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Meet the Team: Nicole Muscat

Meet Nicole, a Speech Pathologist in Child and Family Services at Royal Far West.

Hi, my name is Nicole, and I’m a Speech Pathologist in our Child and Family Services team at Royal Far West (RFW).

What does your role involve?

As a speech pathologist, I’m essentially a communication detective. By collaborating with our families and my fantastic colleagues, I identify why a child finds it hard to communicate and road map a plan to overcome those challenges. I provide information about how strengths can leveraged, compile toolboxes of different exercises, strategies and resources, and liaise directly with local health and education teams.

How long have you been with Royal Far West?

I’ve been part of the team since 2022.

Have you seen any changes in the sorts of issues children have during your time at Royal Far West?

There’s been a clear increase in the number of children with complex mental health needs. This has meant that an increasing number of children require access to our wider services like psychiatry, psychology and occupational therapy. To support them, we’ve widened the type and scope of services we provide children at each assessment week here in Manly, and generally see children over more assessment weeks.

What led you to work at Royal Far West?

It had become clear in my time in private practice how difficult it was (and is) for children to access the various health services they really need. The importance of working as part of a well-organised multidisciplinary organisation really struck me, especially for those children with more complex health and behavioural needs. I was seeking new challenges and knowledge and snatched the opportunity to work directly with various other disciplines here at RFW.

Can you describe your typical day?

My typical day entails a handful of play-oriented therapy sessions, therapy planning, one to two assessment-based sessions, and team meetings to discuss progress and plan strategies. I’ll also spend time communicating with caregivers and local care / education teams.

What do you love about working with families from rural and remote Australia?

Working with country children and their extended communities is incredibly diverse, stimulating and rewarding. There’s a huge amount of satisfaction in knowing that we’re directly working towards the achievement of positive functional outcomes for a child and their family each day. No day is just like the one before!

What do you think makes Royal Far West unique?

Our genuinely passionate staff and whole-person approach to care. I’m proud to say it’s the tremendous attention we pay to what makes each child tick, and to supporting children and their families for what’s going on under the emotional surface or behind the immediate scene.

Can you give us an example of a family’s positive outcomes through working with Royal Far West?

My favourite day-to-day positive outcome is providing a safe and exciting place for kids to really immerse themselves – and show off their full personality and knowledge. Getting on level to bring a child right out of their shell never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Where’s your country?

I’m most connected to the lands of the Cammeraygal people.

Can you share some career highlights from your time at Royal Far West?

I’ve been touched by the feedback families have given in my time here. What’s resonated most is just how much families appreciate when you’ve rallied around them or helped through particularly tricky times. The sense of connection and solidarity is quite special.

Trauma informed care is also a particular passion of mine. RFW has always made a priority of understanding trauma and the impact it has on the developing body and mind. In 2022, I was thrilled to join two of my colleagues down in Melbourne at the International Trauma Conference. We heard first-hand from field experts like Stephen Porges, Dan Siegel and Lou Cozolino, amongst others. Brilliant was an understatement.

 

Read more about our Child & Family Services here

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