For around three months now, we’ve been running a Practice Support service. It’s run by Speech Pathologists who work at Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre (CIRC), and are experienced in supporting people who have little or no speech to communicate.

We’ve been receiving calls and e-mails from therapists who would like some one-to-one support with particular clients they’re seeing. Sometimes all you need is a chat with someone to check your plan and goals, and to see if you’ve considered all the options. Some therapists are new to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), others want to know a bit more about a specific communication system (e.g. proloquo2go, PODD) or seek advice on a therapeutic approach (e.g. the practical application of aided language stimulation/modeling at an adult day service).

I recently worked with a great Speech Pathologist who – though experienced in mainstream speech and language interventions – was unsure how to support her 12 year old client with a Pragmatically Organised Dynamic Display (PODD) communication book.

We worked together to determine the best assessment tools she could implement, to understand how her client was currently communicating, where breakdowns were occurring, and what functional goals she could put in place for her.

Seeing as we have our Non-Electronic Communication Aid Service (NECAS) and Kids Chat services operating right out of the Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre, we were able to have a play with the variety of non-electronic communication aids that are available, and we worked together to determine which aids would supplement her use of the PODD book and how she could apply for funding.

Since our chat, she’s updated me with some progress that she’s had with her client. They conducted their assessment and got some really valuable information that helped them determine meaningful and relevant goals.

I really enjoy my Practice Support sessions, because I always find the learning happens both ways. I like how I’m able to help ‘fill the gaps’ for the Speech Therapist I’m paired with, and the therapist always inevitably shares something that I didn’t know about a different area of speech pathology practice.

And because each case is so unique and you often have to think outside the box – having 2 brains to figure out a plan of action often is better than 1!

Georgia Burn is a Speech Pathologist at Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre (CIRC). If you’d like to find out more information about if Scope’s Practice Support service could help you, contact CIRC at circ@scopeaust.org.au or 03 9843 2000.