Meet The Team

Matthew Nakonesky

Principal Speech & Language Therapist

Matthew’s CV

Matthew trained as a Speech Pathologist (that’s what they are called over in Australia!) and qualified in 2009. Since qualifying Matthew has worked primarily with adult clients who have experienced communication and/or swallowing difficulties due to a neurological event or condition.

Matthew has worked in a range of clinical settings including large acute teaching hospitals, community based work and spent several years working at a regional neurological inpatient rehabilitation centre in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Matthew is very passionate about delivering client focused and goal driven therapy, incorporating outcome measures to gauge progress. The use of technology is a large interest area both in providing therapy and the use of communication aids.

Matthew is very experienced working with patients who are involved in a medico-legal claim and enjoys the multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation that this provides.

Poppy Larkin

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Poppy’s CV

Poppy is an experienced Speech & Language Therapist specialising in adult neurology, with a clinical interest in neurological rehabilitation.

Poppy is a caring, motivated and enthusiastic individual who is dedicated to delivering evidence-based therapy and achieving maximum patient outcomes.

She has developed specialist skills and experience in dysphagia/communication assessments, supporting capacity assessments, implementing therapy programs and delivering training to other health professionals, support workers and client’s family/friends.

Poppy has gained her clinical experience in a variety of settings including inpatient rehabilitation, community rehabilitation and within the criminal justice system. From this broad range of clinical experiences Poppy prides herself at being able to work collaboratively with a range of different professionals.

Rowan Ranner

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Rowan’s CV

Rowan is a very experienced Speech & Language Therapist who has worked extensively in the field of acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation in community settings. Through this work Rowan has developed a specialist level of clinical expertise in the areas of assessment selection and implementation, diagnosis and intervention planning and delivery.

Rowan has a keen interest working with clients with cognitive-communication difficulties, clients requiring vocational rehabilitation and providing intervention and support in the area of interpersonal and family system changes resulting from ABI.

Rowan takes an active role in helping organise professional development events for Speech & Language Therapists working with clients with an ABI and this commitment to evidence based practice is very visible in the assessment and rehabilitation approaches she takes with clients.

Rowan is based near the Lake District and we are thrilled to be able to provide high quality independent Speech and Language Therapy input to clients living in the North West.

Esther Capes

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Esther’s CV

Esther is a hard-working and dynamic speech and language therapist with a huge amount of enthusiasm and commitment to evidence-based practice and achieving the best possible outcome for her patients.

Esther has gained a wealth of experience across a wide range of clinical settings including both acute and rehabilitation wards, outpatient clinics and community care/rehabilitation.

Esther specialises in voices disorders and working with people with Parkinson’s Disease and is experienced in a range of voice therapy techniques. Esther is also a skilled dysphagia clinician with a keen interest in dysphagia therapy and improving patient access to dysphagia therapy interventions.

Esther is confident running client education sessions and groups as well as delivering training to other health professionals. She is also enthusiastic about sharing ideas and developing innovative ways of working and works very well in any team environment.

Gemma O’Rourke

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Gemma’s CV

Gemma is an enthusiastic, hardworking and dedicated therapist who is passionate about holistic patient centred care and working positively with the wider multi-disciplinary team to support clients with an acquired brain injury or progressive neurological condition.

Gemma is committed to providing high quality intervention which involves both delivering rehabilitation approaches and preparing and supporting clients and their support networks for changes in a client’s communication and/or swallowing.

Gemma has a particular strength in establishing rapport with client’s, client’s support networks and her colleagues, which has been paramount when working collaboratively within a team. This strength also allows Gemma to develop a strong trusting clinical relationship when clients can be at an extremely vulnerable stage in their lives.

Gemma has developed a wealth of clinical experience over the years which has strengthened her special interest in working with clients who have complex communication and/or swallowing needs as a result of a neurological condition.

Karen Baldwin

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Karen’s CV

Karen is an experienced, highly motivated and autonomous clinician with over 15 years experience working with people with neurological conditions. Karen has a particular interest in motor speech disorders, dysphagia therapy, communication therapy and implementing and supporting clients to access communication aids.

Karen has highly specialist knowledge of adult communication impairments and provides assessment and treatment for these impairments using an evidence-based and client centred focus.

Karen has excellent interpersonal skills, and can quickly build apport with clients and their families/support workers etc. Karen is extremely organised, managing a large and often unpredictable caseloads in both her NHS and independent work.

Karen is proficient in writing detailed but also accessible reports for a wide range of recipients – a strong skill to have when working with clients undergoing a medico-legal claim.

Erin Brotherton

Associate Speech & Language Therapy Assistant

Erin is an enthusiastic, goal-driven person who is always striving to learn. She is highly creative and has an extensive knowledge of alternative forms of communication including high and low tech options.  

Erin has extensive experience working with people who have communication and/or swallowing difficulties as a result of an acquired brain injury, or other neurological conditions. 

Erin also has a real passion for supporting people to complete voice banking before their voice/speech deteriorates. 

One of the best bits of Erin’s role? Facilitating therapy programs with clients and watching them progress. 

Keely Scott

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Keely’s CV

Keely is a determined, driven and organised therapist with a professional attitude and a real passion for speech and language therapy.  

Keely utilises a flexible and conscientious approach to providing intervention which enables her to effectively meet the needs of her clients. Keely has often been recognised for her excellent communication skills and her holistic and empathetic approach with clients. 

Keely has developed quickly as a therapist since graduating in 2017 and has already worked with clients with a wide range of conditions in a variety of settings including acute and rehabilitation wards and community settings. 

 Keely is confident carrying out a variety of formal and informal assessments and keeps up to date with evidence based practise to provide the best possible care for her clients and their families/friends.  

Michelle St John

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Michelle’s CV

Michelle is a highly specialist speech and language therapist working in the field of acquired voice disorders and ENT related dysphagia.

Having qualified in 2004, Michelle has gained a wealth of experience across several specialties and has been intently focussed on her area of clinical interest in voice, including laryngeal dystonia, for the past 6 years.

Michelle has a friendly approachable nature which enables her to build a good rapport with her clients and she is a supportive and collaborative team player.

Rowan Barr

Associate Speech & Language Therapist

Rowan’s CV

Rowan is a motivated, enthusiastic and caring speech and language therapist with a clinical expertise in working with individuals with a learning disability. She is committed to, and feels passionate about, the welfare, development and encouragement of others and supporting her clients to reach their full potential. Rowan has developed her skills in communication and dysphagia assessment and intervention through working with patients both in the community and in a mental health inpatient setting. She strives to work with clients in a holistic and patient-centred way, and enjoys working within an MDT to support the clients she works with to achieve their goals.

Could this be you?

Speech Therapy North East aims to be the largest provider of independent speech and language therapy in the north of England.

We are always on the lookout for friendly and innovative therapists and therapy assistants who would like to explore the world of independent speech and language therapy.

Look out for updates on the site and on social media to find out what opportunities may arise in the future.

If you would like to find out more then just get in touch.