Therapists Team 

Therapy services are accessed at the enrolment meeting and/or through completion of a referral form available at school reception: 

Speech and Language Therapists 
Charity Lester
Whitney Jacobs

Speech Language Therapists (SLTs) at Wairau Valley Special School work with students who have a range of communication challenges. They can also provide support around eating, drinking and/or swallowing difficulties. Each classroom is allocated to a SLT who provides therapy within the classroom setting. All students are assessed by their SLT when starting at our school and the SLT will then make recommendations for goals based on the individual student's communication needs. SLTs support students to communicate their needs, wants and ideas so students are able to participate in, and contribute to school-wide activities. Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems are used to facilitate and support communication development where appropriate. Some of the AAC systems currently used at the school include visual displays, Core boards, PODD books and iPads.

Occupational Therapists 
Melinda Smit
Therapists Team Leader
Brooke Thompson


The Occupational Therapy team support students to develop skills for daily living that will enhance their independence during the school day. Occupational Therapy assessments and input focus on areas of self-care, seating, sensory learning, sensory processing and integration, visual perception and motor skills. Therapeutic intervention includes sourcing and adapting specialized equipment to facilitate personal management and access to the curriculum and school environment.


Physiotherapists work in assisting students in physical functional skills. These include positioning, strength, movement and balance to enable them to achieve their maximal potential within the school environment. Physio input is available for all students, but those with complex physical and medical needs are prioritized for safety reasons.  Some of the areas that the physiotherapy team specialize in are: Wheelchairs, standing frames, walking frames and positioning equipment; any physical disability; poor balance/frequent falls; unusual walking style; inability/difficulty with sitting on conventional chair; difficulty getting up from the floor; difficulty/inability to go up and down stairs one foot per step; difficulty/inability to access the playground apparatus including scooters and bikes; flat feet or unusual foot positioning; poor posture; difficulty accessing the swimming pool; physical injuries.