Our Team

Emma Levy

M.Clin Psych, MNZPS, NZCER approved Level A, B, C, C Special & D Assessor

I am a clinical psychologist who trained in Melbourne.  I have worked primarily in mental health services with children, adolescents and adults.  I also worked for five years on an Autism Assessment Team in rural Victoria, Australia. 

While working in child & adolescent mental health I developed an interest in the educational issues facing many of my clients. I began training in these assessments, with a particular focus on learning disabilities.  I trained with SPELD Victoria and Monash University and began my own private practice, servicing a large rural area of Victoria.  I recently attended training with SPELD NZ in the latest assessment tools released in August 2016. 

In December 2015 my family returned to Wellington and I re-established my private practice jointly with Polly under the banner How I Learn.  As a parent, I have first-hand experience of learning difficulties including speech/language and literacy issues.  I believe this enriches my work as a psychologist as I understand the level of worry that parents and children can face, and how important it is to receive a report that is user-friendly, and useful!

It is of primary importance to me that I understand what is going on for each individual. There is no “one size fits all” assessment, and part of my job is to understand what your concerns and questions are, and to tailor a specific assessment plan for each and every learner.  Being from a mental health background, I am also well equipped to assess issues related to a person's emotional well-being, how they are linked to their learning,  and refer on to the appropriate services when needed.

Polly Schaverien

MSc (Dist), PGDipClinPsyc (Dist), MNZCCP. NZCER approved Level A, B, C, C Special & D Assessor

I am a clinical psychologist with a particular interest in understanding how people learn, and placing that in the context of their wider wellbeing. I have previously worked for Hutt Valley DHB in a mental health setting and now work as an assessor for How I Learn.  

I was trained at Victoria University of Wellington, and sought opportunities to specialise in the area of cognitive assessment.  Due to the broad base of my clinical psychology training, I am certified to assess using a wide range of tools.  This gives me flexibility to match the assessment to each individual – for example considering the role of mood and anxiety alongside learning concerns. I have completed certification through SPELD NZ in the latest ability and achievement assessment system, which was released in New Zealand in August 2016.

As the parent of two children, both of whom have been diagnosed with Specific Learning Disorders (dyslexia), I understand the critical role quality educational assessments can play in making sense of how a young person learns and designing intervention programmes to match. I recognise the challenge as a parent of working out how to advocate for your child and explaining to others 'what makes them tick'.

Prior to training as a psychologist, I worked in education policy and was involved in educational governance. This has given me a strong understanding of the mechanics of the education system and the value of quality teaching and learning experiences, supported by sound, meaningful data.  It has also equipped me to support young people and their parents to orient themselves and navigate within the education system, once they receive their assessment report.

Zara Mansoor

BA, MSc (Dist), PGDipClinPsyc (Dist), MNZCCP

I am a clinical psychologist who has recently moved back to my home town of Wellington after several years in the United Kingdom. Since completing my training at Victoria University of Wellington I have specialised in working with young people and their families, particularly in the area of neurodevelopmental difficulties including learning disorders.  I am currently working part-time with How I Learn and part-time with the DHB at the Wellington Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. 

I have worked in diverse settings in New Zealand and the UK including for speciality child development services in the DHB and within within general child and adolescent mental health. This has equipped me to be able to investigate learning issues in detail as well as consider how broader factors such as emotional wellbeing may impact this. 

I like to take a ‘whole person approach’, that is to get to know a person’s strengths as well as difficulties and the different contexts behind these. I then hope to help people feel better equipped to tackle their particular challenges as well as make the most of their talents. We all have our own ‘brain quirks’ and I hope that we can help you find some fun and creative ways to make these work for and not against you!