We are an innovative team of therapy, education and product specialists dedicated to creating fun and functional opportunities and resources for picture communication, as well as providing professional support for those who live and work with children and young people who have communication needs.
We are committed to providing excellent products and services that reflect current research and best practice. All our staff are qualified and experienced, and appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are maintained.
Bethan de Mel
Founder, Head of Therapy, Speech and Language Therapist
Bethan graduated from Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh in 2002 with a BSc (hons) Speech Pathology and Therapy. She spent a few years working in her home city, Aberdeen, before moving to Richmond Upon Thames for some 'London' experience. She soon fell in love with more than just the beautiful borough and, apart from a couple of years' 'honeymoon' in Dubai, she has spent the best part of a decade working with local children and young people who have communication needs ranging from specific language impairment to autism and profound learning difficulties and disabilities.
Bethan has previously been employed by the NHS and the private sector overseas. She has worked in a variety of settings, including: mainstream and special schools and units, community clinics and homes, early years and pre-school special needs centres. Throughout her work she has been struck by the need to bring therapy into real life and make a difference where it really matters. Parents would often ask for 'more' and it is with this in mind that she has created Pictologue. Bethan's vision has been recognised and supported by UnLtd, the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and the largest such network in the world.
Bethan has a wealth of clinical expertise and has undertaken specialist training in a variety of approaches and techniques, including: The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Makaton, Hanen, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She has also participated in further professional development working with selective mutism, autism, Down's syndrome and learning disabilities.
Her approach is naturalistic, keeping the child and their family at the centre of therapy. She is passionate about nurturing and celebrating success and enjoyment in communication and drawing on strengths and interests to support and develop particular areas of need.
Bethan is currently on maternity leave but keeping in touch when baby sleeps 😉
Playroom Manager, Play Therapist
Maira is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional counsellor and play therapist, interested in working to support the well-being of children and young people of any ability level. She has worked therapeutically with children and adolescents who are typically developing, as well as those who have special educational needs, from a wide variety of backgrounds for the past five years.
Thoughts of being professionally involved with children begun at the age of seven when she expressed her keen interest in pursuing a career as a nursery teacher. Thus, her first degree was in Early Childhood Studies (BA Hons) from the University of Gloucestershire. Dealing with children who have special educational needs whilst working in nurseries and other organisations facilitated Maira's interest in helping children in need through the natural habit of play and the need for communication. She later completed two master degrees in related areas: MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play (Swansea University) and MSc in Child Psychology (Kingston University). She has also obtained diplomas in areas such as play therapy, art therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling and psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and anxiety.
Maira joined the team in January 2018 as our Playroom Manager and Play Therapist for children who have learning and / or communication needs. She also works independently running her own practice 'Play Therapy Foundation' providing play therapy for children and adolescents whose difficulties do not relate to additional learning or communication needs. The knowledge and experience she has gained throughout the years have enabled her to achieve positive change in the lives of children and their families.
Tarha Luis Afonso
Tarha is an enthusiastic primary school teacher, graduated from the University of La Laguna, Spain. Her interest in education is rooted as far back as high school when she enjoyed tutoring younger students.
Originally from Spain, she moved to London in 2012 looking for new goals and achievements. Since then, her love for working with children and young people has led her to a life in childcare. Over the years she has enriched herself with many significant and beautiful experiences. Playing with and being part of the development and success of children is one of the things that bring great fulfilment and make her happy.
She was initially amazed by the Pictologue philosophy whilst working with a child who had communication needs. Experiencing the benefits of our playroom first-hand, she wanted to contribute with her positive attitude and skills to our work. Tarha became part of the Pictologue team in November 2016 as a Playroom Assistant and she looks forward to welcoming you with a warm smile!
Carolina Dorca Bermello
Carolina is a primary teacher from Barcelona specialised in working with children who have special needs. After graduating with her primary teaching degree from the University of Barcelona, she started to work in various schools as an English teacher leading a 'learn English by playing in English' extracurricular project.
After tutoring children who presented with a range of additional needs, including learning difficulties and disabilities, visual impairment and ADHD, Carolina started to work in 2015 as a kindergarten and primary teacher in an inclusive school. One of the highlights within this role was creating her own teaching materials, using ICT in order to motivate and involve the children in their own learning process and using games, songs and dances to enhance their language learning.
Carolina joined the playroom team in January 2018. She is enthusiastic, dynamic, patient and eager to learn new skills. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Difficulties in Learning and Language Disorders. Her main goal is to stimulate the weaknesses and develop the strengths of children in order to include each child, embracing all of their individual differences.
Toy Library Assistant, Speech and Language Therapy Advisor
Frances is a retired Speech and Language Therapist with many years’ experience in helping children to develop their verbal and non-verbal language and communication.
Frances has been part of Pictologue since our launch in October 2013, supporting us as a volunteer at Twickenham Toy Library and advising on toys, games and books to enhance children's communication and interaction through play.
Ainoa Garcia Lopez
Picture Making Assistant
Ainoa is a passionate teacher of early childhood education from Barcelona, Spain. She is competent, confident and most importantly, deeply committed to her work. She realised that she had a gift for teaching at a very young age as she was able to inspire students. As a teacher, one of the most rewarding experiences is to see students improve whilst simultaneously enjoying the process of learning. Her love for this work, naturally led her to study a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a hardworking and experienced teacher with a warm and calm attitude, and a proven record of exceeding expectations and results.
Quick to learn new skills and adapt to new environments, Ainoa has been supporting Pictologue as a volunteer since November 2017, helping out at our seasonal events and assisting in the production of our endless stock of picture communication resources.
Jyothish Nair is an Experience Designer focusing on digital, physical products and brand experiences in London. He is the founder & Creative Director of Paper Inu Design in London. Jyo brings wealth of experiences ranging from traditional brand identity, packaging, web, mobile, physical products and spatial design, spanning 15 years in design with several global awards like – Cannes Gold, D&AD, Red Dot. His works have been featured in Wired, Fast.co and Gizmodo. He loves drawing the Bible, cooking, and writing during his spare time. He is in the process of co-writing a book on 'Design across from east to west'.