FAST Team

FAST Team

Awhina Hollis-English

Kaitohutohu

About Me

Ko Hikurangi te maunga, ko Waiapu te awa, ko Horouta te waka, ko Ngāti Porou te iwi. I was born and grew up in Taradale and have recently moved back after living overseas and around Aotearoa. I have a background in academia and am a registered social worker. I also have personal experience with disability and neurodiversity and I identify as whānau whaikaha. In my role as Kaitohutohu I offer both cultural and whānau support. My passions include music, gardening and hanging out with my kids.

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Elen Nathan

Occupational Therapist

About Me

I’m an occupational therapist within the FAST Therapy team. I have studied postgrad in Sensory Integration Therapy and specialise in sensory processing difficulties. I have a love for LEGO for the way it can be utilised to support learning and connection to others. I am passionate about working with neuro-diverse learners, building self-esteem and self-worth, and honouring the uniqueness of the child. Outside school I can be found playing alongside my family on the beach and in the forests.

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Ella Polczyk-Przybyla

Music Therapist

About Me

Originally from the UK, I trained as a musician from a young age focusing on jazz performance and specialising in playing the clarinet and saxophone. I have worked as a music therapist in a variety of settings including: a charity for young adults affected by trauma; a school for deaf children; and most recently as the regional centre manager for the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in Hawke’s Bay. Outside of school I love being active, horse riding and playing gigs.

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Gary Davidson

Music Therapist

About Me

I have worked in special education and have been a practising musician for over 30 years, including 17 years as a music specialist/therapist at Mt Richmond Special School in Otahuhu. In 2013 I graduated with a Master of Music Therapy from Victoria University. I have a particular interest in using a musical environment to build relationships, encourage social interaction and develop communication skills in people with autism. I am an avid reader, enjoy swimming and taking my dogs for walks.

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Jennie Roberton

Therapy Assistant

About Me

I began working in a mainstream school supporting a child for six years. I moved on to Fairhaven School, as a teacher aide for five years. I left for a year and returned to be the Therapy Assistant for the FAST team. I love my job. I take students for hydrotherapy and implement various therapy programmes with students across the school. In my spare time, I enjoy my grandchildren, knitting, sewing, tap dancing and music.

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Jessica Xie

Speech and Language Therapist

About Me

Kia ora! I graduated as a qualified Speech and Language Therapist from the University of Canterbury back in 2020 and began my career here at Fairhaven school. I am privileged to work alongside many talented and experienced staff in making a significant difference to the lives of our tamariki and rangatahi. I am passionate about empowering our learners to reach their communication potential through evidence-based practices. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking around our beautiful country.

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Kath Carswell

Physiotherapist

About Me

With thirty years musculoskeletal physio experience under my belt, I decided that joining the Fairhaven FAST team offered an exciting new challenge for me. I am also a Fairhaven parent, so am bringing that perspective to the team. I moved to Taradale with my family from Scotland in 2017, and we are enjoying the outdoors lifestyle here.

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Michelle Chen

Speech and Language Therapist

About Me

I completed my Masters at the University of Auckland and began my Speech and Language career at Fairhaven School in 2021. I enjoy working with students to develop their communication independence in a fun and meaningful way with their whānau, teachers, and the therapy team. I love to encourage and enable our students to progress their skills to become the best communicators they can be. Outside of school, I enjoy staying active through dance, ice figure and artistic inline skating.

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Molly Deighton

Occupational Therapist

About Me

I was fortunate to begin my career as an Occupational Therapist at Fairhaven School, in 2018. I enjoy working in a collaborative environment, with staff who share a passion for individualised learning with our tamariki. I particularly enjoy building connections with the students and using their interests as a foundation for therapy. My own interests include netball, spending time with my whānau and friends, going to the beach, and facilitating Sense Rugby (OT led rugby groups) within the wider community.

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Monica Coetzee

Physiotherapist

About Me

I trained as a physiotherapist in South Africa and I have worked in various fields of physiotherapy. I started at a school for learners with special educational needs in 2018 and absolutely loved working in a school setting. I have recently moved to New Zealand with my whānau, and started at Fairhaven School at the end of the term 2. I am looking forward to this new adventure. After school, I love spending time with my whānau enjoying the outdoors.

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