Sunday 21 August marks the start of Speech Pathology Week across Australia. The week is an opportunity to make all Australians aware of those in our community who have a communication disability. We asked two of our experienced speech pathologists, Eva and Isabella (Izzy), to tell us more about their work at Aspect and how speech pathology can help kids and adults maximise their communication and quality of life.
Let's meet Eva, first...
Eva, how long have you been working within our autism community?
I have been supporting in the autism community for about 7 years. I started working at Aspect in 2015.
Could you tell us a bit about your role with Aspect?
Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have had many roles in Aspect Therapy and in Aspect Education. I am an itinerant therapist in Sydney, providing speech pathology and positive behaviour support services in participant’s homes, schools and in the community. This year, I am also providing remote and in-person supports to more regional and remote communities in Australia. I am supporting the community of Maryborough, Queensland alongside an allied health assistant and an occupational therapist.
I am also a speech pathology clinical supervisor. I coach our wonderful speech pathologists to provide evidence-based supports to those on the autism spectrum.
What do you love about working with Aspect?
I love our mission statement – “ a different brilliant”. Aspect celebrates the unique gifts, strengths and challenges of those on the autism spectrum.
I also like that Aspect works in partnership with the client and their family. Together, we work hard towards positive, functional outcomes that can make a true impact on quality of life.
Why did you decide to become an Speech Therapist?
I was always interested in how the brain works. Yet, I’m also a people person and wanted to help others. So, I enrolled in my speech pathology degree, and found a nice balance between science and people.
I believe that everyone has the right to communicate and to have a voice. This belief and human right drives my work in speech pathology.
The theme for SP Week this year is ‘ Good communication, better communities.’, how do you think Speechies help build better communities?
Speech pathologists can bring their knowledge in understanding people’s communication styles, strengths and differences to create an inclusive community. Communication is more than just talking. Communication is most effective when we understand the person’s preference. One person may love sharing oral stories from their culture, while another uses assistive technology to tell a joke.
My recent experiences in Maryborough, Queensland, has shown me that a strong community is built on a willingness to bring change, to include, and to work as a team. This all starts with good communication.
By supporting others, you learn so much about yourself.
What do you enjoy most about your career in Speech Therapy?
I enjoy being part of a team and learning from my fellow colleagues, and the clients and families that I have the privilege of working alongside. I learn so much from hearing their stories, experiences and their unique interests and motivations in life. I enjoy the breadth of speech pathology work, which means that I can be creative and innovate in providing supports for all.
If you’re working with an Speech Therapist who is just starting out, what are some of the things you’d tell him or her?
Embrace being a life-long learner. It is okay to not know things. Build your experience, listen more than talk, and frequently remind yourself as to what motivates you. By supporting others, you learn so much about yourself.
Thanks so much Eva for sharing! All the best with your activities and enjoy Speech Pathology Week.