They’re affectionately known as ‘speechies’ – our Toowoomba Hospital Speech Pathologists who help people of all ages, and for them this week has been one of celebration.
Their profession has been commemorated all over the country as part of Speech Pathology Australia Week.
"When people think of speech pathology I think they generally associate it with the traditional concept of helping children who are having developmental issues with communicating," said Toowoomba Hospital Speech Pathologist Caitlin Fraser.
"While paediatric work is a big part of what we do, we actually help people across the lifespan, from birth to the end of life and that is reflected in the theme for this year’s Speech Pathology Australia Week ‘Communication access is communication for all’.
"We’ve had a foyer display in place here at Toowoomba Hospital all week, where we’ve been sharing information and quotes from people living with a speech disability, plus information around the lesser-known aspects of our work to do with treatment of dysphagia, which is the clinical name for having difficulty with swallowing.
"This tends to be more prevalent in older patients so for me it is a significant part of my work in the inpatient rehab unit, working with people who have been affected by stroke or other neurological conditions."
During Speech Pathology Australia Week the team also hosted a get-together with colleagues from other Allied Health (AH) professions.
"We ran a ‘dysphagia morning tea’, where our AH colleagues had the opportunity to find out more about what life can be like for people with a swallowing disability," Ms Fraser said.
"Some people with dysphagia need to have their food modified, which may mean it’s softened or blended so it can be swallowed safely, so we had some examples for people to try at morning tea.
"Overall the week has provided us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our profession, and we would like to thank everyone who came to the morning tea, or stopped by our display, to learn a bit more about speech pathology."