Meet the team: Caroline

Hi everyone. It’s great that I get to do my profile this week as it coincides with Speech Pathology Week, 25-31 August, and this year’s theme is “Communicating with Confidence!”

Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote the speech pathology profession and the work done by speech pathologists with the more than 1.2 million Australians who have a communication disability that impacts on their daily life, and the challenges faced by children and adults living with speech, language, literacy and swallowing disorders.

Communication is a basic human right, and speech pathologists work to ensure everyone can communicate with confidence. More confident communication helps maximise educational, health and social outcomes.

What led you to work at RFW?

I’m originally from the UK and have been a Northern Beaches local for some time. When I first came to Australia in 1998 I was sponsored by the RIDBC and employed as a Teacher of the Deaf in their Early Intervention Program and Bilingual School for the Deaf. I worked closely with the speechies and developed a fascination in human communication. This led me to further study in speech and language, and I graduated with a Masters in Speech in 2003.

I joined RFW in April last year to work as a speechie on our Telecare Program, which uses the internet to connect us in Manly with children and families in rural and remote communities throughout Australia.

My children thought my IT role was highly amusing, as I have a reputation in my family for not being very tech savvy, with a tendency to avoid all things IT related. Fortunately, our Telecare team and the other speechies helped to hone my ‘Tele’ skills and had me up and running in no time, enabling me to connect to kids in their classrooms and conduct speech pathology sessions with them.

In January this year I became the Team Leader for the speech pathology team and was recently appointed as the Clinical Manager of the team. We are a large group of 20, delivering face-to-face assessments and interventions across Australia. We currently deliver 250 sessions of Telecare into schools each week – wow!

What do you think makes RFW unique?

I’ve worked in a number of different services over the years and in private practice, and I’m really proud of being a member of the speech team at  RFW. We are an innovative and dedicated team who really make a difference in the lives of the children we work with.

We are all passionate about speech and language therapy and helping families, schools and colleagues to understand the impact that speech and language disorders can have on a child’s development, behaviour, educational success and mental health.

To give an example, I’ve recently  been working with a young boy who had an undiagnosed glue ear until he was eight years old. This has had a significant impact on his ability to hear the sounds of speech, thus impacting his speech and his ability to identify letter sounds.

His struggle to communicate and develop his early literacy skills has made learning and participating in school very difficult. Thankfully he is now getting the therapy and support he needs from RFW to develop his skills, which is improving his self-esteem and his ability to learn. His Mum said he was much happier in school as he was making new friends and feeling more confident with his school work. This makes me happy! 😀