Marissa de Bruyn
Hi I’m Marissa,
I finished my studies in 2015 at the University of Stellenbosch South Africa, graduating as a Speech Therapist. After my studies, I worked with children and adults with language and neurological impairments. This began to grow my interest in students with severe disabilities. When the opportunity arose to further my studies, I opted to get a Hippotherapy (therapeutic horse riding) qualification. This combined my personal love of horses and animals with my love for those with special needs. The difference it made to my clients and to my way of thinking was staggering! In South Africa, I had a Hippotherapy practice where I used riding as a way of achieving goals and having fun along the way.
I have worked with children, teens and adults and have a special interest in students with severe or multiple disabilities, particularly ASD and Apraxia. I spent many years working with non-verbal students and learnt that communication barriers are not a reason not to thrive academically or in your personal life. I have seen students thrive in mainstream schools without saying more than four words in a day. I prefer to work with students in the classroom setting and enjoy celebrating the smaller steps of learning – I tend to focus more on play/games during therapy, rather than paper-based learning. Prepare to move during a session with me!
I decided to move to the UK and join Words First as a way of sharing knowledge and experience between our countries. Just as it’s important to share knowledge and skills between therapists, I believe it is also vital to share and learn from other countries and cultures. It can only make us better.
I love the outdoors and I ride horses as often as possible. A healthy lifestyle is very important to me. If you had to call my friends and ask them to describe me, I think they’d describe me as goofy, intelligent and loving.