Creating futures with speech pathology

Today marks the first day of Speech Pathology Week within Australia. This important week brings the profession of Speech Pathology into the spotlight and promotes the positive impact that speech pathologists around the country are making to the 1.1 million Australians who have a communication or swallowing disorder. The theme for this week is ‘creating futures’, which is also fitting for me personally, as I come to the end of my degree and am soon to start my future career as a qualified speech pathologist.

Thinking back to where it all began, I first heard about speech pathology from my mum in primary school. I was curious about what the job actually involved and always kept it in the back of my mind as an idea for once I left high school. The thought of pursuing a career which is focused on helping others to communicate sounded very rewarding, so when the time came I put it on my QTAC preferences. Health degrees are no breeze to pass though, so the question is: What made me stick around for the last three-and-a-half years?

Speech pathologists really do make a difference in creating positive futures for those in need. We help to create opportunities for our clients, ones they may never have been possible without our care, skills and support. I had no idea, on commencing the degree, that we would be supporting clients through all stages of their lives – from the day they are born, to the day they pass away. During my degree, I have walked the halls of hospitals assessing peoples swallowing, travelled hours to visit rural schools to assist children with language and literacy difficulties, assisted people around the country via telerehabilitation, and taught people to find their voice again after Parkinson’s disease took it away. Speech pathologists give those who previously did not have a voice the chance to speak up and express their mind.

Advocacy for speech pathology as a profession is what this week is all about, and something I am extremely passionate about. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “What’s speech pathology?” or “Do you only help kids who stutter or have a lisp?” I assure you I would be able to pay off my HECS debt in one go! Our profession has a lot of room for growth in community awareness, however, this provides each of us (professionals) with the opportunity to spread the news of our great stories and positive impacts we are making. It’s our responsibility as speech pathologists and speech pathology students to educate the community and to advocate for the profession. That is why I volunteer time each week to the project, Humans of Speech Pathology and Audiology, or as it’s better known inside UQ as, HOSPA.

HOSPA is an initiative started by a previously graduated Masters student as a part of the Speech Pathology and Audiology Students Association. It aims to share the stories of speech pathology and audiology to the wider staff and students at UQ and also our local community.

Speech Pathology has not only helped to create my future but, as I graduate and work professionally I hope to help many people and to positively enhance their lives. When my friends ask me “What has been the best part of your degree?” I can’t simply answer with one single experience or comment. To me, speech pathology is no longer a career choice or something I thought might be interesting - it is my passion.

About the author...

Hi, I'm Claire, a current fourth year speech pathology student. I grew up in Gatton and would love to one day work in a rural/regional hospital when I graduate. Alongside my studies, I also volunteer at the Mater Hospital and am a UQ student representative for the Speech Pathology Australia Queensland branch.


Last updated:
8 August 2016