Developing Minds

What I do.

speech pathology

I wear a few different hats.

I am a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist with Advanced Practice in Autism, and I’m a Certified Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia.

I work with clients who have developmental barriers to communicating the way they would like to. This means that I work with clients who might have speech, language, and literacy issues since childhood, as opposed to issues resulting from an accident or medical incident.

My work covers the following areas:

  • Communication, language, and speech therapy – actually, these are all going to mean something a bit different to a Speech Pathologist. Therapy might focus on one of these levels, or a combination of any or all levels.
    • Communication is the foundation level, and it refers to the process of sharing meaning between people.
    • Language is the code we have developed to make sharing meaning more efficient. It includes verbal and non-verbal communication, and literacy.
    • Speech is the motor activity of making sounds and words.
  • Social communication and relationships – while this area is still part of the points above, I’m giving this one it’s own spotlight.
    • Social skills are not really skills at all, which is why Speech Pathologists don’t deliver ‘social skills programs’ anymore. Rather, we look deeply to understand the client’s experience with people and what barriers they feel they need to work through.
    • The social world is extremely dynamic and uncertain, and the work we do also needs to be! What is a constant is the knowledge that we all share a drive to connect with others. We can work on social goals in an authentic and genuine way, rather than simply learning skills that don’t translate into the real world.
  • Literacy – reading and writing. There can be different barriers that need to be investigated and understood to make literacy easier. As the complexity of barriers increases, it is generally worthwhile to have a team of skilled professionals on board working collaboratively, in partnership with the client and each other. Speech Pathologists can work with clients on the following areas, but this is not an exhaustive list of the potential barriers the client may be working through:
    • Letters and sounds are the first thought most of us have with literacy. It’s true that this is important, and it’s the entry point for most of us learning to read and write. Literacy competence quickly moves on from here, as fluent readers will only read letter-by-letter when they encounter a new word.
    • Symbol Imagery is another concept recently named by Linda Mood. You can think of it a bit like the working memory piece that we use to recognise and process the squiggles on the page. Symbol Imagery and working memory are as important for reading fluency as sounding out letters.
    • Auditory and/or other sensory processing differences can also impact how acquires literacy. But the good news is that literacy is still possible!
    • One’s experiences with literacy are also important. Feeling overwhelmed in class when other students are reading can have profound downstream affects to how one views oneself as a reader and writer. Supporting clients to feel competent is a cornerstone of my practice, and I see this as necessarily for tapping into motivation and a love of reading.
  • Parent coaching and the RDI® Program – this approach can be a good choice for parents who are raising children with Autism and neurodiversity.
    • RDI® targets a set of processes that it’s creators, Dr Gutstein and Dr Sheely, call ‘Dynamic Intelligence’ – the skills that we all use to
      • make decisions and choices,
      • connect with other people,
      • share ideas,
      • be flexible, and
      • to see the meaning in the ongoing changes that happen around us.
    • The RDI® Program uses a parent/carer coaching model. When we track back to how Dynamic Intelligence generally develops, it’s through the many engagements with supportive parent/caregiver guides in the early years. Anyone can develop and improve Dynamic Intelligence at any age. We can use what typical development teaches us to set the stage thoughtfully and meaningfully for these thought processes to emerge.
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