AAC West - Meet the Team

Clinical Manager - Speech and Language Therapist

Vicky Styles

After gaining an interest in the field of AAC through her first community speech and language therapy post, Vicky joined the team at the Centre in 2003, taking over as clinical manager for the service in February 2017. Since joining the team she has refined her knowledge of AAC in relation to assessments for an adult population and remains passionate about the positive effects AAC can have on people’s lives.

Speech and Language Therapist

Emily Preston

Emily joined AAC WEST in January 2016 working across the service with both adults and children. Her previous experience includes working with children and young adults with learning and physical difficulties in both their home and education environments. She is particularly excited by the life changing impact the right AAC system can have on the lives of individuals, their families and those who support them.

Speech & Language Therapist

Shani Ackford

Shani qualified in 2008 and joined the AAC WEST team in June 2017.  Shani developed her interest in AAC through working with adults with neurological disorders and is now honing her skills working with both adults and children.  She is enjoying the opportunity to work with a range of people and seeing the impact that the right communication aid can have.

Speech and Language Therapist

Tamzin Gribble

Since graduating from UCL in 1993 in Speech & Language Therapy, Tamzin spent the earlier part of her career working with complex needs, physical disabilities, paediatric clinics and in adult learning disabilities. In 2008 she started working at Dame Hannah Rogers Trust charity as the S&LT team clinical lead and from 2014, managed the specialist AAC Service. In March 2020 the services from DHRT and Bristol amalgamated and became AAC WEST. Tamzin is looking forward to being fully clinical and remains passionate about providing alternative communication to those who need it most. 

Speech and Language Therapist

Ruth Firth

Ruth has held a long standing interest in AAC, since qualifying in the 90s. After a few years working with children and adults as a community Speech and Language Therapist, she specialised in supporting children and young adults with social communication disorders, specific language impairment, learning disability and/or physical disabilities in a range of special school and college settings. She has used AAC widely across these different settings and has worked within Specialist Assessment Services since 2014. She continues to feel very passionate about AAC and the potential for it to give people a voice.  She really enjoys working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and across the whole age range again.

Eva Smets - Speech and Language Therapist

Speech and Language Therapist

Eva Smets

Eva joined AAC WEST at the end of 2020. Prior to this, Eva had worked with adults and children in neuro-rehabilitation settings, hospitals, outpatient clinics, mainstream and special schools. In this role, she loves working with patients of all ages and their communication partners, and being part of a friendly and knowledgeable multi-disciplinary  team. Eva especially enjoys using her creative background to tailor the AAC to the individual so that their vocabulary meets their communication needs.

Occupational Therapist

Lisa Conroy

Lisa joined the AAC WEST team in June 2015 on a part time basis. Her role includes mounting and access assessments. Since qualifying in 1999 her clinical experience has included working in areas of learning disabilities/mental health, community rehabilitation and stroke.

Occupational Therapist

Emma Middleton

Emma qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2006 as a mature student; following 10 years of working as a Community Education Tutor with families in Bristol. She has worked since then as an Independent Practitioner in Devon with adults with physical and neurological impairments, and autistic spectrum disorders. She joined the Specialist AAC Assessment team at the end of 2019. Her role is to enable patients to access their specialist communication devices. She enjoys being part of a team and working collaboratively to enable people to reach their potential.

Occupational Therapist

Helen Algar

Helen joined the AAC team in 2017. Her main role includes mounting and access assessments. Clinical experience since qualifying in 2013 includes; community roles within adult and children’s services, intermediate care, inpatient rehabilitation at a cottage hospital, and most recently working within a school for children with PMLD where she was also the specialist therapist for a specialist wheelchair service. 

Eductional Specialist Professional

Nicki Grey

Nicki joined the Team in January 2020 in a new and exciting role as an Educational Specialist Professional / Teacher. Nicki has over 20 years’ experience working in an advisory capacity supporting children and young people with complex communication needs. She works closely with schools and families to enable inclusion and pupil participation. She is passionate about AAC service delivery and enjoys seeing the positive impact this can have on a young person’s life. 

Assistant Practitioner

Stephanie Ellis

Steph joined AAC WEST in 2015 as an Assistant Practitioner, her role is to assist the therapists in preparing equipment, computer programming and to attend client assessments. Steph also carries out client follow up appointments and offers training and on-going support to clients and their families. Her previous clinical experience includes, nursing neurology patients for 3 years, followed by caring for stroke patients in a palliative and acute setting for a further 3 years.

Assistant Practitioner

Charlotte Brooks

Coming from a Linguistic and ESL teaching background, Charlotte first joined AAC WEST as a volunteer in order to learn more about the field of AAC and Speech and Language Therapy. She became an Assistant Practitioner in September 2015 and now provides support for adults with communication aids.

Assistant Practitioner

Jeanette Garrett

Netty joined the team in January 2015 as an Assistant Practitioner. Her background is technical and financial. She deals with the equipment side of the service, supporting the therapists with equipment management and queries. This is an exciting time to be with AAC WEST as the service and department are expanding.

Assisant Practitioner

Natasha Pearce

Natasha joined BCAS in March 2019 as an Assistant Practitioner. Her role is to see and support clients who use high tech communication aids, assisting in appointments with therapists and to carry out behind the scenes work by programming and preparing equipment and software.
Her background includes working alongside children with additional needs including physical, visual and speech impairments and is keen to transfer those skills to both adults and children across the service and developing new skills in AAC.

Memeber of Staff - Assistant Practitioner

Assistant Practitioner

Rebecca Stallard

Becca joined AAC West in October 2021 where she worked as an associate assistant practitioner. Her previous background is in early years where she worked with children with additional and complex needs. She now works as an assistant practitioner and as a medical maintenance technician. Her role as a medical maintenance technician is to support the therapists in our team and patients regarding technical queries, to carry out routine maintenance of the communication equipment and to carry out safety checks across the south-west region.

Her role as an assistant practitioner is to support clients in using communication aids and assisting the therapists in appointments. Behind the scenes Becca spends time programming and preparing equipment and software ready for the clients to use. 

Technical Equipment Manager

Matthew Johns

Matt joined the NHS and AAC WEST in 2019 after 10 years working in the film industry as a technician, spending 6 of those years living and working in New Zealand.  

Medical Technical Officer

Keith Durance

Keith joined in October 2019 working in a Technical role supporting the therapists and assistant practitioners dealing with equipment management and technical queries.

Office Manager

Simone Paisey

Simone has worked for the NHS Trust since 2004, working previously with both the Wheelchair & Special Seating Service and Prosthetics & Orthotics Service.
Simone joined the team in November 2016 as an Office Manager, and finds the role varied and rewarding. She enjoys working within such a close and supportive team and service.

Administrator

Amanda Rogers

Before having a family, Amanda worked as a legal secretary and then as a legal executive. She joined the team in May 2008 as a part-time secretary. The work is varied which makes the days go by very quickly. It’s a nice team to work with as well.

Feedback

My sincere and profound thanks for all your kindness through my assessment at Frenchay. You could not have been more welcoming, more understanding, more patient, more thorough, more (frighteningly!) competent or more perceptive in your findings.