Hi. My name’s Margaret, and I’m a Speech Pathologist at Royal Far West. Speechies work to assess, diagnose and treat speech, fluency, language, social communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults.
The children I work with often cannot access the care they need locally due to a lack of services in rural and remote parts of the country.
I am also the Chair of the Trauma Informed Working Group at RFW. Our role is to recommend and embed practices that promote a culture of safety, empowerment and healing throughout the organisation.
How long have you been at RFW?
I have worked here in a part-time capacity since the end of 2012.
Has COVID-19 impacted your role?
Yes, my role has changed a lot in that the work that I would have done in Manly, is now being done online, via Telecare.
It has been incredible to see how our services have continued almost seamlessly, even though the delivery methods have changed. We are so fortunate that we were well set up for Telecare before COVID-19, enabling us to provide services with minimal distractions once we all started working from home.
Describe your typical day?
I work two days each week, and no two days are ever the same! I am usually sitting at my desk at 8am, but from there it’s hard to find a ‘typical schedule’. Pre-COVID-19 it involved face-to-face appointments and meetings, and these days there’s A LOT of Zoom.
What’s the best thing about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
Getting to know and work with people from rural and remote parts of Australia has been priceless. Being Irish and living in Bondi, I think I was at risk of never really seeing the ‘real’ Australia, so to speak. I am grateful for the opportunity that RFW has given me to work with and get to know people and places away from ‘city life’.
Share one of your favourite client success stories
Years ago, a school aged boy was referred for speech therapy at RFW. He had a severe speech sound disorder but couldn’t access therapy in his locality. Most speech sound disorders improve in the preschool years, but due to the lack of therapy in his locality, his persisted. He found himself in school but could not communicate or interact with others. Nobody outside of his family could understand him. He could not make friends and was too shy and withdrawn to participate in class discussions. When he came to RFW he received regular face-to-face speech therapy, and then he transitioned to speech therapy via Telecare. When he was discharged a few years later, he presented as a different child. He was more confident and social. He was participating in school and had started to make friends. His parents said that the regular speech therapy he was able to access at RFW had improved his life in so many ways.
Witnessing RFW bridging the gap for children and families in rural and remote areas and being able to support these children on their journey is an incredible part of my role.
Find out more about our Telecare for Kids program.
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