Meet the Team

We are an innovative team of therapy, education and product specialists dedicated to creating fun and functional opportunities and resources for better communication. We also provide professional support for those who live and work with children who have communication needs.

We are committed to providing excellent products and services that reflect current research and best practice. In addition to being qualified and experienced, our staff maintain appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Bethan de Mel
Founder, Head of Therapy, Speech and Language Therapist

Bethan has spent over fifteen years supporting children and young people who have communication needs. She created Pictologue in 2013 to provide more resources and opportunities for successful interactions, increasing support and facilitating inclusion of children who have communication needs in families, schools and the community.

Bethan's approach is naturalistic, keeping the child and their family at the centre of therapy. She holds a BSc (Hons) Speech Pathology and Therapy from Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, and has been trained in a variety of techniques including The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Makaton, Hanen, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She previously worked with the NHS and the private sector overseas. 

Maira Kalpogiannaki
Playroom Manager & Play Therapist

Maira joined the team in January 2018 as our Playroom Manager and Play Therapist for children who have learning and/or communication needs. She has worked therapeutically with children to support emotional wellbeing for nearly three years.

Maira has a degree in Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) from the University of Gloucestershire. She also holds two masters degrees: MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play (Swansea University) and MSc in Child Psychology (Kingston University), and she has been trained in a variety of picture communication techniques, including Talking Mats and PECS.

Samantha Boliston

Speech and Language Therapist

Samantha joined the team in October 2018 as Specialist Therapist. She has over eighteen years' experience supporting children and young adults who have communication needs in a variety of settings, both in the UK and New Zealand. Throughout her work she seeks to make communication a fun and rewarding experience for all. 

Samantha holds a BSc (hons) Clinical Language Sciences (Speech and Language Therapy) from Leeds Metropolitan University and she has been trained in a variety of specialist approaches including Intensive Interaction, Parent-Child Interaction, PECS and Makaton. 

Tarha Luis Afonso

Playroom Assistant Teacher

After experiencing the benefits of our playroom first-hand as a nanny of a child who had communication needs, Tarha joined our Playroom Team in November 2016 running Pictologue Play sessions in groups and 1-1.

Tarha holds a degree in Primary School Education from the University of La Laguna, Spain and she has spent over five years in childcare in the UK, specialising in caring for children who have additional needs.

In November 2018 Tarha reduced her hours at Pictologue to focus on her teaching career in a local special school. We enjoy her continued support at Pictologue's community events and outreach.