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Aug 23, 2023

Exploring Susan's clinical placement: A Speech Pathology student’s perspective

News Speech Therapy

In this interview Susan shares what she has enjoyed about her clinical placement with Northcott so far and the reasons why she began studying Speech Pathology.

What brings you to Wagga Wagga?

I’m a final year Masters of Speech Pathology student at Charles Sturt University. Originally from Adelaide, I have had the adventure of travelling to Wagga Wagga from the Middle East where I live with my family.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Back home my interests include baking bread, music, travel and learning languages.

Why did you choose to study Speech Pathology?

Like many Speech Pathologists, I chose to enter the profession due to a mixture of personal experience and existing skills. I have a background in classical voice and an undergraduate in French language. When my son presented with highly unintelligible speech in Singapore, he attended speech pathology. While I was watching the sessions, I found myself thinking ‘I could do this’. However, I didn’t realise how broad the range of practice was and how diverse the client base would be.

Tell us a bit about your clinical placement.

When I began my placement, I tried to tie it to my personal experience with disability. My mother is in a wheelchair full-time with extensive NDIS funded home support. I was unsure of what to expect when I found out my placement was with Northcott, because I had not worked in a disability setting before. I have thankfully found myself in the position of working in Wagga Wagga in a multidisciplinary team that prioritise the goals of families and the community. Together, we provide safe services to a caseload of customers across a diverse variety of ages and individual needs.

Have there been any standout moments for you while being at Northcott?

One of my first experiences on my placement was to go on outreach to Cootamundra. There I met Mr. K, an amazing, bright, happy man with cerebral palsy. My clinical educator was working with Mr. K’s Occupational Therapist, support workers and an equipment representative to provide him with switches on his wheelchair. These switches allowed him to express himself along with his gestures, vocalisations and facial expressions. Mr. K’s limitations reminded me of my mother – her resilience and positive attitude and the significant difference her [paid] support makes in her life.

What key learnings have you gained from this placement?

A strength I have developed from having a family member with disability and being on placement with Northcott is the ability to see past a person’s disability to who they are and what makes them a unique and valued member of their community.


What is the next step in your speech pathology career?

When I finish my studies, I look forward to providing individualised and safe therapy in the Middle East. I intend to continue on practicing the values Northcott embody of bravery, innovation and respect.

Speech Therapy Northcott Wagga Wagga

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