervention Teacher
Role

Early Intervention Teacher

General Information

Kia Ora. Ko Stephanie Wacker tōku ingoa.
Hello my name is Stephanie Wacker. My passion and joy is for tamariki with special needs and helping tamariki to be successful in their goals no matter how small.
I started working in the special education field as an Education Support Worker for the Ministry of Education in 2003. Following that I began working for the McKenzie Centre in 2005 until 2011. I took time away to complete my Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education, graduating in 2012 as Outstanding Student Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education.
I am thrilled to have returned to McKenzie Centre to take up the position of Early Intervention Teacher. I look forward to meeting and working with you and your whānau. I, myself, have two children Melanie and Harrison and a husband Robert, and look forward to building long term relationships with you all.

Nola Eniata, Admin Support
Role

Admin Support

General Information

Tena Koe
Ko Nola Eniata tōku ingoa.
I am the Admin Support Person who you will see more often as I become more acquainted with McKenzie Centre but you will find me at the front desk in the office.
A little background about myself is that I have lived in Brisbane, Australia for 15 years and returned to New Zealand Nov 2017. My back ground of employment has varied over the years, with most recent employment with Te Kura Kaupapa Maori, then Family Day Care in Brisbane. I have also been employed as an Events / Exhibition coordinator, Finance and Insurances Rep and various positions in the Hotel industry, so I have a wide range of administration knowledge. Have a Diploma in Events Management and Cert III in Financial Services.
I appreciate the opportunity to be part of a wonderful programme that supports our tamariki and whanau. I look forward to getting to know everyone.