CHELSEA EVANS (PRE­STON)

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Speech Pathol­ogy di­rec­tor Chelsea Evans (Pre­ston) has more than 17 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in con­sul­ta­tion ser­vices to schools re­gard­ing Pae­di­atric speech, lan­guage, so­cial­i­sa­tion and lit­er­acy mat­ters.

The Australian Education Reporter - - GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS -

Q. How can speech pathol­ogy ben­e­fit older stu­dents whose im­ped­i­ments were over­looked in early child­hood?

Speech Pathol­ogy at any stage or age can serve to iden­tify de­lays, disor­ders and dis­abil­i­ties across speech (ar­tic­u­la­tion, voice and flu­ency/stut­ter­ing), all as­pects of oral/ spo­ken lan­guage (ex­pres­sive and re­cep­tive), so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, lit­er­acy and feed­ing.

How­ever, as a pro­fes­sion we strongly ad­vo­cate for early in­ter­ven­tion.

Q. Can chil­dren with speech dif­fi­cul­ties and im­ped­i­ments slip through the cracks at school?

In my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, no. Schools and ed­u­ca­tors, Al­lied Health, GP’S and nurses are well in­formed and versed in chil­dren speech (and lan­guage) de­vel­op­ment.

As a re­sult, chil­dren are be­ing iden­ti­fied and re­ferred to Speech Pathol­o­gists in the early school years.

This is a re­sult of much ad­vo­cacy from na­tional gov­ern­ing bod­ies, lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tions and the ev­ery­day work­ing SP’S.

Q. What can be done to en­cour­age more schools to em­ploy speech pathol­o­gists?

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, schools are very wel­com­ing of Speech Pathol­o­gists work­ing on­site and/ or li­ais­ing with off-site clin­i­cians in the best in­ter­ests the child.

If I had my way, ev­ery school would em­ploy a Speech Pathol­o­gist. How­ever, this mostly lies with the bean crunch­ers.

It goes with­out say­ing, Speech Pathol­o­gists are key stake­hold­ers in child de­vel­op­ment pre-and-dur­ing the school years, in of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion, con­sul­ta­tion, as­sess­ment and ther­apy.

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