Words don’t come easily for all kids. But, help is out there.
VMCH’s speech pathologists help young children find their voice at our Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS).
We reached out to understand what a typical day is like for our speech pathologists.
Tell me about your job and what a speech pathologist does?
I work with preschool children and early school-aged children to help them communicate in the most effective way possible. Speech pathologists can provide support with speech, which is physically saying sounds and putting sounds together to make words, language, which is our understanding and use of words, as well as voice and fluency.
Speech pathologists also support families with alternative communication systems. Some children might need to communicate using pictures, high-tech devices or signs. We also work with eating and swallowing disorders.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I do a combination of home visits, childcare and kinder visits and centre-based sessions. I spend a bit of time on the road getting to people’s houses or to different centres.
We work very closely with families, so a lot of our work involves coaching families – so not just working one-on-one with the child, but working with all the people in the child’s life.
Parents are the most important people in their child’s life and they know their child best, so we aim to help them use all the skills we can teach them throughout the day with their child.
What is something you love about your job?
I always wanted to do something that involved helping people. Working with children, you’re not only helping the child, but the family.
I think one of the best parts of my job is seeing how a family reacts when a child reaches a milestone. It may be a first word, or a first time they are combining words or they’re using some new way of communicating. That’s probably the best part.
Is there something people in the community can do to help people who have difficulties in communicating?
Avoid judging people based on communication, as well as giving people time (to communicate), is something that we can all easily do. If someone is having trouble asking for something or responding to a question, give them that time rather than speaking for them or dismissing them. I think that’s one of the biggest things.
For the kids in our age group, it’s important not to always do things for them. We want to help them to be independent. We want to foster that independence and give them a chance to succeed.
ECIS provides a range of educational and therapeutic programs, counselling and service navigation for young children (birth to eight) with additional needs.