What made you study Speech Pathology?
I used to work as a disability support worker with children with disabilities in childcare before and after school. I saw a lot of children working with their speech pathologist, mostly children who were non-verbal who had autism, and it was incredible. I saw them get AAC systems and engage in therapy and I got to see how powerful it was to give people the tools to communicate and it blew me away and inspired me.
What is your favourite part about working with people living with disability and neurological disorders?
I think it would be seeing the incredible impact you can make on people’s lives. I am seeing adults who are nonverbal or minimally verbal who have not been able to communicate, and we are providing them with technology and find them a functional way to communicate. It’s so rewarding and makes me so excited to come in and see my clients every day. They’re functional, real life outcomes.
Can you think of a time recently that made you feel really proud to be working with Better Rehab and NDIS participants?
One of my favourite success stories is a child who I’ve been working with for over a year now. When I first started seeing him, he could only speak in single words. He didn’t engage at all and he would communicate through challenging behaviours. As we have a multidisciplinary team at Better Rehab, I have been working with an Occupational Therapist closely on sensory regulation. This MDT approach has resulted in the child increasing his communication from speaking 1-2-word sentences to 4-5-word sentences. He’s so talkative now and he engages beautifully. In my last session with him he set up a picnic for me and all of his sisters, he made eye contact, told stories and we sung together. He is now more confident in asking more children to play, which can help him make friends at school. Seeing that progress in a year as a result of working in an MDT team makes me so proud to work for Better Rehab.
I also see a participant who has a severe stutter. When I first started working with her, her voicemail was really difficult to understand as a result of her stutter. Recently, we re-recorded it and the entire message is stutter-free. People are calling her back for job interviews now too! Functional outcomes like that are so rewarding.
What is something unique or interesting about you?
I’m not sure if many people know this, but I grew up in rural Tasmania. My school even had a farm and we did agricultural studies. I loved it and it was the best place to grow up