My older sister Erin has cerebral palsy and when I was about 7 or 8, in a busy therapy office attending another one of Erin’s appointments, I noticed another kid in the corner of the office who had a sticker on their backpack that read, ‘see the person, not the problem.’ This statement changed the way I looked at life forever. I understood that so clearly that it’s not about what the person can’t do, it’s about celebrating who they are as a person.

As a family of someone with special needs, it was just a normal part of our life. Working as a speech pathologist, I have a passion for complex communication cases. I want to give people a voice and help them communicate. This allows them to contribute to society in a way that they couldn’t if they weren’t able to express themselves. I had so much exposure to therapists growing up with Erin and it looked like speechies had all the fun. Erin is non-verbal and uses a communication device and it was being part of this process that led me to also work with communication and assistive technology product supplier, Liberator, as well as Therapy Focus.

But I began to struggle to find enough hours in the day to be good at both my jobs while managing my family responsibilities. Something had to give. I never wanted to give up my career and that was very clear even before I had my daughter Ava. I had a lot of support from Therapy Focus, which is so valuable as a working Mum. I know Ava’s only young, but I want to show her that you don’t have to give up your career when you have a baby. It’s important for her to see that. I also want to her to be kind. If you’re kind, then you know you’ve done everything to establish empathy and put yourself in another’s shoes.

Freya Allen
Past Speech Pathologist at Therapy Focus

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