When I was little I used to see a speech pathologist who helped me with articulation. I had an interdental lisp that resolved itself later in primary school, but I still needed speech therapy at the time. I remember being confused about why I was there. I couldn’t hear the difference between the sounds, which is why I was making the errors. I remember the speech pathologist having me say the word snake over and over again. I would be saying ‘thhnake’ because it was easier and I didn’t hear the difference. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.

I hadn’t really thought about what I wanted to be until I got to Year 12 and decided to give speech pathology a go. Now, years later, I’m still studying it and find it incredibly rewarding. Looking back on my experience as a patient, I like how speech pathology has evolved to be more hands on and I think the therapists are a lot more involved now. As a clinician, or even as a student, I think it’s very important to develop a relationship with the person you’re working with because once you’ve established that rapport it’s much easier to do therapy. Particularly when you’re in the position of working with a child, they need to understand why they’re there and what you’re wanting from them, otherwise they’re just seeing it as work or being told off. They’re very much capable of knowing what’s going on and therapy is going to be a lot more meaningful for them as well.

That’s what originally drew me to speech pathology. I think the majority of people who become speech pathologists have a want to help people in general. You can only get so far as a therapist if you’re in it for the role alone. You need to have that drive to want to help. I think that’s why I also really enjoy volunteering. The fact that I can do it as part of my studies and apply it to my learning is just an added bonus.

Andrea Seator
Speech Pathology student and volunteer at Therapy Focus

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