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Speech Pathology Week 2021

20 August 2021

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Sunday 22 August 2021 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. This week, we asked three of our fellow speech pathologists to tell us more about their work at Aspect and how this year's theme "Communication is everyone's right." inspires them.

"Everyone has the right to communicate in the way they choose. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

My role as a speech pathologist is as a capacity builder. I assess, collaborate and help to create a plan to reach an individual’s goals. I work together with clients, their families and others around them to learn, uncover preferences, and build skills.

Most of what I do as an itinerant therapist is to visit individuals at their homes or schools. We understand and learn how an individual currently communicates and use a combination of tools and strategies to support the individual to continue developing their skills and to build the skills of those around them. Building intervention into natural routines allows individuals to communicate their needs and wants in activities that are meaningful to them. I am very privileged to be able to work with individuals and their families so closely."

"As a Speech Pathologist, the importance of communication is not lost on me. Every day I work with individuals who find the basic act of communicating extremely challenging."

"Imagine not being able to ask for what you want, to protest what you don’t want, to share a story or joke, to order a beverage at a café, to introduce yourself to a new friend. Humans communicate for a range of reasons all day long, to connect with others and the world around them. Everyone has the right to communication, and for some, their communication needs are not being met."

"In my role as a Speech Pathologist, I support people who may find communicating difficult to build their skills in verbal communication or to explore alternative ways of communicating, such as through symbols, sign or technology-based communication. I also support the people around the individual to learn strategies to support their loved one on their communication journey.

A typical day might look like visiting my clients at their homes, schools, out in the community, or on teletherapy, providing support to them, their families and their teams, to help them to achieve their communication goals. I also support other Speech Pathologists in my role as a Supervisor, and this allows me a wonderful space to connect with, and support other like-minded, passionate professionals in their roles providing services to their own clients. Being a Speech Pathologist is an extremely rewarding, valuable job, and one that I am very grateful to have."

"My role as a Speech Pathologist on the learning support team, at the amazing Central Coast School, has allowed me to witness a range of communication skills amongst our 140 wonderful and exceptional learners. Each of these students has a story to tell, a comment or joke to share, a request to make, or information to understand. When they come to school, we endeavour to support each student’s right to express themselves, using the modality that will ensure them the most success.

In my role, I get to bring my speechie lens together with those of my talented team of Leadership team mates, teachers, teacher aides, admin and exec staff, to develop a diverse range of communication systems and environments to support each student’s unique, everyday communication needs.

At Central Coast school, our aim is to develop tools and ways to communicate with people in their environments in a way that is flexible, functional and spontaneous. Communicating should be, and can be, easy and fun! For those that know me, they know my love of a visual to summarise and explain, so instead of telling more, I have fired up my trusty Boardmaker so you can visualise my role. Happy Speech Pathology Week!"

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