During Speech Pathology week, we are sharing the stories of some of our amazing Speech Pathologists here at Brightwater.
Meet Melissa B. Marsden and Stephanie Perkov, two Speech Pathologists from our disability services team who are extremely passionate about what they do.
We asked Melissa and Stephanie five questions to find out more about why they love what they do.
What inspired you to become a Speech Pathologist?
Melissa: I was inspired to become a Speech Pathologist when my sister who was only 24 at the time suffered a stroke. It was an absolutely shocking and devastating thing to happen especially at such a young age. She couldn’t speak or swallow and was PEG fed.
I observed the Speech Pathologist’s working with her both in the hospital setting and the community. It was a long, difficult journey and there was no miracle cure but it was wonderful to observe my sister’s progress and confidence with her communication over time.
I thought “I would love to help people in that way” and here I am many years later!
Stephanie: I became inspired to become a Speech Pathologist when I learned of the impact our services can have on improving the lives of others. Speech Pathology services can support those who have difficulty to communicating in a multitude of ways – from supporting communication skills and abilities, to increasing confidence communicating with loved ones and friends, and to increased participation within the community.
What do you enjoy about the role?
Melissa: I enjoy my job at Brightwater because of the interaction I have with the staff and the clients. I love the holistic approach Oats Street has towards working with the clients and I very much value the team I work with. I enjoy working with the clients to help them achieve their goals.
It is especially rewarding when they start to gain their confidence and begin accessing the community again.
Stephanie: I enjoy being able to meet and work with a variety of clients. Working with communication means I have the opportunity to really get to know people, their likes/dislikes and how they communicate with other people. It is such a privilege to build rapport with new people every day!
How do you help your clients communicate?
Melissa: The way I help my clients communicate is very varied depending on the problem they may have. Many of them require one to one therapy followed by strategies they can use such as slowing down and over articulating words. Or they may be helped by being given prompts to help them ’find’ the word they wish to use. If a person is non-verbal I explore other means of communication such as writing, drawing, gesture and pictures. Some of our clients have high tech devices to help them communicate.
Stephanie: As a Speech Pathologist there are various ways that we can assist our clients with their communication. We can assist by providing therapy, implementing strategies and supporting communication through the use of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). This might be through pointing to images, using printed words or messages, or using a voice output aid. There are many ways we can support others to communicate!
What does this year’s theme for Speech Pathology Week, communication is everyone’s right mean to you?
Melissa: Communication is a basic human need. We all have a right to seek information and to express our needs and wants. Everyone has a fundamental right to opinions and beliefs. To me, as a Speech Pathologist, this means exploring the most effective communication style for our clients.
Stephanie: The theme of this year’s Speech pathologist Week has highlighted a key aspect of our role as Speech Pathologists, to advocate for and assist people who have difficulty communicating their needs, wants and interacting with others. Communication is a human right that we should all have access to – and as Speech Pathologists we can find the best way to support our clients with this.